Posts Tagged ‘Alan Dershowitz’

Liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz gives Rod Rosenstein an “F” in legal ethics — Conflict of interest means he should be fired

July 1, 2018

Liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz on Saturday criticized Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s continued supervision of the Robert Mueller investigation, citing “conflict of interest” as a reason he should be replaced.

Related image

“There is no surprise that this one is taking a long time,” Dershowitz said on “Fox & Friends” on the length of the investigation so far. “What is surprising is that Rod Rosenstein is still supervising it. More and more information is coming out about his conflict of interest. We have now seen stories in the New York Times about how he may have regretted writing a letter and he felt he was used writing a letter.”

“He is a central witness in this entire obstruction of justice if it involves the firing of Comey,” said Dershowitz. “How can he still stay on the case? I wish they would focus much more on that because he is recused. He is disqualified. He ought to be replaced. That will, however, slow the process down even more probably.”

Responding to a question from Ed Henry about ways to deal with the situation, Dershowitz cited several, including a lawsuit or an “ethics charge.” (RELATED: Congressman: Rosenstein Is Spying On Me)

Image result for Rod Rosenstein, smiling, photos

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Getty Images file photo

“As somebody who has taught legal ethics for over 25 years at law school, the first thing you learn you can’t be both a prosecutor and a witness,” he said. “So much influences your role as a prosecutor to know that if the case goes a certain way, then you are a witness. If it goes another way maybe you are not a witness. You will look terrible this way. You will look better the other way. He has real self-interest. People talk about the president not pardoning himself or the president not pardoning people who are involved. Here you have the person who is leading the investigation who has an obvious interest in the way in which the investigation is going to go involving his own participation. That just shouldn’t be allowed.”




Rosenstein Consulted With Ethics Advisor Over Recusing Himself From Mueller Probe




Federal judge rightly rebukes Mueller for questionable tactics

May 7, 2018

An experienced federal judge has confirmed what I have been arguing for months — namely, that the modus operandi of special counsel Robert Mueller is to charge associates of President Trump with any crime he can find in order to squeeze them into turning against Trump.

This is what Judge T.S. Ellis III said at a hearing Friday: “You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud. … What you really care about is what information Mr. Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment.”

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, suit, eyeglasses and indoor


But, as the judge correctly pointed out, it risks the possibility that the squeezed witness will not only sing — he will compose! Here is what he said about that: “This vernacular is to ‘sing,’ is what prosecutors use. What you got to be careful of is, they may not only sing, they may compose.” 

I have been using this “compose” metaphor for decades, and I am gratified that a judge borrowed it to express an important civil liberties concern. Every experienced criminal lawyer has seen this phenomenon at work. I have seen it used by prosecutors who threaten wives, parents, siblings and, in one case, the innocent son of a potential witness who was about to graduate law school. Most judges, many of whom were former prosecutors, have also seen it. But few have the courage to expose it publicly, as Judge Ellis has done.

Defenders of Mueller’s tactic argue that the threatened witnesses and their relatives are generally guilty of some crime, or else they wouldn’t be vulnerable to the prosecutor’s threats. This may be true, but the crimes they are threatened to be charged with are often highly technical, elastic charges that are brought only as leverage. They are dropped as soon as the witness cooperates. This was precisely the point Judge Ellis was making with regard to Manafort.

A similar point could be made with regard to President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and perhaps to his personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Indeed, Flynn pleaded guilty to a highly questionable charge precisely because his son was threatened with prosecution.

Civil libertarians have long criticized this tactic, since the time it was used by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his minions to pressure witnesses to testify against suspected communists in the 1950s. In recent decades it has been deployed against mobsters, terrorists and corporate predators. But Judges Ellis has accused Mueller of using this questionable approach to develop a political case against the duly elected president of the United States.

For those who argue that everything is fair, if the goal is to prevent a president from being above the law, Judge Ellis provided a compelling response: “What we don’t want in this country, we don’t want anyone with unfettered power. … It’s unlikely you’re going to persuade me the special counsel has unlimited powers to do anything he or she wants.”

He was referring to the manner by which the special counsel was using his power to “tighten the screws” on Manafort by indicting him for an alleged crime that the judge believes has nothing to do “with what the special counsel is authorized to investigate.”

Civil libertarians should be applauding Judge Ellis for seeking to cabin the “unfettered power” of the special counsel to do “anything he wants.” But no, because his ruling may help Trump, and because Trump has applauded it, the civil liberties and criminal defense communities have not been heard from.

The judge has not yet ruled on the propriety of the special counsel’s actions, and it is unlikely he will dismiss the charges against Manafort. But Mueller is on notice that he may not have unfettered power to indict President Trump’s associates for old crimes that are unrelated to the Russia investigation for the purpose of making them sing or compose against Trump. Equally important, the civil liberties community no longer has an excuse to ignore — or defend, as some have done — tactics that pose considerable dangers to civil liberties, just because they are being used against President Trump.

Last week was not a good one for special counsel Mueller. Nor was it particularly good for President Trump, as his new lawyer Rudy Giuliani presented a somewhat garbled narrative with regard to the payments made to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels. But it was an excellent week for the Constitution and for all Americans, because a federal judge made it clear that no one — not even the special counsel — is above the law and beyond scrutiny by our system of checks and balances.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter professor of law, emeritus, at Harvard Law School. He is the author of “Trumped Up: How Criminalizing Politics is Dangerous to Democracy” and “The Case Against BDS: Why Singling Out Israel for Boycott is Anti-Semitic and Anti-Peace.” You can follow him on Twitter @AlanDersh and on Facebook @AlanMDershowitz.



Donald Trump’s better off litigating: Alan Dershowitz

May 4, 2018

In my experience, subjects of criminal investigations rarely help themselves by speaking to prosecutors or testifying before a grand jury. Far more often, they hurt themselves by falling into a perjury trap carefully set by prosecutors.

When prosecutors invite a subject to talk to them, they are not trying to help the subject. They are trying to bolster their case against him. Subjects can become targets and then defedants even if they tell the truth.

Image result for Alan Dershowitz, photos

By Alan Dershowitz

They can fill gaps or make statements that are contradicted by other witnesses who the prosecutors chose to believe. That is why, in my half-century of practicing criminal law, I have never advised a client to speak to prosecutors unless the alternative is worse.

OUR VIEW:No obstruction? No collusion? Then why not testify?

In this case, the alternative may well be a grand jury subpoena, which is worse in that the subject must appear without his lawyer and without limitations of time and subject matter. But it is better in that it can be challenged legally. A negotiated appearance cannot.

There are several grounds on which President Trump’s lawyers could challenge a subpoena. The broadest ground would be that a sitting president cannot be compelled to appear before a grand jury and answer questions. The courts are likely to reject so broad an argument, as they rejected President Clinton’s claim that he could not be required to sit for a deposition.

A somewhat narrower objection would be to answering any questions that relate to the exercise of his presidential authority under Article 2 of the Constitution. Just as members of Congress and the judiciary cannot be questioned about the exercise of their constitutional powers, so, too, a president cannot be required to explain why he fired FBI Director James Comey or national security adviser Michael Flynn.

President George H. W. Bush was not questioned about why he pardoned Caspar Weinberger and others on the eve of their trials, even though it was obvious to everyone, especially the special prosecutor, that he pardoned them for the improper purpose of shutting down the Iran-Contra investigation, which might well have pointed a finger of accusation at him.

I think that President Trump would have a good chance of prevailing on this issue.

Finally, he could challenge questions that go beyond the scope of the special counsel’s mandate. Even if he prevailed on that challenge, it would only be a Pyrrhic victory, since the same questions could be put to him by a grand jury in the Southern District of New York.

All in all, I think the president is probably better off litigating than testifying, though he might end up doing both.

Alan Dershowitz is professor of law emeritus at Harvard University andauthor of Trumped Up: How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy.

Alan Dershowitz: Harsh words for Feds after raid on Trump’s lawyer — Mueller is trying to turn Cohen against Trump — Has Mueller “lost perspective”

April 10, 2018
011218 lim dershowitz immigrants pic
Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz on Monday laid into Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
(Screenshot via Fox News)

Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz warned Monday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s decision to raid President Trump’s personal lawyer’s office is an assault on the privileged lawyer-client relationship.

Dershowitz said on Fox News that he believes the decision to raid Michael Cohen’s office would be a sign that Mueller is trying to turn Cohen against Trump.

“This may be an attempt to squeeze Cohen,” he said. “He’s the lawyer, he’s the guy who knows all the facts about Donald Trump, and to get him to turn against his client.”

“This is a very dangerous day today for lawyer-client relations,” he added.

Dershowitz, who has drawn the ire of Democrats for defending Trump, said Mueller’s move is also dangerous because it gives the FBI the option of deciding what information seized from Cohen to pursue.

“I tell [clients] on my word of honor that what you tell me is sacrosanct,” he said. “And now they say, just based on probable cause … they can burst into the office, grab all the computers, and then give it to another FBI agent and say, ‘You’re the firewall. We want you now to read all these confidential communications, tell us which ones we can get and which ones we can’t get.'”

“If this were Hillary Clinton being investigated and they went into her lawyer’s office, the ACLU would be on every television station in America, jumping up and down,” he added.

“The deafening silence from the ACLU and civil libertarians about the intrusion into the lawyer-client confidentiality is really appalling,” Dershowitz said.

The famed law professor said Mueller’s move will only convince more people not to cooperate and said he believes Mueller has “lost perspective” in the case.

Dershowitz recommended that Trump make a motion in court to take Cohen’s materials away from the FBI and make a judge decide what evidence can be used and which cannot.

Trump Hits Again at Mueller, Invoking Alan Dershowitz’s Support

March 21, 2018


By Terrence Dopp

  • President keeps up attacks on prosecutor leading Russia probe
  • Mueller wrong way to address Russian 2016 meddling: academic

President Donald Trump returned to criticisms of the special counsel investigating Russian election meddling Wednesday, this time quoting Alan Dershowitz on Fox News mounting a vigorous attack on Robert Mueller, saying he never should have been appointed and that there was no evidence of a crime.

“Special Council is told to find crimes, whether crimes exist or not. I was opposed the the selection of Mueller to be Special Council, I still am opposed to it. I think President Trump was right when he said there never should have been a Special Council appointed,” Trump said on Twitter, quoting the former Harvard law professor.

Alan Dershowitz

Photographer: Lior Mizrahi/Hulton Archive

In a subsequent message, Trump wrote, “there was no probable cause for believing that there was any crime, collusion or otherwise, or obstruction of justice!”

The tweets come as even Republicans in Washington have become concerned that Trump will fire Mueller, the former FBI director brought in as special counsel after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigating allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday praised Mueller and said he should be allowed to finish his job, in his first comments since Trump began slamming Mueller over the weekend. House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters that Mueller should be allowed to complete his work.

Lawmakers took some comfort in statements from Trump attorney Ty Cobb and White House officials that Trump wasn’t planning to oust Mueller. But Trump continued to attack the investigation as a “witch hunt,” and he hired Joseph diGenova, a former federal prosecutor who has said Trump is the victim of a “brazen plot” by the FBI and the Justice Department. DiGenova also has repeatedly criticized the Trump appointee who oversees Mueller’s probe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

White House chief of staff John Kelly: Devin Nunes memo likely to be released soon — Alan Dershowitz: America Has ‘the Right’ to See FISA Memo

January 31, 2018


 Image result for White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, photos

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump was overheard Tuesday night telling a Republican lawmaker he is “100 percent” in favor of releasing a classified memo on the Russia investigation, and his chief of staff says the document is likely to be released “pretty quick.”

The memo has sparked a political fight pitting Republicans against the FBI and the Justice Department.

“Oh yeah, don’t worry,” the president told South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan on the House floor after his first State of the Union address. “100 percent.”

Duncan had implored Trump to “release the memo.”

Television cameras captured the exchange as Trump was leaving the chamber.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNN Wednesday that the legal and national security review of the document was continuing, adding that Trump had not read the memo as “as of last night prior to and immediately after the State of the Union.”

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said Wednesday on Fox News Radio that he expected the memo to be released “pretty quick.”

The memo arrived at the White House on Monday evening after Republicans on the House intelligence committee brushed aside opposition from the Justice Department and voted to release it. Under committee rules, the president has five days to object to its release.

The four-page memo was written by Republicans on the committee, led by chairman Rep. Devin Nunes of California, a close Trump ally who has become a fierce critic of the FBI and the Justice Department.

Republicans have said the memo reveals improper use of surveillance by the FBI and the Justice Department in the Russia investigation. Democrats have called it a selectively edited group of GOP talking points that attempt to distract from the committee’s own investigation into Russian meddling.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday that nothing in the memo vindicates Trump. Speaking at an event sponsored by the news site Axios, Schiff said Nunes was pushing a “misleading narrative.”

On Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he supports the memo’s release but doesn’t want Republicans to use it to attack special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether Trump’s campaign was involved.

“This is a completely separate matter from Bob Mueller’s investigation and his investigation should be allowed to take its course,” Ryan said, noting that he also supports Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller.

Ryan said the memo shows “there may have been malfeasance at the FBI by certain individuals.” He did not provide additional details, only saying that “there are legitimate questions about whether an American’s civil liberties were violated by the FISA process,” a reference to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

It’s unclear how FBI malfeasance could have solely resulted in a judge signing off on a FISA warrant. Applications for such warrants are submitted by Justice Department lawyers before a judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Those lawyers would have to authorize and ultimately prepare any filing that is made.

The vote to release the memo is an unprecedented move by the committee, which typically goes out of its way to protect classified information in the interest of protecting intelligence sources and methods.

It also came after Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray warned John Kelly that releasing the memo publicly could set a dangerous precedent, according to a person familiar with the conversation. Rosenstein also told Kelly the memo didn’t accurately characterize the FBI’s investigative practices, the person said.

The Washington Post first reported the details of the White House meeting. The FBI and the Justice Department declined comment.

The Justice Department had said in a letter last week that it would be “extraordinarily reckless” to release the memo without first giving the FBI and the department the chance to review it.

After those complaints, Wray reviewed the memo over the weekend. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who was with Wray when he reviewed the memo, said the FBI director did not raise any national security concerns with him. Gowdy said the memo doesn’t reveal any intelligence methods but it does reveal “one source.”

On Tuesday, Sanders had pushed back on reports that the release was imminent, saying the White House has no “current plans” to do so. “The President has not seen or been briefed on the memo or reviewed its contents,” she said.

A senior White House official said the National Security Council is leading an interagency review of the memo. If Trump decides to release the memo, it could be made public as early as Wednesday afternoon, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential internal deliberations.

So far, the official said, the Justice Department is the only agency opposing its release.

Republicans said they are confident the release won’t harm national security. They also said they would not release the underlying intelligence that informed the memo.

“You’ll see for yourself that it’s not necessary,” said Texas Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas, who’s leading the House’s Russia investigation.

But Schiff said the memo’s release could compromise intelligence sources and methods.

Some Republican senators have also said they don’t want to release the memo, and Democrats have pushed back on Republican criticism of the FBI, saying it is an attempt to discredit Mueller’s investigation. The probe has already resulted in charges against four of Trump’s former campaign advisers and has recently moved closer to Trump’s inner circle.

In response, Democrats on the panel have put together their own memo. On Monday, the committee voted to make the Democratic memo available to all House members — but not the public.


Associated Press writers Eric Tucker, Jonathan Lemire, Tom LoBianco, Mary Clare Jalonick and Andy Taylor contributed to this report.


Image result for Alan Dershowitz, photos

Alan Dershowitz: America Has ‘the Right’ to See FISA Memo

Americans have the right to see a contentious memo reportedly accusing the Justice Department and FBI of misusing their authority to get a secret surveillance order on an ex-Trump campaign aide, Alan Dershowitz said Monday.

The acclaimed Harvard law professor declared “transparency is the essence of democracy” in an interview on Newsmax TV‘s “Newsmax Now.”

Dershowitz said the public must be able to see what is contained in the memo following a vote Monday by the House Intelligence Committee to send the memo to President Donald Trump to declassify.

“The American public has the right to see it, has the right to know why it’s classified, has the right to know whether it could be presented to the public redacted, with just whatever is absolutely essential to national security perhaps being redacted,” Dershowitz said.

“The most important first step is to make it available so we see what’s in it, we see whether or not there were justifications, if it was used, if material was used improperly to obtain a [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant. The American public is entitled to see all that . . . Let’s see it, then we can have a reasonable discussion of what it really means.

“I want to hear why it’s not being made public and why the Justice Department, or anybody else in Congress or anywhere else, is trying to keep the American public from seeing what could be an important document.”

Dershowitz also weighed in the decision by the FBI’s Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to step down Monday, saying the development points up “a broader issue.”

“Are we allowed to ask people what their political affiliation is or not?” Dershowitz asked, noting McCabe was reportedly asked that question by President Donald Trump.

“And the rule has to apply on both sides of the aisle,” he said. “McCabe’s wife was an active Democrat who received funding from Clinton-related sources. Should that be a disqualification? If so, it should be a disqualification on the other side of the aisle as well? We need objective rules that apply equally to both sides.”

“Those are very, very hard questions,” Dershowitz added. “We have to resolve them in an objective and neutral and nonpartisan way.”

Read Full Article Here Alan Dershowitz: Public Has ‘the Right’ to See FISA Memo |

Qatar Doubles Down on PR Campaign Appealing to U.S. Jews and D.C. Insiders

January 18, 2018

A visit to the emirate by Alan Dershowitz, meetings with Jewish organizations and promises of a new attitude toward Israel: Qatar is working hard to change its image as a Hamas-supporting state, but some in Washington remain unconvinced


Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, left, shaking hands with U.S. President Donald Trump in Riyadh, May 21, 2017.
Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, left, shaking hands with U.S. President Donald Trump in Riyadh, May 21, 2017.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

WASHINGTON – Qatar has recently expanded its public relations effort aimed at improving its image in the United States, including within the Jewish community.

The wealthy emirate, often criticized for having ties to Hamas, has invited influential American public figures – some of them with close ties to the Trump administration – to visit and meet with its senior leadership, which denies providing support to the Gaza Islamist group and other terror organizations.

Last week, prominent New York attorney Alan Dershowitz published an article on the Hill website, following his visit to Qatar at the invitation of the country’s powerful emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. Dershowitz wrote that he was surprised to hear the Qatari response to many of the accusations hurled at the Gulf state, and urged the Trump administration and Congress to reexamine the issue.

Also last week, Qatar hosted former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a leading right-wing media commentator and father of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Huckabee tweeted that he found Doha, Qatar, to be “surprisingly beautiful, modern, and hospitable.”

skip – Mike Huckabee tweet

Another recent visitor to the tiny emirate, whose wealth comes from its huge natural gas reserves, was conservative radio host John Batchelor. He took his popular audio show to Qatar last week at the behest of the country’s leadership, where he was joined by Thaddeus McCotter, a former Republican congressman from Michigan.

The emirate has also flown in representatives of various Washington think tanks on Qatar-funded trips.

Dershowitz, Huckabee and Batchelor all seem to be visiting as part of the Qatari leadership’s efforts to change its reputation among American politicians as a “problematic” nation associated with its support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar hosts some of Hamas’ senior leaders and funds the international media network Al Jazeera, whom neighboring Arab countries have accused of supporting Islamist movements and of destabilizing their regimes.

As part of the attempt to push back against these allegations, Qatar has hired the services of Nick Muzin, a public relations adviser who previously worked as a senior staffer to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

skip – Nick Muzin tweet

An Orthodox Jew, Muzin has used his contacts within the Republican Party and the Jewish community to find an ear for Qatar’s arguments in Washington and New York – at a time when the emirate is facing a severe crisis because of attempts by Saudi Arabia to isolate it economically and diplomatically.

When Qatar’s hiring of Muzin’s Stonington Strategies firm was first revealed last summer – for a reported monthly fee of $50,000 – it raised eyebrows in Jewish and conservative circles because of Muzin’s professional background. Cruz, his former boss, has called for the Muslim Brotherhood to be designated a terrorist organization, yet Qatar is considered a major Brotherhood supporter in the Arab world.

Who are the good guys?

Muzin’s first attempts to organize meetings for the Qatari emir and crown prince with Jewish-American leaders ran into public opposition and became a source of debate in the Jewish press. Fast forward a few months, though, and it seems the Qatari public outreach effort is slowly beginning to change some minds in Washington and elsewhere.

Dershowitz’s article – titled “Why is Qatar being blockaded and isolated?” – is a good example, especially in light of the author’s reputation as a staunch supporter of Israel.

He wrote he had “just returned from a private visit to Qatar, at the invitation of and paid for by the Emir. I do not represent Qatar’s government and, to be honest, I was initially reluctant to accept his invitation because I had heard that Qatar was contributing to Hamas, which is a terrorist group, and that it was supporting Iran, which is the largest exporter of terrorism in the world. But then I did my own research and concluded that the Qatar issue was more complex and nuanced. So I wanted to see for myself.”

Alan Dershowitz, left, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2010.
Alan Dershowitz, left, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2010.עמוס בן גרשום / לע”

One of the first things that surprised him, Dershowitz wrote, was that as soon as he got to Doha, Qatar’s capital, “I was surprised to read that an Israeli tennis player had been welcomed by the Qatari government to participate in a tennis tournament.” Dershowitz compared this recent event to Saudi Arabia’s refusal last month to allow Israeli chess players to attend the world chess championship held in Riyadh. “Moreover,” he added, “Saudi officials criticized Qatar for allowing an Israeli tennis player to participate in its tournament, and for ordering ‘the Israeli flag to be raised.’”

“This episode,” he concluded, “made clear to me that the Saudis were not necessarily the good guys in their dispute with Qatar.”

After going over Qatar’s reaction to allegations that it supports Hamas and other terror organizations (allegations that Qatar’s leadership denies), Dershowitz wrote: “After hearing these different accounts, I observed that Qatar is quickly becoming the Israel of the Gulf States, surrounded by enemies, subject to boycotts and unrealistic demands, and struggling for its survival. I heard a lot of positive statements regarding Israel from Qatari leaders as well as hints of commercial relationships between these isolated nations.”

In a conversation with Haaretz on Tuesday, Dershowitz emphasized that he has “not come to any firm conclusions” about Qatar’s ties to Hamas, Iran and other problematic actors in the region. He did, however, leave the emirate with “somewhat more nuanced” views, as “there appear to be two sides to the story.”

A group of Palestinian women holding Qatar flags and banners during a demonstration in support of Qatar, in Khan Yunis, Gaza, June 14, 2017.
A group of Palestinian women holding Qatar flags and banners during a pro-Qatar demonstration in Khan Yunis, Gaza, June 14, 2017. The gulf state’s support of Hamas remains a big stumbling block.Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency

Dershowitz explained that he asked the emir and other senior Qatari officials to assist with the release of two Israeli citizens currently being held in Gaza, as well as the return of the bodies of two slain Israeli soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, killed in action during the 2014 Gaza war. “They told me they’re trying,” he said, stopping short of providing more details on the sensitive subject.

Coincidentally, on Monday – shortly after the publication of Dershowitz’s article and the culmination of Huckabee’s Qatar visit – U.S. President Donald Trump talked with the emir by phone. A White House readout of that conversation stated: “The President thanked the Emir for Qatari action to counter terrorism and extremism in all forms, including being one of the few countries to move forward on a bilateral memorandum of understanding.” It continued: “The leaders discussed areas in which the United States and Qatar can partner to bring more stability to the region, counter malign Iranian influence, and defeat terrorism.”

One person unmoved by Dershowitz’s article was Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of the D.C. think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He has written extensively in recent years about Qatar’s ties to Hamas and other terror organizations. “Stick to what you know,” Schanzer tweeted Dershowitz. “Happy to brief you sometime on Qatar. Doha is bad news.” And in a subsequent tweet, Schanzer added: “The man [Dershowitz] defends Israel until he’s blue in the face and then normalizes Hamas’s top patron.”

Dershowitz responded, “Happy to hear facts. Not conclusions. I make up my own mind based on facts.”

skip – Jonathan Schanzer tweet

skip – Alan Dershowitz tweet

Schanzer told Haaretz on Wednesday that “there is nothing wrong with analysts and intellectuals traveling to Qatar to learn about the situation there. The problem is that during those visits, they’re not hearing the other side of the story. They are getting the government line and then they go home. They need to hear also from Qatar’s critics. There is a lot of material they should become aware of about Qatar’s ties to Hamas, Al-Qaida, the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood and other problematic actors.”

Schanzer previously called to designate Qatar as a state sponsor of terrorism for its ties to these groups. “If you really want to see all sides of the story,” he told Haaretz, “you’re not going to get it in Doha.”

The problem with Qatar

Qatar is not only inviting opinion formers to Doha – it is also working to bring its arguments to Washington. Last week, the Qatari minister in charge of aid and assistance to Gaza, Mohammed al-Emadi, visited the U.S. capital, where he met with, among others, members of Congress and diplomats. Emadi came to Washington partly because he is the rare example of an Arab diplomat who, according to press reports, works on a regular basis with Israeli security officials as part of Qatar’s efforts to help reconstruct the Gaza Strip following the 2014 war. By presenting him to decision-makers and influencers in the U.S. capital, the emirate is hoping to convince them it has a positive impact in Gaza and is working with Israel to improve the situation there.

“The frustration with Qatar,” said an Israeli official who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue, “is that they do some good things in Gaza. But at the same time, there are problems arising from their use of Al Jazeera and their ties with Hamas. It’s a complicated situation. They are one of the only countries in the world that truly cares about improving the situation in Gaza. They’re also one of the only countries that has ties to all the bad guys in the region – Hamas, Sunni Islamists and Iran.”

A Qatari woman walking in front of the city skyline in Doha, Qatar.
A Qatari woman walking in front of the city skyline in Doha, Qatar.Kamran Jebreili/AP

Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein told Haaretz that he has discussed Qatar’s policies with Muzin, whom he has “known and worked closely with for a number of years – ever since he was an important staffer for Sen. Cruz.” Last September, Klein refused to meet with the Qatari leadership, accusing the regime of funding “Islamic terrorists who aim to murder Jews, Americans, Christians and even fellow Muslims.”

This week, though, Klein said that while he still has many doubts about Qatar’s role in the region, he is open to hearing the arguments being fleshed out by Dershowitz and others. “I think Dershowitz’s article was totally reasonable,” Klein said. “I think we should check out their claims. If they’re true, then there’s no reason not to go there and engage in dialogue with them. But if they’re lying, then we should have nothing to do with them.”

Klein added, though, that Qatar has to stop airing incitement on Al Jazeera if it ever wants to win the trust of the United States and Israel.

With regards to his conversations with Muzin, Klein said the PR maven “made it clear to me that he wouldn’t take on the job of working for Qatar unless he was assured by the leaders of Qatar that their goal is to make Qatar a more free and civilized society, and to do something about the problems with Al Jazeera.”

Qatar still faces significant criticism on Capitol Hill. Last October, two Republican members of Congress published an article titled “It’s Up to Congress to Hold Qatar Accountable.” Reps. Dan Donovan and Brian Fitzpatrick – both members of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa – wrote that “Qatar is the master of playing all sides. The same country that served as the U.S. Central Command headquarters during the invasion of Iraq and still hosts a critical American air base today also sponsors Hamas’s anti-Israel agenda, gives sanctuary to terrorist leaders and spreads its wealth to terrorist and extremist groups throughout the Middle East.”

In November, a Democratic consulting firm, Bluelight Strategies, which has also worked with Qatari opposition leaders opposing the country’s regime, circulated a political memo among Democrats in Congress urging them to attack Republicans and the Trump administration for turning a blind eye to Qatar’s ties with Hamas and other terror groups. The memo, titled “Emerging GOP Vulnerability on Terrorism, Iran and Israel,” highlighted the Trump administration’s confusing policy regarding the Gulf crisis, and urged Democrats to speak out on the issue: “The more the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans are called out for embracing Hamas state sponsorship of terrorism, the more the message will penetrate.”

This view of Qatar as a country that tries to have it both ways is still prevalent in Washington and, as of now, it remains the main challenge standing in the way of the emirate’s charm offensive.

A man walking past a branch of Qatar National Bank (QNB) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, June 5, 2017.
A man walking past a branch of Qatar National Bank (QNB) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, June 5, 2017. Qatar is looking to make friends in Washington after the Saudis triggered a diplomatic crisis.\ Faisal Nasser/REUTERS

Leaked memo shows Iranian regime in panic after deadly protests

January 2, 2018

Fox News

Developing now, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018:

  • Exclusive: A leaked memo shows how the Iranian regime considered stopping recent deadly protests
  • President Trump returns to the White House after holiday break, prepares to tackle new year’s challenges
  • California officially becomes a “sanctuary state” as new law takes effect
  • U.S. Customs system outage stalls travelers in airports for hours across the country on New Year’s Day
  • Florida family and college basketball standout among the newly identified victims of New Year’s Eve crash in Costa Rica

THE LEAD STORY: Leaked meeting notes provided exclusively to Fox News shows how Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with political leaders and heads of the country’s security forces to discuss how to tamp down on deadly nationwide protests The memo covered several meetings up to Dec. 31 and was given to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) by high-level sources from within the regime. It said the unrest has hurt every sector of the country’s economy and “threatens the regime’s security. The first step, therefore, is to find a way out of this situation.” The notes added, “Religious leaders and the leadership must come to the scene as soon as possible and prevent the situation (from) deteriorating further … God help us, this is a very complex situation and is different from previous occasions.”

BACK TO WORK: President Trump has returned to the White House after a holiday break looking to capitalize on his victories at the end of 2017 … Trump plans to host Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan at Camp David next weekend to map out the 2018 legislative agenda. The president is hoping capitalize on his pre-Christmas success on tax cuts and make more legislative achievements. Republicans are eager to make progress before attention shifts to the midterm elections. The GOP wants to hold House and Senate majorities in 2018, but must contend with Trump’s unpopularity, some recent Democratic election wins and potential voter anxiety over tax reform.

Congress also has to deal with a backlog from 2017: It must agree on a spending bill by Jan. 19 to avert a partial government shutdown; unfinished business on additional aid to for hurricane victims; lifting the debt ceiling; extending a children’s health insurance program and extending protections for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Trump has said he wants money for a border wall in exchange for protecting those immigrants.

INEVITABLE SANCTUARY STATE SHOWDOWN?: California became a “sanctuary state” Monday, as a bill that Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in October officially took effect … The law bars police in the nation’s most populous state from asking people about their immigration status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities in most cases. The Golden State is home to an estimated 2.3 million illegal immigrants.

NEW YEAR’S DAY TRAVEL NIGHTMARE: A U.S. Customs system outage affecting airports across the country stalled fliers for hours, triggering headaches for many people just trying to get home on New Year’s Day … Customs and Border Patrol officials confirmed that processing systems were back online after “a temporary outage,” adding that the failure was not “malicious in nature.” In a statement to Fox News, CBP said the disruption began at 7:30 p.m. and lasted for roughly two hours. Additionally, “CBP officers continued to process international travelers using alternative procedures at affected airports,” they said.

MORE AMERICAN VICTIMS ID’D IN COSTA RICA TRAGEDY: The identities of more victims of a New Year’s Eve plane crash in Costa Rica emerged Monday, with a second vacationing family and a college basketball standout listed among the 12 people killed … The small charter aircraft carrying 10 American tourists, including families from New York and Florida, and two local crew members crashed and burst into flames midday Sunday in a wooded area in Guanacaste, northwest Costa Rica on the Pacific coast, the government reported. There were no survivors. Two families, from the New York City suburb of Scarsdale, N.Y., and from Belleair, Fla., accounted for nine of the dead. Their American guide, from Wisconsin, was the 10th U.S. victim. The family from Florida included Drs. Mitchell Weiss, a vascular and interventional radiologist, Leslie Weiss, a pediatrician, and their two children.

IRAN EMBOLDENED UNDER OBAMA: “President Obama made it clear that he was going to stand behind the Iranian regime. He was going to send them lots and lots of money. Of course some of it was their own money, but still they used it to foment terrorism, to export terrorism around the world.” – Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law professor emeritus on “Fox & Friends,” dissecting former President Obama’s strategy on Iran. WATCH

Read the rest:


Dershowitz: Obama Made It Clear He Was Going to Stand Behind the Iranian Regime

January 1, 2018

Alan Dershowitz believes former President Obama’s strategy with Iran emboldened the Islamic republic, which he said is now poised to become a nuclear threat like North Korea in the next decade.

On “Fox & Friends,” the Harvard Law professor emeritus explained that Obama was willing to give too much in the Iran nuclear deal, and he got very little in return.

The controversial 2015 agreement unfroze more than $100 billion in Iranian assets and gave cash payments of more than $1 billion in exchange for Iran’s pledge not to pursue nuclear weapons for at least ten years.

“President Obama made it clear that he was going to stand behind the Iranian regime,” Dershowitz said. “He was going to send them lots and lots of money. Of course some of it was their own money, but still they used it to foment terrorism, to export terrorism around the world.”

He also noted a recent report that the Obama administration blocked a law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah for fear of jeopardizing the nuclear agreement.

“We’ve learned from North Korea is how difficult it is to negotiate once a country has nuclear power. And if Iran develops nuclear power with its hegemonic interests in the whole Middle East – they want to control all of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon through Hezbollah – and if we let them do that, they will become the most dangerous country in the world, not only to American allies like Israel, but to the United States itself,” Dershowitz said.

President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted it’s “time for a change” in Iran as violent anti-government protests continue in the Islamic republic.

What a year it’s been, and we’re just getting started. Together, we are MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! Happy New Year!!

Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration. The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!

Watch more from “Fox & Friends” ….

Trump’s New York Co-Chair: Pelosi Will Never Be Speaker Again

De Blasio’s 2018 Salary Increase Amount Larger Than Annual Minimum Wage

Image result for John Kerry and Zarif, photos

US Secretary of State John Kerry (right), speaks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as they walk in Geneva, Switzerland, ahead of nuclear discussions, January 14, 2015. (AP/Keystone, Laurent Gillieron, File)
Almost three years later — is anyone better off?

Alan Dershowitz: Debating the anti-Semitic BDS ‘movement’ with Cornel West

January 1, 2018
I recently debated Professor Cornel West of Harvard about the boycott movement against Israel. The topic was resolved: “The boycott, divestiture and sanctions movement will help bring about the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”West argued that Israel was a “colonialist-settler” state and that apartheid in the West Bank was “worse” than it was in white-ruled South Africa and should be subject to the same kind of economic and cultural isolation that helped bring about the fall of that regime.

I replied that the Jews who emigrated to Israel — a land in which Jews have lived continuously for thousands of years — were escaping from the countries that persecuted them, not acting as colonial settlers for those countries. Indeed, Israel fought against British colonial rule. Zionism was the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, not a colonial enterprise. Nor is Israel in any way like South Africa, where a minority of whites ruled over a majority of Blacks, who were denied the most fundamental human rights. In Israel, Arabs, Druze, and Christians have equal rights and serve in high positions in government, business, the arts, and academia. Jews were a majority in Israel, both when the U.S. divided mandatory Palestine (Eretz Yisrael) into “two states for two people,” and at present, although the Arab population has increased considerably since 1948. Even the situation on the West Bank — where Palestinians have the right to vote for their leaders and criticize Israel, and where in cities such as Ramallah there is no Israeli military or police presence — the situation is no way comparable to apartheid South Africa.

West then argued that BDS was a non-violent movement that was the best way to protest Israel’s “occupation” and settlement policies.

I responded that BDS is not a “movement” — a movement requires universality, like the feminist, gay rights, and civil rights movements. BDS is an anti-Semitic tactic directed only against the Jewish citizens and supporters of Israel. The boycott against Israel and its Jewish supporters (to many Palestinians, all of Israel is one big “settlement;” just look at any map of Palestine) began before any “occupation” or “settlements” and picked up steam just as Israel offered to end the “occupation” and settlements as part of a two-state solution that the Palestinians rejected. BDS is not a protest against Israel’s policies. It is a protest against Israel’s very existence.

West argued that BDS would help the Palestinians. I argued that it has hurt them by causing unemployment among Palestinian workers in companies such as SodaStream, which was pressured to move out of the West Bank, where it paid high wages to Palestinian men and women who worked side by side with Israeli men and women. I explained that the leadership of the Palestinian Authority is opposed to broad boycotts of Israeli products, artists, and academics.

West argued that BDS would encourage Israel to make peace with the Palestinians. I replied that Israel would never be blackmailed into compromising its security, and that the Palestinians are disincentivized into making compromises by the fantasy that they will get a state through economic and cultural extortion. The Palestinians will get a state only by sitting down and negotiating directly with Israel. I told my mother’s favorite joke about Sam, an Orthodox Jew, who prayed every day to win the N.Y. Lottery before he turned 80. On his 80th birthday, he complains to God that he hasn’t won. God replies, “Sam, help me out a little — buy a ticket.” I argued that the Palestinians expect to “win” a state without “buying a ticket” — sitting down to negotiate a compromise solution.

The debate in its entirety, which was conducted in front of an audience of business people in Dallas as part of the “Old Parkland Debate Series,” continued with broad arguments about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the refugee situation, the peace process, terrorism, and other familiar issues. It can be seen in full on C-SPAN. I think it is worth watching.

The audience voted twice, once before the debate and once after. The final tally was 129 opposed to BDS and 16 in favor. The vote before the debate was 93 opposed and 14 in favor. I swayed 36 votes. West swayed 2. The anti-BDS position won overwhelmingly, not because I am a better debater than West — he is quite articulate and everyone watching the C-SPAN can judge for themselves who is the better debater — but because the facts, the morality, and the practicalities are against BDS.

The important point is never to give up on making the case against unjust tactics being employed against Israel. In some forums — at the United Nations, at numerous American university campuses, in some parts of Western Europe — it is an uphill battle. But it is a battle that can be won among open-minded people of all backgrounds. BDS lost in Dallas. BDS lost in a debate between me and an articulate human rights activist at the Oxford Union. BDS is losing in legislative chambers. And if the case is effectively and honestly presented, it will lose in the court of public opinion.

Alan Dershowitz (@AlanDersh) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School and author of “Trumped up! How Criminalizing Politics is Dangerous to Democracy.” This article was originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read ourguidelines on submissions here.