Category: Justice

Modus Operandi or Old News? Comey Under Investigation In New Leak Probe

Former FBI Director James Comey is back in the news this week after The New York Times  reported late Thursday that he is again under investigation for leaking information to the media. The Justice Department Inspector General previously found that Comey was a leaker and violated FBI policy in his handling of FBI memos, including material  containing the “code name and true identity” of a sensitive source. Now, he is again accused of leaking information. There is an element of a modus operandi in the story since the same academic Comey used in the earlier leaks is also named in this leak, Columbia Law Professor Daniel Richman.

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Tax Avoidance: A Moral Duty

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

While it is a truism that in many respects some form of taxation is needed to provide necessities to a society, in practice many government and social detriments arise as either a consequence to or are derivative of tax policy. I’ve found for myself that fostering a personal goal of avoiding specific taxation or in many cases excessive taxation generally comports with a greater advocacy of morality in several beneficial forms.

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Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir Sentenced to Prison. Will Extradition to The ICC Eventually Follow?

Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir (ICC Photo)

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

A Sudanese court sentenced former Sudan President and accused genocidist Omar al-Bashir to two years imprisonment following his recent conviction for corruption. Additionally, the Court ordered forfeiture of millions in Euros and Sudanese Pounds discovered at his residence after being deposed by a military coup. He faces the likelihood of additional charges levied against him in the near future.

From a foreign perspective, there still remains the unresolved matter of Mr. al-Bashir’s two arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague stemming from accusations of genocide and other crimes against humanity.

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Titanic Failure: What The Horowitz Report Actually Says About The Russian Investigation

I previously discussed the bizarre narrative in the media that the main takeaway from the Horowitz report was the debunking of a conspiracy theory. Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on some of the actual findings of the Horowitz report. The report shows that there was not credible evidence to maintain the investigation and that the Steele Dossier was essential to securing the FISA investigation despite repeated media statements to the contrary.

Here is the column:

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Lisa Page Sues FBI and Justice Department For Privacy Violations

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page is suing the FBI and Department of Justice for violating the Federal Privacy Act in the release of their test messages to former FBI Counterespionage Chief Peter Strzok. President Donald Trump has made repeated and mocking references to the texts, including salacious and romantic messages between the two former FBI employees who engaged in an extramarital affair. Many of us have recoiled at the level of disclosure of this affair and particularly the President’s inappropriate taunts, including last night at a rally in Pennsylvania. The lawsuit could raise some interesting questions of the privacy affords such records, but it is unlikely to prevail.

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No, The Main Take-Away From Horowitz Was Not Debunking A “Conspiracy Theory”

I have a column out today on the Horowitz report in the Hill newspaper. As has become a common practice, the report was immediately and grotesquely misrepresented. On CNN, the takeaway was that the Inspector General “Debunks Trump conspiracy theory.” Chris Cillizza stated “That sound you just heard is the air coming out of the Trump conspiracy balloon.” It is all perfectly bizarre as are the attacks on both Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham for their disagreement on that one finding.

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Report: Barr Has Moved Against Giuliani In Meetings With President Trump

Attorney General William Barr has reportedly counseled President Donald Trump that his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has served him poorly and should be dropped. The Washington Post reported Sunday that Barr has directly raised with Trump the need for him to recognize what a liability Giuliani has become. It is an interesting story because Giuliani has not only become inappropriately intertwined with State Department business but also Justice Department business. It is not clear if Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made any such objections, but the Post is reporting that various sources have confirmed that Barr has moved against Giuliani.

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Indian Rape Victim Dies After Horrific Revenge Attack

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Another horrific attack in Uttar Pradesh led to the death of a twenty-three year old woman rape victim while traveling to attend a court hearing. Police accuse five men, two identified by the victim as her previous rapists, of stalking her as she prepared to board a commuter train. They doused her with kerosene then set her alight.

She then suffered having to walk nearly a kilometer afterward to summon police via telephone. She was medivaced to New Delhi having received burns to ninety-five percent of her body before suffering cardiac arrest and succumbing to her injuries.

The attack not only highlights a combative approach by some members of society toward the rights of women, but also conveys the shortcomings of a burdened legal system that in some ways facilitates retribution against victims and vigilantism against the accused. It is another, probably less recognized cost of the lack of speedy trial protections in Uttar Pradesh.

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“Very Dangerous and Indeed Incendiary”: Barr Gives Controversial Speech To Federalist Society

I have long defended Attorney Bill Barr, who I believe has been unfairly criticized for his handling of the Mueller Report and other issues. However, despite my continued respect and long association with Attorney General Barr, I believe that he has been rightfully criticized for his speech at the Federalist Society last Friday. It is absurd for some to call for his impeachment, but the fiery political speech was in my view inappropriate and ill-advised for an attorney general. Indeed, given this difficult and historical period for the Department, the speech itself could fit Barr’s description of an “incendiary” moment for our system. This is a time where the Attorney General should strive to stay above the political fray — not contribute to it.

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Report: Barr Refused To Hold Press Conference Exonerating Trump Of Ukraine-Related Crimes

The New York Times and other papers are reporting that Attorney General William Barr refused a request from President Donald Trump to hold a news conference to declare that Trump did not violate any laws in his telephone call with Ukraine’s president. I have known Barr for years and I am not surprised by the report. If such a call to Barr was made, it was inappropriate and shows that the President is still acting incautiously and impetuously in managing these scandals. With various investigations going forward on the Ukrainian matter, it would have been deeply troubling for Barr to make such a statement. While no crime has been identified, there could be potential criminal conduct related to the call as well as questions of the abuse of power. Trump has denied the report.

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The Normalization of Homicide Instigated by Politicians

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Why do we as a people accept and permit one occupational group to initiate killings of other human beings on a national scale but nearly all other occupational group members, who might carry animosity against others, are penalized up to the death penalty should they kill only one person? It might sound preposterous, yet that is exactly the duality we accept as normal–that politicians at national levels especially may lay waste to others and that is simply part and parcel of “diplomacy” and the “laws of war”. Yet if an ordinary citizen dislikes his neighbor so bitterly the act of stepping on his property alone may send the citizen to jail.  The animosity and will to retaliate is the same, but the domain and system of accountability could not be more vastly divergent.

The stem of this license to instigate homicide at a permissible level by national leadership has been endemic in human history to such a perverse degree, people today have come to regard the killing of others by these leaders as normal human interaction, that wars are inevitable, and that lives and societies will be upheaved.

It does not have to be this way.

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Depravity: Breaking Oaths of Office and Child Molestation

Scales of Justice

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

According to Court records via the local news, a former middle-school para-educator pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of Communicating with a Minor for Immoral Purposes after she allegedly facilitated the statutory rape of a thirteen year old girl by her husband.

The former Kennewick, WA educator acted as an intermediary in the exchange of “love letters”, providing a cellphone,  and arranging for sexual relations between the child victim and her husband, a former Umatilla County Oregon Corrections officer.

I have often lamented in the past that virtue has its limits but depravity knows no bounds. And with these two having positions of both authority and responsibility to the public, especially children, there simply is no redemption they may qualify.

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The Mueller Hearing And The Theater Of The Macabre

Below is my column in The Hill on today’s hearing with former Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The hearing will no doubt be lively as a couple dozen members of the House Judiciary Committee struggle to stand out in less than five minutes to make the cut for a clip on evening news. That means that you have to be more outraged than every member who came before you. It should all prove to be a true theater of the macabre. I will be covering the hearing for CBS News and BBC.

I have previously published 3 questions, 5 questions, and 20 questions for Mueller. You can choose but none are likely to be answered.

Adding to the drama is the disclosure of a demand by Mueller that an aide be sworn in and allowed to testify with him. The move drew vocal objections from Republicans who suggested that Mueller may not have a good handle on the Report — reinforcing claims that his key staff aides actually controlled the investigation. It also has been reported that it was Mueller who asked for the letter limiting his testimony.

Here is the column:

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Acosta Resigns Amid Mounting Questions Over Role In Epstein Scandal

There is a curious pattern in the Trump Administration that you need to beware of presidential praise which often proves the swan song for cabinet members. The latest is Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta who tried to keep his job with a press conference that was widely panned as trying to shift the blame for the sweetheart deal that he gave Jeffrey Epstein, the serial sex abuser. Since I previously called for Acosta’s resignation (and opposed his confirmation) based on his role in the Epstein scandal, I will not feign sympathy.

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Lock Him Up: Harris Says Justice Department Would Have “No Choice” Under Her Administration But To Prosecute Trump

For years, many of us have criticized Donald Trump for his signature campaign mantra of “Lock her up” against Hillary Clinton. Now, however, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) seems to be adopting a “Lock him up” pledge to jumpstart her campaign, which remains struck around fifth in the pack. Last week, Harris pledged to prosecute Trump. This morning, she said her Justice Department would have “no choice” but to prosecute Trump after he left office.

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