Thursday, January 9, 2020

Last Call For Lowering The Barr, Con't

I've noted before that US Attorney General Bill Barr's statements outside the Justice Department are extraordinarily disturbing, and indicative of a person who does not see the US Constitution as a guideline or guardrail, but something that must be wielded like a broadsword against the "other". In a largely unprecedented move, the NYC Bar Association has called for Barr to be investigated by Congress on those grounds.

The New York City Bar Association has asked Congress to investigate U.S. Attorney General William Barr, saying his recent actions and statements have positioned the Justice Department and its prosecutors as “political partisans willing to use the levers of government to empower certain groups over others.”

The request disclosed on Thursday appears to be the first time the New York bar or any comparable bar association has asked Congress to investigate a sitting attorney general. Last year, 450 former federal prosecutors from Republican and Democratic administrations signed a statement chastising Barr for his handling of the Mueller report on Russian election interference.

In a letter sent this week to the majority and minority leaders of the U.S. House and Senate, New York City Bar leaders described public statements by the attorney general as troubling for an official whose job is to enforce the law without bias.

“The duties to act impartially, to avoid even the appearance of partiality and impropriety, and to avoid manifesting bias, prejudice or partisanship in the exercise of official responsibilities are bedrock obligations for government lawyers,” according to the letter, which was posted Thursday on the association’s website.

“Mr. Barr has disregarded these fundamental obligations in several public statements during the past few months,” the letter continued.

In an October speech at the University of Notre Dame, the letter said, “Mr. Barr launched a partisan attack against ‘so-called progressives’ for supposedly waging a ‘campaign to destroy the traditional moral order.’” The letter added that in the same speech, “Mr. Barr vowed to place the Department of Justice ‘at the forefront’ of efforts to resist ‘forces of secularization.’”

At a gathering of police officials in New Orleans in December, Barr criticized district attorneys from large cities “who style themselves as ‘social justice’ reformers, who spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook, and refusing to enforce the law,” the letter said.

The New York City Bar Association had previously called on Barr to recuse himself from any Justice Department matters involving the Trump administration’s policies toward Ukraine, which is the subject of impeachment proceedings in Congress.

The letter also took issue with the attorney general’s rejection of the findings of an internal investigation into the FBI’s handling of contacts between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian officials.

House Democrats may see a duty here, but that would be up to House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler, or newly-minted House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney.  Both representatives are from NYC, so it's entirely possible this is meant to ignite exactly such an investigation.

We'll see what happens.

The Drums Of War, Con't

The Trump regime is trying to sell the story that the Ukranian jet that crashed after takeoff from Tehran on the night that Iran attacked Iraqi/US bases in Iraq with missiles was accidentally shot down by Iranian missile systems.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, a Boeing 737–800 en route from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airpot to Kyiv's Boryspil International Airport, stopped transmitting data Tuesday just minutes after takeoff and not long after Iran launched missiles at military bases housing U.S. and allied forces in neighboring Iraq. The aircraft is believed to have been struck by a Russia-built Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile system, known to NATO as Gauntlet, the three officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, told Newsweek.

One Pentagon and one U.S senior intelligence official told Newsweek that the Pentagon's assessment is that the incident was accidental. Iran's anti-aircraft were likely active following the country's missile attack, which came in response to the U.S. killing last week of Revolutionary Guard Quds Force commander Major General Qassem Soleimani, sources said.

U.S. Central Command declined to comment on the matter when contacted by Newsweek. No reply was returned from the National Security Council or State Department.

Of the 176 people on board, 82 were Iranian, 63 were Canadian and 11 were Ukrainian (including nine crewmembers), along with 10 Swedish, seven Afghan and three German nationals. None survived.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is vowing to get answers, and Iran is starkly denying that the plane was shot down.

The jetliner, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, went down on the outskirts of Tehran during takeoff just hours after Iran launched a barrage of missiles at U.S. forces. While the timing of the disaster led some aviation experts to wonder whether it was brought down by a missile, Iranian officials disputed any such suggestion and blamed mechanical trouble.

“The rumors about the plane are completely false and no military or political expert has confirmed it,” Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, spokesman for the Iranian armed forces, was quoted by the semiofficial Fars news agency as saying. He said the rumors were “psychological warfare” by the government’s opponents.

In Washington, a Democrat who attended a classified briefing from Trump administration officials on Capitol Hill — including Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and CIA Director Gina Haspel — said the briefers had no intelligence indicating the plane was shot down. The lawmaker spoke on condition of anonymity.

So it wasn't included in the brief yesterday, but all of a sudden today it's Iran's fault.

You'll excuse me if I question this particular administration's record on truthfulness.

Yes, there's no question that the plane went down with all souls aboard, but I will need confirmation from another source before I believe this to be true.  If it is true, Iran killed 176 civilians with military weapons and has to be held accountable.

If it's not true, the Trump regime must be held accountable.

Time will tell who is correct.

Impeachment Reached, Con't

At least a few Senate Democrats want Nancy Pelosi to transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate so that the trial can start, and that there's no benefit to keeping them in the House, so it looks like Senate Dems are throwing in the towel on this fight.  Surprise, right?

A growing number of Democratic senators are saying it's time for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to submit the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate.

"We are reaching a point where the articles of impeachment should be sent," Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told reporters Wednesday.

In an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday, Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent who caucuses with the Democrats, said he believes "it is time for the speaker to send" the articles.

"I don't think her holding them puts any particular pressure on" Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., King said. "I think the key vote will come in the middle of the trial."

Meanwhile, Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., told CNN on Tuesday in remarks confirmed by NBC News that he is "hoping" Pelosi will soon submit the articles, although he is still concerned about an agreement to hear from witnesses during the Senate trial.

Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Joe Manchin, D-W.V., both told The Washington Post on Tuesday that they believe it's time to transmit the articles.

Manchin told MSNBC on Wednesday, "The sooner we receive this, the sooner we can find out if we're going to have a real trial or not."

So far, Pelosi is standing firm, continuing to withhold the articles until the Senate process is explicitly laid out, though she suggested she could soon submit them.

"Soon, the Senate will have the opportunity to honor its oath to 'do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws,'" Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues Tuesday before arguing that the process proposed by McConnell is unfair.

That's at least five Senate Democrats who want to get on with the process already, and it's not just the obvious red state Dems like Jones and Manchin, either.  If both Connecticut senators and Angus King want this to happen, then Pelosi is out of time.

This is waving the flag.  It's not Pelosi's fault here.  She got the job done.  It's Senate Dems who are folding here.

What happens next I'm not sure, but it's pretty clear that Senate Dems aren't going to use delaying articles of impeachment for leverage any more.

Mitch McConnell has 100% won this battle.  Whether or not he's just won the war remains to be seen, but expecting Senate Republicans to break from him during the middle of the trial in order to call witnesses is not something I'd be willing to bet money on. Sadly, we've bet the future of this country on it, with an increasingly unstable criminal in the White House.


Related Posts with Thumbnails