William “Coverup” Barr is without question the most corrupt attorney general in the history of the United States, bar none. He belongs behind bars.
On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected his career-long advancement of the imperial presidency under the unitary executive theory, asserting that the president is above the law and not answerable to Congress or the courts. The court responded, “bullshit!” SCOTUS rejects presidential ‘absolute immunity’ from criminal process.
Undeterred, at the same time Barr was having Donald Trump’s former attorney and “fixer,” Michael Cohen, picked up and hauled off to prison before he could hold a scheduled press conference on the Trump v. Vance case in which he figured prominently as the bag man for Trump’s “hush money” payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen MaDougal, on the specious grounds that he violated the terms of his “COVID release” from prison when he was spotted outside a Manhattan restaurant last week.
The real reason is that Trump’s “Injustice” Department is silencing him from talking about the case or the tell-all book that he is writing. Michael Cohen Taken Back to Prison Due to Planned Tell-All Book: Report:
Initial reports speculated that Cohen, who was photographed by the New York Post last week dining out in Manhattan, may have violated the terms of his release by failing to remain in an authorized area. However, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman said that is not the case.
“Cohen imprisonment wasn’t related to NY Post photo of him at restaurant. When he went to switch from furlough to home confinement, he had to sign papers saying no media or publishing a book, which he refused to sign,” Haberman tweeted Thursday afternoon.
His lawyer Jeffrey Levine told Reuters that upon arriving at a federal courthouse in Manhattan to convert his furlough to home confinement, Cohen was presented with an agreement that prohibited him from having any contact with news media organizations or from posting to social media.
According to Levine — who said he had “never seen any language like this in my life” — when Cohen refused to sign the agreement the U.S. Marshals Service came in and ordered his client back to jail for failing to agree with the terms of home confinement.
(You can view the document at the above link).
Cohen’s Twitter account last week said he planned to release a book about his time working for Trump in September, saying it was close to completion. The tweet included a link to Mary Trump’s book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.
Favorable ruling yesterday by the Court as I am close to completion of my book…https://t.co/lprtpkdl7K
— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) July 2, 2020
Where are all those conservative First Amendment free speech warriors now? Meh, they only care about defending their right to post conspiracy theories and Russian disinformation and propaganda on social media. Actual imprisonment for prior restraint of free speech doesn’t bother them if it is to protect their “Dear Leader.”
Also occurring at the same time down the street from the Supreme Court, ousted SDNY U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman was testifying privately before the House Judiciary Committee. You can read a copy of Geoffrey Berman’s opening statement here (h/t Lawfare Blog).
The Washington Post reports, Ousted U.S. attorney who investigated Trump associates says Barr pushed him to resign and take another job:
Attorney General William P. Barr repeatedly pressured then-U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman to resign last month and take another job — including as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission — to clear the way for President Trump to install a political ally as the leader of the powerful federal prosecutors’ office in Manhattan.
Berman, who testified privately before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, described in a written statement the unusual sequence of events that led to his departure June 20.
“The Attorney General said that if I did not resign from my position I would be fired,” he said in his statement, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. “He added that getting fired from my job would not be good for my resume or future job prospects. I told him that while I did not want to get fired, I would not resign.”
Barr urged Berman to step aside, saying that if he did not, he would be fired, according to the statement.
In addition to discussing the SEC chairmanship, Barr also offered Berman a job as head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division; Berman was not interested in either position.
Oh really? A quid pro quo? Now w’ere talking a bribery offer, and that is a felony.
Following the House Judiciary Committee hearing, Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) suggested that Barr’s conduct in orchestrating Berman’s ouster was close to criminal.
“What we don’t know yet is if the attorney general’s conduct is criminal, but that kind of quid pro quo is awfully close to bribery,” Nadler told reporters following Berman’s interview. He added that Berman’s exit would undoubtedly cause “delays and disruptions” with SDNY’s cases, though no specific cases were discussed.
Citing Barr’s attempts to entice Berman’s departure, Nadler said the Committee “will certainly have a lot to discuss with Mr. Barr” when he appears before the committee next month.
If he appears. Barr has previously refused to comply with congressional subpoenas for his testimony and has already been held in contempt of Congress.
But wait! Billy Belongs Behind Barr’s big day isn’t over yet.
Bloomberg reports, Barr Says Probe Trump Sought of FBI May Yield Results in Summer:
A criminal investigation into whether FBI officials acted improperly while probing Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and his associates may produce some results by the end of summer, Attorney General William Barr said.
“The investigation is going to take the time that is necessary to do a thorough and good investigation but I’m still hopeful that sometime around the end of the summer we’ll see some developments,” Barr said during a new conference on Thursday in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Barr didn’t say if any findings would be made public. But President Trump has long said he believes FBI officials involved in investigating his campaign should face justice and he’s gone as far to say he thinks former President Barack Obama committed treason, an unprecedented accusation against a predecessor.
Under Barr’s timeline, the findings of a probe he ordered Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham to undertake would be delivered just as this year’s presidential election moves into high gear, with the Republican convention scheduled for late August in Jacksonville, Florida. The focus of the investigation is the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” operation, under which bureau officials sought to determine if Trump or anyone associated with his previous presidential campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the election.
The president and his allies have been counting on the investigation to demonstrate that Trump was a victim of a conspiracy to undermine his presidency — a “witch hunt,” as the president frequently calls it.
Barr has previously said he believes FBI officials didn’t have an adequate justification to launch Crossfire Hurricane. To that end, Barr ordered the Justice Department in May to drop its prosecution of Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.
However, Barr also has said he doesn’t expect the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into Obama or Biden, despite prodding to do so by Trump.
There are numerous ethical and legal issues here.
First, the Department of Justice does not discuss ongoing criminal investigations, it is the same violation of DOJ regulations for which Barr has publicly criticized former FBI Director James Comey. Barr has regularly discussed the existence of the investigation that he and U.S. Attorney John Durham purportedly are conducting and suggested impending criminal indictments as a means of providing fodder to the conservative media entertainment complex.
Second, the review by Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham began with a predetermined outcome to refute the findings of the Mueller Report, and later DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report. Internal Justice watchdog finds that Russia probe was justified, not biased against Trump:
At the same time, the report found enough errors — and in at least one case, alleged document tampering by a low-level FBI lawyer — to provide Trump and his allies grist to continue to claim that the investigation was tainted.
Attorney General William Barr wasted no time in doing so, issuing a statement that essentially disputed the IG’s findings and asserting that the FBI did not have proper justification to open the investigation.
This is not an investigation, but rather an attempt to create an alternative history of the Russia investigation which fits the “deep state” conspiracy theory ravings of Donald Trump and his QAnon conspiracy theory supporters.
Third, the DOJ has long-standing regulations about not announcing investigations or charges filed against political figures during an election year which may have an effect on the election, something for which Barr also publicly criticized former FBI Director James Comey. Yet this report suggests “the findings of the probe Barr ordered Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham to undertake would be delivered just as … the Republican convention is scheduled for late August in Jacksonville, Florida.” This is politically timed for maximum effect so that Donald Trump can lead his sycophant cult followers in their favorite chant of “lock her/him up!” Don’t be surprises if Michael Flynn is Trump’s invited guest.
Jack Goldsmith and Nathaniel Sobel take a deep-dive examination of the unethical corruption that the Barr and Durham review entails at Lawfare Blog, The Durham Investigation: What We Know and What It Means (excerpt):
The fruits of the Durham investigation will reportedly be disclosed later this summer, or in the fall. This post does a deep dive into what has been publicly reported about the Durham investigation, and then offers analysis. We include Barr’s commentary on the investigation, but not the president’s. The bottom line is that (1) the probe as it developed is not one that should have been conducted by a federal prosecutor conducting a criminal investigation, and (2) Barr’s tendentious running commentary on the investigation violates Justice Department rules, politicized the investigation and damaged the credibility of whatever Durham uncovers. (The post is long. If you want to skip the lengthy factual recitation and jump to the analysis, click here.)
Also on Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan filed his petition for en banc review by the full Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to overturn the ruling by a three judge panel upholding William “Coverup” Barr’s corrupt attempt to dismiss the Michael Flynn case. Judge in Michael Flynn Case Asks for Full Appeals Court Review:
The judge overseeing the case of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn asked a full appeals court on Thursday to review en banc an order by a panel of its judges to end the prosecution, saying their ruling marked “a dramatic break from precedent that threatens the orderly administration of justice.”
If the petition is granted, which seems likely, the order of the three judge panel is vacated pending the ruling from the full court of appeals.
Finally, something else to keep your eye on in the coming days. Justice Department says Roger Stone should report to prison Tuesday:
The Justice Department said Thursday that Roger Stone should report to prison next week as ordered by his sentencing judge despite his concerns about the deadly novel coronavirus.
Attorney General William Barr, who may have personally intervened in Stone’s sentencing, supports his imprisonment, and two sources say White House chief of staff Mark Meadows seems resigned to Trump offering clemency to his longtime associate.
Trump advisers have been wishing the problem would just go away, hoping the president will let Stone begin his sentence and then issue a pardon after the election.
Two sources told Politico that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, favors commutation — which would keep Stone out of prison without wiping his record clean — and many close to the White House believe that’s how Trump could split the difference in the case.
“It is correct that the option has been discussed, yes,” said one senior administration official. “The counter-argument is, if a pardon is warranted, a pardon is warranted. You don’t tailor a legal decision based on reaction from Democrats when they will criticize anyway.”
“The president wants to look strong,” said one Trump adviser. “He can’t get rolled by DOJ.”
President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that he is “looking at” pardoning Roger Stone, as he continued to build suspense over whether he will intervene on behalf of his former aide and longtime confidant before he is scheduled to report to prison next week.
Trump’s latest remarks followed comments in a pair of interviews Thursday that suggested he is leaning in the direction of a pardon.
In a radio interview, host Howie Carr told Trump that Stone had recently said he is “praying” for a pardon.
“If you say he’s praying, his prayer may be answered,” Trump said. “Let’s see what happens.” Trump added that he considers Stone a “good person” and said that he was “treated so badly” by prosecutors.
In another interview Thursday on Fox News, Trump told host Sean Hannity that he’s “always thinking” when asked if he was thinking about a pardon or commutation.
“You’ll be watching like everyone else in this case,” Trump added.
This is not a goddamn reality TV show! This is abuse of power and subversion of justice in the most corrupt and criminal administration in U.S. history.