Tag Archives: LawNewz

Comey on Thin Ice: Can the president fire James Comey? | Mar 21, 2017

Next Words Director Comey May Hear From President Trump? ‘You’re Fired!’

| LawNewz

“If there’s one thing we know about President Donald Trump, it’s that he’s not afraid to yell, “you’re fired!” anytime he hears something he dislikes. 45 must be practicing his termination declarations Monday, after a day of James Comey’s testimony before Congress. Comey, the Obama-appointed FBI director testified today before the House Intelligence Committee, and that testimony boiled down to this: Obama’s wiretapping is “fake news,” and the Trump-Russia connection isn’t (or at the very least they are investigating).

If you’re thinking that it’s a little weird for the FBI to be commenting on an open investigation, you’re right. The FBI is generally pretty tight-lipped about its work. But bizarre times call for bizarre measures, and Comey explained that in “unusual circumstances where it is in the public interest,” he would share what information he could about what’s been going on with our president.

Comey began his hours of testimony with this confirmation that Trump’s campaign is being investigated, and that investigation is a criminal one:

While Donald Trump is known for his pervasive inconsistency, he is consistent about one thing: getting rid of those who threaten his authority. He has been known to fire (or, if we’re talking Hillary Clinton, threaten to “lock up”) any worthy opponent. Just last week, news broke that Trump had fired U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara and dozens of other U.S. Attorneys. Although turnover of federally-appointed prosecutors is typical, Bharara’s firing was not. For starters, it opposed a public announcement last November that Bharara had been officially asked to stay on into the Trump administration. Stranger still was the timing. Right at the time he was fired, Bharara had reportedly been conducting an investigation into Tom Price, Trump’s new Health and Human Services Secretary, over some shady stock transactions.

By contrast, Comey’s calling Trump out for lying about President Obama, while simultaneously confirming that the FBI is amidst an investigation over collusion with Russia is a one-two punch that leaves the Price investigation in the dust. Trump, a compulsively reactive person when publicly embarrassed, is likely doing far more than licking his wounds right now. But could Trump really fire James Comey?

He sure can. Under federal law, the F.B.I. director is appointed to one 10-year term – a term length purposely created such that it overlaps presidential administrations. Presidents may fire the FBI director (and Congress can impeach one) – and according to a 2014 report by the Congressional Research Service, “there are no statutory conditions on the President’s authority to remove the FBI Director.” While some FBI directors have resigned prior to the end of their terms, only one – William S. Sessions (appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987) – was ever fired. Sessions was fired by President Bill Clinton in the wake of allegations of ethics violations, such as misuse of public funds for his private benefit.

It was impossible to listen to Comey’s testimony Monday without anticipating Trump’s cutting short his tenure as Director. And yet, such a reality was all but unthinkable just a few short months ago. James Comey’s unprecedented public statement made the week prior to the 2016 presidential election was largely considered the thing that sealed President Trump’s win. Just a few days before Election Day, Comey announced that the Hillary Clinton was being reopened. Although little came of the announcement relative to that investigation, the bell could not be un-rung, and Hillary Clinton was pronounced for evermore, “extremely careless” with the handling of classified information. Candidate Trump could not have asked for a better gift; many, though, like Senator Harry Reid, and ethics specialist Richard Painter, criticized Comey for having acted improperly and perhaps even illegally.”

….Continue reading more @ LawNewz

 

Recent History:

 

Defiant FBI Chief Is Fired by President Clinton: Law enforcement – Alleged ethical abuses by Sessions are cited as reason for dismissal. He refused to resign.

| LA Times – 1993

“WASHINGTON — FBI Director William S. Sessions, who stubbornly refused to resign despite Justice Department ethics findings that he abused his office, was fired Monday by President Clinton–the first time a director of the storied agency has been dismissed.

Clinton and Atty. Gen. Janet Reno, steeling the Administration against claims that the decision was politically motivated, used unmistakably blunt language to describe Sessions’ failings. Reno “has reported to me in no uncertain terms that he can no longer effectively lead the bureau and law enforcement community,” Clinton said, adding that he fully agreed with her recommendation to replace Sessions immediately.

Clinton is expected to announce today that he plans to nominate U.S. District Court Judge Louis J. Freeh of New York, a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor, to succeed Sessions. Clinton met with Freeh for 90 minutes Friday night.

“With a change in management in the FBI, we can now give the crime fighters the leadership they deserve,” Clinton said. Administration officials said Monday that they know of no other candidate under consideration for the post.

Clinton dismissed Sessions after the director rejected Administration entreaties to resign, contending that to voluntarily step down would violate the principle of an independent FBI. The FBI director is appointed to a 10-year term but serves at the pleasure of the President.

Sessions was appointed 5 1/2 years ago by former President Ronald Reagan.

“We cannot have a leadership vacuum at an agency as important to the United States as the FBI,” Clinton said at a White House press conference. “It is time that this difficult chapter in the agency’s history is brought to a close.”

With Senate confirmation of the next FBI director not likely before fall, Clinton said that Deputy Director Floyd I. Clarke would serve as acting director. Sessions’ wife, Alice, has repeatedly accused Clarke of leading an internal cabal to force her husband from office, and Sessions has publicly questioned Clarke’s loyalty.

At his press conference, Clinton rejected the suggestion that Sessions fell victim to an internal vendetta and responded “absolutely not” when asked if the removal of Sessions would create the impression that the FBI is being subjected to political pressures.

Clinton cited the six-month-old highly critical report on Sessions’ conduct by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which investigated the director in the final year of the George Bush Administration.

Clinton noted that the attorney general had studied the findings and thoroughly reviewed Sessions’ leadership.

Reno said that, when she took office last March, then acting Atty. Gen. Stuart Gerson, a Republican holdover, advised her that Sessions “had exhibited flawed judgment which had an adverse effect within the FBI.”

But Reno said she wanted to make her own independent assessment of Sessions’ ability to lead the FBI, noting that she felt very strongly that the FBI director “should be above politics and not automatically subject to replacement with a change of administrations.”

The Justice Department report found, among other things, that Sessions had engaged in a sham transaction to avoid paying taxes on his use of an FBI limousine to take him to and from work, that he had billed the government for a security fence around his home that provided no security and that he had arranged business trips to places where he could meet with relatives.

Sessions dismissed the findings as biased and said that they resulted from “animus” toward him by former Atty. Gen. William P. Barr, who–on his last day in office last January–presented the report to Sessions with orders to take remedial actions.

In addition to the sections of the report that have been released, the investigation looked into whether Sessions had accepted a “sweetheart” deal on his home loan from a Washington bank and into other matters that have not been made public, sources familiar with it said.”

…From the archives @the LA Times

 

Chief Judge Sidney Thomas of the 9th Circuit Court instructs Trump DOJ & WA and MN Lawyers To File Briefs by Mid February | Feb 12, 2017

9TH CIRCUIT CHIEF JUDGE WANTS ANOTHER VOTE OVER TRAVEL BAN  | Back in Court By Mid Feb

– LawNewz.com |

To determine if order issued by 3 jurists should be reconsidered by 11 of 29 Jurists of the Ninth Circuit – “Interesting move”

“In a rare move, one of the judges on the Ninth Circuit of Appeals has made a request that a vote be taken as to whether the order issued by the three judges Thursday night should be reconsidered en banc, which means before 11 federal judges of the Ninth Circuit.

It’s not clear if this means that this judge (who was not named in the order) believes that there are enough votes to overturn the lower court’s decision which put a temporary halt on Trump’s controversial travel ban or if the judge simply wasn’t satisfied with the panel’s decision. Regardless, it is an interesting move that could bode well for President Trump, and throws yet another legal twist into the ongoing court battle between Trump and those trying to prevent his controversial immigration ban from being enforced.”

Chief Judge Sidney Thomas of the 9th Circuit Court has instructed both Trump’s DOJ team and lawyers for the State of Washington and Minnesota to file briefs due by Thursday February 16th, stating whether they believe the motion should be considered en banc. To get a rehearing, a majority of the 29 active judges on the court would need to vote in favor. Some legal experts contend however that it is unlikely that a majority of judges (most of whom were appointed by Democrats) would agree to this.”

…..Continue reading more by Rachel Stockman @  LawNewz.com

 

Former Marine Flees Iraq After Facebook Warning About Iraqi Refugees Goes Viral

– PJ Media  | Sean Hannity

“A former U.S. Marine who works as a private security contractor in Iraq had to flee the country after his Facebook post warning of the dangers Americans face in the tumultuous country went viral.

Via Fox News Insider:

Steven Gern’s video, which was posted from Iraq and has been viewed more than 44 million times, came just a few days after President Trump’s executive order triggered massive protests at U.S. airports.

The order temporarily banned travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq, Iran and Syria.

Gern relayed a short message about conversations he had about the controversial order with Iraqis. He said he asked them what would happen if he, an American, “went out in town.”

He asked the group, “would I be welcome? And they replied, ‘Absolutely not. You would not be welcome,'” Gern recalled.

“They said the locals would snatch me up and kill me within an hour,” said Gern. “I’d be tortured first, and after they were done torturing me, I’d probably be beheaded. It would go on video for everyone to see as an example.”

….Continue seeing more @ PJ Media

Rasmussen Says 57% of Likely U.S. Voters Support a Temporary Ban on Refugees | Jan 30, 2107

Most Support Temporary Ban on Newcomers from Terrorist Havens

– Rasmussen Reports

“Most voters approve of President Trump’s temporary halt to refugees and visitors from several Middle Eastern and African countries until the government can do a better job of keeping out individuals who are terrorist threats.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a temporary ban on refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen until the federal government approves its ability to screen out potential terrorists from coming here. Thirty-three percent (33%) are opposed, while 10% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Similarly, 56% favor a temporary block on visas prohibiting residents of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States until the government approves its ability to screen for likely terrorists. Thirty-two percent (32%) oppose this temporary ban, and 11% are undecided.

This survey was taken late last week prior to the weekend protests against Trump’s executive orders imposing a four-month ban on all refugees and a temporary visa ban on visitors from these seven countries.

These findings have changed little from August when 59% of voters agreed with Trump’s call for a temporary ban on immigration into the United States from “the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism” until the federal government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists.”

….Continue reading @ Rasmussen Reports

 

Super Bowl 50 Terrorism Plot? FBI Warns Of Security Threats, Lone Wolf Terrorism At Football Showdown

– IBT  |  Jan 2016

“As football fans count down to Super Bowl 50, federal authorities, including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, are looking into security concerns at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, NBC News reported Sunday. Officials investigated a series of incidents where fiber optic cables had been severed in California, treating them as a possible security risk for the Feb. 7 NFL championship game.

“Particularly with the rise in use by terrorist groups of the internet to inspire and recruit, we are concerned about the ‘self-radicalized’ actor(s) who could strike with little or no notice,” homeland security officials said in a report, as quoted by NBC news. Fiber optic cables have been repeatedly severed throughout California since the summer of 2015, stumping FBI investigators as to who is cutting them and why. Severed cables slow down internet service, financial transactions and even emergency calls and are treated as a potential preparation for terrorism, the Wall Street Journal reported in August 2015.

The threat of lone wolf terrorism has increased after a self-radicalized couple stormed an office Christmas party in San Bernardino, California, in December, opening fire on employees in an act that killed 14 and wounded many more. Authorities have not been able to connect the pair to any formal training in Syria with the Islamic State group or any other terror group, leading many investigators to believe the attack was a case of homegrown terrorism.

Terrorists who pledged allegiance to ISIS descended upon Paris two weeks before the San Bernardino massacre, slaughtering 130 people in locations across the city, at targets including a large stadium. The assault was the worst massacre on French soil since World War II, and it sparked fear in city residents around the world as it targeted cafes, bars and other nighttime gathering spots.

The FBI noted how among the Paris attacks was an attempt to bomb a big stadium, the Stade de France. The report said one potential security risk would be bars, parking lots or anywhere else fans congregate outside the Super Bowl stadium because they could not be as easily protected by police.”

…..Continue reading @ IBTimes

 

 

Sorry Would-Be Scholars, Trump’s Refugee Ban is Legal and Follows Example Set By Founders

– LawNewz

“Following a line of Supreme Court cases, English common law precedents, and international scholastic opinions, the famed Justice Frankfurter (yes, liberals, that liberal icon Justice Frankfurter), opined in that famous 1952 case:

“Accordingly, when this policy [of open immigration] changed and the political and lawmaking branch of this Government, the Congress, decided to restrict the right of immigration about seventy years ago [1882], this Court, thereupon and ever since, has recognized that the determination of a selective and exclusionary immigration policy was for the Congress, and not for the Judiciary.

The conditions for entry of every alien, the particular classes of aliens that shall be denied entry altogether, the basis for determining such classification, the right to terminate hospitality to aliens, the grounds on which such determination shall be based, have been recognized as matters solely for the responsibility of the Congress and wholly outside the power of this Court to control.” Harisiades v. Shaughnessy, 342 U.S. 580 (1952).”

Thus Carter banned Iranians in 1980 and Obama banned Iraqis for a period of time in 2011, just as Reagan, Bush and Clinton exercised their alien exclusion authority at some point in time during their presidencies.

We may be a nation founded by immigrants, but we are also a country that has long strictly restricted which immigrants make up our nation.”

….Continue reading more @ LawNewz