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Dershowitz and Ken Starr are carrying a lot of baggage and personal conflicts into Trump’s trial: report

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According to a report at Politico , two of the most high profile lawyers defending Donald Trump in his upcoming Senate impeachment trial have conflicting views on the law which may make for a muddled defense of the president.

On the one hand there is attorney Ken Starr, who pursued former President Bill Clinton in the 90’s in the far-ranging Whitewater investigation, and on the other hand there is former Havard Law professor Alan Dershowitz who was critical of Starr’s methods.

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As John Jay professor Evan Mandery explains, “Dershowitz, the former Harvard law professor and civil-liberties advocate, has long been a critic of special investigations like the one Starr led, which he sees as roving commissions in search of crimes. In his writings and in speeches, he cited the distance between Starr’s starting point and where he landed as a paradigmatic example of what can go wrong.”

In a series of essays, Dershowitz, “questioned whether Starr himself needed to be investigated by an independent counsel. He pointed to the strong appearance of conflict-of-interest in his connection to conservative activist Richard Mellon Scaife, who Dershowitz described as a ‘Clinton-basher,’ and who’d recently endowed a new school of public policy at Pepperdine, of which Starr was named the first dean in 1996.”

“Which is more dangerous to our liberties,” Dershowitz wrote in 1998 “a president who may have had a sexual encounter with a willing intern and then tried to cover it up? Or a prosecutor who may have leaked secret grand jury testimony in an effort to get potential witnesses to change that testimony, and who hid his conflict of interest from the court?” before adding, “Most Americans correctly believe that the allegations against Kenneth Starr are far more serious, and his alleged misconduct—if it occurred—far more dangerous to our liberties.”

According to Mandery, Dershowitz is about to embark on a case defending Trump when saddled with Starr’s previous comments about calling witnesses that may handcuff both lawyers if pressed by the legal team representing the Democratic-led House.

“It’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, for Dershowitz to reconcile the constitutional argument that he’s about to make with his past work. In his writings about Ken Starr, Dershowitz took a clear position on what constituted valid grounds for impeachment,” Mandery wrote before quoting Dershowitz writing, “What kinds of offenses warrant the extraordinary remedy of legislative removal of a President? The answer must be an offense that poses a clear and present danger to our body politic—a high public violation of official duty.”

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“It’s difficult to imagine an argument that Donald Trump’s use of American foreign aid for his own partisan benefit and the ensuing cover-up isn’t at least as serious, from a constitutional perspective, as the Watergate burglary and its ensuing cover-up. Moreover, Dershowitz won’t be cross-examining anyone, since he has said that he’s participating solely as a constitutional scholar. He’ll need to deal with the facts as alleged, which means defending the activity as it took place,” Mandery explains.

“For both men, next week’s impeachment trial threatens to taint with hypocrisy a pair of long, distinguished careers. But Trump’s power seems to have a special pull, and the allure of public attention is difficult to resist. Apparently Starr, 73, and Dershowitz, 81, would rather bask once more in its glow than go gentle into that good night,” he concluded.

You can read more here.

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There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness

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As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.

He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”

It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.

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This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend

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As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.

At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.

Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.

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Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health

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On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.

"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."

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