Tag Archives: William Barr

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.

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.

One little word becomes focus of Trump-Zelenskiy chat

The attention of the political chattering class in Washington has drawn a bead on a single word contained in those notes released from Donald Trump’s conversation with the president of Ukraine.

It’s the word “though.”

Trump chatted by phone with Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The presidents were talking about U.S. military assistance to Ukraine in its fight with Russian aggressors. Zelenskiy thanked Trump for all he has done and what I suppose Trump was planned to do in the future.

Then Trump, according to the notes of that conversation, said the following:

I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it, if that’s possible.

There it is, the word “though.” 

Trump is offering to have Attorney General William Barr “get to the bottom” of Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine. He was soliciting Zelenskiy’s help in digging up dirt that could harm Joe Biden’s potential nomination as a candidate for president in 2020.

Zelenskiy had just said the following prior to the Trump’s “though” moment: We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.

Do you get it? Zelenskiy is anticipating the purchase of anti-tank missiles to use against Russia. However, Trump appears to put a caveat on delivery of those Javelins to the Ukrainians. The caveat deals with Joe Biden and whether there can be dirt to be flung at the former vice president in advance of his possible campaign against Donald Trump.

That looks to me like an impeachable offense.

Don’t take my word exclusively for it. Read the White House document here.

You be the judge.

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.

AG proving to be a major disappointment

Oh, how I wanted William Barr to be the right remedy for a Justice Department under siege from the president of the United States.

The attorney general took office after a contentious confirmation hearing. It is the AG’s second tour of duty at DOJ. He’s an experienced hand and reportedly a fine lawyer with a steel-trap legal mind.

He has been a disappointment to me. Yes, I am a fervent critic of the guy who nominated William Barr to lead the Justice Department. Donald Trump had savaged Barr’s predecessor as attorney general. Why? Because Jeff Sessions did the right thing by recusing himself from the Russia probe.

Barr stepped in and has — according to his critics — acted more like Trump’s lawyer than the nation’s top law enforcement official.

Now we hear from former FBI director James Comey, another damn good lawyer, who has weighed in with scorching criticism of Barr.

Comey said Barr is “echoing conspiracy theories” about the origins of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s exhaustive investigation into alleged collusion with the Russians. Barr, according to Comey, needs to present facts along with his assertions. “This is what Justice is about,” Comey said via Twitter.

Barr also has been critical of Mueller for declining to conclude whether Donald Trump obstructed justice. But … why? Mueller reiterated this week what he wrote in his lengthy report that he couldn’t indict Trump because of Justice Department policy that prohibits charging a president with a crime. So, he said his team couldn’t exonerate Trump, which to my way of thinking is the same thing as saying that the president committed a crime. That sounds as though Mueller drew a conclusion.

I truly wanted William Barr to step up, to steady the DOJ ship and guide the Justice Department into carrying its role as an impartial administrator of justice.

That doesn’t appear to be happening. Thus, the chaos continues in a federal agency that demands calm, firm and steady leadership.

Barr on the hunt for clue to ‘witch hunt’?

Here we go again. U.S. Attorney General William Barr — reportedly/allegedly/supposedly acting on his volition — has hired a federal prosecutor to determine whether an illegal “spy” operation triggered the Robert Mueller probe into alleged collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Russians who attacked our electoral system.

Do you believe with all your heart and soul that the AG acted on his own? Or that he will keep his mitts off the probe being conducted by the U.S. attorney from Connecticut? Or that this investigation will put the “witch hunt” diatribe from the president to rest?

Barr has given John Durham the task of determining whether illegal “spying” occurred during the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign. Other senior officials, including FBI Director Christopher Wray, have said they have seen no evidence of any such monkey business. That’s not good enough for Barr, who happens to be Wray’s boss. He wants Durham to scour the evidence and make an independent determination.

This assignment bothers me for two reasons.

One is that Donald Trump is involved. Given that I don’t trust him as far as I can toss his 239-pound body, I consider the president to be wholly non-credible on anything, on any issue. I don’t believe a word that flies out of his mouth. He yammers about the Mueller probe being a “witch hunt,” although the AG himself has said he doesn’t believe that to be the case.

The other reason is that Barr also has been acting and sounding more like the president’s personal lawyer than the nation’s chief law enforcer. He filed that four-page “summary” of Mueller’s findings, only to be criticized by Mueller for failing to provide the full context of what Mueller and his team concluded.

So now he has turned John Durham loose to look for determine what others have concluded already, that the Obama administration didn’t “spy” on Trump’s campaign.

Let’s wait for what the prosecutor learns.  I fear another tempest may be brewing.

What does ‘contempt of Congress’ really mean?

I have to acknowledge that I do not have a clue what lawmakers are going to do to enforce a recommended contempt of Congress citation against Attorney General William Barr.

The House Judiciary Committee issued the recommendation this week; the full House will have to vote on it. What happens then?

A contempt of Congress citation doesn’t have the same legal impact as a contempt of court citation. If someone defies a judge or doesn’t show up to, say, testify in a court proceeding, there are legal remedies at the court’s disposal. The judge can issue a warrant for the arrest of that individual.

What can Congress do to enforce what is in effect a political argument? Does it have the authority to arrest the attorney general? Does it go to court to settle it once and for all?

My sense is that the House Judiciary Committee is setting the table for a monstrous political battle royale between the legislative and executive branches of government. Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler is stone-faced and grim as he discusses this matter. He accuses Barr — likely at Donald Trump’s insistence — of usurping Congress’s constitutional authority to conduct oversight of the executive branch.

Nadler is having none of that. But . . . what about his Republican colleagues? They appear ready to cede their own power to the chief executive, who is instructing his White House staff to ignore every single demand placed on them by Congress.

A contempt of Congress citation could turn into a battle for the soul of our government. Or, as it did in 2012 when congressional Republicans cited AG Eric Holder for contempt over the “fast and furious” gun-sale program, it could sputter and fizzle into oblivion.

My sense is that Jerrold Nadler — with the backing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — is getting ready to rumble.

Barr has become a big disappointment … dang it!

William Barr came into office as U.S. attorney general bringing a glimmer of hope — even among some of the nation’s most vigorous foes of Donald Trump, the man who nominated him to be the AG.

I was one of those who had hope that Barr would be a grownup, that he would conduct himself with professional impartiality, taking seriously the oath to which he swore to be our attorney general, not be an a**-coverer for the president of the United States.

The AG has let me down.

Hard, man!

His testimony this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee was an exercise in obfuscation and evasion. Then he did something even worse: He refused to appear before the House Judiciary Committee and answer questions from that panel’s team of legal eagles.

I don’t know what I was thinking, now that I look back on what happened prior to Barr’s nomination.

Trump fired Jeff Sessions as AG because Sessions refused to act as a Trump sycophant; that’s why he recused himself from the Russia investigation. He couldn’t under Justice Department rules take part in an investigation into an activity in which he was a principal player. Sessions served on Trump’s campaign team, then on his transition team, which the DOJ was probing with regard to allegations of collusion and other potential misdeeds.

So he walked away, handed the matter over to his No. 2 at DOJ, Rod Rosenstein, who then appointed Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel. All of that enraged Trump, as we have since learned.

Now he has installed his “boy” at DOJ, William Barr.

Barr’s record as attorney general near the end of President George H.W. Bush’s term suggested to me that he would be the right man for the country, not necessarily for the president.

Silly me. It turns out he is the right man for Trump and he is wrong for the country.

I wanted to feel good about Barr. Sadly, he has let me down.

Dammit, anyway!

Must-see TV on tap: Mueller negotiating a deal to talk

Now we might get to hear from The Big Man Himself.

Robert S. Mueller III reportedly is working out arrangements what will enable him to testify before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Mueller? Oh, he’s just the special counsel whose work has been in all the papers.

He crafted a 448-page report after completing a 22-month investigation into whether Donald Trump’s campaign for president colluded with Russians who hacked into our electoral system.

Mueller didn’t find any conspiracy to collude. Oh, but he did leave the door wide open for Congress to look into whether the president obstructed justice in the hunt for the truth.

Attorney General William Barr spoke for hours this week to the Senate Judiciary Committee but then stiffed the House Judiciary panel by being a no-show. Let’s recall, too, that he disparaged a letter that Mueller wrote that complained about the four-page summary that Barr issued in advance of the full (albeit redacted) report.

So, what’s on tap?

I am guessing that we’re going to hear from Mueller himself why he reached the conclusions he reached. This is the stuff that Barr said he hadn’t even read prior to issuing his own summary of Mueller’s full report.

I also am guessing that the date and time of Mueller’s testimony, once it is released, will be etched on scratch paper, logged into cellphone calendars across the nation. I’ll bet real money that the TV ratings will be sky-high . . . which, of course, is something that always gets Donald Trump’s attention.

And I hardly can wait to hear Trump’s response to what Mueller will tell the nation.

I do hope the special counsel can work this out with the House Judiciary Committee. A nation is waiting with bated breath to get closer to the bottom of the mess that Donald Trump has created.