In Washington, there is no greater indication of wrongdoing than the number of people denouncing efforts to investigate it. The “nothing to see here” crowd went into hyperventilation this week when Special Counsel John Durham indicted a former Clinton campaign lawyer, Michael Sussmann. Legal experts who spent years validating every possible criminal charge against Trump and his associates are now insisting that Durham needs to end his investigation. The Washington Post heaped ridicule on Durham despite an indictment detailing an effort to hide the connection of the Clinton campaign and a concerted effort to push false Russian collusion claims. Continue reading “Legal Pundits and the Washington Post Line Up To Mock Durham’s “Zombie Investigation” in Stark Contrast to The Same Mueller Charges”
Below is my column in The Hill on recent reports of grand jury testimony in the Durham investigation. The implications of the grand jury — and the eventual report — have rattled folks in the Beltway this week . . . for good reason.
Below is my column in the Hill on a series of cases that appear propelled by political rather than legal considerations. The costs to the legal system, the public, or victims in such cases are often overlooked but they are considerable.
Here is the column:
Newly released emails show the pressure brought by the White House on both former Attorney General Bill Barr and his brief successor, acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, to intervene in the 2020 election. Both Barr and Rosen refused to intervene and pushed aside numerous efforts to arrange meetings with Trump counsel and to file federal complaints. What is astonishing is the degree to which these pressures continued in the brief period in which Rosen served as acting Attorney General in the final days of the Administration. Continue reading “New Emails Show Unsuccessful and Unrelenting Pressure on Barr and Rosen from Trump to Intervene in the Election”
The New York Times faced a stinging contradiction from Politico this week after it ran a story besmirching the lead prosecutor in the leak investigation launched under former Attorney General Bill Barr. The article relies on anonymous sources to claim that Assistant U.S. Attorney Osmar Benevenuto of the District of New Jersey was brought in by Barr as part of his “small circle of trusted aides officials.” In reality, it appears that Benevenuto was not initially selected by Barr and does not appear to have known him. Continue reading “Politico Fact Bombs New York Times Over Criticism of Leak Prosecutor”
Below is my column in The Hill on the recent decisions of Attorney General Merrick Garland to support the prior positions taken by his predecessor, William Barr, on issues ranging from the Lafayette Park protests to immigration to withholding information related to the Mueller investigation. Positions that were once denounced by media and legal experts as raw partisanship have now been adopted by the Biden Administration with little acknowledgement from those same figures.
Here is the column:
The long-awaited, though partial, release of a memorandum from the Justice Department this week left many “frustrated,” as predicted by the Washington Post, in Washington. The reason is what it did not contain. Critics had sought the memo as the “smoking gun” to show how former Attorney General Bill Barr scuttled any obstruction charges against Donald Trump. Instead, the memo showed the opposite. The staff of the OLC actually found that the allegations did not meet the standard of obstruction even without any defenses or privileges related to Trump’s office. Continue reading “Newly Released OLC Memo Shows Staff Lawyers Found No Basis For Obstruction Charges In Mueller Report”
We recently discussed how the plea agreement with a BLM protester (who tried to cut the brake lines on a police vehicle) may indicate a significant shift from the Trump Administration in prosecuting violent protesters. New figures out of Portland would indicate that there is such a major shift occurring. The Justice Department are dropping 58 of the 97 criminal charges brought after the Portland riots, including assaults on officers.
I have been a long critic of Rudy Giuliani going back years, including interviews and press conferences that I have condemned for making unsupported statements (as well as comments inimical to his client’s interest). However, Giuliani may have a valid point. The Biden Administration sent FBI agents to raid his home and other lawyers to seize “electronic devices.” According to Giuliani, this included computers and cell phones containing electronic files. However, the agents reportedly refused to take hard drives that Giuliani said contained material related to Hunter Biden, the son of our President. If the warrant did call for the seizure of computer and electronic devices, that makes no sense at all, particularly in accepting the word of the target of the search as to the contents of the devices. As a defense attorney, I often question the scope of seizures in such searches as excessive or overly broad. I have never run into a search where agents refused to take evidence that is ordinarily defined within the scope of the warrant. We have yet to see the warrant itself but this is a curious omission given the seizure of computers.
After a two year long impasse, the Iraqi Parliament enacted law recompensing Yazidi and other similarly stationed ethnic groups for the genocide and other crimes against humanity they suffered at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It is hard to imagine how any human being could be made whole after having suffered such inhumanity prosecuted against these people. The Iraqi Government does deserve praise for making a credible and genuine effort to afford them a promise of compensation and opportunities to earn a more promising and just future within their country and society in general.
Iraqi President Barham Salih tweeted the legislation, “is a victory for the victims [and] our daughters who have been subjected to the most heinous violations and crimes of ISIS genocide.”
The law provides recognition by the Iraqi Government of the genocide, which up until then was only officially so by the Kurdistan Regional Government in the North.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
I thought I would make a suggestion for those who wish to pay forward a debt of gratitude we might owe our local police officers for what has been a very difficult few years. Maybe each of you might consider for even once in 2021 anonymously paying for coffee or a lunch for a police officer who serves your community. It might be a few dollars, but I can assure you it will make their shift just a bit more enjoyable–that someone cared and was grateful.
Below is my column in the Hill on grounds for and against the appointment of a Special Counsel in the Hunter Biden investigation. By refusing address the underlying allegations, Joe Biden is magnifying the concerns over possible conflicts of interest and his own possible exposure. Biden is maintaining that he will not ask potential Justice Department nominees about the investigation but he is also refusing to answer specific questions. In the meantime, he appeared to confirm that he views the investigation to be Russian disinformation. That is a familiar profile in a scandal at the start of an Administration and Democrats are likely to face their own prior calls to investigate the Trump family on such questions of foreign influence.
Below is my column in the Hill on the early departure of Attorney General Bill Barr. The move will give Trump the record on Attorneys General. That is not good. A President cannot selected too many Supreme Court justices or too few Attorneys General. Reports indicate that, with Barr leaving, Trump is openly discussing appointing a special counsel for the Hunter Biden investigation. At this point, that appears entirely unnecessary and would further tarnish the image of Trump as someone who is interfering with the internal decisions of the Justice Department. What is clear is that Barr proved a critical fire wall for the Department at one of its most chaotic and challenging periods. As I have previously said, Barr remains more sinned against than sinner and history will vindicate his tenure at the Justice Department.
CNN’s media reporter Brian Stelter appeared to answer my question from a couple days ago on whether the media would bury that scandal involving Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell. The answer is now clearly yes. Indeed, Stelter was critical of coverage on Fox as excessive on the Biden scandal as his network continues to downplay or bury both the Biden and the Swalwell stories. To cover the Biden story would expose CNN’s own failure to honestly report a major story before the election in order to protect Biden. This is scandal that not only raises the possible criminal prosecution of the son of the incoming president but involves emails and evidence that directly contradict Joe Biden’s past denials of knowledge or involvement. Stelter however views the problem as covering the story too much. It seems that it is not Biden controlling the media but the media simply controlling its “portions.”