Top FBI Officials Could Testify Against Trump

“In any high-stakes matter, you are going to want to talk to anyone in the vicinity of a conversation,” says law professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor. “It doesn’t mean that they end up as trial witness. But at an investigative stage, you are going to talk to all of these people. You want their stories locked in. You want to know if what they have to say would help you or hurt you.”

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Is U.S. Diplomacy Under Friendly Fire?

After six months of the Trump administration, America’s professional diplomats are reportedly “desperate” for a foreign policy — or even for something to do. They complain that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has walled himself off from the diplomatic corps and that he’s being walled off from the White House. Political scientist Peter Feaver, a former national security adviser to Presidents Clinton and Bush, talks about the concerns.

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Why Tax Reform Should Address Inequities in Health Subsidies

“Realistically, the unraveling of Obamacare Exchanges and the pyramid of perverse incentives created under the Medicaid expansion will have to be addressed,” writes Chris Conover, a research scholar at the Center for Health Policy & Inequalities Research. “In the course of addressing tax reform, Republicans have a golden opportunity to take a bold step that make the task of each easier. I am hoping for the best while preparing for the worst.”

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Donald Trump’s State Of Mind, And Ours

Psychiatry professor emeritus Allen Frances weighs in on the debate over mental health professionals publicly assessing President Trump: “Trump’s psychology is far too obvious to be interesting. You don’t have to be a psychoanalyst to understand Trump. He’s the most transparent human being who ever lived. Giving it a name doesn’t explain it or change it.”

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Justices Felt Trump Travel Ban ‘Too Restrictive’

At a Duke Law School event in Washington, D.C., Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg  said the court decided that close relationships include grandparents and other relatives. The administration initially left them off its list of family members who would not be covered by President Donald Trump’s 90-day travel ban.

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Trump White House Tests Capacity For Outrage

The president signed his hotly contested travel ban on visitors from selected Muslim-majority countries at the Pentagon and publicly opined about how troops had voted for him and complained about the news media in front of military audiences. The comment was a mistake, says political scientist Peter Feaver. “While there is a legitimate role for senior brass to explain military affairs to the public, it is not good for civil-military relations to have the military viewed as a special interest group pleading for bigger budgets.”

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President Trump Wades Into Venezuelan Row

Donald Trump has threatened to take strong and swift action against Venezuela if President Nicolas Maduro imposes constitutional changes. That “signals a change in U.S. thinking,” says Fuqua professor Patrick Duddy, a former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela who now directs Duke’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. “Today’s announcement suggests Washington is considering much broader sanctions.”

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Potential Legal Troubles for Kushner, Trump Jr.

“… The statute is pretty clear that it`s a federal crime to solicit a campaign contribution from a foreign source,” says law professor Samuel Buell. “It`s pretty clear that anything of value can count as a campaign contribution and certainly opposition research is something that`s routinely paid for in the political world, and this could be something of value.”

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The Impact of Trump Ignoring Political Norms

Duke Law School professor Neil Siegel says President Trump’s failure to follow long-standing political and constitutional norms “that have long disciplined the White House,” including hostility toward the news media and judicial system, has contributed to a “toxic” political climate.

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Legal Experts Say There’s Evidence of Collusion

“When alleged crimes arise from conversations, there are always fine lines to be drawn,” says law professor Lisa Kern Griffin. “But it is intent that governs which side of the legal line such a meeting falls on, not success. This is obviously not a cast of characters out of some John le Carré novel, and the meeting may have been a bumbling effort.”

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What Is Collusion? Is It Even a Crime?

“Collusion, of course, is not a legal thing. The question of the underlying crime here might be tricky, and would include possible violation of campaign contribution laws. But if there is an underlying campaign violation in play legally, the email and meeting are very strong evidence of a nascent conspiracy and attempt to commit such an offense,” says law professor Samuel Buell.

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

Collusion? Conspiracy? Here’s What the Law Says

“Anytime you are talking about coordinating or collusion, you are talking about the possibility of conspiracy charges,” says law professor Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor. “But conspiracy is not a crime that floats by itself in the air. There has to be an underlying federal offense that is being conspired to be committed.”

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