Trump tweets he should have left UCLA players in Chinese jail

President Trump says he should have left three UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting in China in jail.

Mr. Trump’s tweet Sunday comes after the father of player LiAngelo Ball minimized Mr. Trump’s involvement in winning the players’ release in comments to ESPN.

“Who?” LaVar Ball told ESPN on Friday, when asked about Mr. Trump’s involvement in the matter. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

Mr. Trump has said he raised the players’ detention with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the leaders’ recent meeting in Beijing.

The players returned to the U.S. last week. They have been indefinitely suspended from the team.

The younger Ball, along with fellow freshmen Jalen Hill and Cody Riley, aren’t with the rest of the No. 23 Bruins, who are in Kansas City to play in the Hall of Fame Classic on Monday and Tuesday. The trio isn’t allowed to suit up, be on the bench for home games or travel with the team.

The players were arrested and questioned about stealing from high-end stores next to the team’s hotel in Hangzhou, where the Bruins stayed before leaving for Shanghai to play Georgia Tech.

UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said last week that the players stole from three stores.

Speaking on Wednesday, all three players thanked the U.S. government and Mr. Trump for working to secure their release.

“To President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf. We really appreciate you helping us out,” Riley said. Ball, whose brother is a rookie on the Los Angeles Lakers, said he “didn’t exercise my best judgment and I was wrong for that.”

“As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine,” LaVar Ball told ESPN. “I’m happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, ‘They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.'”

“I’m from LA. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn’t define him. Now if you can go back and say when he was 12 years old he was shoplifting and stealing cars and going wild, then that’s a different thing,” he said.

“Everybody gets stuck on the negativity of some things and they get stuck on them too long. That’s not me. I handle what’s going on and then we go from there.”

[CBS News]

Trump calls Hillary Clinton the ‘worst’ loser ever, after she says he’s ‘disgraced’ the office

President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are at it again.

Trump lashed out at his former rival on Saturday, calling Clinton “the worst (and biggest) loser of all time,” after the ex-Democratic nominee made pointed criticisms in a series of interviews about Trump’s political and moral legitimacy.

The president tweeted: “Give it another try in three years,” in an apparent attempt to bait Clinton to run for president again.

The president’s remarks followed two interviews on Friday, in which the former Democratic nominee differentiated between sexual assault accusations against GOP Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and Democratic Sen. Al Franken. Clinton questioned why Trump was never hurt by past allegations from women that he behaved improperly, and tried to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Trump’s win by invoking Russia’s suspected meddling in the 2016 general election.

In an interview with Mother Jones, Clinton said she can’t explain why Trump’s candidacy was not affected by the allegations or his bullying of his rival candidates on the campaign trail.

“I don’t understand a lot about how he got away with so many attacks and insults and behaviors that allowed him to win the presidency,” the publication reported Clinton as saying.

Trump has always denied allegations made by several women to the New York Times before the election, and around the time of the release of the infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape. In the second presidential debate, Trump admitted to bragging on the tape about kissing and groping women, but said he actually never did any of those things.

On WABC radio, Clinton said the Franken situation differs from Moore because the Minnesota senator apologized, and said he would “gladly cooperate” with an ethics investigation. “I don’t hear that from Roy Moore or Donald Trump,” Clinton said. “Look at the contrast between Al Franken, accepting responsibility, apologizing, and Roy Moore and Donald Trump who have done neither.”

The president has been blasting Franken, while trying to stay out of the Moore situation. Trump’s has said the voters of Alabama should decide on whether to elect Moore in next month’s special election.

The former secretary of State — appearing to promote her new book “What Happened” — also told WABC radio that Trump has “disgraced the office” of the presidency. “I didn’t think he’d be as bad as he turned out to be,” she added.

Clinton, also a former senator from New York and first lady, called the GOP tax reform plan “bad policy” that’s “downright cruel” to working Americans. “I will predict to you that a number of Republican members of Congress who voted for it, will lose their seats in 2018.”

[CNBC]

Trump blasts Franken, but stays silent on Moore and his own accusers

President Donald Trump, who has largely stayed mum on the allegations of sexual abuse against Alabama Senate Republican candidate Roy Moore, blasted Democratic Sen. Al Franken Thursday night after a woman said he groped and kissed her without her consent.

By weighing in on Franken, Trump potentially invites another round of scrutiny over the past accusations of sexual assault that have been levied against him — a risk that a source told CNN earlier this week was partially behind his decision to not comment on the Moore controversy.

“The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps?” Trump wrote of a photo in which Franken appears to grab a woman’s breast while she was asleep during a 2006 USO tour. The Minnesota Democrat has apologized for his behavior and said he welcome an ethics probe into his conduct.

He continued, “And to think that just last week he was lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women. Lesley Stahl tape?”

Trump was referring to a 1995 New York magazine article quoting Franken joking in the “Saturday Night Live” writers’ room about drugging and raping journalist Lesley Stahl. The article became an issue for Franken during his 2008 Senate election, for which he apologized at the time, though he later walked back the regret in his 2017 memoir.

The President has declined to weigh in forcefully, however, on the Moore revelations, which unfolded as he was abroad in Asia. When the allegations first surfaced, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on behalf of the President that Moore should drop out if the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against him are true, but Trump, himself, has declined to comment further and ignored several shouted questions from reporters when asked whether Moore should drop out of the race.

“The President said in his statement earlier this week that, if the allegations are true, then that Roy Moore should step aside. He still firmly believes that,” Sanders told reporters on Thursday, noting, “This is a decision people of Alabama need to make, not the President.”

Sanders did say, however, that a Senate investigation into the allegations against Franken were an “appropriate action.”

Trump’s relative silence on Moore is is in large part rooted in his own history of facing sexual misconduct allegations, a Republican close to the White House told CNN earlier this week.

In conversations in the West Wing on Wednesday, Trump expressed apprehension about being dragged into the topic of sexual assault or harassment if he weighs in.
“He’s worried about the conversation moving to his past accusers,” the Republican familiar with the matter said, noting that the President believes his accusers were unfair and some of Moore’s may be, too.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway offered a different explanation for Trump’s silence on Moore, telling Fox News on Friday that, while the story was old news by the time he returned from Asia, the Franken controversy was “brand new.”

“Well, Al Franken was a brand new news story yesterday and the President weighed in as he does on the news of the day often enough. The Roy Moore story is eight days old and the President put out a statement on his Asia trip on that,” Conway said.
She added, “And since then, our press secretary has spoken on behalf of the president by saying that he believes the people of Alabama will sort out what to do with Roy Moore and with that election.”

But Moore’s controversy has been a frequent news story since Trump returned, and two new Moore accusers came forward as recently as Wednesday.

More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual assault, and his comments captured in the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape during the campaign threatened to derail his presidential bid. Trump has denied the assault allegations and accused the women of lying.

[CNN]

Trump takes another swipe at CNN after being ‘forced’ to watch it in the Philippines

President Donald Trump wrote online Wednesday that he was “forced” to watch CNN during his recent trip to Asia, refreshing his animus towards the network he has bemoaned for nearly his entire political career.

“While in the Philippines I was forced to watch @CNN, which I have not done in months, and again realized how bad, and FAKE, it is. Loser!” Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning, one of a flurry of posts from the president that appeared online before 6 a.m.

Trump has roundly critiqued the news media as a whole throughout his presidency, but he has focused many of his attacks on CNN, which he claims covers him unfairly and is biased against him.

While Trump eagerly slammed CNN, he also directed his followers to tune in on Wednesday to Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,” the morning show where he is given consistently fawning coverage. Trump predicted the show, which had not yet come on the air, would feature positive coverage from his recently concluded five-nation tour of Asia.

“.@foxandfriends will be showing much of our successful trip to Asia, and the friendships & benefits that will endure for years to come!” the president wrote.

[Politico]

Trump chuckled as Duterte called journalists ‘spies.’ That’s no joke in the Philippines.

After President Trump boasted of his “great relationship” with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during a meeting in Manila Monday, American reporters pressed Trump on whether he brought up human rights issues.

“Whoa, whoa,” Duterte said, cutting off the journalists. “This is not a press statement. This is the bilateral meeting.”

Then, Duterte told reporters: “With you around, guys, you are the spies.”

Trump laughed, according to a transcript of the conversation.

“You are,” Duterte repeated.

Hearing the Philippine president once again demonize journalists — and seeing Trump chuckle in response — struck a nerve among journalists and activists in the Philippines and beyond.

The Philippines ranks as the fifth most dangerous country for journalists, according to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists. At least 177 Filipino media workers have been killed since 1986. In the past decade, 42 journalists have been killed with total impunity, the report said, and at least four journalists have been killed in the time since Duterte took office in June 2016.

Duterte came under fire last year for appearing to defend the killing of journalists, insisting that many slain journalists had been corrupt and had “done something” to justify being killed.

“Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch,” Rodrigo Duterte, then president-elect, said in May of last year, Agence France-Presse reported.

He suggested many of the killings were done in retaliation for journalists accepting bribes or criticizing people. He also called one recently slain journalist “rotten,” the Associated Press reported.

The comments spurred widespread condemnation from journalists and activists worldwide. The Committee to Protect Journalists said his remarks threatened to turn the Philippines into a “killing field for journalists.”

Duterte himself has been accused of ordering the assassination of a journalist. In February, a former Philippine policeman, Arturo Lascanas, acknowledged his role in the 2003 killing of radio journalist Juan “Jun” Pala.

He said the assassination was ordered and paid for by Duterte, then mayor of Davao City, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists and local news reports. The former policeman said Duterte ordered a “death squad” to carry out extrajudicial killings, which Duterte has repeatedly denied, Reuters reported.

Duterte’s administration has pledged to investigate and solve the murders of journalists. In October of last year, he formed a Presidential Task Force on Media Security designed to speed up investigations and prosecutions of media killings. But so far, there have been no convictions, and “little evidence that the task force has actively pursued attacks on journalists,” according to Human Rights Watch.

In a span of two days in August, two radio journalists were shot dead. Rudy Alicaway, a 46-year-old radio host, was fatally shot on his way home from work in the southern province of Zamboanga del Sur. Two gunmen on a motorcycle shot him, before getting off the vehicle and shooting him again as he tried to flee, ensuring his death, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

The following day, a 60-year-old local columnist and radio reporter, Leodoro Diaz, was fatally shot on his way home in Sultan Kudarat province. Earlier that day, he told his colleagues he planned to publish a report on illegal drugs, according to Human Rights Watch. Authorities have not determined a motive for the killing of either Alicaway or Diaz.

On Aug. 10, three days after Diaz’s death, an assailant shot 65-year-old columnist Crisenciano Ibon in Batangas City. Ibon survived the shooting, which police suspect may have been ordered by operators of illegal gambling. Ibon’s recent columns had shed a negative light on the industry, according to the Philippine Star.

The single deadliest attack on journalists anywhere in the world took place in the Philippines. The 2009 Maguindanao massacre left 30 local journalists and two media workers dead, along with 26 other civilians.

A convoy of family members and supporters had been accompanying a local vice mayor on the island of Mindanao to register his candidacy for upcoming gubernatorial elections, according to a lengthy report in Human Rights Watch called “They Own the People.”

Around 30 members of the news media went along to cover the event. As the group drove down the highway, about 200 armed men forced them out of their vehicles and summarily executed them all, burying them at the site.

Eight years later, not a single person has been convicted in connection with the mass killing. Three suspects were acquitted in July because of lack of evidence, the Philippine Star reported.

“The fact that no one has yet been convicted nearly eight years after the massacre underscores the fact impunity reigns in this country,” the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said in a statement.

“Impunity exists to this day under the Rodrigo Duterte government, which is not doing any better than his predecessors,” the union continued. “In fact, he himself justified the killings of journalists.”

“Fake news” in the Philippines — in the form of dubious and counterfeit online news sites — has built support for Duterte, Miguel Syjuco, a Filipino professor at NYU Abu Dhabi, wrote in the New York Times. These sites have featured false endorsements of Duterte from leaders such as Pope Francis and Angela Merkel, and celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Dwayne Johnson.

During the presidential election, Duterte’s social media team paid hundreds of prominent online commentators to post a barrage of pro-Duterte comments on social media and bash critics. As the New Republic reported, online trolls with fake social media accounts can earn up to $2,000 a month to post pro-Duterte propaganda on the Web.

The messages seemed to work — the president maintained approval ratings above 60 percent until last month, when his net satisfaction rating fell to 48, classified as “good,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

The drop in ratings comes as the president continues to wage a bloody drug war that has claimed thousands of lives in extrajudicial killings by police or hit men.

According to the International Press Institute, Duterte’s assaults on the news media seem to be rubbing off on his supporters. Journalists who are critical of Duterte’s policies or write about issues such as drug trafficking or corruption face defamation suits and online backlash, IPI reported.

On Monday, journalists and human rights activists on social media were quick to point out that accusing journalists of being spies is no joke in the Philippines — or anywhere, for that matter. Some criticized Trump for laughing at Duterte’s comment, while others said they weren’t all that surprised.

Trump has frequently lashed out at the news media, which he has called “the enemy of the American People.” He wrote on Twitter last month that NBC News should be punished by regulators after the organization published a report that he did not like.

He suggested that networks that report “fake news” should be stripped of their licenses. First Amendment advocates condemned his comments as an attack on the Constitution.

“It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write,” Trump said. “And people should look into it.”

In August, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, the United Nations’ human rights chief, said that freedom of the press is “under attack from the president.”

“To call these news organizations ‘fake’ does tremendous damage,” he said. “I have to ask the question: Is this not an incitement for others to attack journalists?”

[Washington Post]

Media

Trump slams former US intel leaders as ‘political hacks’

President Trump on Saturday lashed out at U.S. intelligence leaders for their conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, calling them “political hacks” and slamming the investigations into Russian interference as a “Democratic hit job.”

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump blasted former U.S. intelligence officials by name, including former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former FBI Director James Comey.

“I mean, give me a break, they are political hacks,” Trump said, according to White House pool reports. He was discussing the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia sought to influence the 2016 election in favor of Trump.

“So you look at it, I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey,” he continued. “Comey is proven now to be a liar and he is proven now to be a leaker.”

“So you look at that and you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with them,” he continued, referring to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Trump said that the investigation into Russian interference in the election was a “Democratic-inspired thing” and a “pure hit job.”

Trump went on to say that he wasn’t going to “argue” with Putin about whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

“He said he didn’t meddle, he said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times,” Trump said, according to pool reports.

“I can’t stand there and argue with him, I would rather have him get out of Syria, I would rather get to work with him on the Ukraine,” he added.

Multiple U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA and FBI, have concluded that Russia did interfere in the 2016 election, and several congressional investigations are currently underway to determine the scale and scope of Russia’s interference.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is also leading an investigation into potential ties between President Trump’s election campaign and Russian officials.

Trump is in the middle of a five-nation, 12-day trip to Asia, and is currently in Vietnam. Trump participated overnight in the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Danang.

[The Hill]

Trump throws Twitter tantrum over Russia relations and Kim Jong-un calling him ‘old’

President Donald Trump on Saturday lashed out at North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un after state-run media called him a “lunatic old man.”

North Korea also criticized Trump as a “warmonger” as the president toured Asia to drum up support against Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

Trump also lashed out at the “haters and fools” who had criticized his meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The two spoke together during the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Vietnam.

Trump faced a backlash after saying he believed Putin, who told him that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

[Raw Story]

Trump reverts to campaign-trail name-calling in Twitter rant calling for probe of DNC

President Trump issued a flurry of tweets over a five-hour span Friday urging the Justice Department to investigate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee over a joint fundraising agreement they signed in August 2015.

Trump’s accusations follow publication by Politico of an excerpt from former acting DNC Chair Donna Brazile’s upcoming book. Brazile alleges she found “proof” that the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged in Clinton’s favor.

Previous presidents have avoided even seeming to direct the Justice Department on whom to investigate — but not Trump.

Trump reverted to his campaign-trail name-calling of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), again referring to her as “Pocahontas.”

He also in one post called Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) “Crazy Bernie.” Trump has described this kind of rhetoric as “modern day presidential.”

Trump’s epic Twitter rant took place in the hours and minutes before he was set to depart the South Lawn via Marine One for his Air Force One flight to Hawaii to kick off his 12-day swing through Asia.

Implicit in the messages was more criticism of Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, though Trump did not mention the nation’s top prosecutor by name.

Asked later Friday if he would fire the attorney general if he doesn’t investigate Trump’s Democratic political rivals, the president said, “I don’t know.”

Two White House officials quickly cautioned against reading too much into Trump’s comments, reiterating that he has no plans to fire Sessions. And although the White House maintains that Trump’s tweets are “official record,” it says Trump has not ordered Sessions or the FBI to do anything related to Democrats.

The aides said the tweets were a media savvy way to deflect attention from the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

This week, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates, who also had a role in the campaign, were indicted on 12 counts, and former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying about his dealings with Russians who were offering “dirt” on Clinton.

[Los Angeles Times]

The Justice Department Declares War on Attorneys Who Dare to Oppose the Trump Administration

On Friday, the Department of Justice filed an astonishing appeal with the Supreme Court, urging the justices to intervene in the Jane Doe case that seemed to have ended last week. Doe, an undocumented 17-year-old in a federally funded Texas shelter, was denied abortion access by the Trump administration, which argues that it can force undocumented minors to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. On Oct. 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that Doe must be allowed to terminate her pregnancy, which she did the next day. Now the DOJ is urging the Supreme Court to vacate that decision—and punish the ACLU attorneys who represented Doe.

Make no mistake: With this filing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department has declared war on attorneys and groups who dare to oppose it in court.

Because Doe obtained her abortion, Friday’s appeal might seem pointless, presenting no live controversy for the justices to adjudicate. But the DOJ has three goals here. First, it wants the Supreme Court to punish the D.C. Circuit for issuing a decision that it believes to be egregiously wrong by wiping the entire ruling off the books. Second, the DOJ wants to eradicate a decision that sets a legal precedent it despises. Doe’s lawsuit was initially brought as part of a class action, and the ACLU will continue to litigate its broader claim against the Trump administration’s absolute bar on abortion access for undocumented minors. As long as the D.C. Circuit’s decision remains on the books, those lawsuits are almost guaranteed to succeed. The Justice Department wants it gone so that it can litigate this issue anew.

Third, and most importantly, Friday’s appeal is a flagrant effort to crucify the individual attorneys who represented Doe, and to terrify likeminded lawyers into acquiescence. The DOJ thus asks the Supreme Court to force Doe’s lawyers to “show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken” against the ACLU—either by the court itself or by state bars—for “material misrepresentations and omissions” designed to thwart an appeal.

In other words, the DOJ is using the full weight of a government agency to threaten professional ruin upon the lawyers who defended Jane Doe’s constitutional right to abortion access.

The DOJ claims that after the D.C. Circuit ruled in Doe’s favor on Oct. 24, government attorneys believed they had until Oct. 26 until Doe got her abortion. Under Texas law, women must obtain “counseling” at least 24 hours before terminating her pregnancy, and this counseling must be performed by the same physician who performs the procedure. Doe had already received this counseling from a Texas doctor when the D.C. Circuit issued its decision. According to the DOJ, ACLU lawyers told the government that this physician would not be working and that Doe would receive another counseling appointment on the morning of October 25, and get the abortion to October 26. Government lawyers asked to be kept informed of the timing of the procedure, and they claim that ACLU lawyers agreed to comply with their request. They also say that the DOJ planned to ask for a stay on Oct. 25—but on that same morning, ACLU attorneys arranged for Doe to visit the doctor who had already counseled her, allowing him to perform the procedure.

Put differently, the government argues that the ACLU owed government lawyers a notification of when Doe’s legal abortion would occur. The end goal here seems to have been to try to continue to block the abortion until it would be illegal to terminate, even though she had secured an unqualified right to do so. (Doe was 16 weeks pregnant by that point; Texas bans abortion after 20 weeks, and the government had already delayed the abortion by a month.) The DOJ also claims that Doe’s lawyers had the responsibility to keep answering their phone calls to update them on her status: “Efforts to reach respondent’s counsel were met with silence, until approximately 10 a.m. EST, when one of her lawyers told the government that Ms. Does had undergone an abortion.”

What really seems to enrage the DOJ, however, is that Doe didn’t attend a second counseling session—which would have been duplicative and wasteful, and caused her yet more needless delay—because the physician who counseled her the first time later agreed to perform the procedure. If ever there were an indicator of the un-distilled bad faith at work here, it’s government lawyers insisting that a non-person with no rights undergo a second round of the same counseling, not for the purposes of medical advice, but so that they would have more time to thwart her choice.

These allegations of wrongdoing are laughably flimsy and outwardly vindictive. Even under the DOJ’s contorted narrative, it’s obvious that the ACLU simply acted efficiently, and the Trump administration is bitter and embarrassed that it lost. The government argues that the ACLU “at least arguably had an obligation to notify the government” that Doe would terminate on Oct. 25—an “incredibly significant development.” But that’s just not how this works. The government had sufficient time to ask the Supreme Court to stay the D.C. Circuit’s decision before Doe terminated. In fact, Texas was already prepared with its own amicus brief backing the DOJ. But the government didn’t act in time. And it’s not the ACLU’s fault that its client secured her constitutional rights while the government dallied in its efforts to exert control of her reproductive capacities. This week-late effort to blame the ACLU for its “arguable” responsibility to ensure that the government could continue to harm their client is not just an effort to save face, but also an attempt to warn attorneys that zealous effectuation of their duties to the clients will now be punished.

The Justice Department’s crusade against the ACLU is especially galling in light of the fact that there was sanctionable misconduct here—on the part of the government itself. Scott Lloyd, the official who blocked Doe and other minors from abortion access, likely violated a long-standing federal settlement agreement in his anti-abortion crusade. Under this agreement, undocumented minors like Doe must be allowed access to family planning services, which Lloyd intentionally and repeatedly withheld. He even instituted his anti-abortion views as official government policy in obvious violation of the federal settlement.

If anyone deserves to be punished here, it is surely Lloyd, who flouted the law for purely ideological purposes. But instead of investigating its own employee for potential misconduct, the government is going after Doe’s ACLU attorneys for defending her constitutional rights. This is a shocking assault on the nation’s civil rights attorneys, and an unprecedented effort by the DOJ to slander and shame those attorneys who defend their clients’ rights against the government’s abuse of the law. After today, lawyers who question the Trump administration’s legal views should be aware that they have targets on their backs.

[Slate]

Trump labels US justice system ‘laughing stock’

President Donald Trump called for “quick justice” and “strong justice” for terror suspects in the wake of the deadly New York City attack.

We have to come up with punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now. They’ll go through court for years. At the end, they’ll be — who knows what happens. We need quick justice, and we need strong justice. Much quicker and much stronger than we have right now, because what we have right now is a joke, and it’s a laughing stock. And no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.

Tuesday’s terror attack in New York was the city’s deadliest since 9/11. Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov drove a rented van down a bike path, law enforcement sources have said. The attack killed six victims instantly, while two others died later. New York politicians and officials quickly labeled the incident a terror attack.

[CNN]

Reality

As Vox points out, this is verifiably false pretty much from top to bottom.

There is no evidence that US courts are unable to prosecute terrorism suspects in a timely fashion. The opposite: Since 9/11, more than 620 individuals have been convicted on terrorism charges in 63 separate federal courts, according to a May 2017 count by Human Rights First. None of these terrorists have broken out of prison, and none of the courts have suffered retaliatory attacks.

Moreover, the US already tried to set up an alternative system — the military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that George W. Bush established after 9/11 — and it was a disaster.

Military courts are well equipped to try US service members who violate military laws, but aren’t set up to deal with complex and wide-ranging constitutional and classification issues raised by major terrorism prosecution. This makes them slower and puts verdicts on less sure legal footing. In the same time span that civilian courts convicted 620 individuals on terrorism charges, military commissions convicted a grand total of eight people.

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