Obama Has Achieved Imperial Presidency That Nixon Wanted

Richard M. Nixon

 

Georgetown Law Professor Jonathan Turley has a fascinating post, analyzing actions and “legal” maneuverings and tactics of the Obama administration and comparing them to the powers of  the “imperial presidency” that Nixon sought.

The Coronation

If you value your freedom or the rule of law, click here and read Professor Turley’s  full post.  From the “kill list”– to surveillance of citizens– to unwarranted prosecutions, this administration has no regard for the rule of law, and it is politicizing prosecutions to achieve its purposes.  Here are a few quotes from Jonathan’s post:

Four decades ago, Nixon was halted in his determined effort to create an “imperial presidency” with unilateral powers and privileges. In 2013, Obama wields those very same powers openly and without serious opposition. The success of Obama in acquiring the long-denied powers of Nixon is one of his most remarkable, if ignoble, accomplishments. Consider a few examples:

Warrantless surveillance

Nixon’s use of warrantless surveillance led to the creation of a special court called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA). But the reform turned out to be more form than substance. The secret court turned “probable cause” into a meaningless standard, virtually guaranteeing any surveillance the government wanted. After hundreds of thousands of applications over decades, only a couple have ever been denied.

Unilateral military action

Nixon’s impeachment included the charge that he evaded Congress’ sole authority to declare war by invading Cambodia. In the Libyan “mission,” Obama announced that only he had the inherent authority to decide what is a “war” and that so long as he called it something different, no congressional approval or even consultation was necessary. He proceeded to bomb a nation’s capital, destroy military units and spend more than a billion dollars in support of one side in a civil war.

Attacking whistle-blowers and Journalists

Nixon was known for his attacks on whistle-blowers. He used the Espionage Act of 1917 to bring a rare criminal case against Ellsberg. Nixon was vilified for the abuse of the law. Obama has brought twice as many such prosecutions as all prior presidents combined. While refusing to prosecute anyone for actual torture, the Obama administration has prosecuted former CIA employee John Kiriakou for disclosing the torture program. The Obama Administration has also threatened action against journalists in receiving precisely the same type of information published in the Pentagon Papers during Nixon’s administration.

Other Nixonesque areas include Obama’s overuse of classification laws and withholding material from Congress. There are even missing tapes. In the torture scandal, CIA officials admitted to destroying tapes that they feared could be used against them in criminal cases. Of course, Nixon had missing tapes, but Rose Mary Woods claimed to have erased them by mistake, as opposed to current officials who openly admit to intentional destruction.

THE FEDERAL PROSECUTOR

Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson

The Federal Prosecutor

On Monday morning, April 1, 1940, Attorney General Jackson gave the following speech to the United States Attorneys who then were serving in each Federal Judicial District across the country. These prosecutors were assembled in the Great Hall at the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., for the Second Annual Conference of United States Attorneys.

In the speech, Jackson, who had been Attorney General for only three months, offered his views on what constituted proper, ethical conduct by federal prosecutors.

These remarks subsequently were published in 31 Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 3-6 (1940) and 24 Journal of the American Judicature Society 18 (1940).

Prosecutors need to be reminded of these thoughts daily, so we quote him below.

The Federal Prosecutor

By Robert H. Jackson
Attorney General of the United States
April 1, 1940

“It would probably be within the range of that exaggeration permitted in Washington to say that assembled in this room is one of the most powerful peace-time forces known to our country. The prosecutor has more control over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America. His discretion is tremendous.

He can have citizens investigated and, if he is that kind of person, he can have this done to the tune of public statements and veiled or unveiled intimations. Or the prosecutor may choose a more subtle course and simply have a citizen’s friends interviewed. The prosecutor can order arrests, present cases to the grand jury in secret session, and on the basis of his one-sided presentation of the facts, can cause the citizen to be indicted and held for trial. Read More »

WHY did DOJ Suddenly Drop Charges After 4-Year Investigation?

DOJ sealEven after a month, we still don’t know–and we need the truth.   It could only have been the discovery of more prosecutorial misconduct to cause the Department of Justice to abandon a four year investigation into which it had poured millions of your taxpayer dollars.  It is extremely rare for the Department to stop in its tracks. Yet that is exactly what it did several weeks ago, and we still don’t know why.  See article at:  http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/03/river_birch_probe_coming_to_an.html

See article at http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2013/03/river_birchs_4-year_probe_whic.html.  Federal district judge Kurt Engelhardt excoriated the prosecutors from the New Orleans United States Attorneys Office several months ago when their original misconduct was discovered only because a target of their investigation, Fred Heebe, filed a civil lawsuit and uncovered evidence that the prosecutors had lied to the court and used aliases to post public comments online about the case.  The scandal Read More »

TEXAS BAR LEARNED NOTHING FROM MICHAEL MORTON INJUSTICE

Friedrich-announcing-Stevens-indictment

It has been well publicized that just as Michael Morton has finally achieved exoneration after 25 years in prison for a murder that he did not commit, the prosecutor in his case, Ken Anderson, is faces the possibility of jail time of his own for tampering with evidence and refusing to obey court orders to turn over evidence favorable to the defense.

One would think that the State Bar of Texas would now take seriously well-documented charges filed by well-respected attorneys that prosecutors suppressed evidence.

BUT NO!  The Texas State Bar has summarily dismissed, without any investigation, serious ethical charges lodged against former Enron Task Force (ETF) prosecutor Matthew Friedrich for similar prosecutorial misconduct.

In a part of the Enron prosecutions known as “The Nigerian Barge Transaction,” Matthew Friedrich and his colleagues on the ETF prosecuted four Merrill Lynch executives in Houston federal court in 2004, alleging that they had assisted Enron in putting together a “parking” or loan transaction that was faked to look like a sale. The prosecutors actually yellow-highlighted the transcript of testimony they knew was favorable to the defense, but when the court ordered the ETF to turn over summaries of the favorable evidence to the defense team, Friedrich and the other prosecutors instead turned over bogus summaries Read More »

DOJ COVER UP

The mainstream media is reporting that there may be an “early release” in the works for former Enron executive Jeff Skilling, now serving a 24 year sentence even though he stoleSkilling nothing from Enron or its shareholders.  Please remember that Andrew Fastow, former Enron CFO, often referred to as the “architect” of the financial fraud, stole millions upon millions from Enron.  Fastow, however, served only approximately 5 years, but that was because the “elite Enron Task Force” gave Fastow a special deal for saying what they needed him to say to convict Skilling and Lay.  Meanwhile the prosecutors hid from the defense the exculpatory evidence that contradicted their “theory of the case.”  That exculpatory evidence appeared only in the hundreds of pages of raw notes of the government agents who interviewed Fastow.

It took multiple orders from the Fifth Circuit to force the government to release those notes.   Once the defense got the notes, it was obvious why the government did not want them disclosed.  They were chocked full of evidence that contradicted what Fastow said and the government’s theory of the crime.

In Skilling’s appeal, the Fifth Circuit  brushed aside the exculpatory evidence the notes revealed, although it did express it was troubled by some of it,  but no court ever fully examined it or questioned the prosecutors about it at all.  And to date, no one in the Skilling case or the Merrill Lynch/Nigerian Barge case (which was also corrupted by the prosecutors’ suppression of evidence favorable to the defense) has ever even had a hearing to bring that evidence and more to the light of day.

The most interesting term reported from the proposed agreement our Department of Justice seeks to strike with Skilling would require him to give up his Motion to Dismiss or For New Trial Because of Government Misconduct, based on these “elite prosecutors” conduct in HIDING EVIDENCE they unequivocally knew was favorable to the defense and that they were CONSTITUTIONALLY  REQUIRED to disclose.

In fact, this is the ONLY REASON that would really motivate the government to work a deal with Skilling–they are trying to cover up what these prosecutors did.  The LAST THING DOJ wants right now is for all the misconduct of those “elite prosecutors” to be exposed to the public and the mediaKathryn Ruemmler in a hearing where the defense could question the witnesses and obtain their emails.  At a real hearing then, we might actually have a shot at JUSTICE.  

Gosh, if a judge actually required the prosecutors to answer questions under oath and produce what they really had and said, we’d probably wind up needing a special prosecutor appointed to investigate the prosecutors as happened in the failed prosecution of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens.  NO, obviously, DOJ wants to shut any possible inquiry as fast as it can.  

DO YOU KNOW WHY??   Well,  the LEAD prosecutor in the trial against Skilling is now CHIEF WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL.  That’s right, Kathryn Ruemmler was the lead prosecutor in the Skilling case.   She was also the lead prosecutor in the Merrill Lynch/Enron Barge case, one of the underpinnings of the government’s case against Skilling.  She hid evidence in the Barge case too, and four Merrill executives spent a year in prison for conduct the Fifth Circuit eventually found was not criminal while Ruemmler and her colleagues hid the evidence that directly contradicted what they told the jury.

 Ruemmler is now the subject of a serious grievance filed against her with the D.C. Bar Association, establishing that she violated Rule 3.8 by failing to give the defense in the Merrill Lynch case evidence that she had even yellow-highlighted as Brady material before the trial and still hid.  The United States Court Of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that she “plainly suppressed” evidence favorable to the defense.   That alone is a finding of a Rule 3.8 violation, but so far, nothing has been done about it.  We will post more on this later.  Stay tuned. . .   To what lengths will DOJ go to hide the truth?