Category: Justice

The Incredible Shrinking Merrick Garland

 

 

 

Below is my column in USA Today on the diminishing role of Attorney General Merrick Garland at the Justice Department after a series of controversies. As a well-known moderate, many of us had hoped that Garland could be a unifying presence at the Department; assuring a divided nation that justice would be pursued in an even-handed and apolitical fashion. Yet, in controversy after controversy, Garland has failed to take modest steps to make such assurances. After well documented cases of bias and false statements by FBI and DOJ officials in past investigations, there was a clear need for greater transparency and independence in investigations. Garland has consistently swatted away such options. This week, Garland stayed on that path and refused to release any part of the affidavit used as the basis for the search of Mar-a-Lago. This included the possible issuance of a redacted copy or even responses to specific concerns over the timing or basis for the search. While Trump has called for the release of the affidavit, Garland will not even release those sections dealing with the account of the prior discussions and agreements with the Team Trump. There is little proactive effort to anticipate or address such concerns as vividly shown in the last week.

Here is the column: Continue reading “The Incredible Shrinking Merrick Garland”

Justice Department Accused of Taking Attorney-Client Material at Mar-a-Lago

Fox News is reporting that the FBI seized boxes containing attorney-client privileged and potentially executive privileged material during its raid Mar-a-Lago. When the raid occurred, I noted that the legal team had likely marked material as privileged at the residence and that the collection could create an immediate conflict over such material. Now, sources are telling Fox that the Justice Department not only took attorney-client material but has refused Trump requests for a special master to review the records.

Continue reading “Justice Department Accused of Taking Attorney-Client Material at Mar-a-Lago”

Five Lingering Questions In the Wake of the Mar-a-Lago Raid

Former President Donald Trump has waived any objections to the release of the warrant and property receipt after the filing of a motion by the Justice Department. The motion, however, did not seek the release of the most important document in this controversy: the supporting FBI affidavit. That is the document that would reveal what the FBI told the magistrate about the prior communications with the Trump team and the specific allegations of the status of the documents in question. Continue reading “Five Lingering Questions In the Wake of the Mar-a-Lago Raid”

“The Whole Enchilada”: Pundits Wrongly Claim the Mar-a-Lago Raid Could Disqualify Trump from Future Office

The FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago has unleashed a familiar euphoria among critics who have longed for–agents descending upon the President’s residence in a criminal operation. One MSNBC pundit declared that day of the “orange jumpsuit” may finally be at hand while another simply exclaimed “hallelujah.” It was a tad premature since we do not even know if classified material was found and, if so, whether there is a criminal case to be made from such a discovery. Continue reading ““The Whole Enchilada”: Pundits Wrongly Claim the Mar-a-Lago Raid Could Disqualify Trump from Future Office”

“I’ve Delivered”: New Disclosures Demolish President Biden’s Denials on Hunter Dealings

New disclosures are demolishing the continued denials of President Biden that he had no knowledge and nothing to do with his son’s business interests. The emails (reviewed by Fox and The Daily Mail) include exchanges with at least 14 of Hunter Biden’s business associates while Joe Biden was vice president. They cast further doubt on the president’s repeated claims that he had no knowledge of his son’s foreign business dealings.  In one almost plaintive email, Hunter actually complains to an associate that he had delivered on everything that was demanded of him in getting access to his father and the White House. Continue reading ““I’ve Delivered”: New Disclosures Demolish President Biden’s Denials on Hunter Dealings”

An Island of Virtue Among Today’s Elected Officials: Water District & Sewer District Commissioners

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

I’ll go out on a limb and make a proposal, based mostly on anecdotal observations I have made during my adult life of both politicians and elected officials–there is a difference–and what these individuals have often gotten us into. I have come to the conclusion that among the various cultivars of politics, the two positions that for me have consistently remained the most benevolently virtuous, and least damaging to ordinary people, are not the high-profile, ostentatious seats in various houses of parliament, legislatures, or a presidency. They are often the more behind-the-scenes, yet foundationally necessary public service elected officials often known as Water District and Sewer District Commissioners.

They might not be the most well-known, which in itself is an admirable quality, but they serve for me as a model of how we would be as a society better off if politicians adopted the approach of these commissioners and not that of petty tyrants or worse that seem to be attracted to politics.

Continue reading “An Island of Virtue Among Today’s Elected Officials: Water District & Sewer District Commissioners”

Honorable Civil Disobedience

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Having seen over the years protesters engaged in voicing their grievances in fashions ranging from the peaceful to the violent, I believe it is incumbent to provide guidelines in the hope of furthering a cause without the distractions that spill over into not only silencing important messages but preventing consequences that hurt others.

I propose the idea of Honorable Civil Disobedience.

Continue reading “Honorable Civil Disobedience”

Schiff: House Select Committee Has Evidence That Trump “Engaged in Likely Multiple Criminal Acts”

Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) went on CNN’s “Don Lemon Tonight” to tout the work of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6th riot. In that interview, Schiff declared that the Committee has enough evidence showing former President Donald Trump “engaged in likely multiple criminal acts.” While vague on the specific crimes, Schiff emphasized that the Justice Department did not have to wait any further to launch a criminal investigation based on what has already been disclosed. While the Committee has disclosed new evidence in the form of videotapes and testimony, it has not presented new material evidence of criminal acts in my view. That could still come but the first two hearings largely focused on a “conspiracy” to challenge the election certification and allegations that Trump knew that there was no compelling evidence of widespread election fraud.

Continue reading “Schiff: House Select Committee Has Evidence That Trump “Engaged in Likely Multiple Criminal Acts””

Turley Testifies in the Senate on Domestic Terrorism

This morning I will be testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the expansion of domestic terrorism investigations. The hearing is titled “Examining the ‘Metastasizing’ Domestic Terrorism Threat After the Buffalo Attack” and will begin at 10 am in the Hart Senate Office Building (Room 216). The written testimony is linked below.

Continue reading “Turley Testifies in the Senate on Domestic Terrorism”

Subpoena Wars: Washington is on a Path to Mutually Assured Destruction

Below is my column in The Hill on the subpoena war raging in Washington as the Jan. 6th Committee prepares for its first public hearings this week. This weekend, the Justice Department announced that it would not be prosecuting former chief of staff Mark Meadows and social media director Dan Scavino. As noted below, they took a wiser course of limited cooperation. The refusal to prosecute triggered a backlash from Rep. Adam Schiff who wanted to see more criminal charges out of the Biden Administration.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Subpoena Wars: Washington is on a Path to Mutually Assured Destruction”

“Not My Investigation”: Former FBI General Counsel Shrugs Off Delay in Turning Over Key Text Message

Former FBI General Counsel  (and now Twitter lawyer) James Baker has long been a lightning rod for critics over the role of the FBI in pushing false Russian collusion claims. Baker did not help himself with those critics yesterday when he took the stand in the trial of Michael Sussmann, former Clinton campaign counsel. After declaring Sussmann a friend, Baker seemed to shrug off the fact that he previously failed to turn over a critical piece of evidence to Special Counsel John Durham because “this is not my investigation. This is your investigation.”

Continue reading ““Not My Investigation”: Former FBI General Counsel Shrugs Off Delay in Turning Over Key Text Message”

Garland Stonewalls Questions about a Special Counsel Despite New Evidence Tied to President Biden

Attorney General Merrick Garland continued to refuse to address questions over his refusal to appoint a Special Counsel in the Hunter Biden investigation despite new evidence tying President Joe Biden to the controversial business deals. The New York Post is reporting that President Biden agreed to cover more than $800,000 in bills of Hunter, including legal fees tied to the foreign deals. While President Biden’s denial of knowledge of Hunter’s deals has been repeatedly contradicted (including by Hunter himself), White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declared that President Biden stands by his denials. However, she declined to explain new information showing that a key business partner in these deals visited the White House over a dozen times, including at least one meeting with then Vice President Biden.

Continue reading “Garland Stonewalls Questions about a Special Counsel Despite New Evidence Tied to President Biden”

“Lets See How We Can Be Helpful”: Joe Biden Wrote Letter to Help One of Hunter’s Foreign Contacts

We have been discussing the Hunter Biden scandal and the increasingly untenable position for Merrick Garland and the media as evidence contradicts past representations of President Joe Biden.  That position further to deteriorate today with a Fox story that, in 2017, President Biden, wrote a college recommendation letter for the son of a Chinese executive who did business with Hunter Biden. President Biden has long denied any knowledge or involvement in his son’s dealings — a claim that has been contradicted not only by emails found on the laptop but statements by Hunter Biden himself. Continue reading ““Lets See How We Can Be Helpful”: Joe Biden Wrote Letter to Help One of Hunter’s Foreign Contacts”

Biden’s ‘Absolute’ Defense of Hunter Leaves Media and Justice Department in a Muddle

Below is my column in The Hill on President Joe Biden doubling down on his absolute defense of his son Hunter Biden. The comments only magnify the concerns over Attorney General Merrick Garland refusing to appoint a special counsel despite the clear basis for such an appointment.  It is clear that the President “absolutely” stands by his son and that the media absolutely stands by the President. The question is whether Garland will stand by justice and appoint a special counsel.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Biden’s ‘Absolute’ Defense of Hunter Leaves Media and Justice Department in a Muddle”

Report: Biden Wants Attorney General Garland to Prosecute Trump

During the last Administration, the media was (rightfully) critical of President Donald Trump’s repeated public calls for action from the Justice Department or attacking the handling of pending investigations. Legal experts lined up to denounce the damage to the independence of the Justice Department. The media and experts, however, have been largely silent as President Joe Biden has declared the guilt of individuals or promised punishment before even the commencement of investigations. The latest such example is the leaking of Biden’s desire to have Attorney General Merrick Garland prosecute Trump. Continue reading “Report: Biden Wants Attorney General Garland to Prosecute Trump”

Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks