Death By Tweet: Questions Linger Over Flynn Tweet and the Role of Trump Counsel

Twitter Logo440px-Allegory_of_death;_skeleton,_c.1600_Wellcome_L0014669Below is my column in USA Today on the ethical and practical implications of the controversial tweet sent out by Trump counsel John Dowd. In my view, Dowd should now remove himself from the litigation. Notably, the failure to remove or fail Dowd will likely fuel theories that he is covering for Trump.  If Trump did not know that Flynn had lied to the FBI before speaking with Comey, the Dowd tweet would usually result in a quick and rather angry response to a lawyer compromising his client in this fashion.  However, various media sources are reporting that White House Counsel Don McGahn did inform Trump that Flynn likely misled the FBI in his interview before Trump spoke with Comey.  Whatever the truth of the matter, the Dowd tweet could not be worse in its timing and content.

Here is the column:

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“That’s Not A Good Place”: Moore States That George Soros Is Going To Hell With All Other Non-Christians

Judge_Roy_Moore250px-Hortus_Deliciarum_-_HellWe recently discussed the bizarre defense of Roy Moore earlier this month from Orthodox Rabbi Noson Shmuel Leiter.  Leiter declared that “Democratic and Republican homosexualists” were attacking Moore because he is standing up to “homosexualist gay terrorists” and “the LGBT transgender mafia.”  It appears however that Leiter would fare little better in the Moore world of self-righteous bigotry.  In a new released statement, Moore is shown denouncing George Soros, who is Jewish and noting that Jewish people will all go to Hell: “He’s still going to the same place that people who don’t recognize God and morality and accept his salvation are going. And that’s not a good place.” No that is not a nice place but would be the destination (in Moore’s view) of everyone from Leiter to Jared Kushner to Ivanka Trump to conservative donor Sheldon Gary Adelson.

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TwitterGate: What Did Trump Tweet And When Did He Tweet It?

Twitter Logo245px-Donald_Trump_by_Gage_SkidmoreBelow is my column in the Hill on the latest twitter controversy.  While Trump counsel John Dowd has insisted that he merely used “sloppy” drafting, news organizations are reporting that White House Counsel Don McGahn told Trump (before the firing of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn) that Flynn had misled FBI agents in his interview.  In yesterday’s press conference, Sarah Sanders refused to say when Trump first learned that Flynn had lied to the FBI.  That brings us back to Dowd and the breathtakingly dumb mistake in sending out a tweet to millions with an admission against interest under the President’s name.

Here is the column:

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Roy Moore Denies Knowing Accuser Debbie Wesson Gibson . . . Gibson Then Produces Note From Moore

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Supreme Court Reinstates The Trump Travel Ban In Full Depending Appeal

 court_front_medYesterday, the Trump Administration secured two clear victories after the United States Supreme Court issued two orders lifting the lower court injunctions imposed on the travel ban.  I have written repeatedly on the travel ban (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here) and my view that the case law supported the Trump Administration.  I thought that the appeal that reached the Supreme Court on the second round seemed likely to succeed while the third round was even stronger for the Administration.  The Administration had already secured an order with the Ninth Circuit reversing the trial courts in critical respects.  Now the Supreme Court restored the travel ban in its entirety pending appeal.  The orders issued shortly before appellate arguments on the merits this week is a further indication that the Administration is likely to prevail on the merits.  Indeed, while the orders do not dictate an outcome, they send a strong message to the lower courts on the skepticism of the Court.

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Mueller Moves To Block Manafort Release From Home Confinement Over Drafting Of An Opinion Piece

440px-Director_Robert_S._Mueller-_III-1Former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has reportedly scuttled his own deal to secure release from home confinement under a deal Manafort with prosecutors.  Prosecutors learned (from an unspecified source) that Manafort was working with a ghostwriter on an opinion piece on his case.  The second man reportedly had ties to Russian intelligence — hardly ideal for a man at the center of the Russian investigation. The work was deemed to be in violation of a court order for all parties to refrain from “trying the case in the press.” However, the order raises a long-standing question of the need and constitutionality of orders limiting the free speech of defendants and counsel.  While once the exception, gag orders have become the rule with many judges.  Yet, Manafort is presumed innocent and the order prevents him from responding to those questioning his loyalty and honesty.

 

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Of The Flynn Plea

images-2Below is my column on the Flynn plea agreement and its potential significance to the Russian investigation.  One development is that President Donald Trump is now denying that he ever told Director James Comey to let Flynn go.  This follows a highly damaging tweet that a Trump lawyer now says was his sloppy mistake. It is another tweet gone awry for the Trump White House.

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