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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "defense"

Elijah Cummings Defends Himself Against Racism Charges…And Loses To Trump In the Process

Westlake Legal Group cummings-620x464 Elijah Cummings Defends Himself Against Racism Charges…And Loses To Trump In the Process Trump racism Race political theater Front Page Stories Featured Story elijah cummings defense Culture Baltimore Sun baltimore

By now we are all pretty much familiar with Trump’s latest tweet-heard-round-the-world.

I have started so many columns with that sentence in the last three years I should really keep a running tally.

This tweet, of course is the Elijah Cummings/Baltimore mess. For days now we’ve been accusing Trump of being racist for talking poorly about someone who happens to be Black, and for talking poorly about a city that happens to have a very large Black population. The rules in 2019 are that if you’re White, any non-White person is unassailable regardless of their personal character or their personal responsibility.

That’s just another form of racism if you ask me, but I digress.

For the last forty years (at least) the media narrative on racism has been set in stone. If you’re not a Democrat, you’re a racist. If you’re not a progressive, you’re a racist. If you’re called a racist and you bring up your non-White friends as proof of your heart, you’re a racist. If you bring up Martin Luther King, Jr. and his “content of character” comments, you’re a racist. Most of all, if you must publicly utter the words “I am not a racist”…you’re totally a racist.

I’ve been doing this job for a decade now and Media Relations 101 is to never utter the accusations word-for-word out loud. What happens is that word just gets stuck to you, no matter what context you use it in. This is one of the shockingly attractive qualities of Donald Trump that got him elected. He rarely defends himself in the manner we’re used to seeing from a typical politician – contrite, apologetic, reassuring. Trump just flips the script on his opponents and hurls their own insults right back at them. He is no diplomat and he doesn’t seem to care to be.

So imagine my shock when I woke up to an open letter in the Baltimore Sun from a woman claiming she worked with Rep. Cummings in the past and proudly exclaiming, “Elijah Cummings Is No Racist”. And imagine my equal shock when Rep. Cummings himself retweeted the post, reiterating in his commentary “Elijah Cummings Is No Racist”.

Westlake Legal Group ecummings-620x628 Elijah Cummings Defends Himself Against Racism Charges…And Loses To Trump In the Process Trump racism Race political theater Front Page Stories Featured Story elijah cummings defense Culture Baltimore Sun baltimore

My jaw hit the floor. In all my years in this industry I cannot recall a time when a Black Democrat was cajoled into defending themself against such an accusation. Conservatives gave Obama his fair share of “You’re a racist bigot!” accusations but like most of the insults the Right hurled, he let it roll off his back. Protected by a sycophant media, Obama didn’t need to stoop to such levels. He was too smart for that, and his cool demeanor about it all only made the rest of us look batty.

The progressive Left in the media and political sphere have seized this Baltimore madness as a billy club. They are gleefully swinging it around, sure that this time they’ll connect. This time Trump has crossed the line. This time, he’s going down.

But that’s not what is happening.

Instead what has happened is that Trump’s refusal to play ball has turned the other side into the Washington Generals. Elijah Cummings – a man with an impeccable Civil Rights Era pedigree and a (too) long and notable career representing his district – has been reduced to publicly insisting he is not a racist.

My hand to God, I never in my wildest dreams thought Trump would be smart enough to flip the tables so hard on his political opponents.

To be quite honest, I have questioned for a while whether Trump’s media victories were more of an accident – in part due to the blinding rage the media exhibits on a daily basis, a rage that drains their professional bonafides and causes them to regularly make terrible mistakes – or whether he’s way smarter than people like me ever gave him credit for and he’s playing his opponents like a fiddle.

I’m beginning to think it’s the latter.

Elijah Cummings is not a racist. Neither is Donald Trump. They haven’t even always been enemies and I suspect a lot of Trump’s “bombastic” posturing when it comes to the likes of the Congressional Black Caucus is that up until the day he announced his plans to run for President, they considered him a “friend”. He’s been at tons of fundraisers and parties with CBC members over the years. He’s probably made a lot of donations to Cummings’ pet projects. I completely believe Trump when he says Al Sharpton apologized to him for how he was talking about Trump in public. We don’t have to reach back very far to see these men running in the same social circles. These are games. It is all a game. Trump knows it. Sharpton knows it. Cummings knows it too.

Elijah Cummings wants you to know that he’s not a racist – and that’s probably true.

But in the current form of this game…he is a loser.

The post Elijah Cummings Defends Himself Against Racism Charges…And Loses To Trump In the Process appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group AP_050524022584-270x300 Elijah Cummings Defends Himself Against Racism Charges…And Loses To Trump In the Process Trump racism Race political theater Front Page Stories Featured Story elijah cummings defense Culture Baltimore Sun baltimore   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Lori Loughlin’s coming defense: I didn’t know bribery was illegal

Westlake Legal Group lori-loughlins-coming-defense-i-didnt-know-bribery-was-illegal Lori Loughlin’s coming defense: I didn’t know bribery was illegal USC The Blog plea mossimo Lori Loughlin Legal giannulli defense bribery

Westlake Legal Group ll-2 Lori Loughlin’s coming defense: I didn’t know bribery was illegal USC The Blog plea mossimo Lori Loughlin Legal giannulli defense bribery

“I didn’t know that what I was doing was a crime” feels very on-brand for 2019 and the age of Trump.

Or, better yet, “I didn’t know that cheating was wrong.”

There were rumors last week that Loughlin and her husband were planning to plead ignorance, insisting that they never formed the intent necessary for a conviction in a case like this, but those rumors seem firmer today per reports in TMZ and People. As absurd as the defense sounds, it has a certain appeal. What’s the difference between rich trash making an exorbitant “gift” to a university and then finding their child’s been admitted “on the merits” and Loughlin and her husband handing fat envelopes to athletics officials to get her kids in on the pretense of joining the crew team?

Our sources say … lawyers for Lori and Mossimo Giannulli didn’t take a plea early on because they believe they have a solid defense on several fronts. First, ringleader Rick Singer did not tell them how he would use the $500k to get their daughters into the school. Fact … they were aware Rick Singer wanted pics of the girls on a rowing machine, but they say that doesn’t mean they knew the end game.

It’s true … knowledge and intent are key elements to proving bribery, and we’re told Lori and Mossimo’s lawyers are making that a centerpiece of their defense … their only intent is to generally get their daughters into USC by using a “facilitator” who got hundreds of other students into colleges…

And, we’re told, they have a more basic defense … colleges have horse-traded with relatives of prospective students for decades … e.g., fund the wing of a school building and your child will miraculously get accepted. It’s not only been tolerated by many schools … it’s aggressively encouraged by some of the schools, and parents know it.

“I get how it looks on paper,” said a source to People. Certainly they’re guilty of being “naive.” But…

“You read the complaint and they look like criminal masterminds,” the source tells PEOPLE. “But they really didn’t know the legalities of what was going on. They’re not lawyers and they’re not experts. They were parents who simply wanted to make sure that their daughters got into a good school.”…

“Calling in favors, donating money to the alumni association, hiring consultants. Those are all things that parents do,” says the source. “And so they gave money to this consultant, not entirely knowing everything that was going to be done. When it all fell apart, nobody was as surprised as they were that they were in trouble.”

The source continues, “She never intended to break any laws, and if she did, it was inadvertent.”

It’s true, they gave the bulk of their $500,000 to Rick Singer for his “foundation,” possibly not knowing how he’d spread it around or even whether he intended to keep it for himself as his fixer fee. But they didn’t give him the whole $500K. According to paragraphs 201, 202, and 212 of the federal affidavit, Loughlin’s husband sent two checks, each for $50,000, directly to Donna Heinel, the senior women’s associate athletic director at USC. What did they think that money was for? It’s one thing to make a “gift” to the university, a nonprofit, in the full light of day, another to start cutting checks to individuals who coincidentally would be perfectly positioned to get your kid admitted under the false pretense of joining the crew team. Another strange coincidence: Both of the checks sent to Heinel were sent within days or weeks of her securing provisional admission for the Giannulli girls as student-athletes.

And remember, according to the feds, the Giannullis provided Singer with photos of both of their daughters posing on ergometers. It’s impossible to believe they didn’t know that a fraud was being perpetrated to get the girls admitted, if the facts in the affidavit are true. Their defense, I take it, is that all schemes in which the rich make “donations” to schools in return for their children being admitted are a sort of fraud — that is, it’s not that they didn’t realize what they were doing is shady, it’s that they didn’t realize it was illegal. Consider the state of the law, though, if that defense were successful in this case. Rich parents everywhere could start openly bribing key personnel at American universities to get their kids in and so long as the word “bribery” or “illegal” was never used, they could claim ignorance and avoid criminal liability. “I never heard of the Lori Loughlin prosecution,” they could say. “I didn’t realize admissions payola was actually against the law.”

If you haven’t read the affidavit, incidentally, know that the feds used Singer in a sting on both Mossimo Giannulli and Lori Loughlin long after the girls were admitted to USC to try to prove that they knew the $500,000 they paid was illicit. Singer, now cooperating with the feds and acting at their behest, told Giannulli in October 2018 that his foundation was being audited but “of course, I’m not gonna say anything about your payments going to Donna Heinel at USC to get the girls into USC, through crew.” To which Giannulli replied, “Sure.” Singer continued, “I just want to make sure [our] stories are the same,” that “your $400K was paid to our foundation to help underserved kids.” Giannulli: “Uh, perfect.” How this guy didn’t realize at that point, as Singer weirdly recited all the pertinent facts of their joint fraud, that he wasn’t being set up is beyond me.

Singer spoke with Loughlin a month later pitching her the same story about an IRS audit of the foundation:

Westlake Legal Group b-20 Lori Loughlin’s coming defense: I didn’t know bribery was illegal USC The Blog plea mossimo Lori Loughlin Legal giannulli defense bribery

Presumably Loughlin will point to the fact that Singer used the word “donations” instead of “bribes.” Plainly, though, she and her husband knew that a false story involving athletics was used to get the girls into USC. And plainly, they knew that 100 grand was sent to someone in the athletics department at USC. As Ed noted yesterday, another USC athletics official, Laura Janke, who allegedly created the false athletic profiles of Loughlin’s daughters to get them admitted via the crew team, is also now cooperating with the feds and presumably willing to share anything she knows about the Giannullis’ intricate knowledge of this plot. Realistically it’s laughable that they didn’t realize what they were doing was bribery. What they’re going to have to argue is that they sincerely believed that bribery, at least when it comes to college admissions, just isn’t illegal.

Exit question: Are mom and dad going to end up turning on each other here? “Lori is taking Mossimo’s advice. She thinks she did nothing wrong,” said a source to Us magazine. “Her husband presented this to her like it wasn’t an illegal thing she was doing.”

The post Lori Loughlin’s coming defense: I didn’t know bribery was illegal appeared first on Hot Air.

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What could go wrong? White House reportedly looking at Jim Webb for defense secretary

Westlake Legal Group jw What could go wrong? White House reportedly looking at Jim Webb for defense secretary Trump The Blog secretary populism Pentagon navy mattis marine Jim Webb jacksonian defense

This will end in tears if it happens, although the pairing of two Jacksonians in Trump and Webb is so obvious that I once floated Webb as a potential VP pick for POTUS before he tapped Mike Pence. They’re both populists, both contemptuous of Washington’s elite consensus, both straddlers of partisan lines, both believers in a strong military, but both also suspicious of military adventurism.

They’re also both irascible and strong-willed, and would be having alpha-male screaming matches within five minutes of Webb joining the team. But since our politics is now a lurid reality show and pulp drama requires freakishly combustible personalities, it seems inevitable that he’ll soon be joining the cast.

I mean the cabinet.

The Trump administration is considering Jim Webb, a former Democratic senator and Reagan-era secretary of the Navy, to be the next defense secretary, according to three officials, potentially bypassing more hawkish Republicans whose names have been floated to replace Jim Mattis…

Representatives for Vice President Mike Pence and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, have reached out to Mr. Webb, one of the three officials said. Separately, a senior Defense Department official confirmed that Mr. Webb’s name had been circulating at the White House. Those two and the third official all spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the internal discussions.

Would Webb would be open to a job offer from Trump? I think the answer is — or was? — clearly yes. Benjy Sarlin describes Webb as “MAGA curious” but that’s putting it mildly. Read this account of what he said a week after Election Day 2016. He saw Trump’s ascendance as a potential paradigm-shifter in America, calling it “an opportunity to reject a new form of elitism that has pervaded our societal mechanisms” and “an opportunity to reshape our national [foreign policy] strategy in a way that otherwise has not been possible.” Plus, this:

Webb called Trump an outsider who spoke truth to “hard-working people out in flyover land” who have been abandoned by both parties. But he focused much of his critique on the Democrats, whom he said have drifted from their historical position as the “party of Franklin Roosevelt.”

“That party descended from the party that had championed the rights of working people — regardless of race, creed, gender or any other differentiation — to the point that it made white working people their most convenient whipping posts. Particularly white males,” Webb said. “It’s clearer now than it was 10 years ago when I was trying to put this on the table.”

Until Trump came along, probably no one in American politics had been more outspoken about the hardships faced by the white working class than Webb had. He’s a natural pair with Trump in that sense. He’s a natural pair with him on foreign policy too. From the day before Inauguration Day 2017:

[H]is administration should break the damaging “turnstile” that has given an unelected elite far too much power, particularly in foreign policy. What can one say of an establishment whose members repeatedly swap slots in law firms and think tanks for titles in various presidential administrations but rarely come up with fresh, independent advice? How can one set of “Republican” advisers persuade George W. Bush to make the strategic blunder of invading Iraq, and then a new set of “Democratic” advisers lure Barack Obama into the debacle of the Libyan intervention? It was no accident that many Republican mandarins endorsed Hillary Clinton last year. The new administration should bid them all goodbye. Rex Tillerson’s selection as secretary of state is a welcome signal to that end.

That ended up presaging Trump’s critique of Mattis, the “Mad Dog” turned “moderate dog” who wanted to continue all of the interventions abroad that had been handed to him by the last administration. Trump wants someone who thinks differently on foreign policy than the Washington consensus; Webb wants a president who does the same and got one in Trump. Would Webb accept a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help reshape U.S. defense strategy by a commander-in-chief who shares his vision broadly? Quite possibly, yeah. I had him in mind as a potential defense secretary within a week of Election Day two years ago, in fact.

But that was then, this is now. Gut-check time for Jim Webb: Having spent the last two years watching Trump demagogue cabinet members like Jeff Sessions, does he really want to take this ride? On a more basic level, how much does he respect the man whom Tammy Duckworth, another veteran, once called “Cadet Bone Spurs” in honor of his mysterious Vietnam deferments? Webb must realize that no matter how broadly simpatico he and Trump might be on foreign relations, eventually a moment will come when they disagree — or, worse, when the Pentagon doesn’t perform to the level Trump is expecting. And Webb will be scapegoated for it. He’s more likely to be flamed on Twitter if something goes wrong than to get the magnanimous “buck stops here” treatment from the White House. Plus, however much Webb might prefer a more “modest” foreign policy, there are destined to be days when Trump says something weird and off-putting, like engaging in apologetics for some low-rent autocrat abroad. Does Webb want to have to defend that? Does he want to deal with the drama of the daily tweets? What happens if Trump’s foreign-policy views suddenly and inexplicably turn hawkish again, with a new round of bombing Syria ordered because Lindsey Graham made an especially persuasive case on the golf course one afternoon?

And does Trump want to have to manage a guy who, for all his talents, has had an unhappy history in government? Jon Gabriel reminds us that when Webb took over the Navy in the Reagan administration, he ended up quitting 10 months later in protest of his budget being too small. (“I’m not a good bureaucrat in [that] the tedium of the bureaucracy does get to me.”) He was elected to the Senate in 2006 and retired after a single term, apparently frustrated there too. Installing Webb as SecDef might for once cause friction between Trump and a cabinet member that’s driven by the latter, not the former. Their personality clash has the potential to balloon from amusing-reality-show-drama levels to really toxic dysfunction. Which is bad for any government agency but for the Pentagon especially.

Or maybe I’m totally wrong, they’ll hit it off, and Webb will help shepherd a true populist takeover of Trump’s government. Exit question: Trump/Webb 2020?

The post What could go wrong? White House reportedly looking at Jim Webb for defense secretary appeared first on Hot Air.

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