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Tag: Attorney General

AG Barr Defends Use of Force by Federal Officers in Portland at Testy Hearing

Attorney General William Barr testifying Tuesday.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr defended the use of force by federal law enforcement in Portland during a combative hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

After nearly two weeks of clashes between protesters and camouflage-clad federal officers outside a courthouse in Portland, Barr said the demonstrations devolved into riots that were “an assault on the government of the United States.”

“Largely absent from these scenes of destruction are even superficial attempts by the rioters to connect their actions to George Floyd’s death or any legitimate call for reform,” Barr said in a prepared statement. “Nor could such brazen acts of lawlessness plausibly be justified by a concern that police officers in Minnesota or elsewhere defied the law.”

Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., accused Barr of using federal officers as an election ploy for President Trump.

“Real leadership would entail de-escalation, collaboration and looking for ways to peacefully resolve our differences,” Nadler said.

Barr countered “we cannot just stand aside and watch the federal court be destroyed.”

Last week, Homeland Security’s first secretary, Republican Tom Ridge, criticized the use of federal officers in cities without the consent of state and local officials, saying DHS was not “designed for that purpose.”

Barr also insisted systemic racism doesn’t exist within law enforcement, drawing criticism from Democrats.

“I don’t agree there is systemic racism in police departments generally in this country,” Barr said.

Democrats Expected to Grill AG Barr During House Committee Hearing Today

Attorney General Barr testifying on Capitol Hill in April 2019.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Democrats are expected to grill Barr on the Justice Department’s decision to intervene on cases involving President Trump’s allies, including Roger Stone and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The testimony is scheduled for 10 a.m., and you can watch it live here.

Democrats also are expected to question Barr on the use of force against protesters in Portland, where federal officers have clashed with demonstrators over the past week.

Fired U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman to Teach at Stanford Law School

Former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Geoffrey Berman, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York who was fired by President Trump, will teach at Stanford Law School this fall.

A graduate of Stanford Law, Berman will return to his alma mater as the Edwin A. Heafy Jr. Visiting Professor of Law, Stanford Law announced.

“We are pleased to welcome back Geoffrey to Stanford Law,” Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Stanford Law School Dean, Jenny Martinez, said. “Many of our students will go on to careers in criminal law, public interest, and government work and Geoff’s presence on our campus is a unique opportunity for our students to learn from a well-respected and accomplished public servant and professional.”

Berman, 60, was abruptly fired last month after refusing to take another job in the federal government so Trump could replace him with a political ally. Berman, whose office was investigating Trump allies, said the job offers included the chairmanship of the Securities and Exchange Commission or head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

“The Attorney General said that if I did not resign from my position I would be fired,” he told the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month. “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.”

His firing has drawn criticism from Democrats and legal experts who questioned why Barr was trying to remove an accomplished prosecutor from an office with a reputation for being independent and apolitical.

Fired U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman Testifies Barr Repeatedly Pressured Him to Resign

Former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Geoffrey Berman, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York who was fired by President Trump, told lawmakers that Attorney General William Barr repeatedly pressured him to resign last month.

Berman, in a written statement to the House Judiciary Committee, said Barr suggested he take another job so Trump could replace him with a political ally. Berman, whose office was investigating Trump allies, said the job offers included the chairmanship of the Securities and Exchange Commission or head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

“The Attorney General said that if I did not resign from my position I would be fired,” he said in his statement 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’s firing has drawn criticism from Democrats and legal experts who questioned why Barr was trying to remove an accomplished prosecutor from an office with a reputation for being independent and apolitical.

Barr is scheduled to testify before the committee in the end of July.

“We don’t know yet if the attorney general’s conduct is criminal, but that kind of quid pro quo is awfully close to bribery,” committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., told reporters after Berman testified.

Teens Lead Petition Drive to Strip William Barr of Award from Former High School

Attorney General William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Two teenagers are leading a petition drive to strip Attorney General William Barr of a “Distinguished Achievement” award he received from his former high school at Horace Mann in 2011.

Barr graduated from the elite private school in 1967.

Recent graduates of the school, Jessica Rosberger and Kiara Royer, said they launched the Change.org petition because of Barr’s role in ordering riot police to clear out peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square so President Trump could pose for a photo op in front of a historic church.

“I realized that Barr had taken these heinous actions,” Rosberger tells Forbes. “At the same time he was held up as a model member of our community. That was very troubling to me.”

The petition states, “Barr violated our school’s Core Values of Mutual Respect and Mature Behavior as well as our Mission Statement by infringing on the common good. William Barr should not be held as a model member of our community because of his disgraceful actions.”

The petition urges school administrators to reconsider the award in light of “this inappropriate use of power.”

Professors and faculty at another of Barr’s alma mater’s, George Washington University Law School, are calling on the attorney general to resign because he “undermined the rule of law, breached constitutional norms, and damaged the integrity and traditional independence of his office and of the Department of Justice.”

AG Barr Must Resign for Politicizing DOJ, Ex-Assistant U.S. Attorney for Southern District of NY Argues

AG William Barr in Detroit, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The criticism of Attorney General William Barr continues as an increasing number of legal experts say he has turned his back on his responsibilities to represent the best interests of the U.S.

Elliot B. Jacobson, who served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1985 to 2017, is the latest to call on Barr to resign.

“For his part, Barr has openly abandoned any pretense of acting in the nation’s best interest and has instead acted as Trump’s ‘Roy Cohn’ or his new Michael Cohen — take your pick,” Jacobson wrote in a column in The New York Law Journal. “The litany of his abuses of power on behalf of the president is worth rehearsing here.”

From the time Barr took office in February 2019, Barr defied his oath to support and defend the Constitution by refusing to recuse himself from the Justice Department’s probe of Russian interference in Trump’s 2016 election, Jacobson argued. In a whitewashed letter summarizing special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings during the investigation, Barr “had deliberately mischaracterized the Mueller report and its conclusions.”

“Not content with mischaracterizing the report’s findings and conclusions, ‘Barr has engaged in a real witch-hunt by, in May of 2019, appointing District of Connecticut United States Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation,” Jacobson wrote.

Barr continued to discredit Mueller’s report, Jacobson said.

Then last week, in what Jacobson calls a “Friday night massacre,” Barr fired Geoffrey Berman, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

“The only plausible reason for Berman’s sacking would appear to be his record as U.S. Attorney including: his prosecution of Michael Cohen, Trump’s prior attorney/fixer; his prosecution of two associates of the president’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who were said by prosecutors to have been involved in the effort to recall the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch; his investigation of Giuliani himself, in connection with allegations stemming from his lobbying practice; and his indictment, against Trump’s personal wishes, of Halkbank, a Turkish state-owned bank, on charges that it conspired to undermine the United States Iran sanctions regime,” Jacobson wrote.

It has become clear that Barr’s role is “supporting and defending the man who appointed him to the office he holds, Donald Trump,” Jacobson wrote.

“In doing so, he has engaged in gross abuses of power, and the damage he has done to the integrity of the Justice Department and to the rule of law is incalculable,” Jacobson wrote. “It’s time for him to go. If he will not resign or be fired by the president — either of which seems highly unlikely — then he should be impeached and removed by Congress, pursuant to its power under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, before he can do any more damage.”

Appeals Court to Consider DOJ’s Order to Dismiss Criminal Case Against Michael Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A federal appeals court in Washington D.C. will consider the Justice Department’s order to dismiss the criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser who previously pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Flynn and the Justice Department are calling on the appeals court to compel U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to dismiss the case and force the judge to cease examining the DOJ’s decision to drop charges against Flynn, The Washington Post reports.

Last month, Sullivan gave outside parties an opportunity to weigh in on the Justice Department’s unusual request.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian diplomat and even cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

The Justice Department’s unusual decision to request the dismissal of the case has drawn fierce criticism of Attorney General William Barr. In May, nearly 2,000 former Justice Department employees on Monday urged Attorney General William Barr to resign in an open letter that says he “once against assaulted the rule of law” when he intervened in Flynn’s case.

Dana Milbank: Bill Barr Was a Bully as a Kid, And Now As An Adult

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Dana Milbank
Washington Post

WASHINGTON —  Police in Buffalo shove a 75-year-old man to the ground and blood pours from his ear. Police in Brooklyn knock down a young woman and call her a “bitch” because she asked why she had to leave the street. Federal authorities in Washington fire tear gas at peaceful demonstrators, then lie about it.

Get the feeling law enforcement in this country is being run by a middle-school bully?

If so, you are not wrong. Childhood bullies have a predisposition to become adult bullies, research shows, and, sure enough, it seems Attorney General William Barr was a teenage bully more than 50 years ago.

Back in 1991, during Barr’s confirmation to be George H.W. Bush’s attorney general, lawyer Jimmy Lohman, who overlapped with Barr at New York’s Horace Mann School and later Columbia University, wrote a piece for the little-known Florida Flambeau newspaper about Barr being “my very own high-school tormentor” — a “classic bully” and “power abuser” in the 1960s who “put the crunch on me every chance [he] got.”

To read the full column click here.