Tag Archives: DOJ

Sad for Sessions’ political demise? Hardly, however …

I would be saddened by Jeff Sessions’ loss this week in the race for the U.S. Senate were it not for the fact that I detest virtually his entire political record.

Then again, there’s an element to Sessions’ defeat in the Republican primary in Alabama that does make me a bit, um, chagrined.

Sessions once served in the Senate. He was the first senator to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. He is partly responsible for Trump’s election in 2016 to the presidency. Trump appointed him attorney general.

Then he did what Trump wanted him to do. He enforced the separation of children from their parents who tried to enter the nation illegally. He endorsed the president’s call to end protections for undocumented immigrants who came here as children. Indeed, this former senator’s record is replete with efforts to dial back civil rights reforms. He is a throwback to the stereotypical white Southern politician. Sessions was Trump’s guy at Justice.

Then the AG did the unthinkable in the Lawbreaker in Chief’s world: He followed the law by recusing himself from DOJ’s investigation into allegations that Russia attacked our electoral system. His recusal resulted in the hiring of Robert Mueller as special counsel.

Sessions then managed to incur the rage of the man who once hailed him as a legal champion. Donald Trump demanded the AG show him blind loyalty. Sessions said he can’t do that. The law required him to recuse himself, as he couldn’t investigate a campaign in which he was a key player.

Trump was having none of it. He sought to humiliate Sessions. He ranted and raged against him via Twitter. Trump has declared that hiring Sessions as AG was the biggest mistake he has made as president. He fired Sessions, who then ran for his former Senate seat. On Tuesday, Sessions lost the Republican Party runoff to former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, who Trump endorsed over Sessions.

It’s apparently over for Sessions. He won’t run for political office again. It’s not that I will miss this man’s contributions to public policy. However, I am chagrined that the single noble act he performed resulted in a form of political triumph for an imbecile — Donald Trump — who refuses to accept the reality that Jeff Sessions understood the boundaries he could not cross.

William Barr: a profound disappointment

It is time for some disclosure on my part.

Jeff Sessions’ departure as U.S. attorney general was maddening in one respect: Even though I didn’t approve of his selection in the beginning, he did follow the law by recusing himself from the Russia investigation into Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign; when Trump fired him, he did so only because Sessions did the right thing and it spoke volumes about the corrupt intent within Trump.

Then came the appointment of William Barr. I was glad to see Barr get nominated. Why? He served as AG during President George H.W. Bush’s term in office and acquitted himself well in the early 1990s. I had hoped that Trump had found another grownup to join the Cabinet.

It didn’t take long for Barr to prove to me that he swilled the Trump Kool-Aid and would become a shill for the Carnival Barker in Chief rather than representing the best interests of the nation he took an oath to protect. How about that sham summary he provided after Robert Mueller issued his findings on collusion with the Russians during the 2016 campaign. You get my drift, right?

The firing this past week of the Southern District of New York U.S. attorney, Geoffrey Berman, sealed the deal for me. Berman was canned because he was investigating Trump’s business affairs. You can’t have that going on, Barr seemed to suggest. He fired Berman, who had refused to resign. Or maybe Trump told Barr to do it. Whatever, it doesn’t matter. The clumsy and ridiculous display of obvious political a**-covering exposed Barr once again as a toadie for Donald Trump.

My understanding of U.S. attorney appointments is that they are recommended by U.S. senators or House members to the Justice Department, which then passes the nomination on to the Senate, which confirms the appointment. The firing of Berman was done far outside the lines of propriety.

So, the drama continues and it will continue to unfold for as long as Donald Trump pretends to be president of the United States.

We need to get him out of the Oval Office … and be sure he takes William Barr with him.

Trump, Barr engage in liar’s contest

This is fantastic!

Attorney General William Barr says he asked Donald Trump to fire Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, so Trump did what he was asked by the AG to do.

You got that?

Wait! Trump said he played no part in Berman’s dismissal; it’s all Barr’s doing, he said.

Who’s telling the truth? Why should we even care to know, given both men’s penchant for lying?

Berman had been asked to resign the SDNY post, but he declined, saying he wanted to stay on the job until the Justice Department found a suitable replacement. However, DOJ or the White House couldn’t wait. So … someone fired Berman.

You see, Berman’s office was eyeball-deep in a probe of Donald Trump’s personal financial matters, including the release of those tax returns that Trump once upon a time pledged to release to the public once he got through what he called a “routine audit.”

Berman is out. The question of the day: Who did the deed?

My guess? Donald Trump told Barr to can the prosecutor. Why? He was getting too close to rooting out the corruption that runs rampant throughout the Trump White House operation.

Did POTUS make an unintended admission?

Donald Trump now says the man he selected to be attorney general, Jeff Sessions, didn’t have the mental capacity to do the job.

That’s now the president’s description of Jeff Sessions, who had the bad taste — and the good sense — to recuse himself from an investigation examining whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

Sessions did the right thing and for that he now is being vilified by the president who vowed to surround himself with the “best people” were he elected to office four years ago.

Has Trump now offered an implied admission that Sessions wasn’t among the “best people”? Did The Donald due sufficient due diligence in looking for an attorney general? If not, then why not? If he did, then why has Trump changed his mind about the quality of the guy he nominated to become the nation’s top law enforcement officer?

Trump offered the criticism of Sessions in an interview with Sheryl Attkisson. “He’s not mentally qualified to be Attorney General,” Trump said. “He was the biggest problem. I mean, look Jeff Sessions put people in place that were a disaster.”

Trump now wants Sessions to lose the upcoming GOP primary runoff in Alabama for the U.S. Senate seat. He has endorsed Tommy Tuberville, the former Auburn University football coach. The winner will face Sen. Doug Jones in the fall election.

I just am astonished as I read and hear Trump talk about men and women he selects to these key jobs, who then decide to do the right thing … and then become unqualified, unfit to the job to which they were selected.

Trump’s ad hominem attacks on these individuals tell me far more about him than they ever say about the men and women he denigrates.

Among the messages I get from these attacks is that Donald Trump doesn’t know what he is doing.

Trump bashes Sessions … who bashes right back!

I love watching this Twitter tango taking place between Donald John Trump and the former attorney general who Trump selected, Jeff Sessions.

I can’t believe I am saying this, but I actually am in Sessions’ corner as he fights back against the idiocy that comes from Trump.

Sessions is running in the Republican primary in Alabama for the U.S. Senate. Sessions was a senator from ‘Bama before Trump selected him to be AG.

Sessions was a big man in the Trump presidential campaign. He had connections with, um, Russians who then attacked our electoral system in 2016. Then came questions about whether the Trump team “colluded” with the Russians. There was no way Sessions could investigate his own role in connection with those allegations, so he backed away. The Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller to lead the probe … and that ticked Trump off royally.

Trump has been accusing Sessions of destroying people’s lives by recusing himself and allowing Mueller to conduct the probe. Sessions, though, responded that Trump should be “grateful” he followed the law.

Trump is having none of it.

Still, Sessions is on the right side of this dispute. He did what DOJ policy required of him. He followed the law!

Of course, following the law is a sign of betrayal according to Donald Trump, who has only a passing interest in doing the right thing.

Don’t misunderstand me on this point: Jeff Sessions is not my preferred pick to sit in the U.S. Senate; I didn’t support his selection as AG. However, he took the correct course in recusing himself from the Russia collusion investigation. For him to be pilloried by Donald Trump because he “followed the law” is reprehensible on its face.

Thus, I am glad to see Sessions fighting back.

Former AG faces intriguing political fight

Take away the upcoming presidential contest between Donald Trump and Joseph Biden and you are left with a boatload of intriguing down-ballot contests all across the nation.

The most interesting, intriguing, maddening and bizarre? It’s likely occurring in Alabama.

Two Republicans are running in a July 14 primary runoff to see who faces Democratic U.S. Sen. Doug Jones in the fall. One of the GOP candidates is former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville; the other is a former U.S. senator and attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

Donald Trump has endorsed Tuberville. He detests Sessions, the guy he picked for AG, who he then fired because — as Sessions has noted — the AG “followed the law.”

Sessions finally has begun firing back at Trump’s idiocy, declaring that Alabamans will determine who should represent them, not a president’s “personal feelings” about one of the candidates.

This is weird, man.

Sessions wants his former Senate seat back. He is running as a supporter of Trump’s agenda. Trump’s campaign has declared it doesn’t want Sessions to stand with Trump. POTUS stands with Tuberville, declaring that Sessions “let our country down.” Oh, how did he do that?

By recusing himself from the FBI investigation into whether the Trump campaign collude with Russian operatives who attacked our electoral system in 2016. How could Sessions have led a Justice Department probe into a campaign in which he was an active participant? He couldn’t! Which is why he recused himself and allowed the appointment of Robert Mueller III as the special counsel.

That recusal and Mueller’s appointment enraged Trump. As did the investigation that Mueller conducted. He ended it by saying he didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute Trump, but stated pointedly that his findings did not “exonerate” Trump from wrongdoing.

All of this seems to put Sessions in a tough spot as he campaigns in a state full of voters who still seems to adore the carnival barker/con man/liar/philanderer in chief.

Go figure.

Barr joins the cabal of disagrace

I had harbored some hope that William Barr would bring some integrity to the Donald Trump administration when he accepted the president’s nomination to lead the Department of Justice.

After all, he had served as attorney general in the early 1990s near the end of President George H.W. Bush’s term in office. He served then with honor and dignity.

I was terribly and tragically wrong. The attorney general’s latest recommendation that former national security adviser Michael Flynn avoid prosecution for lying to the FBI and to Vice President Mike Pence about the Russia attack on our electoral system in 2016.

Flynn has pleaded guilty twice to committing perjury. Now we hear Barr suggest that his lying wasn’t “material” to the investigation into whether Russia interfered in our election.

Here, though, comes a stunner: Nearly 2,000 former DOJ staffers have demanded Barr’s resignation. It reminds me of something a former editor of mine used to say: If someone calls you an ass, blow it off; if others call you an ass, then you need to shop for a saddle.

So now the AG has a couple thousand former DOJ lawyers and others calling him an ass.

As NBC News reports: The letter urges the judge who is in charge of the Flynn case, Emmet Sullivan, to “take a long, hard look at the government’s explanation and the evidence.” Barr is using the Justice Department to further President Donald Trump’s personal and political interests, it says, and “has undermined any claim to the deference that courts usually apply to the department’s decisions about whether or not to prosecute a case.”

The good news is that the judge to whom Flynn entered the guilty pleas must sign off on Barr’s request. Judge Sullivan is known to be an independent thinker, which of course gets to the beauty of the federal judicial system; these judges are appointed for life and, thus, are ostensibly removed from partisan considerations.

As for Barr, the letter signed by those thousands of DOJ staffers asks Congress to censure the AG. Just think, too, that many of those who signed the letter worked in Justice Departments under Democratic and Republican administrations.

Lastly, take a good look at the picture attached to this blog post. Barr is standing in front of a bust of the man after whom the Justice Department building is named: Robert F. Kennedy, the AG from 1961 to 1964. I can say with absolute certainty that RFK would be aghast and appalled at where William Barr has taken the Department of Justice.

RINO in chief is angering real Republicans … finally?

Donald John Trump is the quintessential Republican In Name Only.

Of that there ought to be little discussion. He is the RINO in chief of the party under whose banner he ran for president in 2016.

Now some of the actual Republicans within the GOP are urging the current president to leave his mitts off of William Barr’s Department of Justice apparatus.

Is the RINO in chief going to listen? Will he cease denigrating the Justice Department professional prosecutors? Will he let the AG do his job, which is to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official — contrary to what Trump has said, declaring himself to be the nation’s top cop. No. He won’t do any of it. Not ever.

One of those actual Republicans, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, said this: “The president does have a tendency to lash out and I think in this case he would be well advised to try to temper that.”

No kidding, senator? Cornyn has just “advised” him to do what he suggests.

As for Barr, he has disappointed me terribly. I had high hope that he’d take his post as AG and restore its integrity, which had been sullied by the incessant berating of former AG Jeff Sessions by the RINO in chief. After all, he had served as attorney general near the end of President Bush 41’s term in office. He brought experience running the DOJ the right way.

It hasn’t happened. The RINO in chief is worsening the Barr era at Justice by tweeting constantly about pending criminal cases. Barr reportedly is threatening to quit; other media reports say he isn’t going anywhere.

Meanwhile, the DOJ career prosecutors and their legal staffs are being whipsawed and buggy-whipped by the turmoil.

I am wondering at this moment: How in the world does the attorney general actually stomach all this tempest if he is serious about the expression of angst over Trump’s Twitter tirades?

Just go ahead and quit, Mr. AG

The word is out via the Washington Post that Attorney General William Barr is so fed up with Donald Trump that he is considering taking a hike from his post.

He is tired of POTUS’s tweets about current cases and is tired of Trump’s attempts to undermine the legal pros who work for Barr at the Department of Justice. Or so it is being reported.

The quit-now chorus is growing in Washington, for those reasons and for others relating to the work he has done as attorney general, namely his seeming loyalty first to the president and his apparent rejection of the oath he took to defend and protect the Constitution.

I am generally in the latter camp. I am greatly disappointed in the job Barr has done. He has acted far more like Donald Trump’s personal lawyer than a man who took a sacred oath to protect the nation’s governing document.

However, if he wants to quit and cite the president’s interference, well, that’s fine with me, too.

William Barr would be entitled to use whatever reason he chooses to use. Indeed, the apparent burgeoning tension between the president and the AG would seem to be reason enough for Barr to call it quits on the guy Trump reportedly wanted to be his “Roy Cohn.”

And, just who was Cohn? He was the infamous attorney who stood up for the equally infamous Sen. Joseph McCarthy who launched the anti-commie tirade in the early 1950s. Cohn ended up getting disgraced and disbarred over the manner in which he conducted himself while McCarthy sought to ferret out communist infiltrators in our federal government.

In any event, William Barr likely needs to go. Count me as one American who’s all-in on the attorney general hitting the road.

Trump is correct: It is ‘legal’ for him to interfere with DOJ … but it’s not right!

Here’s a flash for you: Donald John Trump happens to be correct in saying that his meddling in U.S. Department of Justice criminal matters is “legal.”

It doesn’t make it right. However, what Trump is doing with his meddlesome tweets about DOJ cases and his undermining of the attorney general’s authority on certain matters doesn’t break any laws.

So, this president now freed of the threat of impeachment — at least for now — has embarked on a new campaign of heightened abuses of the office he still occupies.

Trump fired off a Twitter message that disparaged a sentence recommendation for his old pal Roger Stone, whom a jury convicted of multiple felonies. Attorney General William Barr then responded by reducing the recommendations. The line prosecutors who authored the initial request quit in protest.

Barr then told ABC News that Trump should stop tweeting about these matters, saying it makes it “impossible” for him to do his job.

Trump has kept tweeting messages. Barr is thought to be angry about it. Trump then said what he’s doing is “legal.” Yes. It is legal.

It is wrong, nonetheless. It is wrong for Trump to throw his weight around in this blatant manner. It is wrong to interfere with the attorney general’s duties. It is wrong to meddle in the nuts and bolts of sentencing, which is handled in this case by a federal judge … who also has drawn brickbats hurled at her by the president. Whatever happened to the “independent” federal judiciary? Trump is undermining that independence, too!

Ladies and gentlemen, we are witnessing in real time a president who is seeking to reconfigure the relationship between his office and the rule of law.

I am frightened at what we are seeing.