Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the surprising invocation of spousal privilege by Nellie Our to refuse to answer questions about her communications with her husband, Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. While the privilege remains an important protection, this invocation raises serious questions about its use where a husband and wife mix marital and professional relationships.
Janet Arsanian, a teacher at Cortney Junior High School, is facing calls for her termination after her son dressed as Adolf Hitler for Halloween. The controversy rekindles our long debate over the free speech rights of teachers and public employees in controversial statements or actions in their private lives. Arsanian insisted that “we don’t worship Hitler or agree with what he did.” More importantly, there is no allegation that Arsanian has shown any intolerance or inappropriate responses in her role as a teacher. I share to reaction of many to such a costume as offensive but, as many on this blog know, I tend to follow a robust view of free speech in such controversies. Continue reading “Nevada Teacher Faces Calls For Termination After Her Son Dresses As Hitler For Halloween”
Judicial Watch has filed a bar complaint against counsel for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. The complaint follows the issue raised earlier on this blog on the statement made by Ford that she was never told that the Committee had offered to fly to California. Attorneys Debra Katz, Lisa Banks, and Michael Bromwich deny the allegation and say that Ford was fully informed. These are very accomplished lawyers and I am inclined to believe them. That however raises serious questions about Ford’s sworn testimony and the attorneys offer a rather tortured explanation of the conflict. Continue reading “Bar Complaint Filed Against Counsel For Dr. Christine Blasey Ford”
In what could prove the most serious leak prosecution in decades, senior Treasure Department official Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, 40, has been charged with leaking information to the news organization, Buzzfeed, that she removed from her work at Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). According to the criminal complaint, she was the source of leaked financial information on Paul Manafort, Maria Butina and other suspects charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. While she allegedly first sought to conceal her relationship with a report and denied any contacts with the media, she later claimed to be a whistleblower. That is not likely to help her. She was reportedly found with a drive or memory device containing information in what could prove a lengthy sentence if convicted. Continue reading “Senior Treasury Official Charged With Leaking Material Related To Russian Investigation”
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi apparently wrote one last column before he was savagely murdered by agents of the the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia within its consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. There is mounting evidence that Khashoggi was killed by a team sent from Saudi Arabia including a forensic expert and a close security aide to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Turkish sources released the contents of a tape indicating that Khashoggi was literally cut up while alive by the Saudis and may have taken seven minutes to die. There are strong indications that the United States is desperately seeking any way not to sanction Saudi Arabia or lessen such sanctions, including the suggestion by President Donald Trump that “rogue” elements might be responsible. While Trump initially promised severe punishment if Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate, the fear of many is that the Administration will find a way to protect Saudi Arabia in the face of the torture and dismemberment of a respected intellectual. For some, Khashoggi is merely a name while Saudi Arabia represents billions in contracts and thousands of jobs. However, he was a person living in the United States and a journalist who fought for freedoms in the Middle East. While he also praised the Saudi Crown prince for some reforms (particularly in giving women more rights), he was a danger precisely because he bravely spoke of freedoms of speech and the press in a region where such expression often results in arrest or execution. The Crown Prince has insisted that Khashoggi was a “friend” and that he exited the building, but the Saudis can offer no proof of the exiting.
Now the Washington Post has published his last column. As fate would have it, Khashoggi wrote about press freedom and his dream that Middle Eastern nations could some day join the West and free and open nations. Continue reading “The Washington Post Publishes the Last Column Of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi Before His Brutal Murder By The Saudi Government”
I wrote a column yesterday in The Hill newspaper on the effort to strip away the honorary degree awarded to Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) in 2017 in retaliation for her vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh. One of the letters seeking the rescission was from roughly 100 professors from virtually every department within St. Lawrence University. What was most surprising was the assertion of these faculty members that St. Lawrence University has a “rape culture” and that Sen. Collins’ vote was in furtherance of that culture. Notably, there are only 217 full-time and part-time faculty at the university.
I have previously and repeatedly criticized President Donald Trump for his tweets and comments, including personal attacks and name calling that is below the dignity of his office. Some on this blog have (perhaps correctly) labeled me as something of a prude when it comes to foul language and uncivil exchanges in professional sports, academia, or politics. However, even discounting my sensitivity over such conduct by adults, this is a new low. After news of a judge tossing the defamation lawsuit of Stormy Daniels, Trump lashed out at her and her counsel, Michael Avenatti. Trump called Daniels “horseface” and Avenatti as a “third-rate lawyer.” Daniels responded by calling him “Tiny” and a man with a penchant for “bestiality.” Once again, why? Trump is President of the United States calling a porn star a adolescent schoolyard name and triggering a name calling contest on social media. Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans have again criticized the President for such language.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on recent stories indicating that top Justice Department officials raised the recusal of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein back in June 2017. I first raised Rosenstein’s recusal in June and August of that year when the Mueller investigation began based on his role in the firing of James Comey and I have repeatedly called for the recusal since then (here and here and here). Unless Mueller has told Rosenstein that he does not consider obstruction to be a serious matter for criminal investigation in this context, it is difficult to see how Rosenstein can continue. Indeed, even if Mueller rejects obstruction theories, Rosenstein should not have continued as his superior in the investigation while that matter was explored in compliance with the mandate given Mueller.
Here is the column:
Anna Ayers, a student at Ohio University and a member of the OU student senate, recently caused an uproar at the university after saying that she received threatening messages, including a death threat, due to being part of the LGBTQ community. Police now say that Ayers made the entire thing up and have arrested her for “making false alarms.” That wording seemed a bit curious so I went to the state code, which indeed has a provision that departs from the usual language of a false police report. Continue reading “Ohio University Student Arrested After Making False Claims Of Threatening Messages Due To LGBTQ Status”
The National Constitution Center and the Old Parkland Debate Series has announced that a debate will be held on November 12th between George Washington Professor Jonathan Turley and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on impeachment. The debate will occur a week after the 2018 midterm elections and many have called for the impeachment of both President Donald Trump and Judge Brett Kavanaugh following a Democratic takeover of the United States House of Representatives. The debate question is: Resolved, the framers designed impeachment as a political, rather than a legal process. Toobin will argue that the Framers intended impeachment to be a political judgment while Turley will argue that the Framers intended more of a legal judgment. Turley was the last lead counsel in an impeachment trial in the Senate and Toobin previously worked for Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh.
Washington’s Supreme Court unanimously struck down the state’s death penalty Thursday based on the way that it has been used in an arbitrary and racially discriminatory manner. It was a surprising basis since usually capital punishment is rejected as cruel and unusual punishment. It is the punishment, not the imposition of the punishment, that is the common argument against executions. Continue reading “Washington State Strikes Down The Death Penalty As Racially Biased and Arbitrary”
In one of the most bizarre (and frankly demeaning) moments for the White House, President Donald Trump invited Kanye West into the Oval Office for what became an unhinged and profane rave sessions in front of the world’s press. As with the high-level visits with a Kardashian to talk policy, these sessions have a freak show quality more fitting a reality show than the Oval Office. For anyone who reveres that office, West raving about how he is a “crazy motherf***er” is an utter disgrace. Not to be outdone, CNN proceeded to demean news coverage by racing to the bottom on the story with April Ryan.
Kuwait has continued to remind the world that, despite its advances in the modern world, it remains a religiously orthodox government imposing medieval values on its population. That fact was on display this week as the government banned such works as “The Little Mermaid” and Michelangelo’s David as unIslamic or indecent. Sounds Orwellian? Perhaps but Kuwaiti’s would not know it . . . Orwell’s masterpiece “1984” was also banned.
Idaho Republican lieutenant governor candidate Bob Nonini has triggered a firestorm after saying that women who get an abortion should be criminally prosecuted and indicated that that could include the death penalty. If it seems a tad conflicted to execute someone in the name of being pro-life, Nonini seems to be still trying to thread that needle with a later effort to walk back from his comments.