Archive for the ‘DOJ’ Category

Special Counsel Investigating Trump for Obstruction of Justice

June 16, 2017

Special Counsel Investigating Trump for Obstruction of Justice

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating President Donald Trump for possible obstruction of justice, reports the Washington Post. As in Watergate, investigation of the crime — in this case, Russian meddling  in the 2016 presidential campaign and possible coordination with the Trump campaign — has expanded to include the cover-up. Investigators are also looking for evidence of related money laundering by Trump associates.

By his own admission, Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey to obstruct the investigation into Russian links to the Trump campaign, and the president appears to have asked top intelligence officials to refute charges of Russian coordination with his 2016 campaign. On Thursday, an RNC statement and a tweet by the president confirmed the existence of the obstruction probe. The president’s personal legal team merely condemned the leak, not denying the obstruction probe itself. Mr. Trump conflated the issues of 2016 campaign coordination with the obstruction investigation, claiming it’s all a “witch hunt.”


“Mueller Seeks to Talk to Intelligence Officials, Hinting at Inquiry of Trump,” Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo, New York Times

“Even Trump’s Aides Blame Him for Obstruction Probe: ‘President Did This to Himself,'” Lachan Markay, Asawin Suesaeng, Spencer Ackerman, Daily Beast

“Trump thinks ‘they’ created his legal problems. He created his legal problems.” Ezra Klein, Vox

“Trump: ‘You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history,'” Rebecca Savransky, The Hill

“GOP Sen. Tells Trump: Investigation Is ‘Not A Witch Hunt, No,'” Matt Shuham, TPM Livewire

“What the law says about ‘obstruction of justice,'” Shannon Vavra, Axios

“Meet the all-star legal team who may take down Trump,” Rebecca Tan and Alex Ward, Vox


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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DOJ Names Special Counsel for Trump-Russia Investigation

May 18, 2017

DOJ Names Special Counsel for Trump-Russia Investigation
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has appointed Robert Mueller as Special Counsel for the investigation of links between Russia and the Trump Campaign. Mr. Mueller served many years as a U.S. Attorney, and prosecutions he led included those of Manuel Noriega, crime boss John Gotti, and the Lockerbie Pan Am bombing case. He was FBI Director from 2001 to 2013. The current investigation encompasses President Trump’s abrupt firing of James Comey, Mr. Mueller’s successor.


“Deputy attorney general appoints special counsel to oversee probe of Russian interference in election,” Devlin Barrett, Sari Horwitz and Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

“What the Special Counsel Appointment Means,” Matt Ford, The Atlantic 

“Robert Mueller, New Special Counsel, Is Known for Independence,” Michael D. Shear, New York Times

“How presidents normally greet special investigators vs. how Trump does,” Jeff Stein, Vox

“Trump: Special Counsel Part of Biggest ‘Witch Hunt’ in U.S. History,” John T. Bennett, Roll Call

“How a Special Counsel Alters the Russia Investigation,” Charlie Savage, New York Times


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Federal Government Recognizes Utah Marriages

January 10, 2014

Federal Government Recognizes Utah Marriages

The U.S. Government recognizes 1,300 Utah same-sex marriages, even though the state government refuses to. Couples rushed to the altar in December after a Federal judge ruled that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the U.S. Constitution. A Federal appeals court refused to halt the weddings until it hears the case, but the U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary stay, putting the status of the earlier marriages in question.

Today Attorney General Eric Holder announced that, as far as Federal benefits, taxes, and laws are concerned the 1,300 gay couples are married:


Can the Feds Hear Your Phone Calls?

May 14, 2013

Can the Feds Hear Your Phone Calls?

Did the government eavesdrop on Associated Press reporters? No. G-men subpoenaed the records of phone calls, the numbers of calls to and from AP reporters. Unsavory, but entirely legal. 

But is the Federal government capable of recording and listening to all your phone calls, or are we talking through our tinfoil hat? It’s your call:

“Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government?” Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian

“Is the U.S. Government Recording and Saving All Domestic Telephone Calls?” Bruce Schneier, Schneier on Security


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Image by Mike Licht; download it free (no roaming charges!) here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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Who’s to Blame for Destroying CIA Tapes?

November 10, 2010

Who's to Blame for Destroying CIA Tapes

A few years ago, U.S. agents tortured people and videotaped these “enhanced interrogations.” They also made people disappear at “black sites” around the world. When investigators started poking around, the recordings disappeared, too.

 Why destroy the tapes? Despite assurances from the Department of Justice and the White House, waterboarding and similar practices are torture, against federal, military, and international law. The cover-up shows the interrogators knew this.


May 1, 2009 — Law Day

May 1, 2009

 May 1, 2009 -- Law Day

I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, in accordance with Public Law 87-20, as amended, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2009, as Law Day, U.S.A. I call upon the people of the United States to acknowledge the importance of our Nation’s legal and judicial systems with appropriate ceremonies and activities, and to display the flag of the United States in support of this national observance.

In 1958, President Eisenhower established Law Day as “a day of national dedication to the principles of government under law.” Each year on Law Day, we celebrate our commitment to the rule of law.
Law Day, U.S.A., 2009, A Proclamation.

 United States Code, Title  18, 2441: War Crimes

(d) Common Article 3 Violations.—

(1) Prohibited conduct.— In subsection (c)(3), the term “grave breach of common Article 3” means any conduct (such conduct constituting a grave breach of common Article 3 of the international conventions done at Geneva August 12, 1949), as follows:


Audio Irony

April 23, 2009

Audio Irony

Congresswoman Jane Harman (D, CA-36) just learned that Federal invesigators secretly recorded her telephone conversations

Rep. Harman chairs the Intelligence Subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security, which oversees such wiretapping.

But there’s more.

The Congresswoman is married to Dr. Sidney Harman, founder of a corporation that manufactures some of the finest audio recording equipment in the world.



Image by Mike Licht. “Harman International” and the associated logo are trademarks of that corporation, used to prevent brand confusion (the VU meter is not a Harman product). NotionsCapital received no consideration for this placement, not even a pair of earbuds. 

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

How Ill is Illinois?

December 11, 2008

How Ill is Illinois?

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
Hamlet, Act I, scene IV, line 99.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been arrested on federal corruption charges.

Q:  Just how corrupt is the Prairie State?
A: Compared to what?

USA Today‘s John Fritze reports that over a dozen states are even more corrupt, based on U.S. Department of Justice statistics for federal public corruption convictions. This measure omits state- and local-level corruption convictions, indictments not resulting in convictions, arrests not resulting in indictments, and situations with corruption so endemic that no one bothers (or dares) to bring it to official attention.


Blagojevich Legal Defense

December 11, 2008

Blagojevich Legal Defense

Accused of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Obama and attempted extortion of a major newspaper and the Chicago Cubs, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has few strategic legal options open to him.

The most promising legal theory is the Flip Wilson Ploy.

Time Magazine proposes another variation.


Image by Mike Licht (the only one on his block in DC who isn’t a lawyer).  Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Hoops Holder?

December 7, 2008

Hoops Holder?

Potomac Playground Patter

President-elect  “Barry O-Bomber” (6’1″), Hawaiian high school hotshot, is building a slammin’ basketball bench:

  National Security Adviser designate Gen. James L. Jones (6’5″) was a forward for the Georgetown Hoyas

 Obama aide Reggie Love (6’4″) was a forward for the Duke Blue Devils (2001 NCAA champs) and team captain in 2005

Future U.N. Ambassador Dr. Susan Rice  was a point guard at DC’s National Cathedral School

White House deputy communications director Daniel H. Pfeiffer (6’2″) was on the team at Wilmington Friends School

Treasury Secretary pick Timothy Geithner is a passionate pick-up basketball player 

 DHS nominee Governor Janet Napolitano has coached the University of Arizona’s Lady Wildcats

— Obama senior advisor David Axelrod met Susan Landau while they were playing in a coed basketball league; they married in 1979

— Attorney General designate Eric H. Holder, Jr. (6’3″) was Co-Captain of  Stuyvesant High School’s basketball team in New York City.

Stuyvesant?  Hold on a minute.