Battle of the West: Comey vs. Trump & Corbyn vs. May


Once Again, Brits Confound Expectations: The Mayday call is used to signal a life-threatening emergency–you say it three times to indicate you’re in serious distress. Is British Prime Minister Theresa Maydaying after her call for an early election has resulted in a shocking loss of her Conservative Party’s overall majority in Parliament? As of this writing, with 649 of 650 seats declared, the Conservatives have won 318 seats (eight seats short of a majority). Though still the biggest single winner, they failed to reach the 326-mark they would need to command a parliamentary majority. Labour has won 261 seats.

It is a major setback for May, who will now preside over a hung parliament, meaning that no party has enough lawmakers to establish outright control. Her Labour rival Jeremy Corbyn, who just weeks ago was written off by his opponents as a non-factor, said she should step down. In April, May broke her promise not to call an election three years ahead of schedule;  she expected to cruise to a landslide victory that would strengthen her position in the long and difficult negotiations with EU leaders over Brexit. European leaders want a stable, credible British government capable of negotiating, but May’s hope that voters would give her a strong mandate for Brexit has been dashed.

Last month, in an effort to show “just how much is at stake” in the election, May acknowledged that even a small loss of seats would amount to a defeat. “The cold, hard fact is that if I lose just six seats, I will lose this election, and Jeremy Corbyn will be sitting down to negotiate with the presidents, prime ministers and chancellors of Europe,” she wrote in The Daily Mail. But early on Friday, May hinted that her Conservative Party would try to form a coalition government even if it did not have a majority, arguing that Britain needed “a period of stability.” If a coalition cannot be formed, another election could be held (if you are keeping count, that would be a third national election for the Brits in a little over a year. Once again, for those in the back…#electionfatigue!!!).  


Who Let The Dogs Out?: Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday was must-see TV. Even if you didn’t watch the full three-hour hearing, you’ve probably read about it, or (whether you wanted to or not), you heard about it. (Or a third scenario is that you got really sick of John McCain wasting most of his precious minutes on one question that he never got quite right.) So, we won’t rehash it all here. What might be new and interesting to you was the “rebuttal” given by President Trump’s personal attorney, New York litigator Marc Kasowitz. The Washington Post did an analysis of Kasowitz’s statement that you can find here.   

Here is some background on Trump’s lawyer. According to the American Bar Association Journal, Marc Kasowitz attended Cornell Law School and founded Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman in 1993, building it into a 270-lawyer firm that both sues and defends large corporations. Kasowitz routinely charges $1,500 an hour, and his aggressive tactics have earned the animosity of adversaries and former colleagues who have disagreed with him. Kasowitz has represented Trump in defamation lawsuits and many other thorny legal battles. In 2006, Kasowitz sued an author over allegations that Trump was worth less than $1 billion. More recently, he wrote a letter on Trump’s behalf demanding that The New York Times retract an article about alleged groping incidents. He also helped Trump keep divorce records sealed, did some work on a case alleging fraud by Trump University, and sued Trump’s Hong Kong business partners over a Manhattan property.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, like his client Trump, “Kasowitz cuts a complex profile. He has earned the respect of clients for his willingness to take difficult cases other lawyers won’t touch….He also, like Mr. Trump, engenders strong loyalty from longtime friends and partners. [His] firm is a place for lawyers who don’t mind being in the shadow of its founder, whom many call a benevolent dictator. Partners say his door is always open and that he rewards those he respects—and has little patience for those he doesn’t.” Yes, yes, that does indeed sound familiar.


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