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Jonathan Turley Tag

On today's Morning Joe, after accusing President Trump of "impairment," Howard Dean said that "people keep talking about" the 25th Amendment as a means to remove the president from office. But Dean immediately poured cold water on the notion, saying "I personally think that's probably hooey." Law professor Jonathan Turley agreed with Dean: "Yes, indeed, that falls under the constitutional doctrine of hooey." Turley went on to describe the complicated procedures under the 25th Amendment, which would ultimately require a two-thirds majority in both houses of congress. Concluded Turley: "the 25th Amendment is not a really good option."

Jeff Sessions, in what so far is the defining event of the Trump administration, recused himself from involvement in the investigation of Russian meddling in the election because of a potential conflict. That recusal set in motion a series of steps that eventually led to the appointment by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel. Trump, his family and associates, are caught in an ever expanding inquisition, and There’s no good way out for Trump from Special Counsel quicksand:

If there's anything I learned from studying about and in the Soviet Union during college, it was that things were never as they seemed. There always seemed to be a manipulation and deception, whether for a specific purpose or just because they could. Kind of like the Clintons. Which leads me to the Donald Trump, Jr. meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. My initial thoughts were in my post, Trump Jr. emails show amateurishness, but not “collusion” or illegality.

Richard Painter is the Vice Chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a left-wing activist group. In December 2016, Painter replaced in the position of Vice Chair ... wait for it ... David Brock. Yes, that David Brock, the consummate Democratic oppo-research attack dog, leader of Media Matters, and now American Bridge. That David Brock was Vice Chair of CREW tells you everything you need to know about the group. But you will almost never hear this part of Painter's resume when he appears on TV, which he does quite often. You might hear that he's a professor at U. Minnesota Law School. But most of all, you will hear that he is a former George W. Bush administration Chief Ethics Lawyer (2005-2007).

Appearing on today's Morning Joe, law professor Jonathan Turley noted that Chief Justice John Roberts teamed with Justice Anthony Kennedy to devise an exception to the Court's ruling of yesterday that permitted President Trump's travel ban to remain in place. Under the exception, the ban does not apply to foreign nationals with a "bona fide" relationship with a person or entity in the United States. Turley said that as of late, Roberts has been "swimming a lot in the middle of the pool," has become very Anthony "Kennedy-like," and would become the new swing vote should Kennedy retire.

In the wake of the Kathy Griffin severed-head fiasco, and the Central Park play depicting the assassination of President Trump, you'd think that pundits might have the good sense to lay off metaphors invoking the violent death of the president. But today comes law prof Jonathan Turley with yet another sanguinary simile. Appearing on Morning Joe to discuss President Trump's executive order on travel, Turley suggested that President Trump's tweets on the subject are undermining his case. Then Turley went there: "it's like a presidential version of death by cop. Every time you seem to make advances, the president seems to stand up and say 'shoot me, shoot me.'"

I was not able to watch James Comey's testimony today live, as I was in the car much of the day. I was able to listen to the first hour and a half on terrestrial radio, as so many AM stations were carrying it that I was able to keep tuned even as one station faded out. After that, I followed on Twitter, and since then have seen many accounts and videos of what I missed. I'm not going to try to catalog the questions and answers, I'm late to that.

George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley is often a voice of reason in a sea of media hysteria. Last night he spoke with Martha MacCallum of FOX News about the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel in the FBI Russia investigation. Turley suggested this could work out well for Trump. From the FOX News Insider:
Prof. Turley: Special Counsel Mueller 'Healthy Dose of Tylenol' For US Turley said that until Muller was named, President Trump could not fully clear his name in the face of ongoing leaks and allegations.

Joe Scarborough likes to make himself out to be a simple country lawyer. But on today's Morning Joe, he ran afoul of a cardinal lawyering rule: never ask a witness a question to which you don't know the answer. Scarborough laid out a lengthy timeline for the purpose of teeing up law professor Jonathan Turley to agree with Joe's conclusion that there was a prosecutable, federal case of obstruction of justice against President Trump. But Turley hit Joe between the eyes with his response:

"This isn't going to be real popular, but I don't think so . . . The fact is, I don't think this makes out an obstruction case."

Last Friday, in the civil suit regarding the Sabrina Erdely story about an alleged gang rape at UVA---the attention-getting piece that portrayed "Jackie" as victim extraordinaire---the periodical Rolling Stone and journalist Sabrina Erdely were found guilty of defamation with actual malice:
A 10-person jury in Richmond, Va., found that Rolling Stone defamed a university administrator who was in charge of handling student complaints of sexual misconduct at the school... In a lawsuit filed last year, then-UVA associate dean of students Nicole Eramo alleged that the article and interviews Ms. Erdely gave about her reporting cast the administrator as the callous villain of its tale and falsely asserted that she discouraged a student identified only as “Jackie” from taking her rape allegations to the police.

In December 2013, we reported on how a Utah federal judge strikes down key part of anti-polygamy law in a challenge by the  Brown family of "Sister Wives" TV fame:
The legalization of polygamy followed logically from the legal arguments against one man-one woman, as was predicted not just by me, but also by Professor Martha Nussbaum, one of the leading legal advocates for gay marriage, “Polygamy would have to be permitted.” And it’s coming true in a small step, as a federal court in Utah, while not holding that polygamists were entitled to state-sanctioned civil marriage, nonetheless struck portions of Utah’s anti-polygamy laws banning polygamous “cohabitation” and polygamous “purported” marriages. The full decision is embedded at the bottom of the post....

Over the years, Obama has lamented the fact that he's not a king, an emperor, or a dictator and has stated that it would be "so much easier to be president of China."  He also stated no fewer than 22 times that he does not have the authority for executive amnesty . . . before doing it. Apparently recognizing the limitations of being the president of the United States, Obama can't help musing about a third term.  He thinks he'd win. Watch:

The Senate confirmation hearings for Loretta Lynch have been in the news for over a week and for good reason. As Eric Holder prepares to exit the Department of Justice, many people want to be sure America doesn't end up with another Eric Holder. Lynch has many positive qualities but as Professor Jacobson recently pointed out, not being Eric Holder is not enough. Yesterday, Holder held a press conference in which he insisted that he hasn't politicized the Department of Justice. Josh Feldman of Mediaite reported:
Holder Fires Back at GOP: ‘There’s Been No Politicization of This Justice Department’ Last week the Senate held confirmation hearings for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, but a lot of the questions from Republicans centered around the current occupant of that office, with one even going so far as to ask Lynch if she is Eric Holder. Today, Holder himself held a news conference in which he started out by saying, “For the record, I am Eric Holder.” From there, the attorney general went after Republican critics in possibly one of the last (if not the last) press conferences of his tenure leading the DOJ. He said it’s “a little irresponsible for people on the hill to say that policy differences that we have with them… can be characterized as political.” Holder insisted that “there’s been no politicization of this Justice Department” and said such an accusation is “totally inconsistent with the facts.”
Here's a video of Holder's statement:
World News Videos | ABC World News It's good to know Mr. Holder thinks so highly of his stewardship of American Justice.

It pains me to come to the conclusion that Loretta Lynch should not be confirmed as our next Attorney General. As I wrote before, Lynch was a law school classmate. While we were not "friends," we were acquaintances. I have only good memories of her, and it does not surprise me that she has accomplished so much. Lynch is not Eric Holder, in so many ways. Holder was the consummate political being, who leaves a history of shattered constitutional and other principles in his wake.  Lynch assured the Judiciary Committee that she could say "No" to a president. That sequence, and so much of the testimony at the confirmation hearings, was more about Holder than Lynch. And it was devastating. Jonathan Turley, who supports Lynch, gave another stinging indictment of the Obama-Holder constitutional legacy:
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