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Tag: Attorney General

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.

AG Barr Contradicts Trump’s Explanation for Visiting White House Bunker During Protests

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr contradicted President Trump’s insistence that he visited the underground White House bunker during late May protests for “inspection.”

Barr told Fox News on Monday that the Secret Service recommended that Trump seek shelter in the bunker.

“Things were so bad that the Secret Service recommended that the president go down to the bunker,” Barr said Monday evening in an interview on Fox News. “We can’t have that in our country.”

Trump said last week that he did not go to the bunker for safety as protesters clashed with the Secret Service in Lafayette Square outside the White House.

“Well, that was a false report,” Trump said Wednesday on Brian Kilmeade’s Fox News Radio show. “I was there for a tiny, little short period of time. It was much more for an inspection.”

Judge Postpones Ruling on DOJ’s Request to Drop Charges Against Michael Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Hold up, Michael Flynn.

A federal judge on Tuesday postponed a ruling on the Justice Department’s request to drop the criminal case against Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said he will give outside parties an opportunity to weigh in on the Justice DEpartment’s request, The New York Times reports.

Attorney General William Barr has been widely criticized for intervening in the case against Flynn, whom Trump has been calling to be exonerated.

The judge has some authority to reject the Justice Department’s request.

Flynn’s attorney objected to the judge’s decision.

“This court has consistently — on twenty-four (24) previous occasions — summarily refused to permit any third party to inject themselves or their views into this case,” the attorneys said in a motion filed after the judge’s order. “Only the Department of Justice and the defense can be heard.”

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.

Nearly 2,000 former DOJ Employees Call on Barr to Resign for Moving to Drop Michael Flynn Case

AG William Barr in Detroit, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

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 the case against Michael Flynn.

The decision to drop the prosecution of Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, was “extraordinarily rare, if not unprecedented.”

The letter, organized by the nonprofit Protect Democracy, also encourages Congress to censure Barr over “his repeated assaults on the rule of law in doing the President’s personal bidding rather than acting in the public interest.”

Ticklethewire.com was unable to immediately reach the Attorney General’s Office for comment Tuesday morning.

In February, Protect Democracy collected more than 2,600 signatures on a letter calling for Barr’s resignation for intervening in Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation.

On Sunday, Mary McCord, former career Justice Department official, said Attorney General William Barr twisted her words to argue that former national security adviser Michael Flynn should not be prosecuted for lying to the FBI.

Former DOJ Official Claims Barr Twisted Her Words to Drop Charges Against Michael Flynn

Former acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary McCord.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Mary McCord, former career Justice Department official, said Attorney General William Barr twisted her words to argue that former national security adviser Michael Flynn should not be prosecuted for lying to the FBI.

McCord, who oversaw the early stages of the Russia investigation, said in a New York Times op-ed Sunday that the DOJ’s motion to dismiss the charges largely hinged on her account about what led up to the bureau’s interview with Flynn, who was President Trump’s first national security adviser.

“The account of my interview in 2017 doesn’t help the department support this conclusion, and it is disingenuous for the department to twist my words to suggest that it does,” McCord wrote. “What the account of my interview describes is a difference of opinion about what to do with the information that Mr. Flynn apparently had lied to the incoming vice president, Mr. Pence, and others in the incoming administration about whether he had discussed the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia in his calls with (Russia’s then ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Those apparent lies prompted Mr. Pence and others to convey inaccurate statements about the nature of the conversations in public news conferences and interviews.”

McCord acknowledged the FBI should have coordinated Flynn’s interview with the Justice Department, but said she does not believe the agencies lacked a reason to suspect Flynn may have violated crimes.

“It has no bearing on whether Mr. Flynn’s lies to the F.B.I. were material to the clear counterintelligence threat posed by the susceptible position Mr. Flynn put himself in when he told Mr. Pence and others in the new administration that he had not discussed the sanctions with Mr. Kislyak. The materiality is obvious,” she concluded.

McCord concluded, “In short, the report of my interview does not anywhere suggest that the FBI’s interview of Mr. Flynn was unconstitutional, unlawful or not “tethered” to any legitimate counterintelligence purpose.”

Justice Department Moves to Drop Criminal Case Against Michael Flynn, Drawing Criticism

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department dropped its criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, citing documents detailing how FBI officials planned to handle a January 2017 interview with Flynn.

The decision to recommend that a judge dismiss the case drew immediate criticism from legal experts and Democrats, who raised serious questions about the motivations of the DOJ and Attorney General William Barr.

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.

In documents filed Thursday in federal court in Washington D.C., the Justice Department said, “The Government has concluded that the interview of Mr. Flynn was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn,” NBC News reports.

“The Government is not persuaded that the January 24, 2017 interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue,” the filing said.

The decision follows the release of an internal review into the handling of the case. Flynn’s lawyers claimed the review shows Flynn had been entrapped into lying when FBI agents interviewed him.

Trump applauded the DOJ’s recommendation.

“I didn’t know that was happening at this moment. I felt it was going to happen just by watching and seeing like everybody else does,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

“He was an innocent man,” he said of Flynn. “He is a great gentleman.”

The move was “outrageous,” chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said.

“The evidence against General Flynn is overwhelming. He pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. And now a politicized and thoroughly corrupt Department of Justice is going to let the President’s crony simply walk away,” Nadler said in a statement.

Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, who responded to the DOJ’s actions by saying “This is not justice,” urged Justice Department lawyers not to resign.

“DOJ lawyers of integrity will be tempted to resign over today’s motion to dismiss the Flynn case,” McQuade tweeted. “My advice is to please stay. We need you instead of those who might replace you.”

The recommendation still needs to be approved by Judge Emmet Sullivan.

Barr Directs Prosecutors to Take Legal Actions Against ‘Overbearing’ Restrictions Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Attorney General William Barr

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr is directing federal prosecutors “to be on the lookout” for state and local stay-at-home orders that may be too restrictive.

“These kinds of restrictions have been necessary in order to stop the spread of a deadly disease — but there is no denying that they have imposed tremendous burdens on the daily lives of all Americans,” Barr said in a memo titled, “Blanacing Public Safety with the Preservation of Civil Rights,” issued Monday. “If a state or local ordinance crosses the line from an appropriate exercise of authority to stop the spread of COVID-19 into an overbearing infringement of constitutional and statutory protections, the Department of Justice may have an obligation to address that overreach in federal court.”

In the memo, acknowledged that restrictions may be necesssary to curb the spread of the coronavirus, “but there is no denying that they have imposed tremendous burdens on the daily lives of all Americans.”

At his daily news conference, Trump defended Barr’s actions.

“He wants to see people get back to work,” Trump said. “He does not want people to be held up when there is no reason for doing it.”

Read the full memo here.

Barr: DOJ May Intervene in States’ Stay-at-Home Orders Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

AG William Barr in Detroit, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Most epidemiologists and public health experts agree that reopening states’ economies too quickly could cause a significant surge in COVID-19 infections.

But Attorney General William Barr warned Tuesday that the Justice Department may intervene in some states’ restrictions, saying they are placing “unprecedented burdens on civil liberties right now.”

“You know, the idea that you have to stay in your house is disturbingly close to house arrest,” Barr said during an interview on The Hugh Hewitt Show. “I’m not saying it wasn’t justified. I’m not saying in some places it might still be justified. But it’s very onerous, as is shutting down your livelihood.”

Barr said the restrictions may go too far by interfering with interstate commerce.

The debate has pitted President Trump against most governors, who want to continue enforcing the orders until there’s a significant decline in coronavirus cases and an adequate supply of testing kits. The coronavirus has swept across the U.S., killing more than 45,000 people.