We just hit another milestone today with over 34,000,000 views. We are also recently passed 40,000 followers on Twitter. We remain the “little engine that could” among blogs with a growing collection of people who are seeking a place for civil but passionate discourse on legal and policy issues of our time (and perhaps a few wacky stories). We often use these milestones to look at the current profile of the blog and its supporters around the world.
House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) leveled a serious allegation at former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Jordan alleged that Jordan leaked classified information about the Trump-Russia investigation to CNN. Clapper later became a CNN contributor. I recently wrote a column about how Clapper ran out a statute of limitations for allegedly lying in testimony to Congress.
Below is my column in USA Today on the nomination Deputy Director Gina Haspel to head the CIA. While Sen. Rand Paul has declared that he will oppose Haspel over torture, some Democrats (who are being criticized for previously failing to act on torture allegations) are again hedging on whether they will oppose a nominee solely due to her involvement in the torture program. However, one promising development is an effort by Sen. Dianne Feinstein to have Haspel’s record on torture declassified. There remains some debate over Haspel’s role on notable cases. Reports still indicate that Haspel oversaw the torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri at the “Cat’s Eye.” However, it is not clear if she was “Chief of Base” during the torture of Abu Zubaydah. ProPublica issued a correction Thursday that she was not Chief at the time of the Zubaydah torture. There is no debate that Haspel ordered the destruction of evidence of the torture program.
Here is the column (which has been edited since its original posting):
We have previously discussed the continuing debate over France’s generous vacation and work regulations — and their impact on productivity. Anyone who goes to France in the summer will find most stores shut at the peak of tourist season as the French take off for month long vacations. One Frenchmen however wanted to work . . . and he now going to pay the price for productivity. In Lusigny-sur-Barse, a baker has been ordered to pay a €3,000 fine for refusing to close his shop and work less.
We have previously discussed how Saudi princes and princess routinely flee debts and criminal investigations (here and here and here and here and here). Now France has issued an arrest warrant for the sister of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman after she allegedly ordered her bodyguard to beat up a contractor in her Paris apartment. Princess Hassa bint Salman (aka Hussat ben Salmane) is named in a warrant.
There is a major controversy unfolding at Penn Law School. Professor Amy Wax has been removed from first-year courses after making controversial comments about the performance of black students at the school. Regardless of the merits of Wax’s comments, the action raises serious questions over academic freedom and free speech. We have been discussing controversies over academics being punished for controversial views including two recent cases involving the use of the “n-word” in classes on offensive speech at DePaul and Princeton.
Below is my column on the expanding litigation over the Stormy Daniels controversy and specifically the precarious ethical position for Trump’s longtime counsel, Michael Cohen. One interest development was the move by Daniels’ counsel (and my former research assistant) Michael Avenatti to get a new judge in the Daniels case. Avenatti argued that it was inappropriate for the case to be heard by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Feffer because she is seeking a federal judgeship from President Trump. The move was surprisingly successful and the case was transferred to Judge Howard Halm. Like Feffer, Halm was appointed by former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).
Here is the column: