The separation of immigrant children from their parents is despicable

The Trump administration’s latest and most terrible tactic in its war on immigration is taking young children away from their parents at the border and keeping them separated. While the United States of America has plenty of regrettable stains on its history such as slavery and the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II, separating young children from their parents is cruel, inhumane and shameful. CNN reports in the video below that one parent says Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents took her child away while she was breastfeeding it.

At Slate, Dahlia Lithwick comments that even as we become desensitized to President Trump’s regular and repeated over-the-top antics, we must summon our outrage to protest this particularly horrifying policy.

That we are finding ourselves unable to process or act or organize because the large-scale daily horrors are escalating and the news is overpowering is perfectly understandable. But we need to understand that and acknowledge it and then refuse it any purchase. Because to be overwhelmed and to do nothing are a choice.

We agree. While it may not be part of an overarching strategy on behalf of Trump to desensitize us to these outrageous actions (that would be giving him too much credit), we must summon outrage at this reprehensible policy, and demand action. Separating children from their parents in an effort to keep them out of our country is unconscionable, and a policy that we will regret if we allow it, to say nothing of how dimly it will be viewed through the lens of history. Please do whatever you can to insist that this be stopped as quickly as possible. Our nation is heading down a slippery slope, and we must dig in and do whatever we can to stop this tragic and terrible policy.

The president’s pardons

In comments to media today, President Trump invited NFL players who would protest during the national anthem to suggest individuals to be considered for a presidential pardon.

Jeff Robinson, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union, had the following response:

“President Trump has spent much of his first 18 months in office degrading NFL players who protest police brutality and racial injustice. Today, he has tried once again to change the narrative about the work of those and other activists, betraying a fundamental misunderstanding of the cause behind these protests — and using racist dog whistles to do it.

“While we support a fair and concerted effort to address unfair sentences in the federal system, pardons alone won’t fix our deeply broken criminal justice system. We need real reforms that will address systemic racism and implicit bias in policing that too often results in violence and death. We need a bail system that doesn’t criminalize poverty. We need sentencing reform so that thousands of Black and brown people aren’t ensnared in jails and prisons. Should the president meet with athletes, we hope he will propose serious policy changes that get us closer to those goals.”

This statement is online here:
https://www.aclu.org/news/aclu-comment-president-trumps-suggestion-considering-pardons-request-nfl-players

ABA Legal Fact Check explores the legal basis for saying, ‘A president is not above the law’

The American Bar Association has posted a new ABA Legal Fact Check that explores the legal precedents related to whether a U.S. president can act “above the law.”

Political conversation turned to this question in the past few days when Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump, suggested a sitting president could not be indicted. Trump himself fueled the conversation a day later when he tweeted that he had the “absolute right” to pardon himself if necessary.

The new fact check explores the relevant parts of two U.S. Supreme Court decisions involving then-Presidents Richard Nixon in 1974 and Bill Clinton in 1997 and how they might pertain to legal situations today. It also analyzes the Supreme Court’s assertion in the Nixon case that a president does not have “unqualified presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances.”

ABA Legal Fact Check seeks to help the media and public find dependable answers and explanations to sometimes confusing legal questions and issues. The URL for the site is www.abalegalfactcheck.com. Follow us on Twitter @ABAFactCheck.

Podcast: How Michael Cohen protects Trump by making legal threats

Michael CohenMichael Cohen, an attorney for President Donald Trump, has a reputation for threatening people, especially journalists, to protect his most precious client. Cohen’s facing a lawsuit from adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claims Cohen pressured her into signing a non-disclosure agreement about her alleged affair with Trump. As you may know, Cohen has also had his offices and home raided by the FBI. Now, a recording of Cohen threatening a reporter has been released. NPR‘s Tim Mak, who was working for The Daily Beast in 2015, has released a recording of Cohen making legal threats to him. You can listen to them below.





Podcast: How Michael Avenatti is changing his Trump legal strategy

Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen, attorney for Donald Trump

Michael Avenatti, the attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels, with whom President Donald Trump is alleged to have had an affair, is broadening his case against Trump. Avenatti has released a report detailing the business affairs of Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen. As you may recall, Cohen facilitated the payment of $130,000 to Daniels to purchase her silence regarding her involvement with Trump. In this podcast from The New Yorker, Adam Davidson talks with Dorothy Wickenden about Avenatti’s aggressive push beyond the hush money scandal to questions about Cohen selling access to the president.

Alliance for Justice critical of Trump’s 9th Circuit nominee

Following today’s confirmation hearing for Ryan Bounds, President Trump’s nominee for a seat on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Alliance For Justice President Nan Aron released the following statement:

“At his Senate confirmation hearing today, Ryan Bounds tried to downplay offensive writings in his record and his decision not to disclose them to Oregon’s judicial selection committee.  In fact, the chairman of Oregon’s committee has stated that Bounds ‘misled’ them about the existence of any controversial writings.  A majority of Oregon’s committee members have stated unequivocally that they would not have voted to recommend Bounds’s nomination for the federal bench had they known about these ‘deeply troubling writings,’ which disparaged LGBTQ people, sexual assault survivors, people of color, and workers. This nondisclosure of hateful material is also the reason why Oregon’s home-state senators withheld their approval of Bounds’s nomination.    The decision of Senate GOP leadership to force this hearing to go forward over all these objections is more evidence that Republicans and the Trump Administration will stop at nothing to pursue their court-packing goals.”

The full text of the letter from the chairman of Oregon’s Federal Judicial Selection Advisory Committee, regarding Ryan Bounds’s failure to disclose his writings, appears at S2537 of the Congressional Record, here: https://www.congress.gov/crec/2018/05/08/CREC-2018-05-08-senate.pdf

Video: Former US Attorney says Cohen accepting Russian money wasn’t smart

Michael CohenFormer US Attorney Preet Bharara tells CNN’s Anderson Cooper that it’s odd for Trump attorney Michael Cohen to accept almost half a million dollars from a company linked to a Russian oligarch. Michael Avenatti, the attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels, made the allegations that Viktor Vekselberg, chairman of Renova Group, routed the money to Essential Consultants, LLC, the company that paid hush money to Daniels to buy her silence about an alleged affair with President Donald Trump. Investigators for Robert Mueller have questioned Vekselberg about the payment. Vekselberg is on a list of Russians being sanctioned by the US for activities including election interference.

Video: Jeffrey Toobin says Team Trump not telling truth about Stormy payoff

The tempest surrounding a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels took another wild turn when Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said the president didn’t know the details of the payoff. Giuliani also says Trump reimbursed lawyer Michael Cohen for the $130,000 payment that Cohen claimed he made through a home equity loan, according to CNN. Now, the president is confirming the repayment in a Tweet:

In this video from CNN, analyst and author Jeffrey Toobin says the Trump legal  is shifting its story on the payoff:

Podcast: Examining the case against Trump lawyer Michael Cohen

Michael CohenAfter sorting through the players in the case against Micheal Cohen, one of President Trump’s personal lawyers, it’s time to take a more thorough examination of the case itself. FBI agents raided Cohen’s office, home and hotel room and seized a cache of evidence that is now at the center of a fight over which parts of it may be used in the government’s case. National Public Radio produced this podcast about the case against Cohen.

The players in the Cohen case

Michael CohenWhile Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s work investigating the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia continues, much of the attention has been diverted to the FBI’s raid on Micheal Cohen’s office, home and hotel room. Cohen, you’ll recall, is one of Trump’s personal attorneys, and the man who facilitated a payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, and may have been involved in the National Enquirer’s “catch and kill” of former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal’s story. Who’s who in this unfolding drama surrounding one of the president’s men? The Atlantic has a “definitive guide” to the key players, as this political drama unfolds.