There is an interesting interview this week with former FBI Director James Comey. He states that he now believes that the infamous alleged “pee tape” may be real and makes other surprising statements while pitching his new book. One statement, however, stood out: “The Republican party needs to be burned down … It’s just not a healthy political organization.” Since the Republican National Committee was targeted with a pipe bomb in the recent riots, some could argue that this is incitement to arson or violence. I would not. I would call it free speech and hyperbole. The question is where the line is drawn given the impeachment of Donald Trump based on his speech and the allegations that others who used such hyperbolic language are actually guilty of incitement. Continue reading “Incitement Or Free Speech? Comey Calls For the Republican Party To Be “Burned Down””
It sometimes seems that every impeachment road leads back to Warren Hastings. Previously, I wrote about Hastings in addressing the bribery theories being voiced by Democratic leaders and legal experts in the first Trump impeachment. Now Hastings is back as a historical precedent for the impeachment of former officials. As I have repeatedly in virtually every interview since the second Trump impeachment, there are good-faith arguments on the use of impeachment for former officials. However, Hastings is not particularly strong precedent beyond the obvious point that impeachment was used retroactively in Great Britain. Continue reading “Warren Hastings and the Historical Basis for Retroactive Impeachments [Updated]”
I have long-criticized President Donald Trump for his tweets suggestions that MSNBC Joe Scarborough murdered a former aide when he was a Republican congressman two decades ago and suggested on Twitter that the two had an “affair.” The tweets are cruel for the family of Lori Klausutis but make scurrilous unproven allegations against Scarborough. Scarborough is saying that he may now sue Trump for defamation. The problem remains that Scarborough is a public figure and, as such, is subject to a high burden for defamation. What is most striking however is what Scarborough said his lawyers told him about suing earlier. The “best lawyer in New York” and the “best lawyer in New York” told him that he could not sue a sitting president. That is clearly untrue.
With the entry of the 217th vote, the House of Representatives have impeached President Donald Trump for a second time. As I have previously stated, my primary objection to this action is the use of a snap impeachment that dispenses with the traditional hearing or inquiry of impeachment. There was no opportunity to debate the language or the implications of the language. Indeed, the House gave the President a threshold challenge based on this process. With the addition of a possible trial after Trump leaves office, the rush to judgment could become a parade of constitutional horribles. The use of impeachment to “remove” a president who has already left office is ripe for challenge on the Senate floor and even later in the federal courts.
As reported by Newsweek, Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D., N.J.) has gone public with an extraordinary allegation against some of her colleagues that they conducted secret surveillance in a conspiracy with rioters at the Capitol. If true, those members could be criminally charged and expelled from the House. Conversely, if Sherrill has no such evidence, she could (and should) face a resolution of censure or resolution.
We have been discussing the chilling crackdown on free speech that has been building for years in the United States. This effort has accelerated in the aftermath of the Capitol riot including the shutdown sites like Parler. Now former Texas congressman Ron Paul, 85, has been blocked from using his Facebook page for unspecified violations of “community standards.” Paul’s last posting was linked to an article on the “shocking” increase of censorship on social media. Facebook then proceeded to block him under the same undefined “community standards” policy.
Recently, millions of supporters of Twitter reportedly left that company due to its continued censoring of viewpoints and the permanent banning of President Donald Trump. Many went to the more open forum offered by Parler — making it the number one item on Apple’s App store. Apple, Google, and other companies then moved to cut off Parler, which has now been shutdown. In so doing, these companies eliminate any alternative to their own controlled platforms. It is a major threat to free speech. Yet, the silence of academic and many free speech advocates is striking and chilling. Continue reading “Parler Shutdown In Latest Attack on Free Speech On The Internet”
Below is my column in the Hill on the riot at Congress and its implications for our country. As shown by the unfounded rush for a “snap impeachment,” we are experiencing a crisis of faith in this country — not only in our Constitution but ourselves. Pushing for a snap vote (and snap judgment) on these issues will only exacerbate our divisions. This is a time for deliberative, not impulsive, action in Congress.
Here is the column:
This week, President-elect Joe Biden made a highly commendable decision to nominate Judge Merrick Garland as the next United States Attorney General. Like many, I praised Garland as an outstanding choice and a move that advanced Biden’s earlier pledge to seek unity. That is why I was so disappointed in Biden refusing to take a position on the effort to impeach Donald Trump next week. As with his equally inexplicable refusal to take a stand on court packing, Biden’s silence on this clearly unsupportable “snap impeachment” was a missed opportunity to show real leadership when it matters most. It is not popular to oppose this impeachment, but leadership often demands that presidents take unpopular but correct positions. Continue reading “Say It Ain’t So, Joe: The Failure of Biden To Denounce This Impeachment Is A Missed Presidential Opportunity”
One of the most unsettling aspects of the last four years is the intentional effort to rewrite history in the media to fit a narrative either by denying facts or echoing clearly false statements. The recent stories on the riot in Congress is a good example. Most of us denounced Trump’s speech (as it was being given) and, of course, the rioting itself. Some, however, have noted that there have been violent protests for years, including the protest in Lafayette Square. The fact that there have been violent protests by the left does not take away from the disgraceful attack on Congress. Yet, there seems a controlling narrative that must be maintained at all costs — portraying past protests by groups on the left as peaceful to magnify the criticism of the recent violence in Congress. Even a site ironically called Media Matters published a piece not only calling the Lafayette protest peaceful but repeating a long discredited claim about the controversial Trump photo op. I testified in Congress on the Lafayette Park operation and the revisionism surrounding the controversy is alarming.
Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin is calling for the expulsion of Republican members for challenging the electoral votes this week as “sedition.” From the outset, I opposed this challenge as unfounded. However, think about this demand (which has been raised by others). Rubin wants to expel members who joined challenges allowed under a federal law (on the very same grounds that Democrats have made in past elections). Indeed, she declares “Every Republican bears a responsibility for what happened on Wednesday, whether or not they participated in a seditious attempt to overthrow our democracy.” So Republicans who opposed the challenge and denounced the violence should still be punished or blamed?
For many legal analysts, President Donald Trump remains a type of criminal Midas figure: everything he says or does turns instantly into a crime. Over the last few years, the media has published a long line of unfounded criminal theories by experts claiming that a tweet or a meeting or a statement established a clear prosecutable case. It is a popular and profitable take with the media which has been feeding an insatiable appetite for such reassuring views. Law has become a recreation and legal analysts have become part of the legal entertainment. Continue reading “Trump’s Midas Touch: Legal Experts Line Up To Declare The Georgia Call As The Latest Crime By Trump”
Below is my column in the Hill on the rise of delusional politics in America — a problem captured vividly on New Year’s Eve as Mayor Bill de Blasio dancing with his wife to a virtually empty Times Square. This is not Chicago where Sinatra sang about seeing a “guy dancing with his wife.” It is New York and the only one dancing seemed to be de Blasio.
We are watching as both parties seem blissfully and utterly detached from reality.
Here is the column:
Napoleon once said “treason is a matter of dates.” The Democrats seem to have taken Napoleon’s words to heart in declaring Republicans traitors or anti-Democratic in their planned challenge the certification of electoral votes next week. Both the media and Democratic members have advanced this narrative despite Democratic members repeatedly raising such challenges in the past. In the few acknowledgments of that history, Democrats seem to be advancing a simple and familiar defense: Trump. Once again, open hypocrisy is negated by Trumpunity. After all, they cannot be anti-Democratic because they are Democrats. That conclusory position was evident in the spin this week on CNN by former California Sen. Barbara Boxer who led such a challenge to the 2004 election results. Continue reading ““Treason Is A Matter Of Dates”: Democrats Denounce Republicans For The Same Challenge They Previously Made To Republican Presidents”