Author Archive | Jacob Sullum

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Is Ignorance Trump’s Excuse for Obstructing Justice?

C-SPANThe claim that Donald Trump is guilty of obstructing justice suddenly looks more plausible in light of the report that the president asked then-FBI Director James Comey to drop his investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. But it still would be hard to make that charge stick in federal court (although it would […]

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Trump Admits He Would Have Fired Comey Regardless of What the DOJ Said

In an interview with NBC yesterday, President Trump admitted that his initial explanation of his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey—that he acted based on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—was not true. “I was going to fire Comey,” Trump told Lester Holt. “Regardless of [the] recommendation, […]

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Comey’s Dismissal Shows Trump Is Really Bad at Cover-Ups

Donald Trump’s official reason for dismissing FBI Director James Comey is transparently phony, and there is strong circumstantial evidence that the real reason had something to do with the FBI’s investigation of Russian attempts to influence the presidential election. That likelihood should trouble anyone who values the rule of law, since it looks like Trump […]

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Trump’s Medical Marijuana Threat Contradicts the Law and His Own Position

The appropriations bill that President Trump signed on Friday renews a rider that bars the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state laws allowing medical use of marijuana. But Trump signaled in a signing statement that he may decide to ignore that restriction, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, notwithstanding his repeatedly expressed support […]

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Trump Embraces Murderous Drug Warrior, Inviting Him to the White House

YouTubeOver the weekend, President Trump had what the White House called “a very friendly conversation” with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose bloody war on drugs has killed thousands of people since he took office last summer. Trump praised Duterte, a tough-talking populist whose style resembles that of his American counterpart, for “fighting very hard to […]

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‘The Wall Will Stop the Drugs,’ Trump Promises. No, It Won’t.

C-SPAN”The wall will stop the drugs,” Donald Trump promised in a recent interview with the Associated Press, reaffirming his simpleminded faith in the power of interdiction to prevent Americans from getting the psychoactive substances they want. Although drugs from Latin America are “coming around [border barriers] in certain areas,” the president explained, “if you have […]

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Howard Dean’s New Excuse for Censoring Ann Coulter: She Incites Violence

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia CommonsHoward Dean’s explanation of why it’s OK to censor Ann Coulter continues to evolve as he desperately seeks a legal excuse to silence someone whose speech offends him. Meanwhile, a federal lawsuit filed yesterday explains why Dean is wrong to think there was nothing constitutionally problematic about the University of California […]

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Marijuana Is Bad, DHS Chief Says, Although It’s ‘Not a Factor in the Drug War’

In a Meet the Press interview on Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said “marijuana is not a factor in the drug war,” which is instead focused on methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine. Apparently that dismissive comment got Kelly into trouble, because two days later, in a speech at George Washington University, he gave marijuana top […]

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Federal Judge Says Molestation Law Criminalizing Diaper Changes Violates Due Process

In every state but one, sexual intent is an essential element of child molestation. Arizona is unique in criminalizing a wide range of innocent conduct that involves directly or indirectly touching children’s private parts, including bathing, diapering, or circumcising them. Instead of requiring prosecutors to prove sexual intent, Arizona’s law puts the burden on defendants […]

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