The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
Subscribe to the Institute View Us on YouTube Follow Us On Twitter Join Us on Facebook Join Us at Google Plus

Search Results

for:

Jonathan Turley

Comey v. Comey: How New Disclosures Could Put Just One Week Between Comey and Perjury

undefined

Former FBI Director James Comey continues to market his book – and himself – as a lesson in “ethical leadership.”  However, the historical record is proving increasingly at odds with Comey’s account and image. After months of spins and swerves by defenders, a consensus is emerging that Comey is indeed a leaker. The most damaging evidence, however, comes not from Comey’s critics but Comey himself.  Indeed, Comey v. Comey could be the most telling conflict in this still unfolding scandal. However, at issue, is not simply whether Comey will be viewed as a leaker or a liar, but a perjurer.


Comey’s crumbling defense was most evident in his interview last week with Anderson Cooper when Cooper challenged his self-serving definition of a leak as only involving classified information.  That is manifestly wrong, as Cooper correctly pointed out, since leaks often involve unclassified but still non-public information.

Agency rules (including most notably the FBI’s rules) ban the release of non-public agency information whether or not it has been classified.  Indeed, many leak investigations (including some under Comey) do not involve classified information, such as leaks about White House meetings or non-public statements.  The FBI, including Director Andrew Wray, confirmed that the Comey memos were not his documents (as he continues to implausibly maintain) but rather FBI material subject to rules of nondisclosure. Nevertheless, Comey gave at least four memos to Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman to leak information to the media.

However, in the ongoing Inspector General’s investigation into his conduct, Comey’s defense could ultimately collide with Comey’s own (prior) interpretation.  In the last two weeks, the divide between Comey and his former deputy (and acting FBI Director) Andrew McCabe widens.  McCabe has claimed that Comey knew about his giving non-public information to the Wall Street Journal. McCabe’s counsel directly challenged Comey and said that the public should not buy Comey’s “white knight” account of his own conduct. Comey responded by publicly stating that McCabe was found to be a liar by the IG and that he was the one who called for an investigation into the “leak.”  That’s the problem.
read on...

Happy Anniversary, James Clapper

undefined

Today is an important anniversary for former intelligence chief James Clapper. No it is not his marriage anniversary or conventional milestone. Clapper can celebrate the running out of the statute of limitations on his alleged perjury before Congress — five years and Clapper is now beyond the reach of the law.

recently wrote a column on the approaching anniversary and how it reaffirms the widely held view that powerful people in Washington are immune from laws used against the rest of society.

Clapper appeared before the Senate to discuss surveillance programs in the midst of a controversy over warrantless surveillance of the American public. He was asked directly, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans?” There was no ambiguity or confusion and Clapper responded, “No, sir. … Not wittingly.” That was a lie and Clapper knew it when he said it.

Later, Clapper said that his testimony was “the least untruthful” statement he could make. That would still make it a lie of course but Clapper is a made guy. While feigned shock and disgust, most Democratic leaders notably did not call for his prosecution. Soon Clapper was back testifying and former president Obama even put Clapper on a federal panel to review the very programs that he lied about in Congress.
read on...

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

undefined

Below 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.

Here is the column:

The plea agreement of Michael Flynn, the former White House national security adviser, is a case of the the good, the bad and the ugly for the Trump administration. It is an undeniably significant, though not unexpected, development in the Russia investigation. Flynn was always the most exposed of the high-ranking Trump officials and he lacked a clear defense on some of the allegations regarding his work as a foreign agent. In the famous Western “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” Clint Eastwood’s character Blondie explained the difference between a man with a defense and no defense: “You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend, those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.” Flynn had to dig for a plea but the question is whether he presents a clear and present danger to the Trump inner circle. That is far less clear.

The good

The coverage of the plea was immediately breathless and a bit jubilant. New York defense attorney Gerald Lefcourt announced, “It’s the beginning of the end.” CNN’s legal analyst Susan Hennessey called the charges the “slam dunk” that everyone is looking for. If so, the Russian investigation has experienced a serious downgrading. This investigation began with an allegation of criminal acts of collusion with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election. This is a single count of making a false statement not a count of conspiracy or computer hacking or bribery connected to the Russians.
read on...

ABC News Retracts Flynn Bombshell Story

undefined

During the frenzy yesterday over the Flynn plea deal, ABC dropped a bombshell report that Michael Flynn told Special Counsel Bob Mueller that he was prepared to testify that it was Trump who told him to contact the Russians. 
ABC News later not only retracted that statement but corrected it with information supporting Trump’s account and contacts with Russians.
read on...

'It Sure Looked Unethical': Brazile Discloses Deal That Gave Hillary Clinton Control Over DNC Before Primary

undefined

The DNC and Clinton emails released by Wikileaks ultimately exposed a pattern of false statements by Democratic leaders particularly Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Schultz insisted that they were completely neutral in the primary despite every indication to the contrary. It was later revealed that Donna Brazile, who replaced Schultz, had first leaked questions for the debate with Sanders to Clinton and then lied about the incriminating emails later to the media (she suggested that they were fake). 

Now Brazile is making a comeback and has been put back into a position of power at the DNC and ironically on the Rules Committee. She is also shopping a book. In the book, Brazile confirms that Hillary Clinton essentially bought the DNC by assuming responsibility for its crippling debt in exchange for control over the organization before the primary. In other words, as shown by the earlier emails and now by Brazile’s own account, the primary was indeed rigged against Bernie Sanders and anyone running against Clinton.

Brazile says that she discovered an August 2015 agreement between the national committee and Clinton’s campaign that gave Clinton “control (of) the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised.” She in return agreed to take care of the massive debt leftover from President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign. Even Brazile (who was fired from CNN for unethical conduct) said that the deal was legal “but it sure looked unethical.” She further states that the deal gave one campaign (Clinton) “control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead.” She now agrees that the Clinton deal “compromised the party’s integrity.”

What is obvious from this latest disclosure is the utter mismanagement of the DNC during the Obama Administration as well as misleading statements from a host of Democratic figures . That failure played into the hands of the Clintons who proceeded to take over control over the DNC to guarantee that no one but Hillary would be nominated. It was not just a dubious arrangement from an ethical standpoint but ultimately rigged the primary for what many view as the worst possible candidate for that election. From the earliest polling, it was widely understood that the election would an anti-establishment election.
read on...

Britain Moves To Criminalize Reading Extremist Material On The Internet

undefined

For years, civil libertarians have warned that Great Britain has been in a free fall from the criminalization of speech to the expansion of the surveillance state. Now the government is pursuing a law that would make the repeated viewing of extremist Internet sites a crime punishable to up to 15 years in prison.  It appears that the government is not satiated by their ever-expanding criminalization of speech.They now want to criminalize even viewing sites on the Internet.  As always, officials are basically telling the public to “trust us, we’re the government.” UK home secretary Amber Rudd is pushing the criminalization of reading as part of her anti-radicalization campaign . . . which turns out to be an anti-civil liberties campaign.


We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Even the Home Secretary has been accused of hate speech for criticizing immigrant workers.

Prime Minister Theresa May has previously called for greater government control of the Internet. Now, the government not only would make reading material on the Internet a crime, but would not necessarily tell you what sites will be deemed the ultimate click bait.  Rudd told a Conservative Party conference that she wants to crackdown on people “who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions.” So sites deemed “far-right propaganda” (but not far-left propaganda) could lead to your arrest — leaving the government with a sweeping and ambiguous mandate.
read on...

Trump Calls On Police To Be Rougher In Handling Suspects In Speech Denounced By Police Organizations

undefined

Controversial statements by President Donald Trump in the past have often been treated by his supporters as hyperbole or not to be taken strictly or even seriously. However, a speech last Friday had some particularly chilling elements for anyone who believes in the rule of the law. Trump was speaking to law enforcement officers and urged them not to be “too nice” to suspected criminals and gang members.

He further seemed to encourage intentional acts of harm and abuse in the handling of prisoners. The comments were irresponsible and should be be corrected by the White House. We 
recently discussed Trump’s praise for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has bragged about extrajudicial killings and encouraged police abuse.  This is obviously not that extreme but it is still highly disturbing in a speech where the President has pledged that “We have your backs 100 percent” while encouraging them to be rough in handling of suspects. His comments have led to police organizations publicly rejecting the comments and assuring the public that they will not engage in such conduct.

In his speech in Brentwood, New York, Trump departed from his prepared comments to encourage police to be tougher in handling suspects:
'When you see these towns, and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough,' he said, referring to the arrest of alleged gang members. 'I said, please don’t be too nice.'

'When you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over,' [mimicking an officer protecting the head of a suspect] Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody? Don’t hit their head? 'I said, you can take the hand away, OK?'
He went on to praise his  acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan  as “a tough guy”  and his agents as “Rough guys. They’re rough.”
read on...

Supreme Court Rules Overwhelmingly To Strike Down 'Disparagement Clause' Used To Bar Offensive Trademarks

undefined

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a major victory for free speech on Monday in striking down a provision of the Lanham Act that barred registration for “disparaging” trademarks.  The decision came in Matal v. Tam, a case that we have been following. I have previously written about my disagreement with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office decision to rescind federal trademark protections for the Redskins as a racially disparaging name. As predicted, the ruling answered  the question raised in the prior column in controversies like the denying of trademark protection to the Washington Redskins.  The decision is good news for Washington’s NFL team, which lost its trademark because its name is disparaging to Native Americans.

Tam is the “front man” for the Asian-American rock band The Slants and, in 2010, filed an application seeking to register the mark THE SLANTS.  Tam’s group called itself the Slants because it wanted to “reclaim” and “take ownership” of stereotypes about Asians.

The Lanham Act provision, known as the “disparagement clause,” bans the registration of a trademark that may disparage “persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.”  I have been highly critical of the provision for years in both columns and testimony before Congress.  Now it is gone but I remain perplexed how Congress failed to act on the matter to protect free speech for so many years.  One obvious reason is that many legislators lined up praising the denial of trademarks as entirely proper.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi celebrated the denial of the trademark, which clearly contravened free speech protections.  Sen. Harry Reid not only praised the action but predicted that the Redskins name would be gone within three years. That was in 2014.  Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell said, “We’re so excited to know that finally people are recognizing that this issue can no longer be a business case for the NFL to use this patent.”
read on...

Berkeley Cancels Coulter Speech . . . Coulter Vows To Defy University

undefined

We have been discussing the erosion of free speech on our campuses across the country through speech codes and increasingly violent protests. Conservative speakers are now routined denied the opportunity to speak on campuses by university officials who cite security concerns or by mob action preventing events from occurring.  The latest example  is Ann Coulter whose speech was cancelled at the last minute by the university even though she agreed to additional conditions set by officials.  Coulter however pledges to show up to speak regardless of the decision.  That could produce a confrontation with the university in its continued failure to protect free speech on its campus.

We have been discussing the rising intolerance and violence on college campuses, particularly against conservative speakers. (Here and here and here and here). Berkeley has been the focus of much concern over mob rule on our campuses as violent protesters have succeeded in silencing speakers.  Both students and some faculty have maintained the position that they have a right to silence those with whom they disagree and even student newspapers have declared opposing speech to be outside of the protections of free speech.  At another University of California campus, professors actually rallied around a professor who physically assaulted pro-life advocates and tore down their display.

Coulter has a legitimate grievance with Berkeley and, even if they disagree with her conservative views, both professors and students should be defending her right to speak and the right of others to hear her.  A college Republican group invited Coulter to speak but university officials declared that her appearance on campus was too dangerous in light of past protests.  That is yielding to the heckler’s veto.  The university is rewarding the mob by barring any speakers with whom they may disagree.
read on...

Protesters Succeed In Preventing Conservative Speakers From Appearing At The University of California At Davis

undefined

We have been discussing the largely successful efforts by students and faculty to prevent certain conservative speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos from being able to speak on campuses. The latest such example is University of California at Davis where protesters succeeded in preventing fellow students and faculty from hearing Yiannopoulos. There is one promising element to the story however. Unlike school administrators who have either supported or yielded to the “heckler’s veto,” Interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter denounced the effort to not only silence an opposing voice but to deny the right of others to hear that voice on campus. While the school professes “let there be light” on its seal, the school is now cloaked in a forced silence after the ignoble victory of protesters in curtailing the exercise of free speech.

Protesters blocked efforts to have Yiannopoulos and controversial pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli speak on campus. Screaming “shut it down,” the protesters threatened the safety of organizers and attendees, according to the sponsors who finally cancelled the event.

I have been a critic of the erosion of free speech values on our college and university campusesAs discussed recently, Yiannopoulous has been the target of some of the most aggressive efforts to silence certain speakers and prevent other students from hearing opposing views.
read on...


Authors

Tags