Did Henry Kissinger Push Nixon To Assault Daniel Ellsberg?

An 18-page investigation memorandum has been obtained by NBC News that raises some disturbing questions about the Nixon White House and specifically the role of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.  The memo details the campaign of political violence by Nixon aides.  The memo references a plot to have Daniel Ellsberg beaten up by surrogates of the Nixon Administration.  Kissinger has been cited as one of those pushing Nixon to deal with Ellsberg.

 

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Is President Trump Immune From An Obstruction of Justice Charge?

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedIn the coming weeks, I will be addressing a number of novel constitutional issues that are being raised in relation to the Russian investigation. The first such issue has been widely discussed: is there a constitutional barrier to any federal charge against President Donald Trump for obstruction of justice.

Here is my recent column in USA Today:

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Zumba Banned In Iran As Anti-Islamic

US_Army_52862_Zumba_adds_Latin_dance_to_fitness_routineThe Iranians have given the world another absurd application of its brand of Islamic faith.  The government has declared that Zumba exercises classes are effectively banned in Iran because the dance “contravenes Islamic ideology.”  The “rhythmic movements” of Zumba appear to be anti-Islamic. There is no room for rhythmic dance in the Islamic Republic.

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Do Rosenstein and Mueller Have Conflicts of Interest in the Trump Investigation?

Rod_Rosenstein_US_Attorney440px-Director_Robert_S._Mueller-_III-1For many weeks, I questioned the need for a Special Counsel in the Russian investigation because it seems like a coverup in search of a crime.   I still do not see the evidence of a crime and simply saying “collusion” does not supply an actual crime.  However, when President Donald Trump fired James Comey, I supported the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate obstruction of justice, even though I remained skeptical of the basis for an actual obstruction charge. I still fail to see the compelling basis for an obstruction case without stretching the criminal code to the breaking point.  Nevertheless, I continue to support the need for an independent investigation.

The investigation of a sitting American president however must itself be beyond question as to any bias or influence.  For that reason, I have been questioning the propriety of Rod Rosenstein to continue in his current position vis-a-vis the Russian investigation.  From the outset, Rosenstein seemed to me to be an inevitable and important witness.  Ironically, the recent leak magnified this problem.  The leak seemed calculated to protect Mueller from being terminated by publicly identifying Trump as a possible target. However, whatever benefit the leak brought Mueller, it undermined Rosenstein.  If Mueller is investigation Trump for obstruction, Rosenstein should immediately recuse himself.

It is not clear if Mueller has an equal conflict of interest. There is reason to be concerned.  If Mueller discussed the Comey’s termination with Trump as a candidate for the next FBI Director, he might also be considered a witness in any obstruction investigation. It would seem highly material to the investigation to learn of how Trump described his decision and what he said (if anything) to Mueller about the ongoing Russian investigation.  At a minimum, the Special Counsel should address what is a reasonable question about his own knowledge of (and participation in) any meetings with Trump on the Comey termination and the Russian investigation.  I do not agree with the campaign to discredit Mueller and strongly object to attacks on his character.  I believe Mueller to be a person of integrity and I hope that he recognizes that such a meeting raises some legitimate questions that should be addressed.

Here is the column:

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Report: NSA Deputy Wrote Memo Detailing Trump’s Effort To Get Agency To Exonerate His Campaign In Russia Investigation

Admiral_Michael_S._Rogers,_USNdonald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedAnother day, another leak.  The Wall Street Journal is reporting that it has seen a memo written by Rick Ledgett, the former deputy director of the NSA, detailing a phone call in which U.S. President Donald Trump NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers to state publicly that there is no evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russia.  It is the latest high-level official reporting a concerted effort by Trump to dispel allegations of collusion.  While the Special Counsel is reportedly seeking to interview Ledgett, I still remain skeptical of the current facts being used as the basis for an obstruction case.  As I previously discussed, Robert Mueller has hired at least one senior lawyer known for his unsuccessful effort to expand the scope of obstruction.  However, this memo does not necessarily change the narrative on both sides of the controversy.  There remains an obvious defense to a conventional obstruction claim – assuming the definition of the crime is not stretched beyond recognition to change the meaning of “corruptly influence.”

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