Miami Herald: Cuban refugees who clung to Keys lighthouse finally find freedom

Lawyer for Cuban migrants plucked from lighthouse calls for probe

Kendall Coffey, an attorney for the Cuban migrants who took refuge at the American Shoal lighthouse in the Florida Keys and are now being repatriated, speaks outside federal court on Thursday, June 30, 2016, in Miami.



Kendall Coffey on Patriot Tonight

Patriot Tonight with Melanie Collette 8/5/17

RE:  Leak crackdown – Jeff Sessions

Is there a culture of leaking today as was recently denounced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions?  Most would have to admit there has been an unprecedented level of leaking with respect to the Russia-related investigation. Indeed, former FBI Director James Comey basically admitted that he leaked a confidential memorandum from the FBI files of a conversation he had with President Donald Trump. Rather than prompt an outcry, his leak was a success and apparently contributed to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. Another example arises with the tragic bombing at a concert in Manchester, England on May 22, 2017. According to British authorities, in the early hours of that investigation U.S. law enforcement leaked the identity of who the British law enforcement officers thought to be the principal suspect – something that is not done in a law enforcement investigation unless suspects are at large and the public’s help is needed to locate them. If indeed U.S. law enforcement apparently leaked that information, the British authorities very properly were very concerned.

Most people who disclose confidential or classified material to the press do so because they think the U.S. government is doing something that the public ought to know about. But it’s not a government employee’s decision to make. If one has an issue with what the government’s doing, the proper approach is going within channels rather than going public with classified information or other confidential information.

It’s wrong and it’s often illegal. The law does not provide that if government employees disagree with government or don’t like their bosses, they can take the law into their own hands and ignore oaths.

Certainly, reporters who use leaks are not considered prosecutable today. And they will rarely join in any condemnations of leaks. Instead the folks who write about leaks are journalists who often hope they are going to be the next one who gets the leak.

But their hopes do not necessarily define what is best for our government and our nation.



President Donald Trump signed the Russia sanctions bill this morning, limiting his own ability to ease sanctions on Moscow. I have long warned against signing this bill into law.

The president needs to be able to negotiate with foreign powers – that’s a big reason why he was elected: to improve our position in the world. Tying a president’s hands like this on the global stage is a troubling precedent that creates real problems.

I believe limiting Trump’s presidential authority could hurt the US and our ability to work with allies. As a resident of South Florida, I have closely watched the futility of Cuba sanctions which actually strengthened the Castro Regime. As Hillary Clinton observed, “the embargo is Castro’s best friend.”

The same dilemma has been occurring in Russia, which in the meantime is being driven closer to China. But it’s not just the inefficacy of sanctions that concerns me – it’s the inevitable negative impact of the Congressional action on future diplomacy. It is not realistic for a foreign superpower to negotiate with not only the president, but in effect, 535 members of Congress and the Senate.

Coffey weighs in on James Comey’s testimony

James Comey‘s bombshell testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday raised new legal questions about the propriety and legality of both Comey and President Trump‘s conduct and the future of the Russia election meddling investigation.

Here’s what Kendall Coffey told ABC News.

Do FBI agents have a legal duty to report a potential crime? In other words, did Comey have a duty to inform Congress or the Attorney General of his concerns about Trump, if he thought it amounted to obstruction of justice?

No, said multiple experts. However, “there is the oath of office that obligates agents to uphold and enforce the law, which is a more general obligation,” said former U.S. attorney Kendall Coffey, who agreed that there is no specific statute requiring a federal agent to report a potential crime.


Coffey: Comey will be, to say the least, fascinating and  provocative, but will he explicitly accuse the President of obstruction of justice?

How will James Comey respond when asked point blank if President Donald J. Trump was trying to obstruct the Russia investigation? It may be difficult for the former FBI Director to  give a direct answer to that question on Thursday.

The more comfortable position may be to say that the alleged comments were certainly  improper but leave it for others to decide if the crime of obstruction occurred.. If he did answer directly, he would either absolve President Trump, or assert that  in February he was the eyewitness to a crime at the highest level which he failed to report for months.
A third approach, and perhaps the most harmful to Trump, might be for Comey to say that in February, he was deeply troubled but not convinced yet that the president intended to obstruct the investigation. But, Comey might say that,  because he  aggressively pursued the investigation – and then was fired – some could conclude that obstruction was being attempted.

The White House may  take the traditional position of management in whistleblower cases: treat Comey as a disgruntled former employee trying to salvage his reputation by blaming his termination on others instead of on his own mistakes. That’s a message that will resonate with some, especially because the apparent accusation  did not surface until after he was fired.

Is Comey credible? What a difference a year makes…


How does former FBI Director James Comey’s current standing affect his strength as an accusing witness in Thursday’s Senate hearing? According to former US Attorney Kendall Coffey, his role and credibility will be crucial and may be complicated.

“One year ago, essentially everyone across the political spectrum had  great confidence in James Comey,” said Coffey, who served as US Attorney for South Florida under President Bill Clinton. “But the last year has seen a cross-fire of criticisms.”

While Comey was once seen as the ultimate white knight, both in terms of being nonpolitical and highly professional, since then there have been obvious issues. Even Sen. Lindsay Graham expressed deep concerns about Comey’s reliance on a fake email that he didn’t disclose to Congress.

“Many are expecting the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing to be a bad day for President Donald Trump,” Coffey said. “But it may not be a great day for anyone.”

Robert Mueller Named Special Counsel for Russia Investigation

It was announced last night that former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named special counsel of the Russia investigation. While Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is undoubtedly well-qualified to have continued to lead the so-called Russia investigation, he certainly has the right to appoint a Special Counsel.

Robert Mueller has outstanding credentials in law enforcement as a former prosecutor and FBI Director.  He has a great reputation based on integrity. Hopefully with his leadership, the investigation will proceed efficiently and without unnecessary distractions. The American people deserve no less.