Obstruction Of Justice Investigation More Plausible

Fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony Thursday before a Senate panel offered near certainty that President Trump is under investigation for obstruction of justice, says a Duke law professor. “The hearing greatly sharpened the focus of this matter onto whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice when he isolated FBI Director Comey after a White House meeting and pressured him to drop an active criminal investigation for no proper purpose,” says law professor Samuel Buell.

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Danger for Trump from Comey Hearing: Obstruction of Justice

The question is whether Trump sought to use the weight of his office to stifle a criminal investigation to protect a friend, or to protect himself, over and above the national interest. “I think the most important thing that’s going to happen is we’re going to get a sense of the feel and flavor of the conversations that took place, at least some of them, between the president and Comey,” says law professor Samuel Buell.

Read More in The Guardian


Special Counsel’s Russia Probe Includes Criminal Investigation

The special counsel investigating possible ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia’s government has taken over a separate criminal probe involving former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. “That investigation … (has) a number of tentacles and offshoots that involves conduct over a fairly lengthy period of time involving a lot of people,” says Law professor Samuel Buell,  a former federal prosecutor.

Read More at AP/CBS News


Trump Grows Discontented With Attorney General

“They wholly undercut the idea that there is some rational process behind the president’s decisions,” says law professor emeritus Walter Dellinger, who served as acting solicitor general under President Clinton. “I believe it is unprecedented for a president to publicly chastise his own Justice Department.”

Read More in The New York Times


Rubenstein Fellow Jack Matlock, a former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, talks about future U.S.-Russia relations.

Could the Russia Investigation Reveal Trump’s Tax Returns?

Law professor Samuel Buell says he is convinced that if former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the newly named special prosecutor in the Trump-Russia investigation, believed he needed Trump’s tax returns, he would seek them and get them quickly. “It’s hard to imagine an individual connected with federal law enforcement still alive in the United States with his stature,” Buell says.

Read More in Politico

History of Business Fraud in America

Edward Balleisen, associate professor of history and public policy, talks about the history of business fraud in America as a guest on C-SPAN2’s “Book TV.” Balleisen’s recent book, “Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff,” looks at the development of regulations to protect consumers and investors.

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Why Suckering Americans is a Booming Business

“We now have an administration in Washington that trashes regulation of all sorts and appoints vehement opponents of regulation to run federal agencies. It’s not hard to imagine that enforcement budgets for consumer and investor protection will once again take a big hit, and that federal regulators will adopt a more forgiving posture toward dodgy marketing tactics,” writes Edward Balleisen, associate professor of history and public policy.

Read More in Zocalo

Impact of Supreme Court Rejecting NC Redistricting

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday struck down North Carolina’s 1st and 12th congressional district lines drawn by state legislators in 2011. A three-judge federal court ruling had previously found that lawmakers relied too heavily on race when drawing the boundaries. “You’re likely to see state legislature be extremely careful in using race in redistricting, because uses of race are likely to be struck down by a federal court,” says law professor Guy Charles.

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Former FBI Director to Investigate Links Between Trump, Russia

The testimony of fired FBI Director James Comey, possibly next week, will be a crucial turning point. “This is an iceberg where we still don’t really know how big it is,” says law professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor. “Were there other conversations (between Trump and Comey)? Were there other memos? It’s not going to get any better for the president at this point.”

Read More in The Globe And Mail

Why President Trump is Disregarding ‘Constitutional Norms’

Law professor Neil Siegel says the most troubling aspect of Donald Trump’s conduct during and since the 2016 presidential campaign is not any potential violations of the U.S. Constitution or federal law, but his disregard of norms that had previously constrained presidential candidates and his flouting of constitutional conventions that had previously guided occupants of the White House.

Read More from the New Zealand Law Society

What Is Obstruction Of Justice? An Often-Murky Crime, Explained

Law professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor who led the Justice Department’s Enron task force, was initially skeptical about whether the mere firing of FBI Director James Comey could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that President Trump had an improper mental state. But he says subsequent revelations have made the evidence much more robust. “The evidence of improper purpose has gotten much stronger since the day of Comey’s firing,” he says.

Read More in The New York Times



Memo to White House Staff: ‘Lawyer Up’

Donald Trump fired James Comey after asking him to drop the FBI investigation of Michael Flynn raises the spectre of obstruction of justice. Law professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor, talks about the legal issues surrounding possible obstruction of justice.

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