Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street Journal’

Chief Justice Roberts Requests Tenth Circuit To Investigate Kavanaugh Ethics Questions

October 14, 2018

While the Republican leadership celebrates the seating of Brett Kavanaugh as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roberts yesterday requested the Tenth Circuit to review more than twelve ethics complaints that have been made against Kavanaugh. The complaints concern Kavanaugh’s behavior at the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27.

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

These complaints were initially received by the U.S. Court of Appeals prior to Kavanaugh’s seating on the Supreme Court. Chief Judge Merrick Garland — whose nomination to the Supreme Court was blocked by Senate Republicans—recused himself from the matter. The complaints were then passed to Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, whom President George H.W. Bush nominated to the bench.

Judge Henderson dismissed some of the complaints made against Judge Kavanaugh as frivolous. But she concluded that more than a dozen complaints were substantive enough to warrant investigation by an impartial panel and that they should not be handled by Judge Kavanaugh’s fellow judges in the D.C. Circuit. She referred them to Chief Justice Roberts, who has now referred them to the 10th Circuit.

The Legal Basis Of The Ethics Complaints

The complaints were not made without legal basis. More than 2,400 law professors have determined that Kavanaugh has “displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court.”

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens also stated that Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated bias and is “not fit for the Supreme Court.” Former Justice Stevens, in remarks to retirees in Boca Raton, Fla, declared that Kavanaugh’s statements on September 27 revealed prejudices that would make it impossible for him to do the court’s work. “They suggest that he has demonstrated a potential bias involving enough potential litigants before the court that he would not be able to perform his full responsibilities.”

Judge Brett Kavanaugh himself has expressed regrets in the Wall Street Journal, about “a few things [he] should not have said” in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, though without giving specifics.

Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice Photographer: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Bloomberg

Now, Chief Justice Roberts has requested Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich, the chief circuit judge of the Denver-based Tenth Circuit, to review the complaints against Kavanaugh and “any pending or new complaints related to the same subject matter.” Judge Tymkovich has the option of handling the complaints himself, dismissing them or appointing a special committee to examine them.

Unlike the allegations of Justice Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct and excessive drinking as a teenager, there is no question here about the facts as to what happened, since they occurred on national television. At the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Judge Kavanaugh’s behavior was startlingly non-judicial in nature. From the outset in his prepared statement, he was angry and confrontational in manner. He was aggrieved and complaining about the situation in which he found himself. He was impolite and challenged the integrity of the Senate questioners and portrayed the hearing in the starkest partisan terms.

Kavanaugh made no apparent effort to bring a lifetime of professional expertise and perspective to bear on the difficult issues under consideration. Instead, he was dismissive of the inquiry and was careless on matters of fact that had been asserted by other potential witnesses on the subject under discussion. He made obfuscating responses to questions about the meaning of words. He made no apparent effort to hold emotions in check and shouted at U.S. Senators and accused them of wrongdoing. He repeatedly sought to shift the attention and blame to others for what was taking place. He resisted further legal inquiry into the issues under discussion. He approached the inquiry with an attitude of entitlement and self-pity. His conduct was remarkably unprofessional.

Although Kavanaugh’s behavior was the very opposite of what one hopes for and expects in a judge, it succeeded in its immediate intent of winning the applause of President Trump and his Republican supporters. Yet his performance, which has been accurately satirized on Saturday Night Live, appalled the rest of the country and raised strictly legal questions about his temperament to sit as a judge on any federal court, let alone the Supreme Court.

Next Steps

The situation is unique in that never before has a Supreme Court appointee joined the court at a time when a fellow judge has concluded that misconduct claims against that appointee warrant review and when a former Supreme Court Justice has concluded that the appointee’s behavior was disqualifying.

Technically, Supreme Court justices are not subject to the misconduct rules governing these claims. But if complaints against a sitting Justice are not dealt with in an impartial apolitical manner, then there will be an asterisk against Judge Tymkovich and Justice Kavanaugh for the remainder of their terms, and indeed the U.S. Supreme Court itself.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

There is therefore a risk that Mitch McConnell’s seeming accomplishment of a “rock-solid Republican majority on the Supreme Court for a generation” may yet turn out to be something of a Pyrrhic victory.

The author is registered as a political independent.

Author: Steve Denning — 

And read also:

Kavanaugh: Why The Supreme Court Faces A Generation Of Ethics Questions

Why Judge Kavanaugh’s Regrets Cannot Be Accepted Without More

How Judge Kavanaugh Bombed His Job Interview With The Senate Judiciary Committee

Kavanaugh: How The Republican Leadership Broke The Four Rules Of Crisis Management

Kavanaugh: Why Fresh Allegations Raise Further Crisis-Management Challenges

My new book, “The Age of Agile” was published by HarperCollins in 2018. I consult with organizations around the world on leadership, innovation, management and business narrative. For many years I worked at the World Bank, where I held many management positions, including di…


Steve Denning’s most recent book is The Age of Agile (HarperCollins, 2018)


Treasury’s Mnuchin warns China against currency devaluation as yuan falls

October 10, 2018

‘Various factors’ behind currency weakness, including Chinese economy, Mnuchin says

Getty Images
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stopped short of accusing China of purposely depressing its currency, in a newspaper interview published Wednesday, but warned Beijing against engaging in a competitive devaluation of the yuan as the two countries continue to battle each other over trade.

“As we look at trade issues, there is no question that we want to make sure China is not doing competitive devaluations,” Mnuchin said, according to the Financial Times, in an interview ahead of meetings of the Group of 20 nations, International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Bali, Indonesia.

See: Here’s why traders think the Chinese yuan could reach a record low against the dollar

The U.S. dollar USDCNY, -0.0029% rose to more than 6.93 yuan earlier this week. The dollar edged back down 0.1% to 6.919 yuan early Wednesday.

The yuan has dropped nearly 11% from its 2018 peak in March and is trading within striking distance of 7 per dollar, an important psychological level. Economists and analysts have attributed much of the weakness to China’s slowing economy and other factors, arguing against the idea that the government is working to purposely weaken the currency as part of the trade battle with the U.S.

A sharp rise in interbank lending rates in Hong Kong, an offshore trading hub for the yuan, surged Tuesday, possibly reflecting efforts by China’s central bank to prevent the currency from weakening too much, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Mnuchin said the currency had “depreciated significantly” and that U.S. officials looked forward to discussing the “various factors” behind the move. “One of those factors has to do with their own economic issues and what has gone on in the Chinese economy,” he acknowledged.

The Treasury Department is expected to release its semiannual currency report later this month. A Bloomberg report said Mnuchin has faced pressure from the White House to formally designate China a currency manipulator. The Financial Times said Mnuchin refused to talk about the report, except to say he expected it to be published soon and that he didn’t specifically refer to currency manipulation.


Google+ shut down after data from up to 500,000 users may have been exposed to external developers

October 9, 2018

Google will shut down the consumer version of its social network Google+ after announcing data from up to 500,000 users may have been exposed to external developers by a bug that was present for more than two years in its systems.


Alphabet Inc’s Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of its Google+ social network and opted not to disclose the issue partly due to fears of regulatory scrutiny, the Wall Street Journal said, citing unnamed sources.

A software glitch in the social site gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March 2018, when internal investigators discovered and fixed the issue, the report said on the Wall Street Journal, citing documents and people briefed on the incident.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)



   (Wall Street Journal)


WSJ: Trump Mocks Kavanaugh Accuser Christine Blasey Ford at Mississippi Rally

October 3, 2018

After her testimony last week, president had called her a ‘very credible witness’


President Donald Trump speaking Tuesday night at a rally in Southaven, Miss.
President Donald Trump speaking Tuesday night at a rally in Southaven, Miss. PHOTO: MANDEL NGAN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

President Trump mocked the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford during a political rally Tuesday night, aiming direct public criticism at her for the first time while expressing broader frustration at sexual misconduct accusations facing men at all levels.

“It’s a damn sad situation,” Mr. Trump said in Southaven, Miss.

Mr. Trump had been advised not to criticize Dr. Ford and had displayed restraint after her testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee—an emotional, measured appearance that drew bipartisan praise, even as many Republicans said they didn’t believe that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was Dr. Ford’s attacker as she alleges.

But Tuesday night, Mr. Trump criticized gaps in Dr. Ford’s retelling of her sexual assault at a house party in a Maryland suburb of Washington in the early 1980s.

“How did you get home?” Mr. Trump asked, mimicking a questioner during last week’s hearing that also featured a defiant Judge Kavanaugh.

“I don’t remember,” Mr. Trump said in mock response of Dr. Ford.

“How’d you get there? I don’t remember.  … Where is the place? … I don’t remember. … How many years ago was it? I don’t know,” Mr. Trump said, the crowd cheering.

“Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.”

Michael R. Bromwich


A vicious, vile and soulless attack on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Is it any wonder that she was terrified to come forward, and that other sexual assault survivors are as well? She is a remarkable profile in courage. He is a profile in cowardice.

Andrea Mitchell


Michael Bromwich, one of Dr. Ford’s lawyers, wrote on Twitter that Mr. Trump’s comments were “a vicious, vile and soulless attack,” adding: “Is it any wonder that she was terrified to come forward, and that other sexual assault survivors are as well? She is a remarkable profile in courage. He is a profile in cowardice.”

Last week Mr. Trump said he found Dr. Ford’s testimony was “very compelling” and that she was a “very credible witness.” His depiction on Tuesday of Dr. Ford’s testimony didn’t always keep in line with what Dr. Ford said during her Senate hearing.

Dr. Ford couldn’t recall certain details, but she testified that she clearly remembered that people were drinking beer in a small living room on the first floor of the house and that she went upstairs to use the bathroom and that she was pushed into a bedroom where the assault took place and that someone in the room turned up music. She testified that she was “100 percent” certain that Judge Kavanaugh was her attacker, an allegation he vehemently denies, and that he and a friend, Mark Judge, laughed. Mr. Judge has said in a letter submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee he has “no memory of this alleged incident.”

Mr. Trump bluntly added Tuesday night: “And a man’s life is in tatters. A man’s life is shattered. His wife is shattered.”

Mr. Trump invoked accusations he has faced. “For me it’s like part of the job description,” he said. “Let it happen to me. Shouldn’t happen to him.”

He then appeared to turn to the #MeToo movement, which has toppled numerous high-profile men, starting with Harvey Weinstein, over the past year.

“This is an important time for our country,” Mr. Trump said, bemoaning situations in which a husband, father, brother or son can face false accusations of “horrible” things and lose their jobs.

Write to Alex Leary at

Saudi Public Investment Fund refutes WSJ report claiming $200bn solar project halted

October 2, 2018

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has described as “inaccurate” a report claiming the Kingdom has stopped a plan to build the world’s biggest solar-power-generation project.

KSA, SoftBank to establish the largest solar power plant in the world with enough capacity to power 140 million homes. (Shutterstock)

The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that the $200 billion project with SoftBank was placed on hold by the Kingdom.

“The Public Investment Fund continues to work with the SoftBank Vision Fund, and other parties, on a number of large-scale, multi-billion dollar projects relating to the solar industry, which will be announced in due course,” a fund spokesperson was reported as saying in the Saudi Press Agency.

“The announcement in March 2018 clearly stated that this includes solar generation projects and joint plans to develop large-scale solar panels manufacturing facilities in Saudi Arabia for solar power generation.

.This will be complemented by R&D and training components. These plans to develop a leading champion for the industry remain on-track and in-line with the timeline that would be anticipated for projects of this scale and ambition” the spokesperson added.

Image result for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, photos

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is the PIF chairman, and Masayoshi Son, chairman of SoftBank, inked an agreement earlier this year to establish the largest solar power plant in the world with enough capacity to power 140 million homes.

Arab News



Facebook Could Be Fined $1.63 Billion by European Privacy Regulators Over Latest Data Breach

October 1, 2018

European privacy regulators are considering imposing up to $1.63 billion in fines over Facebook’s latest data breach, which exposed the data of at least 50 million user accounts, according to reporting by the Wall Street Journal on Sunday. The data breach, which was revealed Friday, is a major black eye for the social network, as it impacted users who used the site’s popular “View As” feature, a privacy tool that lets users see how their Facebook profile page looks to visitors, including people who they are not ‘friends’ with on the site.

Image result for facebook, photos

According to the Journal, Facebook’s lead European privacy regulator, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC), wants more details from the social network about the data breach’s scope, including information on EU users that were impacted. The DPC said in an email to the Journal that it is “concerned at the fact that this breach was discovered on Tuesday and affects many millions of user accounts but Facebook is unable to clarify the nature of the breach and the risk for users at this point.” The DPC has also posted updates about its inquiry to its Twitter account:


Data Protection Commission Ireland


.@DPCIreland is awaiting from Facebook further urgent details of the security breach impacting some 50m users, including details of EU users which have been affected, so that we can properly assess the nature of the breach and risk to users.

Věra Jourová


At least 50mln #Facebook users were compromised in the huge security breach. I urge Facebook to fully cooperate with @DPCIreland. We need to know if EU users were affected and what had happened to their data. Here a reminder about the obligations of biz 

According to Facebook, users’ passwords were not revealed in the data breach, though impacted accounts did have to re-log into the social network on Friday. Here’s how to tell if your account was impacted by Facebook’s data breach, if you’re unsure.

In response to the Journal‘s report, a Facebook spokeswoman said Sunday that the company will answer the DPC’s questions, as well as provide regulators with further updates.

This issue is unlikely to go away soon for Facebook, as Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation is much more stringent than U.S. privacy requirements.

Facebook could face $1.6B fine in Europe over data breach: WSJ

October 1, 2018

Image result for Mark Zuckerberg, facebook, photos

A European Union privacy watchdog could fine Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) up to $1.63B for a data breach reported on Friday that affected accounts of more than 50M users, if company violated the EU’s new privacy law, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission demanded more information from Facebook about the scope and nature of the breach, including which EU residents might be affected.

The regulator said it was concerned that Facebook was unable to clarify the nature of the breach and the risk for users.

Previously: Facebook -2.6% after disclosing security problem (Sept. 28)


Devin Nunes: ‘Laughable’ to argue Trump’s declassification order endangers national security

September 18, 2018

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said it is “laughable” to claim President Trump’s order Monday to declassify documents related to the Russia investigation is a danger to national security.

The “mainstream media” is “buying the Kool-Aid,” Nunes, R-Calif., said in an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham reacting to a warning given hours earlier by his Democratic counterpart on the intelligence panel.

In a statement, Rep. Adam Schiff called Trump’s order a “clear abuse of power” and said he was previously informed by the FBI and Justice Department that they would consider the release of these materials the stepping past a “red line that must not be crossed as they may compromise sources and methods.”

Image result for Adam Schiff, photos

Rep. Adam Schiff

Nunes brushed off what he described as a political “play call,” which has been echoed by other Democrats, politicos, and legal experts. “It’s laughable that they are saying this will somehow endanger national security,” Nunes said. “This is really full transparency for the American people.”

Answering a push by his GOP allies in Congress, who have been clamoring to secure public evidence showing a tainted Russia investigation and bias in the top levels of the DOJ and FBI, the White House announced early Monday evening that Trump had ordered the declassification of certain key documents that Nunes and others have had their eyes on, and more.

Among them are about 20 pages of the June 2017 application to the FISA court seeking the authority to spy on onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page, who had suspicious ties to Russia. While it’s not the first application submitted — there were four in total — Nunes explained this one contains the main details of the other three. The FISA documents were released earlier in the summer, but in heavily redacted form.

The GOP majority in the House Intelligence Committee, with the release of a memo in February that was declassified by Trump, raised the alarm about the FBI possibly misleading the FISA court by hiding the political origins of dossier, written by ex-British spy Christopher Steele and funded in part by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Trump and Republicans have repeatedly questioned the credibility of the Russia investigation, specifically how much the dossier — which contains unverified claims about Trump’s ties to Russia — was used by top federal law enforcement officials to justify launching it in 2016. Trump’s order Monday also covers documents on FBI interviews with DOJ official Bruce Ohr, who not only fed the bureau information he got from Steele, but also has a wife who had done work for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the dossier.

Democrats have decried the GOP efforts, characterizing them as a means to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. In his statement Monday, Schiff accused Trump of deciding to “intervene in a pending law enforcement investigation by ordering the selective release of materials he believes are helpful to his defense team and thinks will advance a false narrative.”

Meanwhile, there has been talk that Trump could be breaking the law with his order; not in regards to the Russia documents, but rather with the unexpected move of ordering the unredacted release of text messages of current and former officials, including ex-FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Ohr, and former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who became infamous for their anti-Trump text messages.

“There could very likely be Privacy Act implications,” former Justice Department attorney Scott Hodes told Politico.

While Nunes and others, like Trump ally Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., praised Trump for allowing transparency to win, there remain hurdles. In a statement Monday evening, the Justice Department suggested that the declassification effort, which will involve multiple agencies, will take some time.

“When the President issues such an order, it triggers a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House Counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America’s national security interests. The Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the President’s order,” a DOJ spokeperson said.

Even when the documents are declassified, Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano warned that some of them may not see the light of day. “Just because something is no longer classified doesn’t mean it’s public,” he said on air.

Former government officials explained to the Wall Street Journal that members of Congress, including those in the House Intelligence Committee, could obtain them and then release some of the documents themselves. They would also be subject to freedom of information laws.