The Morning Consult/Politico weekly tracking poll shows a drop in popularity for President Donald Trump to 39 percent. That is not however a massive decline given the harsh content of the Special Counsel Report. Half of those polls still opposed impeachment. What is more notable, in my view, is that 57 percent of those polled now disapprove of Trump’s presidency. That is a daunting figure for someone entering the campaign season.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the description of events in the Trump White House. While Trump is continuing to attack Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Trump is blaming possible “traitors” and others for their roles in the investigation. The one person who he is not blaming is himself despite the fact that the Mueller report is a 400-page tale of self-inflicted wounds.
Below is my column in the BBC on the historical and potential legal significance of the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Much of the prosecution could turn on whether Assange is a journalist. Notably, Assange just received a European journalism award from the European parliamentarians. Assange is this year’s recipient of the 2019 GUE/NGL Award for Journalists, Whistleblowers & Defenders of the Right to Information.
In the meantime, there are some interesting comparison between the Assange and Zenger cases in the long-standing debate over what constitutes press freedoms.
I am continually mystified by the Trump White House and its public responses to controversies — responses that often magnify the legitimate concerns of the public. That was case this weekend when White House Press Secretary Huckabee Sanders attempted to come up with some plausible rationale for Trump continuing to refuse to release his taxes — a departure from decades of tradition. Sanders declared that “I don’t think Congress, particularly not this group of congressmen and women, are smart enough to look through the thousands of pages that I would assume President Trump’s taxes will be.” It is an attempt to wrap an unjustifiable position within a raw insult to avoid the question. Trump has repeatedly promised to release his taxes but continues to cite the fact that he has been audited as a reason for not turning over the records — a position widely rejected by both tax and legal experts. Now it appears that the collective intelligence of Congress is a barrier to disclosure.
Hillary Clinton has continued her national speaking on what the Democrats should do to win back the White House. For many, Clinton’s advice after losing to the most unpopular presidential candidate in history strikes a certain dubious note. However, there was an interesting component to some of her last appearances: referring to women as better or at least different leaders because they are women. It raises a glaring but rarely discussed issue in the media. The question is whether a male politician would be allowed to claim that voters should vote for him because men govern differently and have special leadership skills do to their gender. It is a view rejected by many women who voted against Clinton — women who Clinton promptly dismissed as controlled by their husbands. It seems like a verboten debate. It is considered fair for politicians to say that being a father or mother makes them a better leader. However, Clinton and others have gone further in suggesting that there is a gender difference to leadership and governing. Activists have argued that women are superior to men as leaders for such reasons as “They know how to spend and save money even when money is scarce.” Even academics are now arguing that women are inherently better leaders.
There is a controversy out of the University of Virginia where federal Judge Carlton Reeves gave a scathing speech against President Donald Trump — likening his conduct to that of the Kl Klux Klan and segregationists from the Jim Crow period. The speech (accepting an award) raising troubling issues about Reeves engaging in political speech in violation of core judicial ethical rules.
On Thursday, British authorities arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London after Ecuador abandoned its long-standing commitment to protect Assange from a coordinated effort of the United States and a variety of other countries as intelligence organizations. American intelligence has long demanded the prosecution of Assange who disclosed controversial military operations in the United States. The arrest will now trigger litigation over the status of Assange. Was he acting as a journalist, a whistleblower, a spy, or a dupe?
I have the pleasure of speaking today and tomorrow at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. I will be speaking on Wednesday on “A Crisis of Faith: How Trump Has Changed Journalism in America.” The speech will explore the history and evolution of American journalism as well as the challenges presented in the last two years. While I have been critical of President Donald Trump over his attacks on the media, I also believe that American media has become more partisan and biased in its coverage. The speech will look at the changing standards and economics governing journalism in America.
Literally for decades, I have written about the continued and disgraceful use of ambassador positions to reward campaign donors and friends of sittings presidents. While most countries properly confine ambassadors to professional diplomatics and government officials, the United States routinely appoints embarrassing individuals who have no cognitive skills or talents for the positions. Now a NBC news report shows that President Donald Trump has followed this poor practice in giving ambassadorships to at least 14 donors to the inaugural fund. It is a pay to play arrangement that is not only legal but steadfastly defended by both parties who effectively sell these positions to the continued irritation of our allies.
Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the congressional push for past tax filings of President Donald Trump as well as investigations in the travel of Administration figures. I do not disagree with such public scrutiny, but Congress has conspicuously ignored past calls for the same transparency of its own practices and records.
Below is my column in the Los Angeles Times on the calls by various Democrats to “pack” the Supreme Court to break the conservative majority. Like the FDR scheme, it is a case of doing the right thing for the wrong reason and in the wrong way. As a longtime advocate of expansion (here and here and here and here), the column advocates an alternative approach — not to pack but to unpack the Court. While my approach has been criticized by justices who oppose any expansion, it would address some of the most dysfunctional aspects of the Court.
President Donald Trump left many scratching their heads again this week with the repeated claim that his father was born in Germany (he was born in the Bronx). However, the most curious moment came with this statement to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual spring dinner: “If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 percent in value. And they say the noise causes cancer.” The basis for this claim remains a mystery.
There was a time when deadlines had a real bite. The term originated from the Civil War when a line was laid out around the notorious Andersonville prison camp. If Union prisoners crossed the line, they were dead.