Category Archives: Law

Man Behind Trump “Dossier” Subpoenaed After Refusing To Testify, Will Plead The Fifth, by Tyler Durden

Another article about Fusion GPS: the head of the company is refusing to testify before the Senate Judiciary committee about how the firm came up with the salacious Trump dossier, which to date has received no independent verification and portions of which have been discredited. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

For all the talk of obstruction and interference by the Trump camp, it’s neither Donald Trump Jr. nor Paul Manafort who are challenging their scheduled testimony in the Senate next Wednesday, but rather the man who according to many started the whole “Trump Russia collusion” narrative, who is doing everything in his power to avoid testifying next week.

FUSION GPS head Glenn Simpson won’t testify before Senate Judiciary next week, his rep attacks “partisan” hearing and vows to plead Fifth

On Friday, attorneys for Glenn Simpson, a former WSJ reporter who now runs the infamous Washington political intelligence firm Fusion GPS – best known for compiling the salacious “dossier” of unverified research about President Trump – told the Senate Judiciary Committee in a letter that their client was on vacation through July 31 and traveling abroad through August 3, and would be unavailable for next week’s hearing. Perhaps for writers of opposition research fiction, vacations take precedence over being summoned to Congress.


Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson

As a reminder, Simpson’s Fusion GPS is the firm which hired former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, and his London-based Orbis Business Intelligence, to conduct opposition research on then presidential candidate Donald Trump, resulting in a 35-page dossier that was widely shared in political and media circles during and after the 2016 election. Steele and Orbis are currently being sued in the U.S. and U.K. by Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian tech executive who says he was falsely accused in the dossier of hacking the Democratic National Committee’s email systems.
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Was Donald Trump Jr.’s Russian Meeting a Criminal Act? by Andrew P. Napolitano

The answer is: maybe. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

Last week, The New York Times revealed that in June 2016, Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son; Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and chief confidant; Paul Manafort, Trump’s then-campaign chief executive; and others met secretly at Trump Tower with a former Russian prosecutor and a former Soviet counterintelligence agent to discuss what negative (most likely computer-generated) information the Russians might have to offer them about Hillary Clinton.

Within days of the meeting, the elder Trump announced publicly that he would soon release a litany of reasons why Clinton was unqualified to be president and that they would include new allegations about Clinton and Russia. The new allegations did not come.

When the Times reporters asked the younger Trump about the meeting last week, he initially claimed it concerned Americans adopting Russian babies. Then he claimed it was about Russian concerns over American economic sanctions on select Russians. When the reporters told him they had his emails, which tell a different story, he released his emails to the public so as to beat the Times to the punch.

Then, media hell broke loose about whether the Trump campaign was working with the Russians to acquire information about Clinton, and, particularly, whether any Trump campaign officials engaged in criminal behavior.

Here is the backstory:

No seasoned campaign official would have met with foreign people, particularly former government officials, in order to discuss any materials they might have about an opponent, because the acquisition of materials from a foreign person or government is illegal under federal law. The inquiry that Donald Jr. received from a friend who served as an intermediary between the Trump campaign and the Russians should have been run past the campaign’s legal counsel, who no doubt would have told his colleagues to stay clear of such a proposed meeting, and then reported the overture to the FBI.

To continue reading: Was Donald Trump Jr.’s Russian Meeting a Criminal Act?

Jeff Sessions Moves to Make it Easier for Government to Steal Property of Innocent American Citizens, by Michael Krieger

Civil asset forfeiture is an appalling practice that takes people’s property without anything approaching due process. Attorney General Jeff Session undoubtedly lowers himself a few more rungs in hell by proposing to expand the practice. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Civil asset forfeiture has been a key topic here at Liberty Blitzkrieg over the years for one very obvious reason. The practice has absolutely no place in any halfway humane and decent civilization. The fact that this barbaric, authoritarian practice somehow has legal protection in these United States says so much about the state of the nation and the level of thuggishness we’re willing to put up with as a people.

For new readers who aren’t familiar with the subject, here’s a quick refresher:

Asset forfeiture is a disputed practice that allows law enforcement officials to permanently take money and goods from individuals suspected of crime. There is little disagreement among lawmakers, authorities and criminal justice reformers that “no criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime.” But in many cases, neither a criminal conviction nor even a criminal charge is necessary — under forfeiture laws in most states and at the federal level, mere suspicion of wrongdoing is enough to allow police to seize items permanently.

Additionally, many states allow law enforcement agencies to keep cash that they seize, creating what critics characterize as a profit motive. The practice is widespread: In 2014, federal law enforcement officers took more property from citizens than burglars did. State and local authorities seized untold millions more.

Since 2007, the Drug Enforcement Administration alone has taken more than $3 billion in cash from people not charged with any crime, according to the Justice Department’s Inspector General.

The practice is ripe for abuse. In one case in 2016, Oklahoma police seized $53,000 owned by a Christian band, an orphanage and a church after stopping a man on a highway for a broken taillight. A few years earlier, a Michigan drug task force raided the home of a self-described “soccer mom,”suspecting she was not in compliance with the state’s medical marijuana law. They proceeded to take “every belonging” from the family, including tools, a bicycle and her daughter’s birthday money.

To continue reading: Jeff Sessions Moves to Make it Easier for Government to Steal Property of Innocent American Citizens

Dershowitz Blasts Hypocrisy Of “Liberals” Looking To Adapt Corruption Laws To “Get Trump” by Tyler Durden

You can’t create one-time exceptions in the law for people you don’t like. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Over the past 9 months, as the media has launched an all out offensive on the Trump administration for crimes that have yet to be even identified with any level of specificity much less proven, former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has tried to be a voice of reason by appearing on numerous talk shows to discuss facts and legal precedents as opposed to innuendo and baseless accusations.

Just last week Dershowitz blasted the New York Times for suggesting that Trump Jr.’s meeting with the now infamous Russian lawyer was an “act of treason” saying that while such actions may be “reprehensible” they’re not technically illegal. Meanwhile, Dershowitz has argued all along that “not all political actions that smell or look like corruption can be prosecuted criminally without Congress specifically making such conduct criminal by precisely worded legislation.”  Per an opinion piece from Dershowitz published by The Hill:

My critics have argued for an extraordinarily broad definition of corruption capable of being expanded to fit nearly everything Trump has done — from firing FBI Director James Comey, to asking him to consider dropping the investigation of General Michael Flynn, to his son’s meeting with Russian surrogates.

This is the way the New York Times put it in its story about the court’s narrowing the meaning of corruption in the context of federal criminal law: “There was a time when political corruption might have been described — as a former Supreme Court justice once said of pornography — as something you knew when you saw it.” In other words, it was in the eye of the beholder rather than in a precise statutory definition.

That dangerous time — dangerous because it substituted the rule of individual prosecutors for the rule of law — came to a gradual end over the past several years as the Supreme Court repeatedly cabined the definition of corruption under federal statutes. It ruled that not all political actions that smell or look like corruption can be prosecuted criminally without Congress specifically making such conduct criminal by precisely worded legislation.

To continue reading: Dershowitz Blasts Hypocrisy Of “Liberals” Looking To Adapt Corruption Laws To “Get Trump”

 

A Bipartisan Vote To Put the Brakes on War, by Peter Certo

After 9/11, congressional gave the president a war authorization to track the perpetrators of the attacks. Since then, that authorization has justified military action 37 times, in 14 countries. Now there’s a movement in congress to revoke the authorization. From Peter Certo at antiwar.com:

By putting such a sinister face on it, Trump might have finally inspired lawmakers to rein in America’s post-9/11 war machine

One of the few things I recall fondly about the Trump campaign – a short list, I’ll admit – was the candidate’s apparent glee in ridiculing the warmongering of his rivals and predecessors.

In early 2016, Trump (correctly) summed up George W. Bush’s legacy this way: “We’ve been in the Middle East for 15 years, and we haven’t won anything.”

He ridiculed Hillary Clinton for being “trigger happy” – no standard-issue gibe from a guy who also promised to bring torture back – even while echoing progressive complaints that the $5 trillion pricetag from Bush’s wars would’ve been better spent at home.

And though Trump’s relationship with the Russians has since acquired an unseemly cast, he once offered quite sensibly that “it’s better to get along” with the world’s other nuclear-armed superpower than not to.

Compared to his rivals, Politico magazine once mused, Trump was “going Code Pink” on foreign policy. But what a rose-colored lie that turned out to be.

Since taking office, Trump’s turned virtually all use of force decisions over to his generals. With the president’s backing, they’ve ordered 4,000 new American troops back into Afghanistan, sent thousands more to Iraq and Syria, and nearly quadrupled the rate of drone strikes from the Obama administration, which was already quite prolific.

Everywhere they go, they’re escalating the brutality – and we still haven’t won anything.

They cratered Afghanistan with the largest non-nuclear bomb ever dropped. They’ve stepped up support for the brutal Saudi-led bombing of Yemen, where 11,000 have died and thousands more are at risk of dying of hunger and cholera. Meanwhile they’ve brought civilian casualties from our bombings in Iraq and Syria to record levels, inflicting what the UN calls a “staggering loss of civilian life.”

Things are about to get even more dangerous in Syria, as the Islamic State falters and armed factions turn on each other to claim the remains of its caliphate.

To continue reading: A Bipartisan Vote To Put the Brakes on War

The Minimum Wage — Science Strikes Back, by Paul Jacob

The headline should have said, “Reality Strikes Back,” because minimum wage laws having nothing to do with science. However, as with the outcome of certain scientific demonstrations, the outcomes of minimum wage laws are known before they’re enacted. From Paul Jacob at townhall.com:

It should shock no one: denying unskilled workers the opportunity to sell their labor for less ends up disadvantaging those unskilled workers against better-skilled ones.

That’s precisely what standard economic theory predicts. It’s what common sense should tell you.

And it’s what a major new study — with access to more data sets than ever before — says does happen. Minimum wage laws put workers at the lowest rung of the economic ladder out of work.

But, but . . . I hear the sputtering: minimum wage laws are nearly everywhere, and sure are popular.

Well, not every popular idea about policy is good. Or bad.

So how do we tell the difference?

One way is evidence.

The modern administrative state was promoted heavily by social scientists who thought that piecemeal social engineering should be tested. A few even thought that the older experiment in limited-government federal republicanism gave Americans a near-ideal testing ground: “the laboratoriesof democracy.”

Which is why the new study is so interesting. Activists and politicians have been pushing big increases in the minimum wage in cities around the country. Seattle, Washington, has been one of those, establishing an $11.00/hour legal minimum in April of 2015, then raising that minimum by two dollars in 2016. The City of Seattle commissioned a study of “the wage, employment, and hours effects of the first and second phase-in of the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance,” and it shows clear results.

Top Canadian Court Permits Worldwide Internet Censorship, by Electronic Frontier Foundation

Canada’s highest court just ruled that Canadian courts get to decide what people, including people outside of Canada, get to see on Google. From Aaron Mackey and Corynne McSherry and Vera Ranieri of the Electronic Frontier Foundation at wolfstreet.com:

A country has the right to prevent the world’s Internet users from accessing information, Canada’s highest court ruled on Wednesday.

In a decision that has troubling implications for free expression online, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a company’s effort to force Google to de-list entire domains and websites from its search index, effectively making them invisible to everyone using Google’s search engine

The case, Google v. Equustek, began when British Columbia-based Equustek Solutions accused Morgan Jack and others, known as the Datalink defendants, of selling counterfeit Equustek routers online. It claimed California-based Google facilitated access to the defendants’ sites. The defendants never appeared in court to challenge the claim, allowing default judgment against them, which meant Equustek effectively won without the court ever considering whether the claim was valid.

Although Google was not named in the lawsuit, it voluntarily took down specific URLs that directed users to the defendants’ products and ads under the local (Canadian) Google.ca domains. But Equustek wanted more, and the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that Google had to delete the entire domain from its search results, including from all other domains such Google.com and Google.go.uk. The British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld the decision, and the Supreme Court of Canada decision followed the analysis of those courts.

EFF intervened in the case, explaining [.pdf] that such an injunction ran directly contrary to both the U.S. Constitution and statutory speech protections. Issuing an order that would cut off access to information for U.S. users would set a dangerous precedent for online speech.  In essence, it would expand the power of any court in the world to edit the entire Internet, whether or not the targeted material or site is lawful in another country. That, we warned, is likely to result in a race to the bottom, as well-resourced individuals engage in international forum-shopping to impose the one country’s restrictive laws regarding free expression on the rest of the world.

To continue reading: Top Canadian Court Permits Worldwide Internet Censorship