Friday, February 28, 2020

Lowering The Barr, Con't

House Democrats are finally taking action against Attorney General William Barr and his reign of legal terror.  Well, sort of, anyway.

House Democrats are seeking interviews with the four career prosecutors who quit the case of Roger Stone, a longtime confidant of President Donald Trump, after Trump and Justice Department leaders intervened to demand a lighter jail sentence.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) requested the interviews in a Friday letter to Attorney General William Barr that also included broader demands for documents and testimony about allegations of political interference by Trump in the work of the Justice Department.

In the letter, Nadler seeks access to a long list of Justice Department officials who oversaw matters involving associates of the president — like former Trump campaign national security adviser Michael Flynn — or who were tapped by Barr to review cases Trump has openly criticized.

Among the officials Nadler is seeking to interview are John Durham, the U.S. attorney from Connecticut who was picked by Barr to review the origins of the FBI's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election; Jeff Jensen, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, who Barr selected to review the case of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn; Robert Khuzami, the former New York-based prosecutor who oversaw the case against Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen; and Richard Donoghue, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, who Barr picked to review all matters related to the Ukraine scandal that led to Trump's impeachment in the House last year.

But the most notable names on the list are four Stone prosecutors: Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed, Michael Marando and Jonathan Kravis. Nadler's request for access to the career line prosecutors is an unusual step intended to circumvent the Justice Department's political leadership — and one that has been viewed with caution even by Trump critics.

It's the latest indication that House Democrats see career employees as crucial sources of information in an era in which Trump has directed his top political appointees to ignore House demands for information.

Nadler wants a response by March 13, and Barr himself is still scheduled to appear before the House on March 31.  Whether any of those will happen is anyone's guess, but don't expect to hear from any of the Stone prosecution team anytime soon, or anyone else on Nadler's extensive list.  Hell, even odds right now that Barr doesn't show up on the 31st either.

It's not like the House Democrats are going to do much, even if they could.

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