Eric Columbus Profile picture
Obama appointee at DOJ/DHS. Senate Judiciary counsel to @JoeBiden and @YankeeStadium 🌭 vendor (not at same time). Dad joker and wannabe historian. Views my own.
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Sep 21, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
The Senate staffer who says they don’t issue subpoenas for nominations might want to look back at the Clarence Thomas hearings.… Anita Hill testified pursuant to a subpoena.
Sep 18, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
A thought for Yom Kippur: just because I'm a better person than the President doesn't mean I'm a good person. 1/ It's never been easier to feel morally superior to the people running this country -- and to mistake that for evidence that I'm running my own life consistent with the standards I apply to our nation's leaders. 2/
Sep 12, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
Before everyone gets too excited: Starr said the Constitution allows indicting POTUS, but that Mueller can't do so given DOJ precedent. 1/ As noted in this excellent @charlie_savage piece, it was reported at the time that Starr had concluded that Clinton could be indicted, and Starr even prepared a draft indictment. 2/…
Aug 30, 2018 18 tweets 5 min read
If Trump actually fires Sessions, what's next? Let's talk about how that would play out. 1/ Under the normal course of events, Rod Rosenstein would become Acting Attorney General. Of course, Rosenstein already is acting AG for the Mueller investigation due to Sessions' recusal. 2/
Aug 23, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
In light of news that David Pecker -- who killed Karen McDougal story for Trump -- was granted immunity, here's my old thread on Trump/Weinstein similarities in the dark art of scandal-quashing. Both used Pecker to bury sex stories. Is there other overlap? We know that Pecker tried to use "catch and kill" to bury stories about sexual assault allegations for Weinstein. Many women have accused Trump of the same. Did Pecker kill those as well?
Aug 22, 2018 24 tweets 6 min read
Now that we've all had a good night's sleep, I'd like to push back against the notion that Cohen/Manafort day marks The Beginning of the End. I hope it does, but let's keep the champagne corked for now, 1/ Let's start with Cohen: yes, he implicated Trump in a crime. But the prosecutors didn't. The statement that Cohen made illegal payments in coordination with and at the direction of Trump came from Cohen himself in court, not from prosecutors. 2/
Aug 16, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
Odd that Brennan thinks the "only questions that remain" involve criminal liability. Key questions: what did the president know and when did he know it? The answers may doom his presidency regardless of whether they map onto a specific crime. 1/… Anyone who thinks the Trump presidency will end in a courtroom is kidding themselves. Trump won’t be prosecuted while in office, if ever. 2/
Aug 13, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
If Omarosa already signed an NDA while at WH, why did they try to get her to sign another one after she left? Possible answer: WH NDA didn’t extend past employment or was otherwise toothless. WH Counsel McGahn didn’t want to do NDAs and this was all just to humor Trump. Here's NYT from March on how McGahn thought the WH NDAs were dumb and made them meaningless.…
Aug 10, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
As terrible as this is, it’s worth noting that similar things have happened in past administrations. 1/ Coincidentally, as this was happening in DC, a court ruled in favor of someone who suffered the same fate in 2015. 2/
Aug 8, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
Dershowitz neglects to note that campaign finance law would have *allowed* Don Jr to solicit/receive dirt from the Russians if the campaign *paid* for it. 1/ As long as the campaign pays for stuff from foreigners, and reports the payment, they're in the clear. While Dershowitz's First Amendment argument might be powerful if campaigns weren't allowed to get *anything* from foreigners, the law doesn't ban that. 2/
Aug 5, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
Folks, “This was a meeting to get information on an opponent” isn’t some big new confession — they’ve been saying since last July that their goal was to get dirt but that they received a boring pitch about adoptions instead. 1/ Here are Don Jr’s two statements from last July — in the second one he confessed that the goal was to get dirt on Clinton. 2/
Jul 30, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
This July 2017 explainer from former prosecutor @RDEliason remains an excellent guide to possible crimes implicated in collusion with Russians. Conspiracy to defraud US, election laws, hacking laws -- it's all in there. 1/ Weirdly, this guide is more useful for having been published a few days *before* the Trump Tower meeting became public. The known facts about that meeting haven't really taught us much about the extent of the collusion. 2/
Jul 27, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
Look, it was obvious that Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting before it happened, and it's quite possible that Cohen is inventing knowledge of something that is actually true. 1/ Sam Nunberg told @jaketapper back in March that Trump knew (h/t @jhseher), and nobody batted an eye because of course Trump knew. 2/
Jul 23, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
This is odd given that on TV yesterday @AlanDersh stated that there *were* additional tapes (h/t @saletan) — which suggests Dersh may be consulting with Trump’s team on the case. 1/ Yesterday Dershowitz accused Avenatti of having learned about the additional tapes improperly.… 2/
Jul 20, 2018 8 tweets 3 min read
It's entirely possible this leak came from Trump's team either to (1) change the topic from Russia and/or (2) go public on their own terms before Cohen could. The timing supports both motives. 1/ Trump's vulnerability on sex scandals is pretty much already priced in, so it's clear that he'd prefer us to focus on that as opposed to Helsinki and its fallout. 2/
Jul 11, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read
Some have suggested Kennedy pulled his punches in the travel ban case so as not to harm the chances of his preferred successor Kavanaugh. If so, this is just the latest way in which -- perversely -- Trump's general apathy about the substance of his job helps him get his way. 1/ Trump clearly doesn’t give a hoot about conservative ideas. This actually *helps* him with the GOP Congress. With no preexisting policy commitments, he can turn on a dime to attack a critic. Rs saw Trump go nuclear on Corker/Flake. So they stay mum about all the craziness. 2/
Jul 8, 2018 14 tweets 2 min read
A few words on Amy Coney Barrett – in additional to having minimal experience as a judge, she has a remarkably narrow professional record *before* becoming a judge -- which distinguishes her from every justice in recent memory. 1/ After clerking, Barrett was a law firm associate for 3 years, and then a law professor until she joined the 7th Circuit eight months ago. That's all. 2/
Jul 3, 2018 10 tweets 5 min read
A few thoughts on how armchair lawyering in the Trump era can miss the point. Yesterday the White House put out two despicable tweets aimed at @KamalaHarris and @SenWarren. 1/ Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) quickly called out the tweets as false. But then she pivoted to questioning their legality. 2/
Jun 29, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
Before this terrible week ends, a few thoughts on an aspect of the travel ban case that didn't get enough attention -- not what the justices wrote, but how the plaintiffs' lawyer offered Trump a way out -- and Trump rejected it. 1/ At oral argument, Chief Justice Roberts asked Hawaii's lawyer, @neal_katyal, whether Trump's anti-Muslim statements amounted to a permanent bar on enacting policies like the travel ban. 2/
Jun 21, 2018 12 tweets 4 min read
Some thoughts on Trump's slapdash executive order on family separation. First, despite their tough talk, the notion that they're setting up a showdown with a judge is comical. 1/ A settlement in a 1997 case prohibits the government from keeping children in detention for more than 20 days. The Executive Order instructs DOJ to try to modify the settlement to allow longer detention of children who are accompanied by a parent. 2/…
Jun 20, 2018 5 tweets 1 min read
Trump’s end game may be to win by taking a loss in the courts — same as with travel ban 1.0 and (for now) DACA. He gets to avoid worst consequences and blame someone else. 1/ Per reports Trump’s executive order would ignore the Flores settlement pursuant to which children with families can’t be detained beyond 20 days. 2/