Despite the self-righteous speechmaking of House Intelligence Committee Chair, Adam Schiff insisting that the anonymity of the whistleblower is statutorily protected, apparently he may be dead wrong.
During the ongoing hearings of the impeachment inquiry, Schiff has repeatedly stated that the Ukraine whistleblower has “a statutory right to anonymity” and blocked Republican questions about him.
The problem with that is, many legal experts say that the committee chairman is incorrect in that assessment. Several legal experts have come forward to say that no such specific legal requirement to shield the whistleblower’s identity from the public, exists.
The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act establishes rules for whistleblowers to report on waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption in a lawful manner, and it, along with presidential directives, provides legal protections against reprisals and punishment. Anonymity, however, is not one of those guarantees.
“There is no language in the statute as written — or amended — that gives a whistleblower from the intelligence community the statutory right to anonymity,” Cully Stimson, a former Pentagon official and the head of the Heritage Foundation’s National Security Law Program, told the press. “That’s separate and distinct from whether Congress wants to make the decision to not provide the name — that’s at the discretion of the chairman.”
Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who received the whistleblower’s original complaint in August, has said he must keep the whistleblower’s name secret, but it does not appear this legal prohibition extends to President Trump, his allies, or anyone else. Atkinson said his review of the whistleblower’s allegations related to a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “identified some indicia of bias of an arguable political bias on the part of the complainant in favor of a rival political candidate.”
He wrote, “Such evidence did not change my determination that the complaint relating to the urgent concern appears credible.”
Speaking to the Washington Examiner, Arthur Rizer, a former Army officer and current DOJ prosecutor, said he doubts the law guarantees whistleblower anonymity.
“I am pretty sure on its plain reading only the individual who receives the complaint has a ‘statutory obligation’ to keep anonymity — and, I think, even then, there are circumstances where the veil of anonymity can be pierced.”
Rizer went on to say, “So, as a starting point, the chairman’s comment is vague and overbroad — and legally speaking, that makes him wrong.”
Schiff has constantly shut down Republican efforts to subpoena the whistleblower and cut off GOP witness questioning that could unearth evidence about the whistleblower’s identity, saying he won’t allow efforts to “exact political retribution against the whistleblower“ or “out” the person.
As Attorney General William Barr reviews the first draft of IG Horowitz’s report on possible FISA violations, two top Republicans have dropped hints that Democrats are likely to be devastated when the results are made public.
Both Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Devin Nunes discussed the investigation into how the FBI obtained warrants used to electronically surveil onetime Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in back-to-back interviews on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures.
Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told anchor Maria Bartiromo when he expects to receive the report. “I think it probably will be around October,” the South Carolina Republican said.
It was the clearest indication yet as to when the public may get a first glimpse of the report. Republicans have expressed high expectations for former Justice Department and FBI officials to be held accountable for possible misconduct ever since Horowitz informed Congress on Sept. 13 that his team is in the “process of finalizing our report by providing a draft of our factual findings to the Department and FBI for classification determination and marking.”
Graham went on to say that, his “No. 1 goal” is to have as much of the report declassified as possible. Graham has said previously that he expects that IG Horowitz’s report will indicate that top Justice Department and FBI officials misled the FISA Court by using an unverified dossier compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele to obtain warrants to spy on Page.
At the tail end of their FISA discussion, Bartiromo said people she has spoken to suggest the CIA might be the “architect of this.” Before she could even finish, Graham cut in to say, “Stay tuned.”
Was that a hint that he knows something that we do not? Has he had an advance glimpse at the report?
I guess we indeed need to “stay tuned.”
What We Do Know Ahead of the Report
What we know for sure is that Barr has received the draft report from Horowitz and that he is in the process of reviewing it for redactions of classified and privileged information.
According to a letter sent to Congress earlier this month, the inspector general said his team has “reviewed over one million records and conducted over 100 interviews, including several of witnesses who only recently agreed to be interviewed.”
Horowitz and his team were tasked by Barr to “Investigate the Investigators,” and the IG has specifically been looking into how the infamous anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele was used to secure the original Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant for former Trump aide Carter Page, which launched the so-called “Russia Probe” in October 2016.
Horowitz’s team has questioned why the FBI considered Steele a credible source, and why the bureau seemed to use news reports to bolster Steele’s credibility.
Horowitz has indicated that once the Justice Department and the FBI send back a marked document relating to classified material, his team will “proceed with our usual process for preparing the final draft public and classified reports, and ensuring that appropriate reviews occur for accuracy and comment purposes.”
Republican Representative Devin Nunes recently told Fox’s Sean Hannity that he expects the DOJ inspector general to find that the Carter Page FISA warrants were illegal.
Hannity broached the topic with the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee during an interview Tuesday evening, saying, “We keep hearing that the FISA report by the inspector general is going to be devastating. I would assume that he concludes that all four FISA applications and warrants were obtained illegally. Do you see any different conclusion than that?”
“No, I don’t, Sean,” Nunes replied.
Hannity was referring to the long anticipated report being worked on by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who’s been conducting high-profile probes related to the FBI and DOJ’s actions in the Russia election meddling
Nunes joins fellow Republican Rep. Jim Jordan in making this prediction along with Hannity, who on an almost nightly basis has been saying how he expects there to be “bombshells” revealed when Horowitz’s report is made public.
Hannity and Jordan have both said that they believe the FBI committed “premeditated fraud” before the FISA Court in using an unverified anti-Trump dossier to obtain the original warrant on Page, and three renewals, from October 2016 to June 2017.
Former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova has gone further, saying he has “heard” that the initial FISA warrant against Page and the three renewals, which came at three-month intervals, were “illegally obtained.”
Speaking on the Washington Examiner’s “Examining Politics” podcast late last month, diGenova said that he got his insider information because the report is “being circulated inside and outside of the department for comment by interested parties.”
A draft of Horowitz’s report – was submitted to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, Sept. 13, for a classification review. Lawmakers expect to receive the report, likely with redactions, and release it to the public in the next coming weeks.
Although he is unaware of how many pages the report will be, Nunes said, “I imagine it will be long.”
Nunes has been a lead GOP investigator regarding the Justice Department’s and FBI’s behavior in the Trump-Russia investigation. He says that Horowitz’s work, including the recent report admonishing former FBI Director James Comey for his handling of sensitive memos, is essential to the “evidence gathering” process for U.S. Attorney John Durham, whom Barr tasked with leading a review of the origins of the Russia investigation.
Nunes concluded his interview with Hannity by saying there needs to be transparency in order to hold people properly accountable.
“We don’t want to see it all blacked out. We want the American people to see everything,” Nunes said. “In order for that to happen, a lot of the documents that we have been requesting to be declassified have got to be declassified now. I would only add on just one final point on all of this and that is that Durham needs to gather all of the evidence and needs to make sure, whatever he takes, if he’s going to actually do a prosecution of these dirty cops, he needs to have all the evidence. He needs to get it right. Because we want to make sure that justice is definitely served in this case.”
Lindsey Graham, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has confirmed that Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will testify in front of his committee.
Graham predicts that Horowitz will give “chilling testimony” in front of the committee about his highly anticipated report on potential abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, once the report is public.
Graham confirmed the widely expected hearing on the “Wake Up Carolina!” radio show with Ken Ard earlier this month. Graham said he’d call for Horowitz to explain his report to the American public in an open session, though he did not specify exactly when it might happen.
“He will come to the committee to testify — the chairman — and we’ll make sure he gets all the time he needs to tell the country what happened,” Graham said. “He will be in public. We want to do all of it that we can in the open. We don’t want to have a classified session unless we have to.”
As you may know, Horowitz was tasked by Attorney General William Barr, to “investigate the investigators,” specifically the FISA warrents issued that lead to the Mueller investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Mueller’s report which was highly anticipated by the Democrats, exonerated the President of any collusion with the Russians.
Horowitz’s team is examining the FISA application and three renewals beginning in October 2016 to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The applications relied heavily on the unverified dossier compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele, who was hired by opposition research firm Fusion GPS and funded by Democrats.
Horowitz Completes His Investigation
While it still remains to be seen when Horowitz will drop any bombshell testimony on the American public, he has reportedly just completed his investigation. The Hill’s John Solomon made the announcement Thursday August 22 on Fox News speaking to Sean Hannity.
“What I can report tonight, Sean, is that the IG has completed his work on the FISA abuse report. It’s expected to be transmitted as early as next week to Attorney General William Barr and that will begin a process of declassification.”
“I think we are still on track for that timeline, I’ve been saying on your show: mid-September to early October seems the most likely release point,” Solomon said. “It’s going to be a tough report,” he added.
Lindsey Graham meanwhile, promises the revelation of a “deep dive” into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation once Horowitz’s work is completed. Over the past few days, the South Carolina Republican has said he expects Horowitz’s findings to be “damning and ugly” for the DOJ.
Graham also said he plans to meet with Barr this week to “talk to him about how best to tell the story” and predicted that after his report is released, Horowitz will deliver shocking testimony in front of his panel.
As my high school teacher repeatedly admonished, you first have to define terms before engaging in debate. So, we shall.
According to an online dictionary, “emolument” means “a salary, fee, or profit from employment or office.” That seems simple enough.
In terms of the Constitution and the presidency, the person in the White House is barred from receiving “emoluments.” This is what the revered document has to say on that subject.
“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
The Founders referred to it as the “Nobility of Title Clause.” If you stick with the language, it is obvious that those enacting the Constitution were most concerned with folks serving in ANY public office being coopted by a “King, Prince, or foreign state” through the granting of titles, offices, presents or … that funny word, emoluments. It says nothing about receiving things of value – including a business purchase – that is within the United States. You know … from folks who are NOT kings, princes or foreign governments.
It seems to apply to any American who holds “any Office of Profit (paid) or Trust (pro bono).” That seems to include every state and local official in addition to federal officials—not only elected and paid, but those volunteering on all sorts of boards and commissions seem to be covered.
Contrary to the Democrats political interpretation, the Title of Nobility Clause does not preclude our public officials from having successful businesses before, after and even during their tenure in office. They are barred from accepting bribes or anything of value in return for an official vote or decision. And in such cases, there has to be a direct relationship between the “gift” and the public official’s action. There is no evidence that Trump is basing his decisions as President by who is staying at his properties.
If the Founders had intended that every officeholder – and especially the President – had to divest themselves of all private business interests – they would ALL have been in violation of the Clause. When George Washington was President, he still owned his slaves and a working farm – and he occasionally travelled back to Virginia to tend to it. That would be like Trump spending a few days each month at his old office in the Trump Organization.
Public officials have businesses was the standard practice at the time the Title of Nobility Clause was drafted – and many of our colonial leaders were doing business or selling crops to foreign governments while they were in office. Surely, the Founders did not mean for that Clause to put them all out of business. You need to recall that they viewed public office as a temporary service by people from all walks of life – people who had and needed income from their businesses. The Lincoln law firm did not cease to exist when he was President.
Perhaps the most egregious offenders – if it is, indeed, and offense – are all those congressional lawyers whose law firms still promote them as ex officio, emeritus or “of counsel” on the letterheads – even as they do business with foreign governments and enterprises. Many local officials with law firms are still running them. If you check out those so-called “politically connected” law firms, you will find that they are raking in millions from foreign interests. How about a Citgo (Venezuelan) gas station seeking a zoning change in Chicago? Or a French company needing permits to build a high-rise in New York?
If there was ever a case in which the Title of Nobility Clause had any justification, it might have been in conjunction with the Clinton Foundation, which was receiving millions upon millions of dollars from foreign states when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and a prospective future President. Those were blatant efforts to buy access and influence. If you disagree, just check out the donations to the Foundation AFTER Hillary lost the presidency and her husband’s major cling to fame was his association with pedophile Jeffery Epstein.
President Trump is not running his business – nor is he taking a salary from it. It is NOT an emolument if some foreign business group stays at his Trump Tower in Washington at normal rates – which are normally very high – any more than if Washington – George, that is –had shipped some tobacco from his farm to France.
It is not a violation of the intent of the Title of Nobility Clause to have a bunch of American servicemen stay at a fancy resort in Scotland at below-market prices. Why force these men and women serving the nation to double up at Motel 6? It is our tradition to give service personal discounts and even freebies.
It is a good practice for our public officials to refrain from taking things of value from anyone – not just kings and princes – but that does not apply to businesses that provide legitimate goods and services to the general public.
The Democrats can make a political issue of all this because they know they will get the support of much of the elitist anti-Trump media to assist in misinforming the public. They can even take the President to court to create yet another phony dog-and-pony show. BUT when the dust finally settles, Trump will win because the Democrats are just wrong on this one. The Title of Nobility Clause has never been invoked in its more than its 130 years.
So, there ‘tis.
In an apparent response to the most offensive actions and recent comments of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. The U.S. State Department has recently updated its official definition of “anti-semitism.”
The previous definition of anti-semitism, issued in May by the State Department, listed 10 examples. The revised definition now lists 11 examples, adding one that now includes “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis,” as a form of anti-semitism.
The leader of a U.S.-based pro-Israel organization has praised the move.
“Kudos to @SecPompeo and Special Envoy Elan Carr,” Adam Milstein, a philanthropist and co-founder of the Adam and Gila Milstein Foundation, wrote on Twitter. “It’s more clear now, the BDS Movement is disgustingly Antisemitic.”
“BDS” as used in the tweet, refers to the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, whose supporters call for the withdrawal of financial support for the Israeli government in protest of the treatment of Palestinian people.
The State Department revision follows last month’s overwhelming bipartisan 398-17 vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to oppose BDS and any international effort to boycott Israel.
Omar Has Made Her Support of BDS Clear
Omar cast one of the 17 dissenting votes on the resolution mentioned above. The freshman Representative, one of the so-called “Squad,” countered with a resolution of her own, supporting the right to boycott foreign governments “to advocate for human rights abroad,” and likening the action to boycotts of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
Her resolution did not mention Israel or the Palestinians — but she made her intention clear when she spoke with reporters.
“We are introducing a resolution … to really speak about the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our First Amendment rights in regard to boycotting,” Omar told Al-Monitor. “And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”
Israeli Officials Express Some “Concern” Over the Resolution
Meanwhile, according to Fox News, nearly two dozen members of Israel’s parliament sent a letter to Congress on August 8, thanking them for the resolution opposing the international effort to boycott Israel but, warned that some of the language in the resolution “would be far more dangerous” to the country.
As stated above, the resolution put the House on record opposing the BDS movement and its efforts to target U.S. companies doing business with Israel.
However, the letter, (a copy of which was obtained by Fox News) expressed “a concern” regarding the “anti-BDS resolution.” The letter read, in part, “We believe [the Congressional Resolution] contains a grave error because it expresses, among other things, support for a so-called ‘Two-State Solution,’ meaning the establishment of a ‘Palestinian state’ in the heart of tiny Israel.
The members of Israel’s parliament also wrote, “We would like to make our position clear that the establishment of a Palestinian state would be far more dangerous to Israel than BDS.”
The letter then outlined several reasons, including security concerns.
“The establishment of an additional Arab (so-called Palestinian) state in the region would severely damage the national security of both Israel and the United States,” members of Israel’s parliament wrote, adding that “such a state would undoubtedly be a dysfunctional terrorist state, which would distance peace and undermine stability in the Middle East.”
It was signed by 21 members of the Knesset (Israeli parliament), which included former security officials.
The resolution has been endorsed by The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the influential Israel lobby in Washington.
“Unfortunately, in the last few years, AIPAC is independently advancing the two-state solution,” said, Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council in the northern West Bank, and one of the signers of the letter.
Dagan added, “The Two-State Concept is not the policy of the current government coalition, nor is it stated as policy in the agreements between the coalition partners.”
An AIPAC spokesman declined to comment when Fox News’ contacted the organization for a response to the letter and Dagan’s comments.
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have passed red flag anti-gun laws that allow a judge to sign a legal order allowing police to raid the property, with no prior knowledge or consent, of someone accused by someone else of being mentally unstable.
Forget due process. No crime has been committed. A family member with a grudge or a friend you owe money might sign a petition that questions your sanity and ability to handle a firearm responsibly. Perhaps it is a healthcare professional or law enforcement official who makes the anonymous accusation.
No matter – if a judge can be persuaded that the targeted individual sounds crazy enough to be a threat, the police will be authorized to conduct a raid and confiscate personal property with no formal charges or legal defense as required by U.S. law.
After 31 people were killed in recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, a bipartisan effort is using the public outrage, whipped up by the liberal press, into a feel-good call for action that grossly oversimplifies a very complex social issue.
Supporters of red flag laws believe that, since sociopathic mass shooters are mentally ill, taking guns away from people who own guns and are rumored to be psychologically unbalanced must be a good way to solve the problem. A mass murderer deprived of a firearm will pick up a knife, drive a car or shoot acid out of a squirt gun.
Now, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote legislation that announced federal support for states that voluntarily surrender their state’s rights and pass red flag laws. This is institutionalized bribery, of course, and shows no sign of slacking.
“My goal is to have a system that can identify truly a person about to blow, and do something about it before it’s too late,” said Graham, who also stated that mass shootings “involved individuals who showed signs of violent behavior that are either ignored or not followed up. State red flag laws will provide the tools for law enforcement to do something about many of these situations before it’s too late.”
President Trump is accelerating the gun grab by giving a thumbs-up to extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) on August 5, 2019:
“We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms and that if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process. That is why I have called for red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders.”
The following states have already turned away from the 2nd Amendment and down the slippery slope of eroding due process in the U.S. The kind of person who is allowed to submit a red flag petition is also shown:
California: Family, household members, and law enforcement
Colorado: Family, household members, and law enforcement
Connecticut: One state attorney or any two police officers
Delaware: Family, household members, and law enforcement
District of Columbia: Family, household members, mental health professionals, and law enforcement
Florida: Law enforcement
Hawaii: Family, household members, teachers, medical professionals, coworkers, and law enforcement
Illinois: Family, household members, and law enforcement
Indiana: Law enforcement
Maryland: Family, household members, certain health professionals, and law enforcement
Massachusetts: Family, household members, and law enforcement
Nevada: Family, household members, and law enforcement
New Jersey: Family, household members, and law enforcement
New York: Family, household members, school administrators, and law enforcement
Oregon: Family, household members, and law enforcement
Rhode Island: Law enforcement
Vermont: State attorneys or the office of the state attorney general
Washington: Family, household members, and law enforcement
All states allow ex parte orders to confiscate a flagged person’s firearm without official notification. The identity of the accuser remains anonymous for the duration of the ex parte order, which can be executed quickly but holds for a short time. Most states require a court hearing to issue a final order to take away the weapon for a longer period of time. The flagged individual has the opportunity to contest the order at this hearing.
Colorado jumped on the red flag bandwagon in a big way on April 12, 2019, when Gov. Jared Polis signed HB 1177 into law, making the state #15 on the anti-gun-toting list. Talk about a good idea that could go horribly wrong:
“Under Colorado’s recent law, anyone at all can make a phone call to the police. They don’t even have to be living in the state. There is no hearing. All the judge has before him is the statement of concern.”
Weld County Sheriff Steve Rheams spoke for many when he said during a public radio interview:
“Just taking someone’s firearms away and leaving them in place doesn’t solve the problem in my mind. It could actually make it worse in some scenarios. And you know, we’re just, we’re kicking the can down the road to deal with the mental health issue.”
Rep. Meg Froelich (D-CO) said:
“We are a western state with a libertarian streak. We are a strong outdoors state with hunting and fishing. And so I think all of those make for a more nuanced discussion on this issue.”
Rather than being innocent until proven guilty, a person whose gun has been confiscated has the burden of proof to show that s/he is no longers a threat. This is the opposite of the way the American legal system is supposed to work. Yet, no one seems to care about that little legal detail.
Likewise, people pushing red flag laws assume it’s okay to violate the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Sheriff Rheams is a staunch supporter of the Constitution and said he’d go to jail rather than follow a court order to take away someone’s guns without due process:
“My oath of office, it reads that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the state of Colorado. Obviously, that creates a concern if a law is adopted that I believe is in conflict with either the state Constitution or the United States Constitution.”
Counties across the nation calling themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries” are defying the unconstitutional red flag laws.
Hungary has reached an agreement with Poland and Estonia to establish a warning mechanism against the UN Global Compact on Migration, enabling the countries to “move against such pro-migration proposals in their early phases, whether they are drawn up in the UN or in Brussels”.
Peter Szijarto, Hungary’s Foreign Minister, confirmed to Hungary’s MTI that the agreement had been reached with his Polish and Estonian counterparts, About Hungary reports.
On Monday, Szijarto said, “It has once again been made clear that pro-migration forces want to make the United Nations’ global migration compact, the world’s most dangerous migration document, mandatory.”
Last December, at the UN General Assembly, 152 countries voted in favor of the Global Migration Compact while five voted against it, 13 countries abstained, and 57 didn’t vote at all.
Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, the United States, and Israel – who all rejected the document last December – were also joined by Estonia in the most recent vote. Not one of the Visegrád countries backed the compact, with Slovakia choosing not to vote in the most recent vote.
Szijarto argued that anything approved by the United Nations essentially becomes part of international law and judicial practice. He also emphasized the need to fight “pro-migration proposals.”
The Visegrád (V4) countries have recently asserted their political will in ways that haven’t in the past. As an example, the Head of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office said last Thursday that Germany’s Ursula von der Leven couldn’t have been nominated as European Commission President without the support of the Visegrád countries.
President Trump has struck back at Iran for their increasingly aggressive language, by issuing “hard-hitting” financial sanctions against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his associates. Signing an Executive Order (EO) imposing the new sanctions Trump said, “Today’s action follows a series of aggressive behaviors by the Iranian regime in recent weeks including shooting down a U.S. drone,” the president said in the Oval Office, calling Khamenei “responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime.”
Trump said the sanctions “will deny the supreme leader and the supreme leader’s office and those closely affiliated with him and the office access to key financial resources and support.”
Speaking to reporters in the White House briefing room, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the sanctions “lock up literally billions of dollars more of assets.”
“Along with that action today, we are also announcing specific actions targeting those responsible for recent activities,” Mnuchin said, adding that the president has instructed him to sanction Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif “later this week.”
Executive Action and a Cyberattack Against Iran
In a news release following the signing of the EO, the Treasury Department said, “any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant financial transaction for entities designated under this Executive Order could be cut off from the U.S. financial system.”
Amid the newly announced sanctions, Fox News has confirmed that the U.S. military also carried out a cyber attack against Iran last Thursday even as the president nixed plans for airstrikes in response to the downing of an American drone.
Sources said U.S. Cyber Command launched the cyber attack targeting the Iranian intelligence and radar installations used to down the U.S. Navy drone last week.
Fox News has learned that Iran shut off some of its military radar sites around the time the U.S. was poised to launch retaliatory strikes. It’s not clear if those radar sites were turned off by the cyber attack or if Iran shut them off deliberately in anticipation of this.
A recent Supreme Court ruling could mean trouble for former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort.
The ruling in the case of an Alabama man who pleaded guilty to a gun charge could have major implications for the unrelated white-collar case against Paul Manafort in New York — by keeping him exposed to another set of charges, even if he ultimately wins a presidential pardon.
At issue in the Alabama dispute was whether the “dual sovereignty doctrine” — which allows a person to face both state and federal charges for the same offense — violates the Fifth Amendment’s Double Jeopardy Clause. On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled it does not.
“Although the dual-sovereignty rule is often dubbed an ‘exception’ to the double jeopardy right, it is not an exception at all,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the opinion. “On the contrary, it follows from the text that defines that right in the first place.”
A Presidential Pardon No Longer Guarantees Freedom For Manfort
The ruling means that prosecutors in New York have free reign to continue their case against Manafort, who already has been convicted of federal crimes that include bank and tax fraud. Had the court ruled the other way in Monday’s case, Gamble v. United States, and eliminated the dual sovereignty doctrine, a pardon from President Trump would have left Manafort free and clear.
But since Presidential pardons can only be given for those convicted of Federal crimes and not state crimes, Manafort’s “get out of jail free card” is no longer guaranteed.
“No one is beyond the law in New York,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement when the indictment was announced. Manafort is facing 16 counts in that indictment, including conspiracy, residential mortgage fraud, and falsifying business records. The charges are based on allegations similar to ones related to his federal convictions.
The Gamble case, meanwhile, involved a man who was first convicted of a state gun possession charge following a guilty plea, then indicted in federal court for the same possession. He pleaded guilty in that case too, only to appeal with the argument that the federal charge violated double jeopardy.
Alito explained that the Double Jeopardy Clause prohibits multiple prosecutions for the same “offence,” but “an ‘offence’ is defined by a law, and each law is defined by a sovereign.” Therefore, Alito said, “where there are two sovereigns, there are two laws, and two ‘offences.'”
Alito’s opinion was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Brett Kavanaugh, as well as Chief Justice John Roberts.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Neil Gorsuch each wrote dissenting opinions.