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Chris Tritico
Trial Lawyer and Television Host.
Trial Lawyer and Television Host.
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The Firing of Andrew McCabe: War on FBI, Politics or Good Governing?

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired Andrew McCabe at 10:00 pm one day before his retirement. If you’re on the left today you are screaming that the President is playing his regular political game; using his office to attack his political foes while protecting his allies. There is some evidence to support that argument. He pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio who had been convicted of civil rights violations and had not even requested a pardon. Further, he allowed a wife abuser working in the White House for almost a year, knowing he could not get a security clearance.

If you’re on the right you’re celebrating today. After all the Inspector General’s office found that he was not “completely forthcoming” with them about the authorizations he allowed to the media about the firing of James Comey. Stated another way, lying to a governmental agent, an accusation for which one can get indicted. Just ask General Michael Flynn.

If you’re in the FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation today you’re very concerned that your pension is no longer safe if you ever speak out on an issue that the White House does not like. To professionals who work in the FBI, it is an assault on their First Amendment freedoms and their livelihood.

There is a very important point here, based on the findings by the Inspector General the President had the right to fire McCabe. Does that make firing him one day from retirement, one day form the pension he has spent a lifetime building the right thing to do? Was there a better way to handle the McCabe matter than this way? How does President Donald J. Trump justify what appears to many to be nothing but political gamesmanship? Gamesmanship that in this instance has deprived a lifelong public servant of his retirement benefits?

What do you think?

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Donald Trump’s Northern Gamble

President Donald J. Trump accepted an invitation to meet with North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un, surprising our allies and the President’s top advisors. I have said before and stand by my statement that the US should have employed a more aggressive approach to North Korea dating back to the Goerge W. Bush administration. I support President Donald J. Trump's stepped up sanctions, not his caustic and divisive rhetoric. This is as bold a move as any President has ever made.

North Korea has proven time and time again that our policy of strategic patience was not only not working, it merely allowed them to build their nuclear weapons program. History also proves that North Korea has been a less than honest partner on issues of diplomacy. More than once they have agreed to stop working on their nuclear program while attempting diplomacy. Only as a ruse to gain time to secretly advance their program. Why should we assume this time will be any different? There is little question, in my mind, that the administration’s new sanctions are hurting the North Koreans. Kim Jong Un tried insulting Trump. He simply can’t keep up on that front. Further, he is most likely truly unsure is Trump will actually strike him with militarily.

The administration says that the United States is coming in from a position of strength which makes this negotiation different from the others. Do you agree? Past administrations have refused to meet with the North until they made hard concessions; cancellation of their nuclear program with verification. President Trump got an agreement for a pause in the program. Kim Jong Un gets the credibility to of meeting with the President of the United States. Did President Trump get enough?

If this works it will finally bring peace and stability to a problem that has existed for over 70 years. If it fails it will bring the United States and the Korean Peninsula ever closer to another war.

What do you think?
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A Trade War- Really?

President Donald J. Trump announced that this week he will impose a 25% tariff on imported steel and 10% on aluminum. The Wall Street Journal, generally a Trump ally, called it the biggest blunder of his presidency. The Journal went on to say “This tax increase will punish American workers, invite retaliation that will harm U.S. exports, divide his political coalition at home, anger allies abroad, and undermine his tax and regulatory reforms.” Most of which has already occurred.

The stock market, which the president has spent a year taking credit for, dropped over 500 points on the news. Our allies announced they would retaliate with tariffs of their own. The President then countered that he would impose additional tariffs. I am beginning to see a pattern here that will not end well for the United States, our economy or workers.

Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Gary Cohn, Steve Mnuchin, and well every Republican, Democrat, American, European, Asian, and Extraterrestrial I can find is against this move. The President seems to be an island on this issue of imposing tariffs. I wonder why he would take an action that will have a direct and negative impact on the nation’s economy and undermine the thing he has been trumpeting as his big success.

The tariffs will cause higher prices on virtually every product in the country. That will necessarily slow the economy and growth. The President is making a mistake and doing it alone. Unfortunately, this mistake will hit all of us in the pocketbook and could cost jobs.

What do you think?

Note: My post are made about ongoing and current issues of public concern. There is simply no reason to attack each other personally. It is ok to disagree, don’t be disagreeable about it.
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Memo Wars: The Democrats Surrender

Let me get my position on The Great Memo War of 2018 clear, it is nothing but political BS.

Devin Nunes drafted the now infamous memo to defend President Donald J. Trump. It has not been proven as of yet, however, it is my firm belief that it will come out that he worked with The White House on the drafting of it. Here is what we know about his memo. Nunes never read the source documents that he based the memo and his conclusions on. The committee refused to allow the FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to read the memo and commit on it before it was voted to be released. The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which was designed to be a non-partisan committee, oh well, voted directly on party lines to release the memo with no redactions. This vote was over the objections from FBI director Christopher Wray.

President Donald J. Trump said at the State of the Union that he would release the memo 100%. This, of course, was before he read it or anyone in The White House had a chance to vet it for accuracy or intelligence issues, hmmm. The President raised not one issue with the intelligence issues in the Devin Nunez memo or its contents. Nor did he give any credence to his FBI director’s objections to the potential damage to national security by releasing the memo. It was released without redaction.

The Democrats had drafted and ready at the same time a response to the Nunez memo. This memo was voted not to be sent to the President at the same time at the Republican/Nunez memo. The claim was that it had not been vetted. An odd claim by the committee that refused to allow the stakeholders to vet their memo. The Democrats, on the other hand, allowed both the FBI, the CIA and any member of the House to review the memo and offer objections to it. It was vetted by all stakeholders before the second vote by the committee. The memo they voted on is the memo that was properly vetted.

The committee voted 100%, which of course means all Republicans and Democrats, jointly voted to release the Democrat’s memo. In what can only be a purely political move President Trump on a Friday night refused to certify the release of the memo and sent it back to the committee. The President claims that the Democrats intentionally put in matters that they knew he would have to object to on national security grounds. I have not seen it and do not know if that is true, however, if it was true, the FBI, CIA and you know the Republicans on the committee would have blocked it. I see this as nothing but more politics by President Trump.

The Democrats had the upper hand on The Great Memo war of 2018. They were winning in the court of public opinion. Yesterday, they blew it. They agreed to edit their memo to meet the Presidents objections. If you are going to engage in a full-on political battle—fight it out. Make the full House vote on the memo so that the Republicans look like they are the ones playing politics. By agreeing to edit the memo to meet the Presidents objections they have lost their high ground. The Republicans now will be able to argue that the Democrats memo was flawed and that the President was right and protecting national security.

While I see this whole thing is a bunch of BS, a made-up political issue designed to help President Trump. The Democrats just gave them the win.
Note: My post are made about ongoing and current issues of public concern. There is simply no reason to attack each other personally. It is ok to disagree, don’t be disagreeable about it.

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After the Government Shuts Down the Blame Game Begins

President Donald J. Trump has been asking for a government shut down for months. He said some time ago he thought it would be a good thing. In fact, his tweet this morning shows that he thinks this is a good thing for him, tweeting the Democrats gave me a gift of a shutdown. Today he blames the U.S. Senate Democrats for the shutdown while the Democrats naturally blame the Republicans and Donald Trump. History dictates that the Republicans will pay the price for this. Never in US history has there been a shutdown when one party controls all three branches of government. The President, Mitch McConnell, and Paul Ryan make the argument that the Senate Democrats are holding the military and poor children hostage over the “rights” of illegal immigrants (Dreamers).

Let’s review. Upon his election, President Trump said he wanted to keep the dreamers in the US. After saying that he created this issue with his cancellation of President Barack Obama's executive order protecting the Dreamers. This did not need to be an issue. Around 80% of Americans support legislation allowing the Dreamers to stay in the country. By canceling the order and giving Congress six months to come up with a solution President Trump created a crisis where one did not exist. In September 2017 The President floated, momentarily, a deal with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to quickly extend protections for young undocumented immigrants and to finalize a border security package that did not include the president’s proposed wall. The next day The Whitehouse pulled out of the deal if there ever was one.

Just a few days ago the President held a meeting with members of Congress from both sides. He said he wanted a bill with “love”. He instructed them to put together a bi-partisan bill and he would sign it. He went so far as to say that he would take the heat and he could take it. The next day congressional leaders brought the President a bi-partisan package, that’s what he asked for. He rejected it and used the now famous shithole or shithouse language or didn’t if you ask him. With one week to go the President rejected a bi-partisan deal, after saying he would sign whatever they brought him.

As the shutdown loomed the Republicans decided to float reinstating the CHIP insurance program as an incentive to Democrats to get them on board to a CTR for one month. Arguing that the Democrats would get on board by finally getting the CHIP insurance renewed and thereby give up on DACA for now. Don’t forget the CHIP issue is another crisis that did not have to happen. The Republicans chose to let it expire without re-authorizing it. Now the Republicans are using the program as bait to pull the Democrats along so they can get past the DACA fight. All the while arguing that the Democrats are “using” the “illegal” immigrants in a budget issue where the fight over them does not belong.

While I’m on it, that is exactly what the Democrats are doing. They are in fact using the DACA children now to get this done. Is it right? You tell me. Here are the facts, the President said he would do it and then backed out. The Republicans will not bring it up for a vote and will not give it a hearing. This is the only chance the Democrats will get it done and the only leverage they have is right now. The Democrats are seizing on what may be their only opportunity to get the bill protecting the Dreamers passed by the leverage they have right now. If they agree to bring it up later they have now ability to enforce it.

As the shutdown loomed Chuck Schumer went to the Whitehouse and made a final pitch to President Trump. Schumer claims he offered the full border protection funding President Trump asked for and he rejected it. Why? Why reject evereything you asked for?

The U.S. Senate Republicans need 60 votes to pass the CTR or the budget. It is the responsibility of the majority to get it done, not the minority. Senate Republicans need to lead. Leadership means working out issues. If you don’t have enough votes to get it done you have a duty to go find the votes. You find the votes by negotiating, not by sitting on your hands and blaming the minority for not doing what you ordered them to do.

The problem seems to be the same old thing a big dose of Washington dysfunction. This time it is helped along by a President who apparently never read The Art of the Deal. President Trump needs to say what he wants and stick to it. His inability to stick with an agreement long enough for the congressmen he makes it with to exit the oval office is the root cause of this government shutdown.

The President seems to think that this shutdown will play well for the Republicans in the mid-term election. History is not on his side. Every other time there has been a shutdown it hurt the party in power in the next election. However, history has never stood in the way of President Trump before so we will see.

1. Should President Trump follow through on his earlier agreement in the Dreamers?
2. Should the Democrats give up on the DACA demand and agree to another CTR for now getting CHIP done?
3. Should Senate Republicans negotiate with Senate Democrats?
4. Who will pay the price for this?

Note: My post are made about ongoing and current issues of public concern. There is simply no reason to attack each other personally. It is ok to disagree, don’t be disagreeable about it.
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Note: My posts are made about ongoing and current issues of public concern. There is simply no reason to attack each other personally. It is ok to disagree, don’t be disagreeable about it.

The Deconstruction of the Presidency

The office of President has always been, for me, a place, an office, a person that I looked upon, with respect. A place I have always viewed with the highest esteem and dignity. Presidents I completely disagreed with on policy issues I respected for their commitment to my country. There has never been a president that I did not feel was making decisions that he thought was in the best interest of the people of the country, regardless of how I personally felt about the policy decision. Until now.

I have written about the damage that President Donald J. Trump is dong to the office of president before. I was not planning on doing it again, however, he just won’t let me look at other things. For instance, I wanted to write about the change to Medicare, but then he called Haiti and African Countries “Shithole” countries while lamenting that we can’t get more immigrants from countries like Norway. Translated: white. If you can think of a better translation for that statement please give it. It is important to note that President Donald J. Trump denies saying Haiti is a shithole country. He has not denied calling African Countries shithole.

The President of our country has a greater duty than to act and talk like a thug. The President of our country has a duty to unite the people of the US and to lead the world. When you become President your duty is to all of the people not just your base. While the President of our country has the right to speak, he has the duty, as President, to exercise that right in a way that benefits the all of us. Some say, including the President that he is just saying what others are thinking. While there are those in the US that do think that way, it is beneath the office of President to speak it. It damages the office of President for our president to talk the way Donald Trump talks.

When President Trump damages the office of President he damages our country and all of us.

There will be many of you who immediately post the comparisons and attacks to Barack Obama and/or Hillary Clinton or jump to that tired old argument “Trump won the election so get over it”. That is simply deflection for the indefensible. The only people still talking about the election is the President and his base. If you feel that there is a defense to President Trump’s caustic statements, why don’t you defend his actions without deflecting to Obama/Clinton?

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America’s Political Pandemic

Are you tired of politics? You are not alone. Most Americans are. Actually, what we are tired of is our country’s lack of leadership. Our “leaders” have sold their souls to big money donors and party politics. After the House Judiciary Committee passed Articles of Impeachment against Richard Nixon it was Republicans who went to President Nixon and convinced him to resign for the good of the country. They did not turn a blind eye to what was happening and continue to enable the President and the problem. They were leaders who put the country ahead of their party. The United States has rarely seen that type of courage and leadership since.

In his letter to Jonathan Jackson in 1780, John Adams said
"There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution."
-- John Adams, Letter to Jonathan Jackson (2 October 1780), "The Works of John Adams", vol 9, p.511.

I could not agree more. I have written about our need for a third party before, I’m going to address it again, and keep addressing it until the problem is I will be writing about this for a long, long, long time. Our political system is broken. It is broken because the political parties take care of the party and not the people that people they claim to represent.

The Democrats superdelegate system allows the party elite to usurp the will of the voters in the nomination process. The party elite, the super delegates, argue that the system prevents a Donald Trump from taking over the Democratic Party. In practice, it is a system that anoints the party elite to the nomination regardless of public opinion. The parties continued defense of this system is ineffective and will only further divide the party from leadership from younger millennial and gen x voters.

More recently as the nation grapples its way through a new way of addressing sexual harassment in the media, Hollywood, private industry and finally Washington, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi had a chance to be a leader on the issue when asked about the issue she took a harsh stance on Judge Roy Moore for U.S. Senate but when asked about now retired Congressman John Conyers, Jr., she defended him and took a position that she could not make a decision on him. Pelosi is not alone Sen.Ted Cruz, R-TX did exactly the same thing. In fact, most of our elected officials do. That’s the problem, they put their party’s interest over and above the interest of the people.

The Republicans have given up everything they claim to stand for. You don’t have to believe me listen to Michael Savage. I can’t believe I just said that! Recently Michael Savage has assailed the GOP for giving up on all of their traditional values, fiscal conservatism, moral values, and more. Savage said he has lost all faith in Donald Trump. The support of Roy Moore will hurt the GOP in 2018 and 2020. Try as they may to sell it the new tax bill will add over a Trillion to the deficit for the past eight years the very same GOP House and Senate refused to vote for any spending bill that was not explicitly paid for.

There is an abject failure of the political parties to follow through on any of their core values and beliefs. The parties pander only to a small base without regard to the greater good. It is this type of spineless political pandering that has caused extreme lack of trust in our leadership nationwide.
Those few who have the guts to stand up for the whole are attacked as the weak ones. That's wrong, they are the heroes.

It is for these reasons and others that I have over the years come to the conclusion that a third party is necessary for our country. A third party is necessary to keep the United States strong moving forward and the strongest country in the world.
A third party with votes in the House and Senate would prevent any political party from taking over the country and the agenda. A third party would force all legislation to compromise legislation. A third party would require our leaders to work together and that would then require them to look at the best interests of the public as they could not force through bills that only help their donors.

I’m not alone in this and here is what caused me to write about this again today. In a recent poll by NBC News/GenForward it was found that 71 percent of millennials think there should be a third major party. Most respondents said neither the Republican nor Democratic parties represent the American people well, and 65 percent said the country is on the wrong track overall. Those majority findings stretch across racial subgroups, genders, and partisan affiliations. Along gender lines, however, a higher percentage of male millennials think a third party is needed, with 74 percent in favor of a third party compared with 69 percent of female millennials, according to NBC News. Comparing along party affiliation, independents and Democratic or Democratic-leaning millennials were more likely to think a third party is needed at roughly 75 percent each, while 67 percent of Republicans or Republican leaners agreed.

This should be a wake-up call to the leadership of both parties. A third party will help all of us. Its time has come. It looks like it will happen whether the Democrats and Republicans like it or not.

What do you think?

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The Future of Mueller’s Investigation: An Analysis

To those of us who practice federal criminal law when Michael Flynn’s lawyers notified President Donald J. Trumps lawyers that they could not share information with them any longer it was a clear signal that he was about to plead guilty and that he was working out a deal to offer testimony against others in favor of a reduced sentence for himself. This happens in virtually every multiparty federal criminal case.

So it was no surprise when he plead guilty and it was announced that he is, in fact, working with the government. His plea to one count that subjects him to a six-month term under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines is a clear indication of how strong Mueller thinks Flynn’s assistance is. Let me give you a little background on how this works. Flynn, before he plead, met with Mueller and his team on multiple occasions and was debriefed. They have asked him anything and everything they wanted. They recessed the meeting to do additional investigation and they came back together with more questions, perhaps several times. They will do it several more times. When you agree to plead guilty and testify for the government your agreement requires you to provide truthful information testify truthfully, if necessary, in all areas they ask you about. You don’t get to pick and choose what you will and will not testify about.

Piecing together what we know from the indictment and reporting there are several individuals who should be very nervous right now. K.T. McFarland, Kellyanne Conway, and, most importantly Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner are in my opinion squarely in Mueller’s crosshairs.

I posted earlier that Jared Kusher was playing fast and loose with the way he was turning over information for his security clearance. It continues and is only getting worse. With Flynn pulling him in into the middle of his, Flynn’s, decision to conduct direct talks with the Russians at times when he was not a public official is very problematic. Now to find that he was on a board run by his family that supported building in the West Bank, at a time that US law prohibited it that he failed to disclose on his national security clearance forms while directing talks about the issue at the UN. I do not see how Kushner escapes an indictment. He cannot continue to claim “I forgot” and not get called on lying to a federal officer. As the new revelations come out I keep thinking about his approaching the Russian Embassy about setting up a line in the embassy so he could have back-channel communications without the State Department knowing about it.

There is another indictment coming, it’s called a Superseding Indictment. That indictment will add some if not all of the parties above. It will accuse them of Obstruction of Justice, Lying to Federal Authorities, Conspiracy to Commit Obstruction of Justice, and Violations of the Hatch Act (Kellyanne Conway).
The question that is as yet unanswered, which was the main question from Watergate, eloquently stated by Howard Baker; “What did the President know and when did he know it”? This question will loom big and heavy over the Trump administration for a long time as House and Senate Committees continue to investigate alongside Mueller and his team. President Trump has tried to make this go away Flynn’s plea deal ensures it will not.
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There is no shortage of narcissism among lawyers. We love to buy things with our names on them from plaques to magazine pages to stadiums the sides of buildings. I know lawyers whose offices are more like shrines to themselves than they are to the law,--- you know who you are. We do it, primarily, to promote our law practice. It takes a certain degree of narcissism of pompacity, if you will, to be a good and successful lawyer.
Today, in what I can only call a shockingly bold lie President Donald J. Trump tweeted:
"Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named “Man (Person) of the Year,” like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!"
TIME responded that not only did they not call President Donald J. Trump, they don't call anyone ahead of the declaration of the person of the year. Former Time editor Richard Stengel said this:
"Mr. President, just to clarify things, I wanted to offer a few statistics. Number of times you were Person of the Year during the 7 years I was editor of Time: 0. Number of times you were on the cover: 0. Number of times you made the Time 100 influentials list: 0. Thanks anyway!"
Every week I am stunned at the new low President Trump takes the definition of the word petty or narcissistic. I know that only one year into his term we have not yet reached the low. However, today's requires my comment. Today, he preempted the Time Person of the Year. His tweet today gives him the cover to say, on the day they release the name of their 2017 Per of the Year, it was going to be me but I turned it down. Why? Because he knows that he can't handle it if it is not him. You see the Presidents ego is overinflated to the size of one of the balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with the capacity of an eight-year-old. To the President, it is better to mitigate the person Time Magazine picks in order to save his precious ego.
To me, a President would better serve by inviting the Time Person of the Year to The White House to celebrate their accomplishments, but that would be highlighting something other than Donald Trump and we know who won't let that happen.
I remember a day, not that long ago when people in elected office were people of honor, or so we thought.
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Christmas Shopping is here

Black Friday is rapidly approaching and that means the mad rush to the mall is upon us. Well for the women it is. As a man, I only must by two gifts one for my beautiful and loving wife Debbie Tritico and one for my legal assistant. We, the male of the species, leave the rest of the shopping up to the women of in our lives. All of it.

I will make my annual one-time appearance at a mall spend about 30 minutes to an hour shopping and I’m done. I might stop somewhere and have a beer to make it appear that it was more difficult than it really was so that I can go home and sit on the couch and gripe about the crowded mall. Then I will get one of my daughters to wrap my gifts. Christmas is a very trying time of year.

Happy Holidays
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