Citing an argument that hallmarked the Bush years, Obama administration attorneys have asked a San Francisco court to drop all charges against Berkeley law professor John Yoo, who authored legal opinions that permitted the torture of prisoners.
An amicus curiae brief [PDF link] filed by the Department of Justice with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday essentially argues that because he was giving advice to the president on a national security matter, Yoo should not be held accountable for his actions as it would have a chilling effect on advice provided to future presidents.
In other words, the DoJ explained, accusations of torture in this case present “special factors” that the court should not address “in the absence of congressional action.”
“Yoo’s new attorney, Miguel Estrada, argued for dismissal in a filing last month, saying the case interfered with presidential war-making authority and threatened to “open the floodgates to politically motivated lawsuits” against government officials,” noted Bob Egelko, writing for The San Francisco Chronicle.
The DoJ’s argument was not so broad, as it also noted that the Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating Yoo and a number of other Bush administration attorneys. Their report was due out at the end of November but its release has been delayed and is expected “soon,” according to a recent report.
In June, Yoo was ordered to testify in a suit filed by attorneys representing Jose Padilla, an American citizen who was held for more than three years and allegedly tortured while in U.S. military custody.
Padilla was convicted in January, 2008 of conspiracy to aid terrorism and sentenced to 17 years, four months in prison. At his trial, the judge noted the government had not presented enough evidence to convict him for attempting to detonate a “dirty bomb” in the United States, of which he was originally accused. The judge also noted the American citizen’s imprisonment and subsequent “harsh” interrogations, saying it would be weighed in Padilla’s sentencing.
Yoo, while at the Office of Legal Council in 2002, authored a majority of the department’s opinions on torture along with Jay Bybee, who now serves as a judge on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Steven Bradbury, the former OLC chief who now practices law in Washington, D.C.
Trump has been ‘insulated’ by his wealth to never have to learn from his mistakes: biographer
President Donald Trump's inherited wealth has meant he's never had to learn from his mistakes, Trump biographer Tim O'Brien told MSNBC's Brian Williams on Thursday.
"Bloomberg Opinion writer and our next guest Tim O’Brien writes today, 'Yes, of course, you need a certain kind of appalling narcissism to be comfy promoting yourself as heaven-sent in a televised press briefing and as a deity on Twitter. It’s doubly unhinged when you’re doing this as president,'" Williams said. "He goes on 'The Trump of the past few weeks is the same disordered figure of the past several decades with, I suspect, a big dollop of something new blended in: unbridled and unmanageable panic.'"
‘Both Putin and Xi will be voting Trump in 2020’: NYT columnist says Russia and China want ‘turmoil and chaos’
The Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China are both rooting for President Donald Trump to win re-election in 2020, a New York Times columnist argued on MSNBC on Thursday.
Thomas Friedman was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word."
"What do we know about how the leaders of other countries see Donald Trump at this stage in their dealings with him?" O'Donnell asked. "Especially this weekend, when it comes at the end of a week in which they’ve heard him call himself the King of Israel, they have heard him say he is The Chosen One. They have heard all the crazy things that everyone here has heard the president say."
Trump is ‘not a stable genius’: GOP strategist says the president ‘doesn’t remember who and where he is’
President Donald Trump's mental fitness is lacking, a top Republican strategist explained on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.
Rick Wilson, the author of the 2018 bestselling book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever, blasted the commander-in-chief.
"Rick Wilson, your assessment of where the president stands as he heads off to the G7 summit?" O'Donnell asked.
"I think Donald Trump has had a week in which he is proving that this isn’t 87-dimensional chess game, this isn't some masterful strategy of communications or persuasion," Wilson replied. "This is an old man who is sick and who has problems and who has mental disconnects and who has aphasias and who has moments where he doesn’t remember who and where he is."