Tag Archives: DOJ

Meanwhile, the IG makes some big news

While members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee today were making spectacles of themselves with their posturing about this and that regarding Donald Trump hideous behavior, the Justice Department’s inspector general managed to make some real news.

Michael Horowitz, who is known to be a non-partisan straight shooter, released a report today that debunks Trump’s assertion that the FBI acted properly in instigating its investigation into Russia’s attack on our electoral system in 2016.

Boom! Bingo! There you go!

The president has been yammering seemingly forever that the FBI was prompted by partisan political concerns to launch a probe into the Russians’ attack on our system. The IG said today the FBI report was done properly and with justification.

To be fair, the IG did scold the FBI on some procedural matters involving some aspects of the information gathering it completed. The IG said the FBI committed “errors” while wiretapping a member of Trump’s campaign staff. The big stuff? The conspiracy that Trump and others have sought to perpetuate? No deal, man! Ain’t nothing there, according to the Horowitz.

Of course, Attorney General William Barr has criticized the report. He is holding onto the notion that the FBI conspired to ensnare the president with an investigation based on specious allegations that President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of the Trump campaign offices.

The inspector general has cleared the FBI of the idiotic allegations that Trump and others have leveled at the world’s premier investigative agency. This is a big deal that, to my mind, eclipses the posturing many Americans today witnessed by members of a key congressional committee.

The inspector general’s report likely won’t silence Donald Trump. He’ll keep hammering away with his Twitter account that the FBI was inspired by partisan concerns to undermine his election as president. The IG says otherwise.

I am going to stand with the inspector general.

Did the AG actually suggest that the cops might not protect us?

U.S. Attorney General William Barr sought to buck up the nation’s law enforcement network, but in doing so he seems to have suggested something dire and dangerous if the cops don’t get the respect they deserve from the communities they serve.

“They have to start showing more respect than they do,” Barr said of the public. “If communities don’t give [law enforcement] the support and respect they deserve, they may find themselves without the services they need.”

It makes me go, “huh?”

Is the attorney general actually suggesting — if not encouraging — that police might not respond to calls for help? Is he saying that police officers might give citizens the short shrift if they need protection?

Say it ain’t so, Mr. Attorney General.

In a ceremony honoring the top police officers from around the nation, Barr noted that military veterans suffered years of scorn in the years immediately after the Vietnam War; that has changed dramatically since the time of the Persian Gulf War. This veteran thanks my fellow Americans for the change of heart.

Are the nation’s police officers feeling the same level of disrespect? Hmm. I don’t know for certain, but it seems as if that the AG’s comparison is a bit overcooked.

If the attorney general is encouraging cops to go slow on emergency responses because the communities they serve don’t love them as much as they should, then he is committing a profound disservice to the nation … and its police forces.

AG disputes IG … WTF?

William Barr continues to be a profound disappointment to me as the nation’s attorney general.

He took office after Donald J. Trump fired Jeff Sessions as AG. I had high hopes that Barr, who served as attorney general in President Bush 41’s administration, would bring his Washington experience to the job.

Well, he has turned out to be a toadie for Trump. Get this: The Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, reportedly has determined that the FBI did not spy on Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, despite allegations leveled by the president that the FBI spied on him.

Barr’s response? He said he questions the IG’s findings. He continues to believe the specious allegation that Trump has leveled against the FBI, that it sought to launch its investigation into Russian interference in our electoral process after spying on the Trump campaign.

Horowitz’s office operates independently of the attorney general, which means that Barr cannot change the IG’s finding.

Still, the attorney general’s continued shilling for the president is disturbing to many of us, me included.

Horowitz is going to release his finding to the public in a few days. My hope would be for the attorney general to let the report stand on its own. That’s my hope. My fear is that the attorney general will seek to undermine it, quite likely at Donald Trump’s bidding.

Sessions seeks to become Sen. Suck Up

Jeff Sessions’ announcement the other day that he intends to run for the U.S. Senate seat in Alabama was one of the most pathetic examples of senatorial slobbering I think I’ve ever seen.

Let’s review some history for a moment:

Sessions served for 20 years before joining the Trump administration as attorney general. He then recused himself from the Russia investigation because, he said, he couldn’t investigate his own role in alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign; he was a key player in the campaign.

Trump fired Sessions as AG. He then called nominating Sessions “the worst mistake” of his presidency. He skewered Sessions’ intelligence. He mocked his Southern accent. He humiliated the former AG simply for taking a principled stand against potential conflict of interest.

Now the former AG and former senator wants his old seat back. Did he extol his record as a lawmaker from Alabama? Did he tout his conservative principles? Did the Republican offer a clue as to what kind of senator he would be if voters returned him?

No. He called himself one of Trump’s biggest fans. He asked rhetorically whether he wrote a tell-all book, or did he show up “on CNN” to speak ill of Trump, or whether he has ever said a “cross” word about the president.

My goodness. What a craven example of slavish fealty to someone who, if the tables were turned, wouldn’t do anything of the sort.

Disgusting.

There’s actually limit to what Barr would do for POTUS?

What do you know about this?

Donald Trump reportedly asked Attorney General William Barr to call a press conference and declare in front of the entire world that the president didn’t do anything wrong with regard to that phone call with the Ukrainian president.

However, the AG reportedly declined. “No can do,” or words to that effect he supposedly told the president, who — naturally! — has denied Barr’s rejection.

I am deeply disappointed so far in Barr since he became attorney general. I thought he would have conducted himself in keeping with his role as the “people’s attorney,” rather than acting as personal counsel for the POTUS.

Reports, though, of Barr declining to do what the Liar in Chief sought gives me a glimmer — and that’s all it is — of hope that there are limits to what Barr would do on behalf of Donald Trump.

The president is facing a near-certain impeachment in the House over that phone call with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump asked Zelenskiy for political help in exchange for weapons the Ukrainians  would use against Russian-backed rebel aggressors.

The AG is now being dragged into this matter over reports of a favor sought by the president who, it looks to me, is trying to cover up the impeachable offense he committed.

Hey, and to think it’s all going to be made public in just a few days.

Hang on, folks. The ride is about to get even rougher.

Sessions to run for U.S. Senate … what will Trump do?

Wow! A fabulous political melodrama might play out way down yonder in Alabama.

Jeff Sessions wants his old U.S. Senate seat back and plans to announce his candidacy for the Republican Party nomination. Oh, but get a load of this: He gave up his Senate after Donald Trump nominated him to be attorney general; the Senate confirmed him narrowly.

Then he pi**ed off the president royally by recusing himself from the Russia probe. He couldn’t in good conscience investigate himself, given that he worked on Trump’s presidential campaign, which found itself caught up in allegations that it colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016. So he followed DOJ policy by recusing himself.

His act of conscience enraged Trump.

So, the previous 2020 Republican favorite for the Alabama seat happens to be a former state Supreme Court chief justice. Roy Moore had been kicked off his bench seat twice on allegations that he violated constitutional principles. Then he got ensnared in allegations that he dated underage girls and had sex with them. He ran the Senate from Alabama anyway. He got nominated in 2017 by the GOP. Trump had endorsed the incumbent appointed to succeed Sessions in the Senate, then backed Moore when the former judge won the party primary.

Then Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones in the fall special election. Trump campaigned for Moore, but was unable to push Moore across the finish line to victory.

Here we are, in 2020. Jones is running for re-election. Moore is running in the GOP primary. Now, reportedly, so is Sessions.

What will Trump do? Does he back Moore again, even though his earlier endorsement proved futile; plus, we have the notion that Moore is unfit for elected office at any level, given the seemingly credible allegations of misbehavior?

Or does he back Sessions, who at least has prior U.S. Senate experience? I find the former senator/AG to be objectionable anyway, but he is a damn sight better for the job than Roy Moore. Remember, too, the many nasty things he said about Sessions when the then-AG backed out of the Russia investigation.

Meanwhile, we have Sen. Jones ready to cruise to his own party’s nomination. What might he do? How might he play all this out?

I am aware that only the good folks in Alabama will have a say in who they elect to the U.S. Senate. However, these men and women enact laws that affect all Americans. Therefore, what is Alabama’s business becomes our business, too, way over here in far-off Texas.

If I had a vote in Alabama, I would stick with the incumbent, Sen. Doug Jones.

DOJ embarks on, dare I say it, a ‘witch hunt’?

The Department of Justice is now launching what has been called a criminal inquiry into — get ready for it — the investigation into whether Russia interfered in our 2016 presidential election.

What DOJ expects to find is not clear. Attorney General William Barr has appointed a seasoned prosecutor, John Durham, to lead the probe. This one puzzles and concerns me greatly.

Don’t politicize DOJ

Every leading intelligence official within the Donald Trump administration has said the same thing: Russia interfered in our election and sought to elect Donald Trump as president in 2016. Trump, of course, has debunked that notion; he also has denigrated our intelligence agencies’ ability to reach the conclusion they all reached.

When former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, his deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein, appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller to be special counsel and lead the investigation into the Russia matter.

Trump has hurled some harsh language at Mueller’s investigation, which concluded in May with a partial exoneration of Trump of “colluding” with Russians; he left open the question of whether Trump obstructed justice in the pursuit of truth behind that interference.

Now we have DOJ entering the scene.

To what end will this probe conclude?

I just hope that John Durham, the experienced federal prosecutor who has drawn praise from partisans on both sides of the aisle, will be able to withstand political pressure that might emanate from the top of the Justice Department.

Still, I fear how this probe will proceed. I smell a “witch hunt” in the making.

Is there any sense of propriety in the White House?

This is rich beyond belief.

The president of the United States apparently sees nothing wrong with the attorney general of the United States booking a spendy family party at a hotel the president owns.

Donald Trump and William Barr appeared made for each other.

The AG booked a party for Dec. 8 that will cost about $30,000 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. Barr will pay for the party out of his own pocket.

But, my goodness, this appears to violate that knotty issue called the Emoluments Clause in the U.S. Constitution. The president is not supposed to profit financially while in office. Yet the attorney general is going to have a big family party at a Trump property, giving the president a healthy chunk of change.

There are ethics concerns about the wazoo, man.

According to FoxNews.com: “Career ethics officials were consulted and they determined that ethics rules did not prohibit him from hosting his annual party at the Trump hotel,” the DOJ official told The Post.

Of course the Justice Department wouldn’t see anything wrong it! Barr runs the department; Trump nominated Barr to become the nation’s top law enforcement official. Barr has been acting as Trump’s personal lawyer more than the nation’s top legal eagle.

Others do see a problem … as if it matters one damn bit to the attorney general, let alone the president.

How about an independent probe into Epstein death?

Jeffrey Epstein was under the “watchful eye” of the U.S. Department of Justice. He was being held in a Manhattan jail cell. He was arguably the most notorious criminal in federal custody, a guy who needed the DOJ’s relentless and unblinking attention.

Then he hangs himself. The DOJ is denied the opportunity to put a known pedophile on trial for allegations of sex trafficking underage girls.

The multimillionaire also had two high-profile relationships, with Bill Clinton and Donald Trump … a former and current president of the United States.

Now we hear from Attorney General William Barr blasting to smithereens the security detail at the Manhattan jail. He has called Epstein’s death a monumental failure.

Really, Mr. AG? Well, who is responsible for that failure? I contend that the AG himself is to blame. This happened on Barr’s watch.

The medical examiner has reportedly determined Epstein’s cause of death. There appears to be no evidence of “foul play,” or so we’re led to believe. I won’t join conspiracy theorists who have ideas and notions aplenty about what happened to Epstein.

However, does the DOJ investigate itself? Does the Justice Department look deeply into this a**hole’s death?

I don’t know how the DOJ does that. Nor do I accept that the department can peel away all the layers to expose the truth behind what happened to this guy.

Epstein was put on suicide watch in late July after he was found unconscious in his cell; he reportedly had ligature marks on his neck, suggesting an attempt at hanging himself. Then they removed the suicide watch. Then we hear that the security staff was overworked and didn’t keep an eye on this bastard at all times, allowing him to string himself up inside the jail cell.

That sounds like incompetence. I believe the incompetence goes far beyond the walls of that correctional facility.

Attorney General Barr needs to step aside. He needs to find an independent investigator to take over and determine how such a high-value, high-profile and infamous prisoner can kill himself while he’s in the hands of a federal agency charged with keeping him alive while his notorious case works its way toward adjudication.

Does capital punishment deter capital crime?

So, the federal government is restoring the death penalty for federal crimes. The Justice Department is bringing back this form of punishment that’s been on the shelf for two decades, through presidential administrations of both parties.

I have to ask: What crime will it deter? Where is the deterrence that this punishment is supposed to create? Do criminals really think of the punishment when they commit these heinous acts?

Capital punishment gives me considerable heartburn as I grapple with how I feel about it. I have declared my opposition to the death penalty as a punishment handed out by states and, now, the federal government.

We kill criminals at a break-neck pace in Texas, although the pace has slowed considerably in recent years. There once was a time when we were executing ’em with stunning regularity. There were tacky, crass jokes about setting up a “drive-through window” at the state’s execution chamber in Livingston.

Did the frequency of those executions stem the crime tide? Did it prevent killers from doing what they did to deserve the ultimate punishment? I fear not.

Which makes the DOJ’s decision to return the death penalty so problematic for me.

I don’t want to “coddle” these individuals. They should serve hard time. I do not oppose “administrative segregation,” which is a euphemism for “solitary confinement.” If they’re going to spend the rest of their lives in prison, make them pay deeply for the crime that put them behind bars.

I am acutely aware that life sentences don’t deter criminals, either.

The notion of deterring criminal acts requires a lot more thought and nuance than just killing the individuals who commit them.