Nel's New Day

February 13, 2020

Barr, DDT Destroy the ‘Rule of Law’

Tomorrow, Valentine’s Day, is the one-year anniversary of AG Bill Barr’s confirmation, and he’s used his first year to exhibit an amazingly high level of corruption. Chris Smith wrote:

“Attorney General William Barr is on a trajectory to surpass [John] Mitchell, the previous AG corruption champion [for Nixon], who was convicted of conspiracy, perjury, and obstruction of justice, and went to prison for 19 months.”

Barr was immediately charging ahead with his falsehoods and then concealment of Robert Mueller’s investigation about Russian election interference and the campaign of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) last spring. He’s still saying “no collusion” to obfuscate Mueller’s position that collusion was not addressed in the investigation because it’s not a legal term. Barr’s comments were so egregious that the normally reticent Robert Mueller refuted them.

Now Barr is working on a cover-up for his obedience to DDT’s needs by claiming that “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.” He also complained that DDT’s statements and tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors and the department that we’re doing our work with integrity.” Barr is welcome to quit his job if it’s “impossible.”

Barr’s subservience to DDT came to a head when Barr changed the prison sentence recommendation for DDT’s friend Roger Stone after DDT called the seven to nine years for seven felonies “horrible and very unfair.” Four career prosecutors quit the case, one of them resigning from DOJ, at DOJ’s new filing of three to four years. DDT then praised Barr for “taking charge” of the case. Three of the charges against Stone were obstructing Congress, witness intimidation, and lying—actions common to DDT. During the trial, Stone also posted an image an image of the judge’s name, her face, and the crosshairs of a gun sight near her head. Stone said he thought the gun sight was a “Celtic symbol.”  

On the same day that the DOJ filled a more lenient sentence request, Barr accused “progressive DAs” of having “fashioned for themselves a new role of judge-legislator-prosecutor,” that “these self-styled ‘social justice” reformers are refusing to enforce entire categories of law.” According to Barr, “these policies actually lead to greater criminality.” 

DDT also claims that he has absolute power to tell the DOJ who and how it prosecutes and called the sentencing a “horrible abberition (sic).” Not satisfied with attacking the prosecutors and the trial process, he also struck out against the judge in Stone’s case, implying she was biased:

“Is this the Judge that put Paul Manafort in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, something that not even mobster Al Capone had to endure? How did she treat Crooked Hillary Clinton? Just asking!”

Actually, it is not “the Judge” because another judge put Manafort into a VIP suite to protect him. Manafort was also found to be tampering with witnesses in his trial.  A lawsuit against Hillary Clinton connected to the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi (Libya) was dismissed after 11 hearings from the GOP-controlled House, one of them in which Clinton answered questions for almost 12 hours, could find no wrongdoing on her part. 

Minority Senate Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on Chief Justice John Roberts to clarify that DDT’s attacks on a judge “are unacceptable.”

Now free to do whatever he wishes after his impeachment acquittal, DDT went on a diatribe from the Oval Office:

“Where’s [James] Comey? What’s happening to [Andrew] McCabe? What’s happening to Lisa and — to Pete Strzok and Lisa Page? What’s happening with them? It was a whole setup, it was a disgrace for our country, and everyone knows it, too, everyone.”

Asked what lesson he learned from impeachment, DDT said, “That the Democrats are crooked — they’ve got a lot of crooked things going—that they’re vicious, that they shouldn’t have brought impeachment.” He also withdrew Jessie Liu’s nomination for undersecretary of the Treasury Department for terrorism and financial crimes because she oversaw cases involving DDT’s friends Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, and Stone. Once nominated, she lost her job as U.S. attorney for D.C., a top position overseeing economic sanctions. Liu had expected to stay in that position until confirmation, but Barr replaced her last week with his close adviser Timothy Shea, who then overruled the prosecutors in the Stone case by requesting a more lenient sentence.

Barr has a close associate in the office handling cases about Mueller’s investigation, Russian election interference, and Flynn and Stone who are yet to be sentenced. The same office has now filed a request recommending probation for Flynn instead of up to six months in prison. The DOJ’s new filing, effusively describing Flynn’s government service, reads as if it were written by the defense instead of the prosecution. Flynn may have violated the Logan Act against private citizens’ negotiating with foreign governments without proper authority to influence their actions when he met with Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak after DDT’s election while President Obama was still in office to discuss sanctions against Russia. Violation of the Logan Act is a felony, punishable by up to three years in prison. Documents show that DDT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner also directed Flynn to contact foreign government officials and ask them to delay or vote against a UN resolution about Israel settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, in opposition to support from then President Obama and his administration favoring the resolution.

Some GOP senators who said DDT had “learned his lesson” now say that he should not speak out about pending sentences. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), one of the “lesson” senators, described the “chain of events”: “proceeding, a sentencing, a recommended sentence, the president weighs in and all of the sudden Justice comes back, says ‘change the deal.’” She said that “most people … would say ‘hmm, that just doesn’t look right.’ And I think they’re right.” Another “lesson” senator, Susan Collins (ME) said DDT “should not have gotten involved.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) agreed with the two women. All three senators voted against DDT’s impeachment conviction.

U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman, a colleague of the attacked judge on the court in Washington, warned about the consequences of DDT’s attacks. In a speech, Friedman said that DDT “seems to view the courts and the justice system as obstacles to be attacked and undermined, not as a coequal branch to be respected even when he disagrees with its decisions.” 

Joyce White Vance, a former U.S. attorney in the Obama administration, said:

“If a president can meddle in a criminal case to help a friend, then there’s nothing that keeps him from meddling to harm someone he thinks is his enemy. That means that a president is fully above the law in the most dangerous kind of way. This is how democracies die.”

Vance doesn’t need to wait. Barr has already assigned the DOJ to “investigate” President Obama’s intelligence officials to accuse them of hiding evidence or manipulating analysis regarding Russia’s election interference in 2016. The team started with the premise that CIA director John O. Brennan was operating under a preconceived belief about Russia and tried to keep other agencies from information because they might discover he was wrong. 

Out of concern for the DOJ’s decision-making process, the New York City bar has requested “immediate investigations” in a letter to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and chairs and ranking minority-party members of the House and Senate Judiciary committees: Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R-GA), Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The reason for investigations comes from “serious questions about whether the Department of Justice is making prosecutorial decisions based not on neutral principles but in order to protect President Trump’s supporters and friends.” The letter alleges “improper influence” because the DOJ’s change in this appears “from all external circumstances to be an instance of President Trump and Attorney General [William P.] Barr acting in concert to protect Stone from punishment.”

In an op-ed, Harry Litman, former U.S. attorney and current professor of constitutional law, wrote:

 “I have never experienced or even heard of a situation in which a career prosecutor had been ordered to withdraw a sentencing memorandum within the guidelines’ range. The original filing in the Stone case came from two career federal prosecutors and two special assistant U.S. attorneys.”

The DOJ said that changing sentencing requests is common for them, yet it couldn’t come up with an example. In an interview, Barr claimed that he told the prosecutors he was going to override the seven to nine years but they ignored him when they made the filing. It all smells: Barr says he’s overriding his own rule to follow the federal sentencing guidelines at the highest level, prosecutors don’t override the AG, and DDT doesn’t quietly sit back and let someone criticize him. It’s a cover up as protection for DDT’s friends.

DDT’s impeachment acquittal by GOP senators shredded the Constitution; now Barr and DDT are destroying the rule of law in the United States.

1 Comment »

  1. Indeed they are.

    Like

    Comment by Lee Lynch — February 13, 2020 @ 10:43 PM | Reply


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