Richard Grenell Achieves A Historic Milestone As Acting Director Of National Intelligence

There has been considerable controversy over the qualifications of Richard Grenell in assuming his post as acting Director of National Intelligence. There are legitimate concerns that his background, which includes being ambassador to Germany, is light on intelligence experience. However, there is one aspect of the nomination that has received little attention. Grenell is now the highest appointment of an openly gay official. I am not usually inclined to emphasize such identity issues in appointments, which should be based on the merits of the background and talents of an individual. However, it is remarkable for someone who have been working in and around the intelligence system for decades. When I first joined the National Security Agency (NSA) as a lowly intern during the Reagan Administration, many of the questions and much of the investigation concerned possible homosexuality. The testing also seemed to be directed at whether there were any homosexuality tendencies. At the time, I thought it was ridiculous and discriminatory, but the NSA and other intelligence operations justified the exclusion on the basis that it could be used as blackmail. However, it was also clear that an openly gay individual would not be given a position. Now, the Director of National Intelligence (who is a member of the Cabinet) Grenell, 53 will be an openly gay man. That is something that we can all celebrate as a great moment for the country.

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Turley To Speak At University Of Virginia

On Monday, I will be speaking on the recent impeachment trial at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Public Policy. The event, “The Trump impeachment episode: Party wars and the Constitution,” will be a discussion with Claire Finkelstein, Algernon Biddle Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy, of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. It will be moderated by Sidney M. Milkis, the White Burkett Miller Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. The event will be held Monday, February 24, 2020 for 11:00 – 12:15 at The Miller Center, 2201 Old Ivy Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903.

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Judge Jackson Slams Stone Defense Over Disqualification Motion

I previously wrote that I thought that the motion to disqualify Judge Amy Berman Jackson filed by the Roger Stone defense team was exceedingly weak and should not have been filed. Jackson has now rejected the motion, but the final line of the opinion is a real stinger. The judge effectively accuses the team of filing a frivolous motion to pander to the public. It was ill-conceived and poorly executed motion that only further alienated the court.

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Sunday Photos: Single Lane Forested Road, Single Lense Reflex, Single Purpose

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

It’s the weekend and time to return to the sticks, with of course the requisite camera and hunger for fresh air. Spring yearns to blossom her colors yet winter continues his reign, or should I say “rain”. Nevertheless I still remain patient. All seasons are good as long as you are there to experience them.

Click each photo to enlarge

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“America Is Not Great”: Trump Supporters Allegedly Forced Off Road In Indiana

We have been discussing how the media coverage on political-related violence often downplays attacks on conservatives. I have repeatedly criticized Trump for his rhetoric, but I also see dangerous rhetoric coming from his critics. That is not covered as much and certainly not treated as a pattern is violence against conservatives and Republicans or motivated by the politics from the left. Another such example can be found in Indiana where Kyren Gregory Perry-Jones, 23, and Cailyn Marie Smith, 18, are accused of using their car to force two twin brothers off a road after they were spotted bicycling with flags supporting Trump.

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Kent Students Force Homeland Security From Job Fair

I have written extensively about how universities are refusing to act to prevent faculty members and students from disrupting classes, barring events, and shouting down speakers. Now we can add preventing other students from speaking to the Department of Homeland Security about jobs. Students at the job fair at Kent State University in Ohio blocked access to an ICE table by locking arms and eventually forced the department to leave the fair. Because these student oppose ICE, the university let them block access for all other students.

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Stone Moves To Remove Jackson From Case [Updated]

Roger Stone’s defense team moved to force the recusal of Judge Amy Berman Jackson from the case for bias. These motions have a very low success rate and this particular motion likely has an even lower likelihood of success. Jackson is a respected and experience judge. I actually was taken aback by a couple of her comments about the case but courts of appeal are extremely reluctant to force such recusals. Moreover, the main thrust of the motion is a statement about the jury which would be viewed as virtually standardized language for courts. Update: the Defense motion is available below.

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Ex-Rep Confirms His Proposal Of A Pardon For Assange To Clear The Russians In The DNC Hack [Updated]

This week, many were surprised by the disclosure made by the lawyers for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in London in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Edward Fitzgerald made a witness statement application for co-counsel Jennifer Robinson who shared information concerning ex-California representative Dana Rohrabacher. She claimed that he made Assange a startling offer: if he cleared the Russians as the source of the hacked emails at the Democratic National Committee, Rohrabacher could get a presidential pardon from President Donald Trump. Now Rohrabacher himself says that it is true and that he spoke of the plan with Trump White House Chief of Staff, though he did not speak of the plan with Trump himself. The timing is particularly unfortunate for the White House with a report that U.S. intelligence believes that Russia is again seeking to intervene in the election and appears to be intervening in favor of Trump. Update: A new story suggests that the Russians could also be helping Bernie Sanders.

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Roger Stone Convicted and Bill Barr Vindicated With 40 Month Sentence [Updated]

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Roger Stone has been sentenced to 40 months by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson. I previously stated that the likely sentence would be half of what the prosecutors originally sought and that is precisely what the court did. The sentence not only completed the conviction of Roger Stone but completely vindicated Attorney Bill Barr on the appropriate length of the sentence. Barr has been unfairly accused of political influence in modifying the original sentence even though many of us denounced the original recommendation as wildly offbase. Not only did over a thousand former prosecutors demand his resignation without knowing the full facts, but one former colleague declared Barr to be “unAmerican.” If these individuals have a modicum of decency, they will acknowledge that Barr was right on the merits of this sentencing recommendation as demonstrated by the court itself.

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In Defense Of Bill Barr

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on widespread accusations against Attorney General Bill Barr, including former prosecutors who called for his resignation before knowing all of the underlying facts. Critics have simply ignored reports that various Justice Department officials believed (as did many of us) that the original recommended sentence for Roger Stone was wildly out of proportion with the underlying crimes. They have also ignored indications that Trump’s controversial statements on the case came after a decision was made to modify the recommendation. Some have even gone as far to declare that Barr, who has served his country for decades, is “unAmerican.” Such hair-trigger attacks have become common in Washington, but there must remain some modicum of decency and restraint when so few of the facts are fully established.

Here is the column:

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New York Man Arrested Three Times In One Day Under New Bail Reform Law

Scott Nolan was arrested and released three times in several hours under New York's new bail reform law.

Just a week after a New York man with 139 arrests was released under New York’s new bail-reform law thanked Democrats, the police union protested another case where a man, Scott Nolan, was arrested three times in one day but released each time under the new law. Nolan’s criminal record is 50 pages long.

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Former Bush Deputy AG Denounces Barr As “UnAmerican”

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Yesterday I wrote a column in the Hill criticizing hair-triggered responses to the controversy over the sentencing recommendation in the case of Roger Stone. This included former prosecutors who did not see the need to confirm critical facts before demanding the resignation of Barr. Former Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer called Barr, his former colleague in the Bush Administration, “unAmerican.” It is a disgraceful attack on someone who has served his country for decades with distinction. Just as many (including myself) have denounced President Donald Trump for calling opponents disloyal or traitorous, this personal attack should also be roundly denounced by all sides in this controversy.

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Admission Against Interest? Crime Pays . . . Until It Doesn’t

Donald Murray is not quite as good as his advertising. The Indiana man with a “Crime Pays” tattoo across his forehead has been arrested again after a police chase. He is now facing a windfall of charges for resisting law enforcement, reckless driving, possession of methamphetamine, maintaining a common nuisance and auto theft.

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Study: UNC Stifles Free Speech And Conservative Students Are 300 Times More Likely To Self-Censor Views

report, titled, “Free expression and constructive dialogue at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,” is latest study to confirm what many of us have said for years: universities and colleges are becoming increasing hostile environments for free speech generally and for conservatives specifically. The study of the UNC environment found that “The current campus does not consistently promote free expression and constructive dialogue across the political spectrum.” It further found that conservative students are 300 times more likely to self-censor their views to avoid repercussions from students and faculty.

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