The Alleged Trump Tapes: What’s Legal?

“… It’s not legal to use tapes to try to intimidate a witness,” says law professor Samuel Buell about President Trump’s threat that fired FBI Director James Comey “better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press.” Adds Buell: “It wouldn’t even be legal to pretend to have tapes in an effort to intimidate a witness. And what we need at this point is an investigation to look into this and certainly one of the first things that any prosecutor would do in this situation is to subpoena any tapes to find out whether they exist.”

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Reports Of Trump Sharing Classified Info Point To Growing Fear Of Him

“They’re truly frightened about him,” public policy professor Bruce Jentleson says of U.S. intelligence officials. Jentleson, who served as a foreign policy aide in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, notes that an inadvertent disclosure of classified information to Russian officials would demonstrate “incompetence, impetuousness” and “mania,” adding: “I’m scared, too.”

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Trump Stirs A New Question: Are There Tapes?

Law professor Samuel Buell says President Trump’s attempt on Twitter to quiet former FBI Director James Comey could be viewed as an effort to intimidate a witness to any future investigation into whether the firing amounted to obstruction of justice. “… This is also definitive evidence that Trump is not listening to counsel and perhaps not even talking to counsel. Unprecedented in the modern presidency.” Also, political scientist Bruce Jentleson talks to Wisconsin Public Radio about Comey’s firing.

Read More in The New York Times

We Must Root Out The Torturers In Our Midst

That’s why I agreed to support the NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture, a grassroots effort to build momentum for genuine national accountability. The federal government and courts won’t guarantee justice but people can if they insist on transparency and truth,” writes Robin Kirk, co-chair of the Duke University Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute.

Read More in Newsweek

Examining The Fallout Over FBI Director Firing

Law professor Christopher Schroeder talks about President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, casting doubt on Trump’s statement that the FBI was in disarray and calling Trump’s claim that Comey told him he wasn’t being investigated “quite unusual, strange even.” (4:50 mark).

 

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Critics Say Trump Broke The Law In Firing Comey

Some critics of President Trump have accused him of obstruction of justice in his firing of FBI Director James Comey amid the bureau’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia. Law professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor, discusses obstruction of justice law and how it might apply to the president’s firing of an investigator.

Read More in The New York Times

Watergate Part 2? The Similarities Between Trump and Nixon

“… Coming as it does on the heels of the chaos of the first 100 days of the Trump presidency, the termination of Comey as FBI director, just as he was about to testify about what involvement the Trump campaign may have had with Russia in the 2016 campaign, raises disturbing questions about potential parallels with Watergate,” writes historian emeritus William Chafe.

Read More in The Hill

Faculty Say Firing of FBI Director Threatens Constitution, Democracy

“The firing of FBI Director James Comey is a serious, democracy and Constitution-threatening action. Comparisons to the Saturday Night Massacre and Watergate may in some ways be overdrawn, but in two fundamental ways the similarities are undeniable,” says Christopher Schroeder, a law professor who served as an assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Policy at the United States Department of Justice.

Read More on Duke Today

Donald Trump Wants the First Amendment Both Ways

“Clearly, Trump wants things both ways. He’d strip First Amendment protections from his media critics while claiming them for himself when others are actually, physically hurt as a result of his words. But the First Amendment does not work this way,” writes Michael Newcity, a visiting professor of linguistics and Slavic and Eurasian Studies.

Read More in the Herald-Sun

NC Republicans’ Latest Power Grab: State Judicial Appointments

The Republicans who control North Carolina’s legislature are attempting to strip the state’s Democratic governor of more powers, this time over who has the power to make appointments to the state’s courts. “This is a pretty significant push I think to undercut the independence of the judiciary,” says law professor Marin Levy.

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Scrutiny Over Terrorism Funding Hampers Charitable Work

“Women’s rights and their defenders are really often caught in the cross-hairs of these very risk-averse banks and overzealous regulatory authorities,” says law professor Jayne Huckerby, an author of a study that found institutional donors such as Western governments and large foundations — as well as banks — are increasingly neglecting human-rights organizations that focus their work on women’s issues and operate in areas such as Syria and Iraq.

Read More in The Washington Post

NCAA: The Most Powerful Political Organization in The U.S.

 

“NCAA pressure was the game-changer with North Carolina’s bathroom bill. It appeared that the law would stay in place until the state’s basketball fans realized there would be no tournament games played here,” says anthropologist Orin Starn. “And so we witnessed the unlikely spectacle of the much-criticized billion-dollar sports leviathan at the forefront of defending LGBT rights.”

Read More in The Boston Globe