We have previously discussed the worrisome affinity that President Donald Trump has appeared to show toward authoritarian figures like Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now the Department of Foreign Affairs has reportedly released a transcript of the call between Trump and its blood-soaked president Rodrigo Duterte. The transcript shows Trump heaping praise on Duterte specifically for his crackdown on drugs — the very program that has made him an international pariah so its extrajudicial murders of suspects. Thousands have been reported murdered under Duterte’s reign of terror for criminal suspects. The White House has not denied the accuracy of the transcript.
We have often discussed how controversial views or positions are often expressed in terms of discrimination as opposed to good-faith disagreements. A case in point is found in a debate over the consumption of alcohol by pregnant women. The view of the medical profession has certainly changed where some doctors are suggesting that moderate alcohol consumption might not be harmful to a baby. However, when Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, stated that the rule against any alcohol consumption was still advised, she was denounced as “sexist” and “alarmist.”
We have been following the demands made by students as part of Black Lives Matter and other groups calling for racial justice. Few would top the demands of the Afrikan Student Union at the University of California which has issued a list of demands including a $40 million endowment. The group claims a pattern of “racial attacks” on campus.
A GW law student, Andrew Miller, 23, is being celebrated as a hero this week after he came to the aid of John Rowley, 62. Rowley was attacked by a group of teens in a D.C. Metro station and Miller ran to his aid. Miller suffered a concussion in the incident while Rowley was left with facial swelling and bruises.
The annual GW charity competition between torts and contracts was held this week and I am saddened to report that contracts prevailed on the field of paintball. Each year, the students bid for positions on the two teams and all of the money goes to support public interest work by our law students at George Washington. (The Contracts team is in the back with Professor Greg Maggs in the middle; the Torts Team is sitting in front).
Below is my column in The Hill Newspaper on the chorus of commentators suggesting that the Comey memo is compelling evidence for either a charge of obstruction of justice or an actual impeachment. I have been cautioning against such sweeping assumptions. Obstruction is a crime and crimes have elements. The elements are not satisfied by this memorandum. Yesterday senators revealed that Rod Rosenstein suggested that he was already informed that Comey would be fired before he wrote his memorandum supporting termination. That would not materially alter the legal analysis. Rosenstein’s memo confirms that he believed that Comey should be fired. He had met with Comey and clearly left with reservations over his continued fitness for the position. The fact that Trump may have made what Rosenstein thought was the right decision for the wrong reason is marginally relevant. Comey’s immediate boss was not supporting his retention. Moreover, Trump’s conflicting statements do not improve the case for prosecution. It it true that Trump has contradicted his staff and seemingly himself. Yet, Trump has insisted that he felt Comey was doing a poor job and yesterday he reaffirmed his position that he never asked Comey to drop the Flynn investigation. However, even if he said such an incredibly inappropriate thing, it would not meet the standards of obstruction for the purposes of a criminal charge in my view. In other words, this is a question of law not fact and the law is not on the side of those calling for criminal counts or articles of impeachment.
Critics increasingly sound like my kids when we drive across country and start to chant “are we there yet?” before we are even a block from the house. Many view a criminal charge or impeachment as the only hope for America. However, neither the criminal code nor Article II were meant as post hoc political options for unpopular presidents. Indeed, both are designed to be insulated from public distempers and passions.
None of this means that this is not a valid basis for investigation. It is. Moreover, the White House staff appears encircled like a wagon train on the Plains with no ammunition and no nearby fort. The difference is that they seem encircled by their own president who continued to prevent any movement to better ground. What is fascinating is that Trump appears intent on creating the most self-incriminating appearance without evidence of an actual crime on his part.
Here is the column:
We have been writing about the enculturation of anti-free speech values in college students across the country. The most recent incident occurred at the California State University where assistant professor of public health professor Greg Thatcher is shown on a videotape wiping out the pro-life statements written in chalk by members of Fresno State Students for Life. Thatcher supports his students who destroyed the messages before his arrival (those students said that their teacher gave them permission to destroy the free speech of other students). Thatcher’s attitude and open contempt for free speech is chilling. It is also now the subject of a free speech lawsuit filed against him in his personal capacity.