Category: Media

The Immaculate Concession? Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin Posts Bizarre Claim Involving The Democratic Counsel From Trump Impeachment Hearing

Today, I defended the New York Times for an opinion piece that is the basis for a defamation lawsuit by the Trump campaign. Raising such free speech protections can be challenging when you disagree with the author (as I did). It is particularly difficult when you are also the subject of a false representation in a column, as I was this week. Unlike the New York Times column, a representation of Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post was demonstrably false as a factual matter.

Rubin states that Democratic counsel Norm Eisen was able to extract concessions during the impeachment hearing despite the fact that he only asked me one question about a line that I had just published in the Wall Street Journal. Thus, my “concessions” appear to be repeating a line that I had just made in one of my own columns in anticipation of the impeachment hearings. I had been making this point repeatedly. Where is the concession? It was a point that I included in my written and oral testimony and was instructed to only answer “yes or no.” That was the only question asked of me at the hearing by Eisen. Indeed, I believe that that was the only question asked of me by the Democrats in the entire hearing.

I have asked for a correction from both Rubin and the Post and will update this column with any developments. However, given that this column has been running for days, I wanted to set the record straight.

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Trump Campaign Sues The New York Times For Libel

We have previously discussed President Donald Trump’s repeated calls for changing libel laws and suing his critics, particularly the New York Times. Now his campaign has done just that with a defamation lawsuit against the New York Times for allegedly publishing false claims in an op-ed written by Max Frankel on March 27, 2019, entitled “The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo.” The selection of an opinion piece makes this case especially difficult. In addition to suing a newspaper for the alleged defamation of a public official, it is doing so for a piece that is identified as opinion and appears on the opinion page. In my view, the column is protected speech under the First Amendment.

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GW Professor Under Fire For Kavanaugh Attack

A professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, Sean Aday, is under fire this week from various conservative sites and Campus Reform for using the occasion of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s birthday to call him a “rapey prep school douchebag.” As will not come as a surprise to many on this blog, I support Aday’s right to express his views on social media, even views that are offensive or obnoxious as they are here.

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No, Sotomayor Should Not Recuse Herself From All Cases Involving The Administration

President Donald Trump has called upon both Supreme Court justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse themselves from any cases involving his administration over their past comments. The trigger for this twitter storm is a recent rebuke by Sotomayor of her conservative colleagues where she suggested that they were showing bias in favor the Trump Administration. The statement of Sotomayor, which surprising to many of its directness, is not a basis in my view for such a recusal or disqualification.

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Judge Jackson Slams Stone Defense Over Disqualification Motion

I previously wrote that I thought that the motion to disqualify Judge Amy Berman Jackson filed by the Roger Stone defense team was exceedingly weak and should not have been filed. Jackson has now rejected the motion, but the final line of the opinion is a real stinger. The judge effectively accuses the team of filing a frivolous motion to pander to the public. It was ill-conceived and poorly executed motion that only further alienated the court.

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“America Is Not Great”: Trump Supporters Allegedly Forced Off Road In Indiana

We have been discussing how the media coverage on political-related violence often downplays attacks on conservatives. I have repeatedly criticized Trump for his rhetoric, but I also see dangerous rhetoric coming from his critics. That is not covered as much and certainly not treated as a pattern is violence against conservatives and Republicans or motivated by the politics from the left. Another such example can be found in Indiana where Kyren Gregory Perry-Jones, 23, and Cailyn Marie Smith, 18, are accused of using their car to force two twin brothers off a road after they were spotted bicycling with flags supporting Trump.

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Stone Moves To Remove Jackson From Case [Updated]

Roger Stone’s defense team moved to force the recusal of Judge Amy Berman Jackson from the case for bias. These motions have a very low success rate and this particular motion likely has an even lower likelihood of success. Jackson is a respected and experience judge. I actually was taken aback by a couple of her comments about the case but courts of appeal are extremely reluctant to force such recusals. Moreover, the main thrust of the motion is a statement about the jury which would be viewed as virtually standardized language for courts. Update: the Defense motion is available below.

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Roger Stone Convicted and Bill Barr Vindicated With 40 Month Sentence [Updated]

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Roger Stone has been sentenced to 40 months by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson. I previously stated that the likely sentence would be half of what the prosecutors originally sought and that is precisely what the court did. The sentence not only completed the conviction of Roger Stone but completely vindicated Attorney Bill Barr on the appropriate length of the sentence. Barr has been unfairly accused of political influence in modifying the original sentence even though many of us denounced the original recommendation as wildly offbase. Not only did over a thousand former prosecutors demand his resignation without knowing the full facts, but one former colleague declared Barr to be “unAmerican.” If these individuals have a modicum of decency, they will acknowledge that Barr was right on the merits of this sentencing recommendation as demonstrated by the court itself.

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In Defense Of Bill Barr

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on widespread accusations against Attorney General Bill Barr, including former prosecutors who called for his resignation before knowing all of the underlying facts. Critics have simply ignored reports that various Justice Department officials believed (as did many of us) that the original recommended sentence for Roger Stone was wildly out of proportion with the underlying crimes. They have also ignored indications that Trump’s controversial statements on the case came after a decision was made to modify the recommendation. Some have even gone as far to declare that Barr, who has served his country for decades, is “unAmerican.” Such hair-trigger attacks have become common in Washington, but there must remain some modicum of decency and restraint when so few of the facts are fully established.

Here is the column:

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Former Bush Deputy AG Denounces Barr As “UnAmerican”

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Yesterday I wrote a column in the Hill criticizing hair-triggered responses to the controversy over the sentencing recommendation in the case of Roger Stone. This included former prosecutors who did not see the need to confirm critical facts before demanding the resignation of Barr. Former Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer called Barr, his former colleague in the Bush Administration, “unAmerican.” It is a disgraceful attack on someone who has served his country for decades with distinction. Just as many (including myself) have denounced President Donald Trump for calling opponents disloyal or traitorous, this personal attack should also be roundly denounced by all sides in this controversy.

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Diss Barr? Trump Returns To Attacking The Justice Department

Despite a public condemnation by Attorney General Bill Barr, President Donald Trump is back tweeting and atacking a wide range of Justice Department attorneys and investigations. That includes the recently resigned prosecutors in the case of Trump associate Roger Stone. These irresponsible tweets continue undermine Barr and magnify the problems for the Administration with both the courts and Congress.

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Dershowitz Claims Obama Asked For An Investigation From FBI At The Behest Of Soros

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz pulled a Giuliani on television this weekend by claiming bombshell evidence in his possession but refusing to disclose it. On Fox News, Dershowitz claimed that he has conclusive proof that Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigation someone “on behalf of George Soros,” the wealthy liberal donor. However, Dershowitz mysteriously referenced future “litigation” where all of this would be disclosed.

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Juror 1261: Was Justice Undone In The Trial Of Roger Stone

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Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the controversy surrounding the foreperson on the Stone trial and the discovery of biased public comments made before she was called as a juror. The comments raise very serious questions about not just the inclusion of Tomeka Hart on the jury but the legitimacy of the conviction in light of her participation. Courts are extremely reluctant to set aside verdicts and often deny motions for new trials like the two filed by Stone. However, such disclosures make a mockery of the process — and ultimately the court — if undisclosed bias does not have a remedy for a defendant. No defendant can prove conclusively that such bias made the difference, but no prosecutor can prove that it did not. What remains is a dangerous element of doubt in a criminal trial.

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Bull Meets China Shop: Why The President Tweets Fail Another Causality Test By The Media

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the Stone controversy. The column suggested that the Trump tweet before the change in the sentencing memorandum in the Stone case may not have been related, but simply another example of Trump triggering a controversy with an irresponsible and ill-timed tweet. After the column, Trump made the situation even worse by publicly complimenting Attorney General Bill Barr. As I mentioned at the time, the “atta boy” was more damaging than the original criticism. Barr responded correctly by criticizing the President’s continued public comments on pending cases and attacks on federal judges. While the President is clearly undeterred, both the change in the sentencing recommendation and the criticism of the President were well warranted.

Here is the column:

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Bloomberg’s Big Gulp Running Mate? Campaign Downplays But Does Not Deny Consideration Of Clinton As Vice President

The Drudge Report set off a firestorm on Saturday with a story headlined: “EXCLUSIVE: BLOOMBERG CONSIDERS HILLARY RUNNING MATE.” The story reported that “[s]ources close to Bloomberg campaign tell DRUDGE REPORT that candidate is considering Hillary as running mate, after their polling found the Bloomberg-Clinton combination would be a formidable force….” After a frenzy, the Bloomberg campaign weakly downplayed the story while notably not denying it. The story follows reports of various Clinton allies discussing a way for her to take the nomination in a brokered convention in a panic-driven move to block Bernie Sanders, again, from securing the nomination.

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