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Comey, Trump and Our Constitutional Crisis

Friday, May 12th, 2017

Comey’s Firing and the Lingering Constitutional Crisis

AmericanflagDonald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey for what might appear to be Comey’s reluctance to end the Trump Russian collusion investigation and/or pledge loyalty to the President. Before being fired, Comey had asked for additional funds to investigate any Russian collusion with the 2016 presidential election. Instead of more funds, he was fired.

The reasons keep changing as to the reasons for the firing. At first, Trump stated he relied on the letters and memorandum of Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Nominee Rod Rosenstein which discussed Comey’s performance and duties. Attorney General Sessions, as many may recall, stated that he recused himself from the Russian collusion investigation over one month ago, due to his conflict of interest. Yet, he re-entered the investigation to weigh in on Comey’s performance into Russiangate. It’s as if the Trump administration violates its own rules whenever it deems necessary.

Trump later stated he intended to fire Comey all along due to how badly he treated Hillary Clinton. And within days after being sworn into office, Trump now alleges that he met with and dined with James Comey and asked if he was the target of the investigation. Trump insists that Director Comey advised that Trump was not being investigated. As the world turns, the facts change.

The legal issues involved are so immense in this scenario. If Trump intended to politically pressure Comey to end an ongoing investigation of any Russian involvement and/or involvement with the Trump administration, then a charge of obstruction of justice to impede an ongoing investigation might be warranted.

And meanwhile as the Comey firing issue was being discussed and dissected by the media, Trump was meeting with Russian officials at the White House with only Russian photographers present. All U.S. media were excluded by the President. It is as if this President is snubbing all rules of law, protocol, hijacking the U. S. for his own purposes and acting as the chief CEO of the U.S, in the process.

Meanwhile, the investigative process continues into the issue of Russian influence in the 2016 election. Without a FBI director, the investigation will continue despite Trump’s desires to the contrary. However, an independent special prosecutor needs to be appointed to avoid even the appearance of the ongoing impropriety. However, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejects the call for a special prosecutor. One must wonder if he has any involvement with Russiangate.

The real issue is whether we as American citizens and our lawmakers will continue to allow Trump to take us down the very dark abyss that he is leading us into. The task is not just for the FBI to investigate but for the many Americans who see democracy slipping from our grips to actively protest, resist, contact law makers and urge action to be taken. There comes a time when going down a slippery slope becomes impossible to climb back up. And we are inching towards the fall into the darkness. Democracy is not slipping away in darkness. It is occurring right before our eyes.

Please watch my discussion on the Bill Press Show on May 11, 2017 for a more detailed analysis at 38:00 min mark:

Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a trial lawyer, legal analyst and former prosecutor. She often appears on MSNBC, CBS News, PBS, Al Jazeera and Fox 5 DC.

How Will Hillary Clinton New Emails Impact Election?

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropThis election has more twists and turns than any novel could ever imagine. And now with 11 days before the election, FBI Director Comey claims to have found new emails as a result of a search involving Anthony Weiner and Clinton aide, Huma Abeden.  No information is really known except for a short 2 paragraph letter from  Director Comey to Republican leaders.   Everything in Washington, DC is political.  And I  have to admit the revelation of any “pertinent” emails at this timing is likely politically motivated.  Despite what many people might say otherwise, everything is really political.

WUSA 9 anchor Bruce Johnson interviewed legal analyst Debbie Hines on Friday, October 29, 2016 on the Clinton new emails and their significance to the 2016 election.  Watch here:  Legal analyst Debbie Hines examines what this latest email probe could mean for Hillary Clinton’s campaign:

http://www.wusa9.com/mb/opinion/editorials/off-script/how-do-new-clinton-emails-impact-campaign-/343991838

 

 

 

 

 

What the Media Got Wrong About Marilyn Mosby

Thursday, May 7th, 2015
Marilyn Mosby-  Official Photo as State's Attorney

Marilyn Mosby- Official Photo as State’s Attorney

Once Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that her  office was bringing charges against the six police officers allegedly involved in the death of Freddie Gray, all media piercing eyes were focused on her with extreme scrutiny.  There was very little praise for Mosby conducting her own individual investigation instead of relying on the police to police and investigate themselves.  There was little discussion of her investigation except to say that it was swift.  Yet, the police concluded their investigation in the same time period and no one questioned their swiftness. The media mostly focused on her age, her lack of experience with homicides, potential conflicts of interests with the Gray family attorney, bias against the police, conflicts due to her husband’s position and a host of other things. Almost nothing good has been said about Mosby in the media.

At 35 years old, she is the youngest chief prosecutor in a major city.  Ms. Mosby worked at the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s office for five years before moving on to obtain other work experience. And I hate to let the media in on a secret. Ms. Mosby will not likely be trying the case by herself.  She will most likely have a team of seasoned prosecutors involved on the case. As a former Baltimore prosecutor, the State’s Attorney’s Office has many senior  career prosecutors.  She did not conduct the investigation by herself. She used her own team of investigators and lawyers. To their credit and respect for her, no one leaked that there was a simultaneous investigation occurring alongside of the police investigation.

 

The main focus has been on her alleged speed in investigating the Gray case. Just about every interview has asked about the speed of the investigation—as if it were lightning fast and referring to a “rush to judgment.” The problem is not with Ms. Mosby’s speed but with the other police involved killings in other jurisdictions   and Maryland that took months to investigate without charges being filed.  It should not and does not normally take months to investigate a homicide.  Although police are involved, at the end of the day, it’s still a homicide case. Like all homicide investigations, her office’s investigation will be ongoing. A homicide investigation does not end just because charges have been brought. Just as the police are continuing their investigation, Ms. Mosby undoubtedly will continue her investigation.  Once Mosby had enough information to bring charges based on probable cause, her office prepared the necessary paperwork to bring the charges. Probable cause is a far much lower standard from reasonable doubt.

As if the attacks on her age, level of experience and competence weren’t enough, the media questioned her bias against police officers and potential conflict with the Gray family attorney, William “Billy” Murphy.   Any bias questioned against her for bringing charges against  the police is utterly unfounded.  According to Mosby in interviews, her family consists of police officers for generations from her parents, grandfather, two  uncles  and other relatives.  The alleged potential conflict of interest with Mr. Murphy and his association with her campaign is also a non-issue. Mr. Murphy gave money to Mosby’s campaign and the Fraternal Order of Police also contributed to her campaign.  Clearly, no apparent conflict exists.  As for her knowing William Murphy, he is a prominent attorney in the Baltimore community and most attorneys, and particularly African American attorneys, are familiar in some way or another with Mr. Murphy. Then the media questioned whether a conflict of interest exists with her handling the case because her husband, Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby represents the district where Freddie Gray resided.  It is the area in which she and her family reside.  There would be no reason for Ms. Mosby to recuse herself in every case involving her district. I doubt if any other State’s Attorney was ever asked to recuse his or herself due to where they lived.  She represents the entire City of Baltimore, including the district where she and her family reside.

 

What most of the media got wrong with Marilyn Mosby is their failure to address her intelligence, savvy, ingenuity and boldness in taking the action that she took. If she were a young, white male prosecutor, she would have been described as a rising star, an emerging legal figure with a keen and brilliant legal mind or a legal maverick.  Ms. Mosby is all those things and many more. But most of the media has chosen and probably will continue to focus on negativity when referring to her and her office.  The six police officer’s attorneys and some of their fellow officers will continue to put their negative spin on Ms. Mosby in the media.  In contrast, Mosby will not try the case in the press.  She will have to wait patiently until the case proceeds through the legal system to prove her worth.  Many in the media act as if Marilyn Mosby is on trial.  She is not the one on trial in this case.

 

Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a trial lawyer, legal analyst and former Baltimore prosecutor. She appears on MSNBC, Al Jazeera,  BET, C-Span, CCTV- America, Sky News, PBS and TV One, among others addressing legal issues. She is a native of Baltimore, MD.