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President George H.W. Bush is apologizing after he was accused of groping an actress. Heather Lind says during a 2014 photo-op, the former president “sexually assaulted me while I was posing” for a picture, she wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post. “He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side," she added. In the image, his left arm is out of sight at a private event in Houston for the show ‘Turn: Washington’s Spies’, in which Lind starred.
FEC Complaint Says Clinton Campaign, DNC Violated Law Over Trump Dossier
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign violated campaign finance laws by failing to accurately disclose payments related to the so-called Trump Dossier, the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center said in a complaint filed today with the Federal Election Commission.
According to a recent reports in the media, Marc Elias, who also served as the Clinton campaign lawyer, paid opposition research firm Fusion GPS to produce the dossier which exposed alleged connections between Donald Trump and Russia government. It also contained salacious allegations about Trump’s personal escapades. According to reports, the Hillary for America campaign paid for the research but routed the payments through Elias’ law firm Perkins Coie and described the purpose of the money as “legal services” on their FEC disclosures. The DNC and the Clinton campaign reported dozens of payments totaling more that $12 million dollars to Perkins Coie over the course of the campaign.
“By filing misleading reports, the DNC and Clinton campaign undermined the vital public information role of campaign disclosures,” said Adav Noti, with the Campaign Legal Center in a statement obtained by LawNewz. Noti previously served as the FEC’s Associate General Counsel for Policy. “Voters need campaign disclosure laws to be enforced so they can hold candidates accountable for how they raise and spend money. The FEC must investigate this apparent violation and take appropriate action.”
According to FEC reports, Clinton’s campaign reported 37 payments to the law firm and reported each disbursement as “Legal Services.” The DNC reported 345 payments to Perkins Coie during the election cycle and marked the payments as “legal and compliance consulting,” “administrative fees,” “data services subscription” and others.
“The purpose of at least some portion of the payments to Perkins Coie was not for legal services; instead, those payments were intended to fund opposition research,” the FEC complaint reads. “This false reporting clearly failed the Commission’s requirements for disclosing the purpose of a disbursement.”
It is legal under current campaign finance law for the Hillary Clinton campaign to commission an opposition research company to dig up dirt on Donald Trump. What is not legal, according to campaign legal experts, is for the campaign to pay a law firm who then hires other to perform campaign related activities without reporting the purpose of the expenditures.
If the FEC finds that there was a violation, the DNC and the Clinton campaign could face fines. The fines could be higher if the FEC finds that they intentionally mislead the public.
“Hillary for America and the DNC complied with all campaign finance laws, including their obligations to appropriately report and describe the purpose of all of their expenditures. This research work was to support the provision of legal services, and payments made by vendors to sub-vendors are not required to be disclosed in circumstances like this. This complaint fails to even note the Federal Election Commission’s affirmation in 2013 of the relevant rule, notes no authority to the contrary, and is patently baseless,” Graham M. Wilson, Partner at Perkins Coie said in a statement to LawNewz.com.
“Tom Perez and the new leadership of the DNC were not involved in any decision-making regarding Fusion GPS, nor were they aware that Perkins Coie was working with the organization. But let’s be clear, there is a serious federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and the American public deserves to know what happenned,” DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement obtained by CNN.
The Campaign Legal Center is a 501 non partisan organization that focuses on campaign finance law. They have filed several complaints against both the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns during the 2016 election.
Another actress is accusing President George H.W. Bush of groping her, and she says a picture proves it. It was taken last year, backstage at a small theater near the president's home in Maine. As they smiled for the photo, Jordana Grolnick says the wheelchair-bound former president asked her, “Do you know who my favorite magician is? David cop-a-feel!” Then she says he squeezed her bottom. The actress, who was just 24 at the time, says Barbara Bush made light of her husband's behavior.
Third woman accuses George H.W. Bush of groping, making 'David Cop-a-feel' joke
Another woman has come forward with allegations that George H.W. Bush groped her as she posed for a photo with the former president at an event.
Novelist Christina Baker Kline became the third woman this week to make such allegations, writing in Slate that Bush inappropriately touched her in April 2014 at a fundraiser for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. While she was taking a picture with Bush at the event, Kline wrote, Bush asked: "You wanna know my favorite book?"
"Yes, what is it?" she recalled responding. According to her article:
"By now the photographer was readying the shot. My husband stood on one side of the wheelchair, and I stood on the other. President Bush put his arm around me, low on my back. His comic timing was impeccable. "David Cop-a-feel," he said, and squeezed my butt, hard, just as the photographer snapped the photo. Instinctively, I swiped his hand away."
A friend of the Bush family, Kline said, later asked the best-selling author to be "discreet" about the incident.
Two other women, actresses Heather Lind and Jordana Grolnick, said earlier this week that they were groped by the 41st president while taking photos with him at other events. Both actresses said former first lady Barbara Bush saw the incidents.
Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said earlier this week that the former president occasionally "patted women's rears," but that he never intended to offend or act inappropriately. In a statement issued by McGrath, Bush apologized:
"At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures. To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke - and on occasion, he has patted women's rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely."
On Thursday, McGrath told The Post that Barbara Bush had no comment about the allegations from Lind and Grolnick. The spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment Friday about Kline's allegation. But Slate said McGrath directed the magazine to his earlier statement.
Kline has written seven novels, including "Orphan Train" and "A Piece of the World." In her piece for Slate, she wrote that she and her husband were posing next to Bush in his wheelchair when he beckoned Kline to come closer to him and told her, "It's truly an honor to meet you" and "You're beautiful."
After making his "David Cop-a-feel" joke and touching her, Kline wrote, the former president laughed "like a mischievous boy." She said she struggled to keep a smile on her face for the photo. Her husband, Kline wrote, stood on the other side of Bush's wheelchair, smiling and unaware of what had happened.
Kline said she kept quiet about the incident because she didn't want to face the scrutiny she knew the allegation would bring. She had been finishing a series of treatments for an invasive form of breast cancer a year earlier, and her hair had only just grown back, she said.
"I was vulnerable enough; I didn't want to face the consequences of making such an accusation," she wrote, citing President Donald Trump's comment that a woman wasn't physically attractive enough to be sexually harassed by him.
Bush used a variation of the same joke on Grolnick, as well. She told Deadspin on Wednesday that she was working on a production of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" in Maine in August 2016, near the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, when Bush came backstage during intermission and grabbed her rear as they posed for a picture.
"He reached his right hand around to my behind, and as we smiled for the photo he asked the group, 'Do you want to know who my favorite magician is?' As I felt his hand dig into my flesh, he said, 'David Cop-a-Feel!'" Grolnick said, according to Deadspin.
The other women posing for the photo laughed uncomfortably, Grolnick said, while Barbara Bush made a remark along the lines of "He's going to get himself put into jail!" Grolnick, who posted a photo of the moment on her Instagram account, said she had been warned by other actors not to stand next to Bush.
Lind said the incident involving her happened four years ago, when she met Bush while promoting a historical television show she was working on. She played Anna Strong in AMC's Revolutionary War-era drama "Turn: Washington Spies," which premiered in 2014. She said Bush "sexually assaulted" her as she stood next to him during a photo op.
"He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side. He told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, he touched me again," Lind wrote in an Instagram post, which has since been deleted.
Lind said Barbara Bush "rolled her eyes as if to say 'not again'" when she saw what happened. Lind also said that a security guard later told her that she shouldn't have stood next to Bush.
Dozens of actresses have gone public with allegations that Hollywood producer and former studio executive Harvey Weinstein either sexually harassed or assaulted them. Explosive reports by The New York Times and the New Yorker detailed previously undisclosed allegations of harassment and criminal sexual abuse that spanned several years. The Washington Post found three more similar cases.
Millions of women and men have since taken to Facebook and Twitter, using #MeToo as they post their own experiences with sexual harassment or assault. Lind also used the hashtag on her Instagram post.
"What comforts me is that I too can use my power, which isn't so different from a president really," she wrote. "I can enact positive change. I can actually help people. I can be a symbol of my democracy. I can refuse to call him president, and call out other abuses of power when I see them."
Lind said she decided to talk about the incident after seeing a photo of Bush and President Barack Obama shaking hands at an event last weekend. The two, along with three other former presidents, appeared at a benefit concert Saturday in Texas to raise money for hurricane victims.
"I found it disturbing because I recognize the respect ex-presidents are given for having served," Lind said. "And I feel pride and reverence toward many of the men in the photo."
It's unclear when exactly Lind shared the Instagram post or when and why she decided to delete it. Her manager has not responded to requests for comment.
Bush is scheduled to join his son President George W. Bush to throw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday in Houston. The younger Bush will throw the pitch, and his father will say "play ball" to start the game.
Manafort Indictment Contains At Least One Glaring Factual Error
Special counsel Robert Mueller‘s team made at least one major factual error in the indictment charging Paul Manafort and Richard Gates with multiple violations of federal law.
That indictment, signed October 27, 2017, was finally made public this morning. Manafort and Gates surrendered themselves to the FBI soon thereafter. But a cursory glance at the indictment itself should provide their attorneys with at least one point of contention.
Midway through the charging documentation–on page 16 of the 31-page indictment–is a reference to Viktor Yanukovych, the former president of the Ukraine and one of Manafort’s former clients. Manafort is accused of failing to have registered as a lobbyist for Yanukovych in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”), amongst other various crimes detailed therein.
Contained within that reference to Yanukovych is a glaring and atypically sophomoric error that could have easily been avoided or remedied with a simple Google search by someone–an intern, maybe–amongst Mueller’s legion of lawyers.
Paragraph 22 of the indictment reads, in part:
Eyes unadorned with basic knowledge of the Ukrainian political system might have missed the problem with that last-quoted-and-emphasized sentence above–and apparently they did.At the direction of MANAFORT and GATES, Company A and Company B engaged in extensive lobbying. Among other things, they lobbied multiple Members of Congress and their staffs about Ukraine sanctions, the validity of Ukraine elections, and the propriety of Yanukovych imprisoning his presidential rival, Yulia Tymoshenko (who had served as Ukraine President prior to Yanukovych)… [emphasis added]
The problem is: Yulia Tymoshenko was not the president of the Ukraine prior to Yanukovych. In fact, Tymoshenko has never been the president of the Ukraine. She ran in the Ukrainian presidential election against Yanukoych in 2010 and came in second. Tymoshenko ran again in 2014 and came in second then, too.
What might have been confusing the Mueller team–or whoever was unlucky enough to be assigned final typing and editing duties–was Tymoshenko serving as Ukrainian prime minister after Yanukovych served as prime minister–a term of office lasting from December 2007 to March 2010.
To be clear, the Mueller indictment claims Tymoshenko was the Ukrainian president before Yanukovych. In reality, Tymoshenko was simply the prime minister after Yanukovych. Mueller gets both the order and the office wrong.
The Tymoshenko flub is a massive error of fact, but it doesn’t impinge much–if any–on the narrative contained in the indictment itself. The error doesn’t really bear upon the background facts related to Manafort’s and Gates’ alleged crimes. The error also doesn’t bear whatsoever upon the laws Manafort and Gates are accused of breaking. Rather, it’s an error which bears upon the credibility of the team now seeking to prosecute the men named in the indictment.
Hopes and dreams of the second-coming of Archie Cox will, to a certain extent, rely upon the credibility and legal acumen of the Mueller team. An easily avoidable error like this is, to some at least, likely to look like evidence of the opposite.
Here are the Serious Problems With Mueller’s Indictment of Paul Manafort
The multiple and manifest problems of Mueller’s indictment of ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort raise more questions about Mueller than Manafort. Possible remedies for Manafort: dismissal of the indictment in its entirety. Manafort might be sleeping better than people think tonight.
Mueller charges Manafort mainly for unregistered bank accounts and unregistered lobbying. After reading the 31-page indictment, I believe Manafort’s attorneys may have some very solid, legal arguments to get this case tossed. For example, Mueller may have manipulated the venue for bringing these charges (a concern first raised by Professor Dershowitz), and, most consequently, he appears to have ignored the limits on his own authority to seek and sign the indictment in the first place.
Our Constitution and laws limit the people who can access a grand jury to bring a criminal charge that could deprive a person of their life, liberty and livelihood. The Constitution explicates this principal further through the Appointments Clause in Article II. The Constitution “divides all its officers into two classes.” (United States v. Germaine, 99 U.S. 508, 509 (1879).) “Principal officers” are selected by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, and have broader authority and jurisdiction; “inferior officers” only have the authority their principal officer delegates to them, and their authority must be strictly limited thereto. (Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 132 (1976)).
Our democratic restraints require that any grand-jury-authorized indictment-seeking individual be appointed by an elected official, or have delegated authority directly on point. If they are a subordinate, then they can only act within their delegated authorization. When that official is given the de facto powers of the President or Attorney General himself — e.g., no one can review his decision to seek an indictment — Congress and the Department of Justice imposes stricter limits on his power. A “special counsel” has just such potential powers to indict without supervisory review or approval. Thus, the needs for strict limits on his use of those powers. Those limits commence with section 600.1 of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The Supreme Court, in another dispute over the special counsel, made clear these regulations “had the force of law” and everyone was “bound by it.” (United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974)).
First, before any special counsel can be appointed, the Acting Attorney General must “determine that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted” and “that investigation or prosecution of that person or matter…would present a conflict of interest” and that it would be “in the public interest” to appoint such a special prosecutor. As other commentators note, Acting Attorney General Rosenstein failed to expressly make any of those requisite findings, which raises questions about effective authorization for all of Mueller’s actions.
Second, the law imposes strict limits on “the jurisdiction of a Special Counsel.” The choice of the word “jurisdiction” is no coincidence; jurisdiction is the legal power to act. Without jurisdiction, any act taken is lawless, and compels dismissal of the indictment. The law requires the Acting Attorney General limit the “jurisdiction” of the Special Counsel to the “specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated.” The authority of the Special Counsel extends further only to those crimes committed to obstruct the Special Counsel, but not to any obstruction crime anywhere. The Special Counsel must obtain special authorization if he wishes to expand to “additional jurisdiction.” (There is no evidence Mueller has done so.)
Third, the order appointing Mueller identified the “specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated” as limited to “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” The only other authorization was the general proviso to investigate potential crimes “arose or may arise directly from the investigation,” e.g. obstruction of the Special Counsel, etc. The subject matter nexus thus requires any use of the grand jury concern “links and/or coordination” that is “between” the “Russian government” and “campaign of President Donald Trump.”
Now, look at the Manafort indictment. Guess what is missing from it? Any reference to links, coordination, the Russian government or the campaign of President Donald Trump. Here are a few words never mentioned in the indictment: Trump or Russia. It concerns decade-old lobbying for interests in a different country that has nothing to do with Trump or “coordination with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” Now, look at the timeline. Most of the events occurred as long ago as 2005 and mostly concluded in 2015. It literally couldn’t involve the 2016 presidential election. How is this indictment about “coordination between the Russian government” and the 2016 Trump campaign?
That isn’t the only authorization limitation on this prosecution. Mueller brings tax-based charges, which require the approval of the Tax Division of the Department of Justice. The Tax Division maintains “supervisory authority over all matters arising under the Internal Revenue laws” and all tax prosecution matters are “exclusively delegated to the Tax Division to ensure uniform enforcement and application of the tax laws.” The Code of Federal Regulations expressly makes this clear in section 0.70 of Title 28. As the law makes clear, any prosecutorial function in all courts (such as use of the grand jury) related to tax “shall be” handled by the Tax Division. The Department of Justice Manual — the United States Attorney Manual — recognizes that “the Tax Division must first approve and authorize the United States Attorney’s use of a grand jury to investigate criminal tax violations.” (USAM 6-4.120). “No indictment is to be returned or information filed without specific prior authorization of the Tax Division.” (51 FR 40085-02, Department of Justice Tax Division Directive no. 86-59.) Notably, this applies “regardless of which criminal statute the United States Attorney proposed to use in charging the defendant.” (USAM 6-4-200). Former Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division, Roger Olsen, has so testified under oath.
The Manafort prosecution is a reminder of why Tax Division involvement is necessary: the indictment calls non-payment of taxes a money laundering offense when Congress expressly and explicitly excluded tax crimes from being money laundering offenses, and charges 3 different conspiracies into one conspiracy, by charging as a single conspiracy the conspiracy to commit specific offenses, and the conspiracy to defraud the IRS of taxes, and the conspiracy to defraud the Department of Justice somehow. Equally, tax policy recommends prosecution in the venue of a person’s home residence, with a law explicitly allowing for venue transfer in many misdemeanor tax charges. Manafort lives in Virginia; Mueller chose D.C., the venue least likely to give Manafort an impartial jury.
What is the remedy for a prosecutor who seeks an indictment when he lacked the jurisdiction to do so? While generally unprecedented, there are analogous examples of similar wayward prosecutorial actions: when a prosecutor with a suspended license sought an indictment from the grand jury, the court required dismissal of the indictment because the prosecutor no longer fit the strict confines of who was allowed to seek an indictment. (See United States v. Gonzalez, Case No. 3:13-CR-00993-L, Doc. 44, Aug. 6, 2013). The D.C. District Court previously required separate supervisory approvals by non-task-force prosecutors to validate an indictment brought under like circumstances. (United States v. Oakar, 924 F.supp. 232, D.D.C. 1996). Dismissal is not only appropriate, but necessary here to prevent Inquisitorial type usurpation of authority by a rogue prosecutor.
Grand juries of Americans protected colonists from wrongful prosecution by the British authorities; that is why it still exists. Its use must be circumscribed to those authorized by our elected officials to do so, or by express delegation strictly related thereto. Maybe the indictment isn’t all that should be dismissed.
Alabama Republican Defends Roy Moore: ‘Mary Was a Teenager and Joseph Was an Adult’
Today, an elected member of the GOP defended Alabama Senate Republican candidate Roy Moore by saying Joseph married Mary (yes, Jesus’ parents) when Mary was a teen, and he an adult.
Moore was accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl earlier today. Three other women later came forward with similar stories of sexual predation allegedly committed while they were teenagers and Moore was a high-powered attorney in his thirties.
Later this afternoon, Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler rose to Moore’s defense. A fellow Republican and Christian, Zeigler invoked various bible stories in an attempt to run theologically-based interference for his friend and colleague. He said [emphasis added]:
Zeigler also said Moore’s behavior ranked as “nothing to see here” because “Even the Washington Post report says that he never had sexual intercourse with any of the girls and never attempted sexual intercourse.” He also defended Moore by saying the former judge ultimately fell in love with and wed a much younger woman. Moore’s wife of 35 years, Kayla Moore, is 14 years his junior. This relationship began around the time Moore’s alleged improprieties with teenage women are said to have occurred.Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist. Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.
Moore’s main accuser, Leigh Corfman, said he kissed her on two separate occasions and that during the second instance, he removed her clothing and then groped her over the bra and panties before directing her hand toward his underwear. She was 14 at the time, she said. He was 32. Alabama’s age of consent was and is 16.
Corfman was initially allegedly approached by Moore outside of a courtroom while Corfman’s mother attended a custody hearing.
Zeigler ended his defense of Moore by asserting, “There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”
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