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William Barr

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    Heather Cox Richardson also had a few comments about this topic:

    Yesterday, Senate Democrats released a report examining how Republican leaders, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have packed the courts. Funded by millions of dollars of “dark money” contributions, they are “rolling back the clock on civil rights, consumer protections, and the rights of ordinary Americans, reliably putting a thumb on the scale in favor of corporate and Republican political interests.” The report notes that the House has passed more than 350 bills this session, nearly 90% of which are bi-partisan and popular, but that McConnell has refused to take them up, focusing instead on judicial confirmations. This “judicial capture” is designed to rewrite federal law “to favor the rich and powerful.”

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    Heather Cox Richardson publishing a very damning story about Barr last night. Although I have included a link to the entire article below, the key points are listed below:

    Today the politicization of the United States Department of Justice was on the table in Congress.

    Barr took office on February 14, 2019.

    On March 22, Barr notified Congress that Mueller’s investigation was complete, and on March 24, wrote a letter claiming that Mueller’s report exonerated the president and his team. In fact, the report established that the Russian government had illegally intervened in the election to benefit Trump, and that the campaign “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.” Mueller wrote to Barr saying that his letter “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the Report. But on April 18, Barr held a press conference in which he said that Mueller cleared the president of “collusion” with the Russians. (“Collusion” is not a legal term, and Mueller said explicitly that they did not look at it.)

    Barr’s undermining of the Mueller investigation continued in late January 2020, when Trump offered a new job in the Treasury Department to the U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C., Jessie Liu, who had overseen the prosecution of Roger Stone, a friend and former advisor to the president.

    In her place, Barr put his counsellor Timothy Shea, who was now in a position to oversee a number of the cases begun under Mueller, including those of Stone and Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

    Within days, Shea undermined the Stone case. On Monday, February 10, DOJ prosecutors wrote to Judge Amy Berman Jackson recommending 7 to 9 years of jail time-- standard department guidelines. Immediately after the sentencing recommendation, Trump tweeted that it was “horrible and unfair” and a “miscarriage of justice.” The DOJ then reversed itself, saying its own prosecutors had failed to be “reasonable.”

    In response, all four of the federal prosecutors responsible for Stone’s case withdrew from it, including Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, who had worked on Mueller’s team. The administration promptly withdrew Liu’s nomination for the Treasury Department position, suggesting it was offered simply to get her out of the US Attorney office.

    More than 1100 former DOJ officials called for Barr to resign over his handling of the Stone case, accusing him of politicizing the DOJ and undermining the rule of law.

    Last weekend, Barr tried to remove and replace the interim US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, falsely saying Geoffrey Berman had resigned. Today more than 80% of the faculty at George Washington University Law School where Barr got his law degree called for Barr’s resignation in the wake of that attempt.

    Also today, two attorneys from the DOJ testified before the House Judiciary Committee, saying that the DOJ has become dangerously politicized. John W. Elias, a whistleblower from the Antitrust Division of the DOJ, told Congress that Barr personally ordered investigations of industries that he or the president disliked, even though there was no legal reason to do so.(sounds like Nixon's "enemy list ", doesn't it?)

    Zelinsky, now an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, explained what had happened back in February.

    When Zelinsky threatened to withdraw, he and his colleagues were allowed to file a correct sentencing memorandum. As soon as the sentencing recommendation went out, however, the president tweeted that the sentence was unfair, and the DOJ wrote a new memo asking for a lighter sentence. Zelinsky withdrew from the case, “because following orders would have violated the oath I swore when I took my job,” he said.

    This was a message the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee did not want to hear—literally. They tried to disrupt the proceedings. First Jim Jordan (R-OH) objected that witnesses could not testify over video. Then, after witness Donald Ayer said “I believe that William Barr poses the greatest threat in my lifetime to our rule of law,” Louie Gohmert (R-TX) began tapping on the microphone to drown out the witnesses.

    In an article in February, just after the Stone sentencing crisis, Ayer warned that Barr "is working to destroy the integrity and independence of the Justice Department, in order to make Donald Trump a president who can operate above the law.... Bill Barr’s America is not a place that anyone, including Trump voters, should want to go. It is a banana republic where all are subject to the whims of a dictatorial president and his henchmen."

    https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/june-24-2020

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    And you think that this country does not need an revamp in their "laws" and structure. Just wait, the real fun starts in November or just before! The British like "law" system, as the Brits now also found out, is not working in 2020. Neither the British "empire" which is long gone and also in deep shit. Wake up America, do something other than "talk" and B.S.

    I'm not impressed that Biden has the guts nor an good broom to clean up the place, so I expect years and years of trauma in this country if they stick to their present "corrupted" system; at least that keeps the "media" humming.Wink

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    Barr is now also meddling in "trade"; he wants US companies not to trade with China. I thought that his job was the "branch" which dealt with the "laws" in this country. However since he has become Trump's "personal" lawyer, he thinks that he can meddle in just about everything.

    I've never seen such an blatant/power grabbing way of governing; just meddle with the whole world without blinking, while it is not his job at all. So maybe Barr's shoe polisher can do that as well.Astonished

    But yeah, the Dem's are sound asleep or in hibernation through the whole summer.

    Sorry but this country is going to the dogs.

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    Dutch Wrote: But yeah, the Dem's are sound asleep or in hibernation through the whole summer.

    What exactly do you wish "the Dem's" would do?

    We have one President at a time and, as we are now painfully aware, the President of the United States has a LOT of power with very little other than norms to check them.

    Past Presidents (outside of Nixon) respected these norms, but there's nothing other than shame (which Donald obviously does not have) from stopping them from doing pretty much whatever they want. Remember how Congressional Republicans handled an impeachment where they gave their Dear Leader the green light to solicit the help of a foreign government to investigate his political rivals in order to help him win an election? The Dem's certainly weren't "sound asleep" then, but what good did impeachment do other than teach Donald that he is above the law?

    When it comes to William Barr, he is a proponent of "the unitary executive," which is a legal theory that basically claims that the President is the Executive Branch, so whatever he wants to do is perfectly legal unless there's a law that explicitly says otherwise. So no one should be surprised that Barr is basically doing everything in his power (which are VAST) to enable Donald. For him it has nothing to do with Donald and everything to do with his far-right view of the Executive Branch's powers.

    That's why elections matter. Hopefully the Bernie or busters from 2016 understand that this time around.

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    Hi Jared, nice to see you back! How are things in Portland Oregon? Did they cart you off in an unmarked van? ha ha.

    Anyway since I did start writing on this site, I told you from the beginning that an "static" outdated Constitution does not work in the present times. As long as no "limits" are defined related to the "powers" of an President and "norms" related to "free speech" it is asking for what we have now. I argued that always with you. Therefore I hope you finally see with the present events that because of not having an"solid living base law", that you then end up in the present situation, as I predicted. Also the "impeachment farce" showed that the Constitution is "incomplete". It is time to "update" our laws and base law, or else we will indeed fall of the cliff, due to our own stupidity. Amen

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    I'll occasionally read the National Catholic Reporter to see what the religious folks think about a particular topic.

    An article today about Bill Barr is very revealing:

    https://www.ncronline.org/news/justice/william-barr-nations-top-lawyer-culture-warrior-catholic

    Her's the headline: "William Barr, nation's top lawyer, is a culture warrior Catholic"

    Barr helped pave the way for last week's federal executions — the first in 17 years. Yet he is often viewed as an ally of the pro-life movement because of his opposition to abortion. His enthusiastic admirers also cheer what they regard as his commitment to religious freedom at a time when many social conservatives view the rights of churches and religious institutions as under threat by secular forces.

    At a widely covered speech at the University of Notre Dame last fall, Barr railed against "militant secularists," language reminiscent of Jerry Falwell's rhetoric in the 1980s at the start of the religious right movement.

    Secularism, he said, could be blamed for "virtually every measure of social pathology," including "the wreckage of the family," "soaring suicide rates," "alienated young males" and a host of other social ills.

    Thomas Berg, a professor who specializes in law and religion at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, agrees with the attorney general on several things: federal funding for parochial schools; the right of religious institutions to terminate employees who violate their church's moral teachings or institution's ethical codes; and that real burdens on religious liberty exist.

    Berg cautions that the attorney general's articulation of religious liberty at Notre Dame was problematic.

    "His description of religious liberty is selective and that threatens to make religious liberty a vehicle for polarization rather than a solution to it," said Berg. "A real problem for the cause of religious freedom in general is that the loudest voices use it or confine it to only support their political side."

    The attorney general, Berg added, "says nothing about the religious freedom of Muslims, Sikhs or non-Christian religious minorities, or how the president's travel ban arose from his hostile comments about Islam. You can't claim a commitment to religious liberty and be wholly selective about it."

    While Barr is not a member of Opus Dei, according to his Senate questionnaire, from 2014 to 2017 he served on the board of the Catholic Information Center, an Opus Dei-affiliated bookstore and chapel a few blocks from the White House that is a longtime hub for conservative intellectuals, Republican politicians and other well-connected Catholics in the nation's capital.

    Other prominent board members at the center have included Leonard Leo, co-chairman of the Federalist Society, which helped shepherd the Supreme Court nominations of Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch through the Senate confirmation process. White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who led Trump's defense during the Senate impeachment trial, also previously served on the Catholic Information Center's board. Cipollone was a speechwriter for Barr during the first Bush administration.

    But many conservatives view Barr as "a hero in the religious liberty world," according to Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with the Catholic Association, an organization based in Washington, D.C., that focuses on religious liberty issues. The attorney general has used his role, McGuire argues, "to restore a robust understanding of religious liberty to the Department of Justice after it took a serious beating during the Obama administration."

    As part of his Senate confirmation hearing to become Trump's attorney general, Barr listed associations with several organizations that play a key role in advancing issues central to the conservative Christian movement, including the Knights of Columbus. A member since 1984, he has provided legal counsel to the Knights on tax exemptions. For three years in the 1990s, Barr noted on the Senate confirmation forms, he was a "Supreme Board Member" of the Knights.

    Along with its charitable work in the United States and around the world, the Knights have used part of its $2 billion in revenue over the years to help fund the U.S. bishops' religious liberty campaigns and political efforts to fight same-sex marriage.

    The attorney general "does not conduct business then or now with the idea of listening to all sides and producing a consensus outcome.

    In February, more than a thousand former Department of Justice officials released an open letter calling for the attorney general to resign after senior department officials intervened to reduce a prison sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone.

    "People like Attorney General Barr and President Trump are hanging on to old vestiges of what was considered being 'tough on crime,' " she said. "It's profoundly disappointing and even infuriating. We were hopeful that someone who takes their faith seriously would uphold the sanctity of all life."

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    Barr is the "new" Goering; your story says enough; these "freaks" never should be allowed into any Government. Religion does not belong there, let alone the "oddball" one's like the "Knights of Columbus" who always were an "murderous" clan.
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    Dutch Wrote: Barr is the "new" Goering; your story says enough; these "freaks" never should be allowed into any Government. Religion does not belong there, let alone the "oddball" one's like the "Knights of Columbus" who always were an "murderous" clan.

    Dutch:

    Do you remember this one?:

    Gott Mit Uns is translated at "God is with us"

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    Bill Barr is scheduled to testify to Congress today.

    Here's a brief summary:

    Attorney General William Barr will testify before the House Judiciary Committee today for the first time. Democrats tried to get him to appear to explain why he had misrepresented what was in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Report about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, but he refused to show up after learning that staff lawyers would be allowed to question him. Then coronavirus slowed down another meeting. Finally, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) threatened to subpoena him, and he agreed to come in voluntarily.

    But not happily.

    Last night, he released a combative opening statement which begins by slamming “the grave abuses involved in the bogus ‘Russiagate’ scandal,” despite the fact that, in December 2019, the Justice Department’s own inspector general, Michael Horowitz, found that the investigation had been initiated properly and without political bias. The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee has also unanimously supported the conclusion of the Intelligence Community that Russia attacked the 2016 election to benefit candidate Trump.

    As Barr testifies, a new book about him by Norman Eisen, who served as special counsel to the Judiciary Committee during the impeachment hearings, will come out. It examines how Barr’s misleading summary of Mueller’s report derailed the public inquiry into the relationship between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, because no one wanted to believe the new Attorney General would “be willing to sacrifice his reputation for the sake of Trump

    Yesterday, conservative commentator Tom Nichols noted that Barr has emerged as the de facto leader of the Executive Branch, since Trump is “functionally incapacitated.” It is, Nichols says “a total collapse of constitutional order within the Executive branch” as Barr is using federal law enforcement officers against U.S. citizens. Nichols urges courts, state attorneys general, and state authorities to step into Barr’s way.

    Lawmakers are prepared to press for explanations on the federal response to nationwide protests of police killings of Black Americans and the handling of criminal cases involving Trump’s allies.

    With states preparing for record numbers of voters to cast ballots this fall by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Barr has provided key backup to Mr. Trump’s claims of rampant fraud. Democrats fear their comments are intended to or will at least have the effect of suppressing voter turnout or limiting access to the ballot box.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/28/us/politics/william-barr-house-judiciary-hearing.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

    Barr will take a defiant posture as he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee panel for the first time since Democrats took control of it, alleging that they have attempted to “discredit” him since he vowed to investigate the 2016 FBI probe of possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, and the media has been unfair in covering unrest.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/07/28/bill-bar-testimony-live-updates/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-high_barr-luf%3Aprime-time%2Fpromo

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    I managed to watch most of the committee hearings yesterday.

    The most accurate description of the event was in the Boston Globe Post this morning, who said it was a train wreck.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/07/28/opinion/judiciary-committee-has-train-wreck-hearing/

    It was clear early on that Barr was going to do whatever he could to avoid answering questions. Numerous times, he was asked for a simple "yes" or "no" response, and quickly launched into a string of nonsense in order to chew up the questioners 2 minute allotted time.

    The difference between the Democrats and the Republicans was stark. As I watched Jim Jordan, Louie Gohmert, Doug Collins, and Matt Gaetz, I still have to wonder who in their right mind elected these idiots?

    The most memorable moment of the hearing was when Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) asked Barr why he had responded so differently to the Portland protesters than he did to the armed anti-mask protesters who had swarmed the Michigan Capitol and called for the Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, to be “lynched, shot, and beheaded.”

    Barr first said he did not know about the Michigan events (this is not believable), and then suggested he was deferring to the state governor. This is belied by the deployment of federal officers in Oregon despite the strong opposition of Oregon Governor Kate Brown. More convincingly, Barr said he was deploying federal forces to defend federal property. Jayapal pointed out that a more likely difference between the two responses was that, in Michigan, white supremacists were threatening to behead a Democratic governor, and in Oregon, protesters were supporting BlackLivesMatter.

    His combative answers confirmed that he is Trump’s man. He is committed to the narrative that dangerous anarchists are endangering law and order, and that Trump was unfairly targeted by FBI agents in what Barr calls “Russiagate.

    Both Barr and Trump are pushing the narrative that the protesters are violent thugs that need to be suppressed. If you did deeper, though, you'll discover that the trouble makers are actually rightwingers whose goal is to incite mayhem:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/07/28/conservative-armed-militias-protests-coronavirus/?arc404=true

    Minneapolis police just arrested "the umbrella man", a 32 year old member of the Hell's Angels for the vandalism he caused in downtown Minneapolis:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/28/us/umbrella-man-identified-minneapolis.html

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    And where are the Constitutional "believers"? Sorry I found all of this as bad as the "impeachment "farce". I guess the Dem's don't know how to ask the right questions, except an very "few". Trump could have been "impeached" together with Barr, if they would have people who attack these "corrupt" assholes the same way as the Jordan, Gaetz, Collins do.

    So I see the "future" of this country go rapidly down the drain; unless they do something about the laws and the system here; nothing is "clearly" on "paper" but only distorted in the "uneducated heads" on this "island", thanks to a zillion lawyers, who made an mess of the base law,which is also outdated and not up to date. Amen

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    At his hearing on Tuesday, Barr vehemently denied that he was rewarding Trump's friends and hurting Trump's enemies, but a letter in the Boston Globe this morning by Michael Cohen prove that Barr is lying through his teeth.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/07/28/opinion/justice-department-under-william-barr-has-crossed-another-dangerous-line/

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    Hmmm ..

    I see a resemblance here:

    Image may contain: 1 person

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    Today, Wednesday, marks 90 days before the presidential election, a date in the calendar that is supposed to be of special note to the Justice Department. That’s because of two department guidelines, one a written policy that no action be influenced in any way by politics. Another, unwritten norm urges officials to defer publicly charging or taking any other overt investigative steps or disclosures that could affect a coming election.

    Attorney General William Barr appears poised to trample on both. At least two developing investigations could be fodder for pre-election political machinations. The first is an apparently sprawling investigation by John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, that began as an examination of the origins of the F.B.I. investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The other, led by John Bash, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, is about the so-called unmasking of Trump associates by Obama administration officials. Mr. Barr personally unleashed both investigations and handpicked the attorneys to run them.

    But Justice Department employees, in meeting their ethical and legal obligations, should be well advised not to participate in any such effort.

    The genesis of the department’s admirable practice of creating a protective shell surrounding an election recognizes that unelected officials at the Justice Department should not take action that could distort an election and influence the electorate. If someone is charged immediately before an election, for instance, that person has no time to offer a defense to counter the charges. The closer the election, the greater the risk that the department is impermissibly acting based on political considerations, which is always prohibited.

    (If Jim Comey had followed this practice, Hillary Clinton would be president).

    Not so long ago, Mr. Barr and Mr. Trump denounced Jim Comey’s negative public commentary in the 2016 election on Hillary Clinton. Indeed, the president claimed that Mr. Comey’s violation of these bedrock policies contributed to his being fired. During his nomination hearing, Mr. Barr told a Senate committee that he would adhere to these policies.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/05/opinion/bill-barr-trump-biden-2020.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage