There Seems To Be A Lack Of Transparency

On Sunday, Jonathan Turley posted an article at The New York Post with the following headline:

Forget classified docs, show us the real haul of Biden’s records in Delaware

What an interesting idea.

The article reports:

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has repeatedly assured the public that President Biden is committed in the classified document scandal to move forward in “a very transparent way.” Putting aside the refusal to share any information beyond a desire to be fully transparent, Biden has one major test awaiting him on his pledge: his senatorial records.

There has been much discussion of a classified document being found in his personal library in Wilmington, but there is a huge library of Biden documents sitting in the University of Delaware. The university is sitting on Biden documents due to a cynical 2012 arrangement made by Biden when he was vice president and contemplating a run for the presidency.

The president effectively locked away his records by giving them to the university, which has claimed for a decade that it is still working to organize and catalog the documents. He has refused to allow the public or the press to see the documents. With the recent reports that Biden may have included classified information in notebooks found at his residence, the status of the University of Delaware documents is becoming more and more untenable for the White House.

The article concludes:

Biden has yet to come up with a plausible reason why he is using the University of Delaware to prevent review of the documents. Indeed, the University of Delaware continues to expend public funds by making technical arguments against access while ignoring questions about the use of an academic institution to shield potentially embarrassing records.

Of course, the FBI does not need permission. It has ample reason to demand access in light of the president’s serial violations. Indeed, past discoveries form a perfect overlaid map of where the president has lived or worked in the past decade. Yet although there is new interest in searching his other residence, there has been little discussion of the largest trove of documents sitting in the bowels of the University of Delaware.

Presumably, this is one question that Jean-Pierre could actually answer. If the president is truly striving to be “very transparent,” he should be able to tell the University of Delaware that his records should be open to outside review. Otherwise, Biden’s pledge is nothing but transparently dishonest.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It’s time the documents at the University of Delaware were released.

Going On Offense

On Sunday, Jonathan Turley posted an article at The New York Post indicating how the political left is preparing for the Congressional investigation of Hunter Biden’s laptop that will surely occur after the new House of Representatives is sworn in. We need to remember that the political left is good at preemptive strikes.

The article reports:

Just when you thought our politics could not get more poisonous, a recent meeting in California suggests the past is mere prelude. The Washington Post, which revealed the powwow, described it as Biden family “allies” planning an offensive to blunt any investigation into the Bidens’ alleged multimillion-dollar influence-peddling schemes.

Republicans will see it more like the gathering of the Legion of (Democratic) Doom. Some of the most controversial political operatives are involved in the all-hands-on-deck effort to protect the Bidens.

The California meeting’s host was none other than Hunter Biden’s friend, agent and lawyer Kevin Morris. After Hunter was placed under investigation for, among other possible charges, tax evasion, Morris reportedly paid off as much as $2.8 million in back taxes for Hunter.

Morris, per the Washington Post, called for a “more aggressive” response to those seeking to investigate the alleged influence peddling. That plan includes hitting critics, such as Fox News, with possible defamation lawsuits. (For full disclosure, I appear as a legal analyst on Fox News.)

The paper also reported Morris “outlined extensive research on two potential witnesses against Hunter Biden — a spurned business partner named Tony Bobulinski and a computer repairman named John Paul Mac Isaac.” “Spurned” is hardly the sole or most relevant description of Bobulinski: The businessman was recruited by the Biden family to manage foreign deals and later directly contradicted President Biden’s claims that he knew nothing of those dealings. His testimony could present a serious threat in the coming House investigation in establishing not only the president’s knowledge but his possible receipt of proceeds from the deals.

Please follow the link to read the entire article.

This move goes right along with Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. Rule number 9 states, “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself. ” and Rule number 13 states, “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. ” I suspect we will see many examples of those two rules after the new House is sworn in.

Adding Humor To A Serious Announcement

On Sunday, Hot Air reported that Attorney Jonathan Turley announced on Twitter that he has tested positive for Covid.

This is the Tweet:

Makes sense to me.

The article notes:

Does anyone really think that Merrick Garland’s DOJ will indict Hunter Biden? The workings of grand juries are supposed to be secret but it is reported that the grand jury looked at the possibility of criminal charges for alleged influence-peddling with foreign contacts in China, Russia, Ukraine, and other countries. Hunter was very successful in cashing in on his father’s position in the government. We don’t know if the grand jury decided on any indictments. Turley points out that there is clear evidence of some crimes. “For example, Biden seems clearly to have lied on the federal form to acquire a gun by denying his drug use; he also appears to have violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act. And there are obvious tax charges that could be brought, even though he paid outstanding taxes after the investigation began.”

Perhaps he’ll be indicted over tax evasion or for lying on a federal form about that gun. Just don’t count on him being held accountable for his slimy dealings with foreign countries – unless the indictments are postponed.

The article concludes:

Turley points out that since Joe Biden isn’t on a ballot in November and Hunter isn’t a candidate, just using the excuse of not wanting to interfere in the November midterms – and potentially dragging down Democrat candidates- is politicizing the grand jury investigation. Turley makes the case for a special counsel in the Hunter Biden case. Joe Biden (a.k.a. The Big Guy) is directly referenced in Hunter’s documents found on his laptop. The U.S. Attorney is unlikely to include any of that in a report. If Hunter pleads guilty of lesser charges to make a plea deal, he’ll be protected from future congressional hearings – such as are expected when Republicans take back majority control of the House. DOJ could cut a deal with Hunter and decline further charges. On the other hand, the U.S. Attorney could present evidence to a new grand jury, since this one has now expired, but it would take months to do and the midterm elections would be over.

It does not look as though Weiss called any witnesses who could testify about influence-peddling, including the president. Joe Biden would have to be called as a witness to answer any questions about The Big Guy’s involvement. We now know that Joe met with Hunter’s business partners, though he has consistently denied knowing anything about Hunter’s business dealings.

We’ll see what happens and if indictments do come down. Just don’t get your hopes up that Hunter will ever be held to the same standard that others are in these matters. He’ll likely write a check or two if his wrist is slapped and be on his merry way.

That is not equal justice under the law.

The Fix Is In

Many Americans are hopefully watching the trial of Michael Sussmann for indications that our justice system’s principle of all men are equal under the law still applies. Well, don’t get your hopes up too high. If you are following the case, you realize that the prosecution is very carefully laying out the case that the bad people in the Clinton campaign fooled the Justice Department into going along with the Russia hoax. There is no suggestion that the Justice Department was part of the plan. That is the first indication that this trial is a show put on to appease those in America who actually want to see people held responsible for ignoring the civil liberties of their political opponents and lying to the media and the American public. There are also some other indications that the truth is not actually welcome in this trial.

On Friday, Fox News posted the following quote from Jonathan Turley:

JONATHAN TURLEY: Durham faces a lot of challenges in this trial. The judge in the trial has hit the prosecution with limiting orders. This jury pool is a nightmare for the prosecutors. There are three Clinton donors on the jury. In the last 24 hours, the judge turned down a motion to dismiss a juror whose daughter is actually playing on the same team with the daughter of Sussmann. So I think for the prosecutors, it seems like the only thing that is missing on the jury is Chelsea Clinton. A jury of your peers is not supposed to mean other Clinton people. And so, I think that the prosecutors have quite a challenge with this pool.

If I am ever charged with a crime, can I get a jury of my friends? How likely is that?

The Leak

On Monday, Politico reported that they have obtained an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that strikes down Roe v. Wade. This is an unprecedented leak.

Here is what we actually know:

1. The draft is from February–it is a draft–not a final decision. Votes could change.

2. Whoever leaked this will be disbarred. If it is a Republican, the person will have a lifelong problem finding a job in the legal profession. If it is a Democrat, the person will be promised a lucrative career somewhere in Democrat politics.

3. This is a first. Up until now, everyone who worked in the Supreme Court bureaucracy respected the institution enough not to leak.

Here is my speculation:

1. This was leaked to energize the Democrat base for the mid-term elections–it is a desperate move.

2. Within days, Congress will move to pack the Court in an effort to intimidate the Justices and change the decision indicated in the draft.

Yesterday, Breitbart reported the following:

Turley (Jonathan Turley, criminal defense attorney and Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University) noted that if Politico indeed obtained a true copy of the drafted opinion, “it is hard not to view this as a malicious act.”

“What is the motivation of releasing such a decision? The only intent of such a leak is to trigger a response from outside of the Court,” he continued. “…This draft is from February and the majority can shift on such opinions. However, the act of leaking such a draft opinion ranks as an original sin for judicial ethics.”

He surmised the leak could be an effort to “pressure the Court and push the legislation in Congress on a federal abortion law before the midterm elections. It will also likely renew the call for court packing.”

This will get heated, but the lives of Americas future generations are on the line.

The Real “End Game”

On January 6th, Jonathan Turley posted an article about the end game of the Democrats total politicization of the events of January 6, 2021. The article provides insight into what lengths one political party will go to in order to retain power.

The article states:

Below is my column in The Hill on the continued calls to disqualify Republican members of Congress to prevent them from running for reelection. What is maddening is that Democratic groups and commentators are seeking to remove as many as 120 Republicans from the ballots in the name of democracy. It is like burning books in the name of literacy. Yet, on this anniversary of the January 6th riot, members of Congress and Democratic groups want to block voters from reelecting their preferred representatives. Like villages in Vietnam, it appears that some members and activists believe that you have to destroy democracy to save it from itself.

…This week, Democratic lawyer Marc Elias predicted that 2022 would bring a renewed interest in disqualifying Republican members from office based on an obscure Civil War-era provision. Elias — the former Hilary Clinton campaign general counsel — is a well-known figure in Washington who has been prominently featured in the ongoing investigation of Special Counsel John Durham. Elias has founded a self-described “pro-democracy” group that challenges Republican voting laws and pledges to “shape our elections and democratic institutions for years to come.”

In the age of rage, nothing says democracy like preventing people from running for office.

Elias and others are suggesting that — rather than defeat Republicans at the polls — Democrats in Congress could disqualify the Republicans for supporting or encouraging the Jan. 6 “insurrection.” Last year, Democratic members called for the disqualification of dozens of Republicans. One, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) demanded the disqualification of the 120 House Republicans — including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy(R-Calif.) — for simply signing a “Friend of the Court brief” (or amicus brief) in support of an election challenge from Texas.

These members and activists have latched upon the long-dormant provision in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment — the “disqualification clause” — which was written after the 39th Congress convened in December 1865 and many members were shocked to see Alexander Stephens, the Confederate vice president, waiting to take a seat with an array of other former Confederate senators and military officers.

The article explains what would happen next if the Democrats attempt this:

The Constitution fortunately demands more than proof by repetition. In this case, it requires an actual rebellion. The clause Democrats are citing was created in reference to a real Civil War in which over 750,000 people died in combat. The confederacy formed a government, an army, a currency, and carried out diplomatic missions.

Conversely, Jan. 6 was a protest that became a riot.

That is not meant to diminish the legitimate outrage over the day. It was reprehensible — but only a “rebellion” in the most rhetorical sense.

More importantly, even if you adopt a dangerously broad definition of “insurrection” or “rebellion,” members of Congress who supported challenging the electoral votes (as Democrats have done in prior years) were exercising constitutionally protected speech.

Moreover, the Democrats cannot simply use their razor-thin majority to disqualify opponents willy-nilly. Punishments like expulsions take two-thirds votes, and any disqualifications can be challenged in the court.

It is frightening that this would even be attempted.

Unnecessary Disrespect

The New York Post posted an article about Speaker Pelosi ripping up the President’s State of the Union Speech. The article includes a video showing her making small rips in the speech while the President was speaking. I don’t know if her gesture of ripping up the speech was planned before the speech, but it was definitely planned during the speech.

Jonathan Turley posted an article at The Hill today stating his thoughts on Speaker Pelosi’s actions.

The article reports:

The House has its share of infamies, great and small, real and symbolic, and has been the scene of personal infamies from brawls to canings. But the conduct of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at the State of the Union address this week will go down as a day of infamy for the chamber as an institution. It has long been a tradition for House Speakers to remain stoic and neutral in listening to the address. However, Pelosi seemed to be intent on mocking President Trump from behind his back with sophomoric facial grimaces and head shaking, culminating in her ripping up a copy of his address.

Her drop the mic moment will have a lasting impact on the House. While many will celebrate her trolling of the president, she tore up something far more important than a speech. Pelosi has shredded decades of tradition, decorum and civility that the nation could use now more than ever. The House Speaker is more than a political partisan, particularly when carrying out functions such as the State of the Union address. A president appears in the House as a guest of both chambers of Congress. The House Speaker represents not her party or herself but the entirety of the chamber. At that moment, she must transcend her own political ambitions and loyalties.

The article concludes:

Pelosi has demolished decades of tradition with this poorly considered moment. Of course, many will celebrate her conduct and be thrilled by the insult to Trump. However, even those of us who disagree with his policies should consider what Pelosi destroyed in her moment of rage. She shredded the pretense of governing with civility and dignity in the House. Notably, she did not wait to rip up her copy of the speech until after she left the House floor. Pelosi wanted to do it at the end of the speech, in front of the camera, with the president still in the chamber.

That act was more important to Pelosi than preserving the tradition of her office. In doing so, she forfeited the right to occupy that office. If Pelosi cannot maintain the dignity and neutrality of her office at the State of the Union, she should resign as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

I don’t see her resigning, but the next time the Democrats claim that President Trump is dividing the country, we need to remind them that they need to look in the mirror.

A Law Professor With Principles

The Gateway Pundit posted a link to Professor Jonathan Turley’s opening remarks at the Nadler impeachment panel on Wednesday. Professor Turley’s entire remarks can be found here.

These are a few of his opening comments:

Jonathan Turley:  I would like to start, perhaps incongruously, with a statement of three irrelevant facts. First, I am not a supporter of President Trump. I voted against him in 2016 and I have previously voted for Presidents Clinton and Obama. Second, I have been highly critical of President Trump, his policies, and his rhetoric, in dozens of columns. Third, I have repeatedly criticized his raising of the investigation of the Hunter Biden matter with the Ukrainian president. These points are not meant to curry favor or approval. Rather they are meant to drive home a simple point: one can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous, as the basis for the impeachment of an American president. To put it simply, I hold no brief for President Trump. My personal and political views of President Trump, however, are irrelevant to my impeachment testimony, as they should be to your impeachment vote. Today, my only concern is the integrity and coherence of the constitutional standard and process of impeachment. President Trump will not be our last president and what we leave in the wake of this scandal will shape our democracy for generations to come. I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger. If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president.7 That does not bode well for future presidents who are working in a country often sharply and, at times, bitterly divided.

Democrats take note. You will not be in power forever and someday the tables will be turned. Would you put up with this bogus impeachment?

Where In The World Does This Appear In The U.S. Constitution?

The Gateway Pundit reported today that the State of Maryland has filed a legal objection to President Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting Attorney General. When did state courts have any say over presidential appointments?

The article notes:

The state seeks a preliminary injunction that prevents the federal government from responding to the suit while Whitaker appears as acting attorney general. Instead, Maryland requests a declaration that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is the acting attorney general.

Jonathan Turley posted an article about the apointment of Matthew Whitaker.

The article states:

However, this morning some members and commentators have declared that Whitaker cannot serve as an Acting Attorney General under federal law.  I have to disagree.  While not getting into the merits of the selection, it seems clear to me that, under 5 U.S.C. 3345, that Whitaker does indeed qualify.  (This of course does not address the long-standing debate over the constitutionality of such laws.  A challenge can be made under the Appointment Clause of the Constitution, mandating that a “principal officer” in the federal government may not be appointed without Senate confirmation).

…I fail to see the compelling argument to disqualify Whitaker. Any challenge would face added challenge of finding someone with standing, though Mueller could contest an order on the basis of the legal status of Whitaker. That would make for an interesting challenge but the odds would be against Mueller over the long course of appeals.

The motive behind the lawsuit evidently has to do with fear that Matthew Whitaker will shut down the Mueller Investigation. That may be a valid fear, but I think a more valid fear would be that under Matthew Whitaker the Justice Department might actually take another look at how some people handled classified information during the Obama administration. Hillary Clinton was not the only person with classified information on a non-government secured device. An investigation into mishandling of classified information under President Obama would be a serious threat to many people who were in the Obama administration.

 

 

Ending Some Of Washington’s Political Gamesmanship

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the practice of ‘the blue slip courtesy’ used to block judicial nominees in Congress.

The website judicialnominations.org explains the process:

One way in which senatorial courtesy has manifested itself is something called the “blue slip.” This is a device used by the Senate Judiciary Committee to communicate with the home-state Senators about a nomination to the U.S. courts of appeal or district courts, or to be a U.S. marshal or U.S. attorney. When a nominee is referred to the committee, the committee sends a letter (typically on light blue paper) asking the two home-state Senators to take a position on the nomination. The Senators check off the appropriate box on the sheet—either approve or disapprove—and return the paper to the Judiciary Committee.

The blue slip process is used only by the Senate Judiciary Committee —no other Senate committee uses it for other kinds of nominations. The practice of using blue slips dates back to at least 1917. Since mid-2001, the status of blue slips for each judge nominated have been publicly available on the Web.

It is a matter of some debate how important blue slips are in the confirmation process. The blue slip practice is not a formal part of the Judiciary Committee’s rules, and the determination of just how much weight to give to a Senator’s opposition to a nomination is left largely up to the chair of the committee. Among other issues, the chair will decide whether to honor the objections, voiced through blue-slips, from all home-state senators or just those who belong to the same party as the president.

Unfortunately, the process has been occasionally abused. The Judicial Nominations website explains:

Much also has been written that is critical of the blue-slip system. George  Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley described the system this way:  Blue-slipping is a little known process by which senators can block federal judge nominees from their state. This means that judges who may rule in your case often are selected to meet senatorial, not professional, demands. By simply not returning blue slips sent by the Senate Judiciary Committee, a senator can block a nominee for the most nefarious or arbitrary reasons, including a personal grudge, a bargaining tool with the White House or failure of the nominee to be sufficiently fawning in the senator’s presence.

This courtesy has been misused by both sides–it was not meant as a negotiating tool–it was meant to be a courtesy.

The article at Power Line details some changes that Senator Grassley is making in order to expedite the confirmation of President Trump’s judicial nominees.

Power Line reports:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley announced that he would not let Franken’s withheld blue slip block the nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit (or Senator Kennedy’s block Kyle Duncan to the Fifth Circuit).

Senator Grassley took to the floor of the Senate to explain his disposition of “the blue slip courtesy” and his decision to schedule a committee hearing on the nominations of Stras and Duncan (text of statement here, video below). The Hill reported on Senator Grassley’s statement here.

Washington needs to stop playing games and get its work done. All Congressmen (and Congresswomen) should be paid according to what they actually accomplish. That might actually change how things are done in Congress.

Another Significant ObamaCare Court Case

Yesterday National Review Online posted an article about a current court case that represents a significant threat to ObamaCare. Halbig v. Sebelius (since renamed Halbig v. Burwell, for the current HHS secretary) was argued before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court in March. The case involves the government subsidies paid by the exchanges included in ObamaCare.

The article states:

If the Supreme Court ultimately finds that the Obama administration violated the law in doling out those subsidies, it could force a wholesale revision of Obamacare. In January, The Hill quoted a key Obamacare supporter as saying that Halbig was “probably the most significant existential threat to the Affordable Care Act.” Jonathan Turley, a noted liberal constitutional-law expert at George Washington Law School, recently agreed, writing in the Los Angeles Times that Halbig “could leave Obamacare on life support.”

…The Halbig plaintiffs — individuals and small businesses in six states that didn’t establish state exchanges — argue that the Obama administration is breaking the law by offering those tax subsidies in all 50 states. The plaintiffs argue that if the subsidies hadn’t been offered in their states, they would have been exempted from the individual-mandate penalties of Obamacare because they couldn’t have afforded to pay for health coverage.

I have no idea how this case will be decided. The writer of the article believes that if the case is decided against ObamaCare it will force Congress and the President to make positive changes in the law (particularly if a Republican Congress is elected).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is expected to rule on this case within the next week.

 

The Internal Revenue Service As A Political Force

We haven’t heard much lately about the Internal Revenue Service‘s (IRS) targeting of conservative groups, but Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial yesterday illustrating another aspect of IRS involvement in the 2012 election.

The article explains:

At the same time the IRS harassed Republican nonprofit groups during the 2012 political campaign, it selectively advised black churches and other Democrat nonprofits on how far they can go in campaigning for President Obama and other Democrats.

…U.S. tax code prohibits churches and other nonprofits from “participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office.”

The ban includes donations, endorsements, fundraising or any other activity “that may be beneficial or detrimental to any particular candidate.” In the past, black churches have been known to pass out voting guides to members in violation of IRS rules.

Washington constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley at the time blogged that the special campaign training session offered these Obama supporters — with the direct participation of the IRS chief and attorney general — was a “raw” display of political favoritism.

“If (former GOP Attorney General) Alberto Gonzalez went to Congress to brief evangelical religious leaders on campaigning in the presidential election, the hue and cry would be deafening,” Turley said.

Non-black clergy were not afforded the same legal training in campaigning tactics by the Obama administration.

First of all, I have very mixed emotions about the whole idea of churches not being allowed to be politically involved. Theoretically, the church is the moral backbone of America and should be allowed to speak out on political or moral issues that impact America. The law that bars political speech in the church was enacted by Lyndon Johnson in response to a political opponent who was getting support in local churches–it has nothing to do with the U.S. Constitution. In fact, if you study American history, you find that the church has often spoken out about political and moral issues in the past.

The uneven enforcement of the law is one of the major aspects of the Eric Holder Justice Department and the politicized IRS. It is time to remove these people from Washington and return America to a place where all men are equal under the law.

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