President Trump was accused of abuse of power and fascism during the mainstream media’s coverage of the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
On CNN, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called the firing a “grotesque abuse of power” by the president, saying this is the sort of thing that is done in “non-democracies.”
Toobin said he’s seen nothing like this since 1973 when President Richard Nixon fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox.
“This is not normal. This is not politics as usual,” he said.
Over on MSNBC, Chris Matthews said there was a “little whiff of fascism” and that Trump was demonstrating that he does not care about the law. Read the rest of this entry »
“…the president is taking power for himself that the law didn’t give him — he’s explicitly contradicting it.”
— CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
For NRO, Andrew Johnson: The Obama administration’s failure to notify Congress of the release of five Guantanamo Bay detainees ahead of his exchanging them for American soldier Bowe Bergdahl is a direct violation of the law, according to CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
“It matters whether people follow the law or not…I think he clearly broke the law.”
“I think he clearly broke the law,” Toobin said on Monday, adding that the president’s signing statement in which he called the law unconstitutional does not automatically make it so…(read more)
Andrew Beaujon writes: “It won’t take me long to alienate everyone in the room,” Jeffrey Toobin told an audience in New York Friday. “For better or worse, it has been clear there is no journalistic privilege under the First Amendment.”
“The administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting,” Risen said, to “create a path for accepted reporting.’ Anyone journalist who exceeds those parameters, Risen said, ‘will be punished.'”
The New Yorker staff writer and CNN commentator was appearing on a panel as part of a conference called Sources and Secrets at the Times Center. A lot has already been written about the conference (links below), so I’m going to pull out a theme that appears again and again in my notes: How much protection do reporters really have with regard to sources, and how much, if any, protection would a federal shield law give them?
New York Times reporter James Risen, who is fighting an order that he testify in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer accused of leaking information to him, opened the conference earlier by saying the Obama administration is “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.” The administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting,” Risen said, to “create a path for accepted reporting.” Anyone journalist who exceeds those parameters, Risen said, “will be punished.”
The administration’s aggressive prosecutions have created “a de facto Official Secrets Act,” Risen said, and the media has been “too timid” in responding.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will step down this year, he said in an interview with the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin in the magazine’s Feb. 17 edition.
The most controversial, combative, distrusted, divisive, nakedly political, and openly partisan Justice Department in decades may be about to have an overdue transition? The Washington Times reports: In a feature article, Mr. Holder said he plans on staying in his position “well into” the year.
Last November, Mr. Holder told CBS News he didn’t have “any plans” to step down.
Mr. Holder has made voting rights the test case of his tenure, the New Yorker reported. He has been a vocal critic of the Supreme Court case that invalidated key parts of the Voting Rights Act and has supported Congressional action to renew and revise the law.
Meanwhile, just yesterday, David Jackson at USA Today reported Attorney General Eric Holder has “no specific plans to step down by the end of 2014“, Obama administration officials say, contrary to a new magazine report.
The New Yorker, in a piece about Holder’s battles over voting rights, said President Obama’s attorney general “will leave office sometime this year.”
That is a misinterpretation of a frequent Holder comment that he plans to stay in the job until at least most of 2014, officials said….
The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy led directly to the passage of a historic law, the Gun Control Act of 1968. Does that change your view of the assassinations? Should we be grateful for the deaths of these two men?
Of course not. That’s lunatic logic. But the same reasoning is now being applied to the actions of Edward Snowden. Yes, the thinking goes, Snowden may have violated the law, but the outcome has been so worthwhile. According to Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who was one of the primary vehicles for Snowden’s disclosures, Snowden “is very pleased with the debate that is arising in many countries around the world on Internet privacy and U.S. spying. It is exactly the debate he wanted to inform.”
In this debate, Snowden himself says, those who followed the law were nothing better than Nazis: “I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg, in 1945: ‘Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.’ ”
To be sure, Snowden has prompted an international discussion about surveillance, but it’s worthwhile to note that this debate is no academic exercise. It has real costs. Consider just a few.
What if Snowden’s wrong? What if there is no pervasive illegality in the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs?