Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Lowering The Barr, Con't

After Donald Trump spent Mother's Day on Sunday screaming on Twitter about all this being Obama's fault somehow and that he needs to go to jail, the adults in the room are calling on Bill Barr to resign (again) over Michael Flynn's meta-pardon.

Nearly 2000 Justice Department officials have signed onto a letter calling for Attorney General William Barr to resign over what they describe as his improper intervention in the criminal case of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Last week, the DOJ moved to drop charges against Flynn who had pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the former Russian ambassador during the presidential transition.

The letter, signed mostly by former career officials in the department, accuses Barr of joining with President Trump in "political interference in the Department’s law enforcement decisions."

"Attorney General Barr’s repeated actions to use the Department as a tool to further President Trump’s personal and political interests have undermined any claim to the deference that courts usually apply to the Department’s decisions about whether or not to prosecute a case," reads the letter, which was organized by the group 'Protect Democracy'.

Barr, in an interview last week, denied he was acting at the president's behest in his support of the move to drop the charges against Flynn.

The federal judge in the case as of Monday morning had not yet responded to the DOJ filing.

The letter is the latest in a wave of backlash among former officials to the DOJ's surprise reversal in the Flynn case.

Barr has said he supported dropping the charges based on a recommendation from the U.S. attorney from the Eastern District of Missouri Jeffrey Jensen, who was tasked by Barr with reviewing how FBI agents handled their interview of Flynn at the White House in January of 2017.

The filing last Thursday by the U.S. Attorney in D.C. Timothy Shea cited new evidence uncovered in Jensen's review that the department said rendered the investigation into Flynn illegitimate at the time of his interview.

Mary McCord, who served as the former acting assistant Attorney General for National Security during the early stages of the Russia investigation, said in a New York Times op-ed Sunday that the DOJ's filing to dismiss the charges cited comments she made in an interview "more than 25 times."

McCord accused the department of "twisting" her comments in a misleading effort to undercut the department's case against Flynn.

"The report of my interview is no support for Mr. Barr’s dismissal of the Flynn case," McCord said. "It does not suggest that the F.B.I. had no counterintelligence reason for investigating Mr. Flynn. It does not suggest that the F.B.I.’s interview of Mr. Flynn — which led to the false-statements charge — was unlawful or unjustified.

I'm glad that this is all being said, but like the last time this happened, I don't expect anything to come of it because our institutions that we're trying so hard to protect here have been broken for decades.

Nothing has changed from three months ago when Bill Barr stepped in on Roger Stone's sentence and reassigned all the US attorneys on all Trump-related federal cases, and then announced an investigation into the prosecution on the Michael Flynn case, which only prompted 1,100 former Justice Department officials to sign on to the call for Barr to resign.

When Barr then said "oops, my bad, if Trump ever ordered me to do anything illegal I'd resign" everyone bought it and the calls for resignation stopped, and yet here we are again because apparently former Justice Department officials are pretty goddamn bad judges of character.

Meanwhile, Barr's efforts to shatter rule of law in the US will get a major assist from Trump's new Director of National Intelligence.

Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has declassified a list of former Obama administration officials who were allegedly involved in the so-called “unmasking” of former national security adviser Michael Flynn in his conversations with the former Russian ambassador during the presidential transition, a senior U.S. official tells ABC News.

Grenell, who remains the U.S. ambassador to Germany along with being the acting DNI, visited the Justice Department last week and brought the list with him, according to the official.

His visit indicates his focus on an issue previously highlighted in 2017 by skeptics of the investigation into the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia, specifically allegations that former officials improperly unveiled Flynn's identity from intercepts of his call with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Grenell's visit came the same week that Attorney General William Barr moved to dismiss the criminal case against Flynn following his guilty plea for lying to the FBI about his conversations with Kislyak.

So yeah, Lucy and the football, legal edition.  And Barr's next inevitable awful enabling of Trump's fascism will be worse, I guarantee.

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