By Robert A. Vella

Barr squirms

The brouhaha that has erupted over the Mueller report has now turned into a mudslinging contest not necessarily between Democrats and Republicans, but between Attorney General William Barr and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  It appears that both of these high-ranking Department of Justice officials and former colleagues want to blame the other for not holding President Trump accountable for his numerous obstructions of justice which became readily apparent since the report was released.

In my opinion, Barr only cares about two things:  1) defending Trump from legal and political jeopardy, and 2) defending his own personal reputation.  While Mueller dutifully adhered to DOJ policy which precludes criminally indicting a sitting president, his institutional loyalty lacked the professional courage which was necessary for the profound responsibility assigned to him.  By relegating the job of holding Trump accountable to the dysfunctional political venue of Congress (i.e. impeachment), he essentially let Trump off-the-hook.  Mueller’s highly distinguished career in law enforcement (i.e. in the FBI) gave him the status to question and challenge the arbitrary internal policy which he inevitably hid behind.  And, that diffident decision may be his ultimate legacy.

From:  Barr defends actions to Senate after Mueller’s complaints

Barr’s appearance Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to highlight the partisan schism around Mueller’s report and the Justice Department’s handling of it. It will give the attorney general his most extensive opportunity to explain the department’s actions, including a press conference held before the report’s release, and for him to repair a reputation bruised by allegations that he’s the president’s protector.

Breaking story:  Barr Blames Mueller For Making Him The Decider On Trump Obstruction

From:  Mueller complained that Barr’s letter did not capture ‘context’ of Trump probe

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III wrote a letter in late March complaining to Attorney General William P. Barr that a four-page memo to Congress describing the principal conclusions of the investigation into President Trump “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s work, according to a copy of the letter reviewed Tuesday by The Washington Post.

The letter and a subsequent phone call between the two men reveal the degree to which the longtime colleagues and friends disagreed as they handled the legally and politically fraught task of investigating the president. Democrats in Congress are likely to scrutinize Mueller’s complaints to Barr as they contemplate the prospect of opening impeachment proceedings and mull how hard to press for Mueller himself to testify publicly.

From:  Lawmaker: Agreement reached to have Mueller testify on Russia probe

WASHINGTON — The Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee said on Wednesday an agreement had been reached to have Special Counsel Robert Mueller testify to Congress on his probe into Russian election interference and possible attempts by the President Donald Trump to impede the probe.

Representative Jerry Nadler told reporters the agreement was for Mueller to testify sometime in May, but that a specific date had yet to be agreed upon.

Democracy reels

From:  Many Around the World Losing Faith in Democracy

In an era where the U.S. election of Donald Trump as president and the British vote to leave the European Union have come to symbolize an age of anger and anxiety, a newly released international study highlighting public dissatisfaction with the state of democracy in their country may not be that surprising.


Fifty-four percent of global respondents said that politicians are corrupt, including 89% in Greece, 82% in Russia, 75% in South Korea, 72% in both Nigeria and South Africa and 69% in the United States. Additionally, a median 51% of the people surveyed internationally said they were not satisfied with how democracy is functioning in their country. Those views were strongest in Mexico, Greece, Brazil, Spain, Tunisia and Italy. In the U.S., 58% of respondents were not satisfied with American democracy.

People also expressed skepticism about their country’s courts. A median of 53% disagreed with the statement that their country’s court system treats everyone fairly. That disagreement was strongest in South Korea, Argentina, Spain, Greece and Italy.

From:  Thousands march on May Day, demand better working conditions

SEOUL, South Korea — Thousands of trade union members and activists are marking May Day by marching through Asia’s capitals and demanding better working conditions and expanding labor rights.

From:  Workers barely benefited from Trump’s sweeping tax cut, investigation shows

Big companies drove Donald Trump’s tax cut law but refused to commit to any specific wage hikes for workers, despite repeated White House promises it would help employees, an investigation shows.

The 2017 Tax and Jobs Act – the Trump administration’s one major piece of enacted legislation – did deliver the biggest corporate tax cut in US history, but ultimately workers benefited almost not at all.

This is one of the conclusions of a six-month investigation into the process that led to the tax cut by the Center for Public Integrity, a not-for-profit news agency based in Washington DC.

Abortion attacked

From:  Abortion doctors face up to 99 years in jail with new Ala. law

Alabama’s House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a near-total abortion ban, a piece of legislation that the bill’s sponsor called a “direct attack” on Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that protects a woman’s right to an abortion. Politicians in the statehouse voted against adding an amendment that would have added an exception for victims of rape and incest.


If passed into law, the legislation would criminalize abortion, classifying it as a Class A felony in Alabama. That means that a doctor caught performing abortions in the state would face up to 99 years in prison under the proposed law.

Assange sentenced

From:  WikiLeaks’ Assange gets 50 weeks in prison for bail-jumping

LONDON — A British judge sentenced WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday to 50 weeks in prison for skipping bail seven years ago and holing up in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Shooter kills

From:  2 dead, 4 injured after shooting on last day of classes at UNC Charlotte

Two people were killed and four others injured after a campus shooting Tuesday at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, officials said.

Trystan Andrew Terrell, 22, was charged with two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said early Wednesday.

See also:  Who is Trystan Terrell? UNCC shooting suspect facing multiple charges

NASA fails

From:  NASA Says Metals Fraud Caused $700 Million Satellite Failure

(Bloomberg) — A metals manufacturer faked test results and provided faulty materials to NASA, causing more than $700 million in losses and two failed satellite launch missions, according to an investigation by the U.S. space agency.

The fraud involved an Oregon company called Sapa Profiles Inc., which falsified thousands of certifications for aluminum parts over 19 years for hundreds of customers, including NASA.

4 thoughts on “Barr squirms, Democracy reels, Abortion attacked, Assange sentenced, Shooter kills, and NASA fails

    • Theoretically, yes. The Capitol Police could arrest anyone, I suppose, with proper cause. As a practical matter, though, it would be unlikely. Congress’ legal recourse is usually pursued through the courts. If the political situation ever devolved to the point of pitting one government law enforcement agency against another, then we’d be on the brink of civil war.


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