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About Jack

Jack is really a storyteller, international explorer, and humanitarian and everything else rolls out from there. As a writer, its what he does. As a international human rights and criminal lawyer and trial skills teacher around the world, its his most important tool. As a former CIA officer, the only way to truly motivate people is to connect and to tell them a story that they can feel viscerally. As a media analyst, what better way to make a point.  In the end, he tries to captivate his audience about the world and its people as much as he himself is captivated.

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Entries in trump (137)

Tuesday
Jul302019

More of the U.S. Intelligence and Defense Establishment Dismantled.

President Trump just forced out Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. It has been a tumultuous relationship in which they have disagreed strong on Russia, Iran, North Korea and Saudi Arabia among other issues. Trump, above all likes loyalists and yes men who tell him what he wants to here. Doubt me?

Consider:

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Retired Marine General, Former Head of the U.S. Central Command. Gone

Chief of Staff John Kelly, Retired Marine General and Former Secretary of Homeland Security and Head of Southern Command. Gone.

National Security Advisor, Retired Lt. General HR McMaster, Silver star, 2 bronze stars. Gone

National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Retired Army Lt. General, Former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Gone.

 

The first two were gone because they disagreed. The other was convicted of crimes. Either way, they speak for themselves. The President decided he knew better. Um, yeah . . .

I appear on Voice of America to discuss.

Wednesday
Jul242019

Cross Examination is Not a Frontal Assault, It's Guerrilla Warfare, Especially with Mueller.

I’ve been lucky enough to teach cross examination to lawyers and law students throughout the United States and around the world, from Uganda, to the Republic of Georgia to Russia and beyond. I’ve also been lucky enough to do this partly because of my experience trying a lot of cases before juries as well as being trained by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and at the International Criminal Court. As a prosecutor, I’ve crossed people and put them in jail. As a criminal defense lawyer, I’ve controlled adverse witnesses and police officers and have had a lot of acquittals. Crossing examination can be different in every case but there are some basic steps that need to be addressed.

The purpose of cross examination is to establish a theme and then to carefully control the witness before you in order to control their testimony. In the end, it is about the product they present, through you, to the fact finder. In other words, you are trying to get points by making them look great or horrific. One of the considerations is how smart and experienced your witness is. In this case, its Robert Mueller and the cross examiners are members of Congress.

Mueller likely has far more experience as a witness and expert than any member of Congress and knows his job. He has testified many times, and has a resume that is impressive, regardless of which side of the fence you sit. All that being said to make the point that Mueller is dangerous and can easily make you look like an idiot.

As I watch members of Congress struggle with cross examination, it’s killing me to watch just how much they are failing. What they desperately need is training. I know that they are good communicators but cross examination is a unique skill set. It takes thought, planning and a demeanor that reflects each member individually. More importantly, it takes reverse engineering so that you start with what you want and then work backwards.

Tuesday
Jul232019

Would Trump Have Been Indicted If He Were Not a Sitting President?

Robert Mueller is preparing to testify before U.S. House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees. This is easily the most anticipated hearing the American people have had in some time. President Trump seems to be ramping up about it, claiming witch hunt and no collusion and talking about Mueller’s conflicts of interest.

In addition, Attorney General Barr has already gone on the record, as has the Justice Department, trying desperately to box Mueller into talking about nothing but his more than 400 page report. They want nothing outside of the report including process, evidence, his thoughts and feelings. Specifically, what the President and DOJ are clearly most concerned about is Mueller’s thoughts on Obstruction of Justice and whether Trump would have been charged if he were not a sitting President. They are equally concerned about whether it was the AttorneyGeneral’s or Congress’s call as to whether Obstruction should be charged.

House Democrats, on the other hand, have much different mission. They are looking at the issue of Obstruction but essentially arguing that there is plenty of evidence that Trump obstructed justice and therefore could face Impeachment. What they are hoping for is a John Dean ala Richard Nixon moment when the American people get to hear about a laundry list of things that Trump did and why he did them.

Robert Mueller himself is now a private citizen and can do just about anything he wants. Of course, this seems to go against everything that he has stood for for decades. Many Trump loyalists have continued to attack Mueller but this former Marine, war hero, patriot who has worked for both Republicans and Democrats has always stayed above political infighting so we will see.

I appear on Voice of America International Edition to discuss. I have been covering this issue with Voice of America for more than a year and in many ways this is the culmination of this story.

Thursday
Jul182019

Why Does Race Division Build the Republican Base?

Donald Trump just told four Freshman Congress women to go back home their own countries.  They are all women of color.  They are all American citizens, three of whom were born in this country.  The entire Republican leadership sat silently after it happened, saying nothing and large numbers of Republican supporters seemed to . . . laugh.  

There is a historical tradition of racism in this country.  It exists.  And telling people to go home the own country is EXACTLY one of the traditional ways racists would attack people of color. Before this President, if any Republican in the last 20 years had said this, they would have been drummed out of the party. Not now. This is a whole new world.

I appear on Press TV out of Iran to discuss.  The dynamic is interesting and with growing tensions between the U.S. and Iran, they have continued interested in how Americans talk about this, see this, and deal with it.

Monday
Jun172019

Trump Willingness to Accept Foreign Help with Opposition Dirt is a Crime

Wednesday
May222019

Congress Needs to Learn: Use it or Lose It.

The United States Legislative Branch is an equal partner in government. They have the right to oversee investigations and therefore to subpoena possible witnesses including those who work for the President.  While the President does have some protection from this including executive privilege, it is not an unlimited privilege. However, the President has been arguing that, and claiming that, it is unlimited. This is certainly reminiscent of President Nixon and the arguments he attempted to make in the early 1970's. 

One hears the term Constitutional crisis and this certainly has all of the hallmarks. What is interesting is that the Republicans seem to be treating this as if there is no tomorrow. Simply put, there is an old maxim in the law and life: use it or lose it.  In this case, the Republicans' willingness to provide a sitting President without almost unlimited capability to stonewall Congress sets a precedent that future Presidents, bad Presidents, criminal Presidents will use to do almost anything they want and Congress may just have to sit there and watch.  

This is where we are right now.  I appear on Voice of American Interantional E#dition to discuss.  This is going to be fun. 

Sunday
May052019

Trump Objects to Mueller Testifying Before Congress

President Trump has objected to Robert Mueller testifying before Congress about his report about about Attorney General Barr's 4 page report, his press conference and Mueller's letter to Barr regarding his handling of the report. This is an extraordinary development considering the number of questions that exist along with many questions that people continue to have about the investigation itself.

The President's response has only driven this frenzy. His recent conversation with Vladimir Putin about this issue has only added gasoline to to the fire. Of course, the election, while set for November, 2020, continues to have an impossibly significant impact on this entire process.

I will appear on Voice of America International Edition to discuss what comes next.

Friday
Apr192019

The Mueller Report (Redacted) is Released and Nobody is Really Happy

The Mueller report was released inside the Beltway and nobody is really happy.  AG Barr has tried to spin it in a way that seems uttlerly shocking. He is not the President's private attorney but rather the Attorney for the U.S. However, he certainly isn't acting like it. His conclusions do not seem to reflect the report.  This is an objective fact. Also, the language he is using parrots the President's language even though "collusion" is not what this case was ever about nor is even a term of law.  Further, the report specifically rejects the usage.  Strange.  

The two issued the Report looks at are Conspiracy and Obstruction.  The conspiracy piece seems pretty clean, meaning that Mueller simply didn't find enough to go after Trump.  The obstruction piece actually is much much different. In that case, the Report says it can't exonerate the President and seems to leave it in the hands of Congress. Barr, on the other hand, tries to exonerate Trump on this issue.

There will be a fight.  I appear on VOA to discuss. 

Monday
Apr152019

Will The Country Ever See an Un-redacted Mueller Report?

Attorney General Barr released a four page summary of the 400 page Mueller Report.  Further, Barr decided there was insufficient grounds for an obstruction charge against President Trump.  As a result, Trump claimed complete vindication.  The Democrats don't seem to agree.  

On April 18, Barr is scheduled to release a redacted version of the report.  He was heavily pressured by the Dems to do so who have already threatened extensive subpoenas to get a complete version of the report without redactions.  Barr claims redactions for grand jury info, classified info, material about ongoing info and material affecting peripheral third parties.  We will see. . . 

I appear on Voice of America, International Edition to talk about what it means.  Should get interesting.