I have been critical of the decision of President Donald Trump to rescind the clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan and to release a list of other officials to be reviewed — officials who are uniformly critics of the President. Despite my criticism of everyone on the list, I viewed the unprecedented action to be unwarranted and retaliatory. However, Brennan himself does not help the case for those of us opposing the action. This weekend Brennan walked back his earlier reckless statement that Trump press conference with Russian president Vladimir Putin was treasonous. Now Brennan insists that when he called Trump treasonous he did not mean that he actually committed treason. Continue reading “Brennan: I Did Not Mean Trump Was Treasonous When I Said His Actions Are “Nothing Short Of Treason””
We often discuss the people who refuse to adhere to park signs or barriers at the risk to themselves and wildlife. The latest march of the morons was captured on a series of selfies by a man who waded into a river full of bears in a closed section of the Katmai National Park with two other people. The National Park Service is now preparing charges against this group after various people contacted them with the evidence from a webcam.
The end of the trial of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort today proved controversial after the defense counsel made reference to the alleged selective prosecution by the Special Counsel. If accounts are accurate, it would seem a direct violation of the prior understanding with the court that no party was to make reference to selective prosecution and the Special Counsel investigation of President Donald Trump.
Controversial FBI official Peter Strzok has been fired by the FBI — joining former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe in the ignoble distinction of being terminated by an agency that rarely jettisons its own. The firing creates an obvious dissonant element to the Democratic defense of Strzok as someone unfairly hounded by the Republicans. The terminations of McCabe and Strzok are based on the view of officials who viewed their conduct as unacceptable and, in McCabe’s case, potentially criminal.
One notable controversy was raised by Strzok attorney Aitan Goelman, who maintained that Deputy Director David Bowdich “overruled” the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility to remove him. The suggestion is that career officials did not view Strzok’s conduct as warranting such action.
Strzok was with the FBI for 21 years. It did not take time for Trump to tweet out the news:
Strzok was removed from the special counsel probe last year after the discovery that his incendiary text messages with FBI lawyer, who had an affair with Strzok.
I am interested in the basis for Strzok’s attorney claiming that the deputy director “reversed the decision of the career FBI official responsible for employee discipline who concluded, through an independent review process, that a 60-day suspension and demotion from supervisory duties was the appropriate punishment.” There should be some explanation from Goelman as to whether that is true and, if so, the basis for such a reversal. Generally, the recommendation of the OPR carries considerable weight in such matters. However, the ultimate decisions rests with officials like Goelman on whether the findings warrant more serious sanctions.
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. issued an alarming tweet that suggested that critics of President Donald Trump including James Comey, Rod Rosenstein, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Jeff Sessions, and Loretta Lynch should be arrested. While we are living in an age of rage, such statements from a university president is deeply disconcerting. This follows a disturbing poll showing a surprisingly large percentage of Republicans believe that the President should be able to shutdown media organizations. It seems like the rising distemper in this country is turning us against the foundations of our system from due process to the free press. Continue reading “Liberty University President Calls For Trump Critics To Be Arrested”
Below is my column in USA Today on the most recent claim that the tweets of President Donald Trump concerning the Special Counsel are acts of obstruction. Once again, there is a blind eagerness to claim a prime facie criminal case against Trump. However, the implications of such a charge are enormous. It would mean that a subject or target of an investigation could be criminally charged for publicly denouncing the prosecutors or their investigation. While it is certainly true that a president is not just any investigatory subject and has powers that do mean a menacing meaning to such tweets, it would radically extend the scope of obstruction into more ambiguous areas. In the end, this is still the exercise of free speech in this context.
The Justice Department received well-deserved pushback yesterday in the trial of Paul Manafort from U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis who noted that it’s not a crime to be rich in America. The Justice Department has been trying every possible way of introducing pictures and witnesses detailing Manafort’s “extravagant lifestyle” in the jury trial. This includes such items as his $15,000 jacket that’s “made from an ostrich.” On style values alone, many of us would be tempted to convict on the Ostrich jacket but that is hardly what Manafort is charged with. Nevertheless, the government got plenty by using lifestyle witnesses to confirm Manafort’s use of direct wire transfers from his many foreign accounts — a practice that was recalled as exceptionally rare by the witnesses.
Sweden was the scene of a heist this week that is worthy of Ocean Eleven or The Thomas Crown Affair. A gang of thieves hit the Strangnas Cathedral. The 900-year-old church (located about 50 miles from Stockholm) houses the royal treasure of King Karl IX and Queen Kristina. It was surprisingly easy — a smash and grab followed by a high-speed boat getaway. Continue reading “The Swedish Crown Affair: Treasure Snatched By Gang Of Thieves Outside Stockholm”
There are patdowns and then there are patdowns. This one was particularly memorable for North Carolina sheriffs after they found $100 worth of steaks down the pants of a guy pulled over on a moped. My question is what happened to the ribeyes: evidence locker or spontaneous grill taste and testing? I certainly hope that they did not end up back on the store shelf after being down a guy’s pants as he rode down the highway on a moped.
Philadelphia has announced that it will formally end its information-sharing agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – a move following protests against ICE. Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney declared “If I could abolish ICE, I would. But we can abolish this contract, and we are.” While a court recently ruled against the Administration on withholding federal grants from sanctuary cities, the growing confrontation with ICE is likely to grow as the Trump Administration pursues penalties against such cities. Continue reading “Philadelphia Ends Sharing Information With ICE”
New reports in Jacksonville, Florida show a man chasing customers in a convenience story with a live gator chased. Strangely it is the wildlife officials who announced that they are investigating (as they should) but not the local police. Last time I check, assault was still a crime and brandishing an alligator would appear to fit the definition.
The much-discussed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media by Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. is now in serious question after the discovery of undisclosed facts and relationships. A hearing has been called and many believe that Sinclair will drop its bid to avoid the highly damaging adjudication of these issues. On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted that undisclosed facts by Sinclair was enough cause for concern that it should be reviewed independently by an administrative judge. That hearing designation order raised the concern that, in light of the new information, the deal may “not be in the public interest.”