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By Robert A. Vella

In an exclusive interview on ABC News (see:  Barr blasts Trump’s tweets: ‘Impossible for me to do my job’: ABC News Exclusive), Attorney General William Barr said that President Trump‘s incessant tweets are making it “impossible” for him to do his “job” as the nation’s highest law enforcement official.  Barr’s statements were made in a vain attempt to salvage his deteriorating reputation after he was widely condemned this week for overruling a routine sentencing recommendation in the Roger Stone trial which prompted the four federal prosecutors in the case to resign in protest and which plunged the Department of Justice into an evolving crisis concerning Trump’s autocratic assaults on the rule of law.  Unfortunately for Barr, he isn’t fooling anyone because there is palpable incongruence between how he functions as a personal protection agency for Trump and how he is supposed to perform his constitutional duties as an unbiased administrator of justice.  Furthermore, as a wide range of critics have pointed out, Barr should immediately resign if he feels he can no longer do his job.

After the president attacked the judge and jury foreman in the criminal trial of Roger Stone (Donald Trump’s close ally), in which he was convicted on all seven felony counts, current and former legal professionals (including Republicans) and many other notables rallied to their defense;  and, Jessie Liu – the former DOJ official who oversaw the Stone prosecution – has also resigned after being railroaded in a fake promotion scheme orchestrated by Trump and Mr. Barr.

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee – headed by chairman Tom Perez – is perpetrating more unfair shenanigans favoring some candidates over others.  This is exactly the kind of undemocratic partiality which backfired on the DNC four years ago and which also helped Trump win the presidency over a very unpopular Hillary Clinton.  In this case, Perez has changed the presidential debate rules midstream in order to allow Michael Bloomberg to qualify ahead of the upcoming primaries this month (i.e. Nevada, South Carolina, and the Super Tuesday states).  The previous rules had earlier disqualified several candidates including Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) who has since ended his candidacy.  Bloomberg, the former Republican mayor of New York City who has been justifiably criticized for his racially discriminatory “Stop and Frisk” policy and for his absurd assertion that the 2008 financial crisis resulted from the ending of “Redlining” racial bias in mortgage lending, is a multi-billionaire who has been flooding the airwaves with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of political ads to advance his candidacy.

Barr under the microscope

From:  Bill Barr Is Undermining the DOJ and ‘Not Fit for Office,’ Former Deputy Attorney General Who Worked With Him Says

U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr has proven himself unfit for office by consistently defending President Donald Trump’s improper interference in Department of Justice matters, a former deputy attorney general has warned.

Donald Ayer, who served under President George H. W. Bush and has worked alongside Barr, told MSNBC’s The Beat With Ari Melber on Thursday that the attorney general’s loyalty to the president is damaging confidence in the DOJ.

Barr’s critics accuse him of acquiescing to the president over the sentencing of former Trump aide and longtime GOP operative Roger Stone.

From:  NYC Bar Association Asks Congress to Investigate AG Barr for Bias

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 a bar association from New York City or any comparable group has asked Congress to investigate a sitting attorney general.

From:  39 prosecutors blast Attorney General Barr for ‘dangerous and failed’ approach to criminal justice

Thirty-nine elected prosecutors in a joint statement condemned Attorney General William P. Barr for recent his rhetoric that attacked progressive policies, arguing that his “dangerous and failed” approach to criminal justice disproportionately punished poor people and racial minorities while diverting resources away from more serious crimes.

“Sadly, we are perceived as a threat by some who are wedded to the status quo or, even worse, failed policies of past decades,” the 39 state, county and city prosecutors wrote. “Critics such as Attorney General William P. Barr seek to bring us back to a time when crime was high, success was measured by how harsh the punishment was, and a fear-driven narrative prevailed.”

Defending against Trump attacks

From:  Senior U.S. judge defends sentencing decisions after Trump tweet on Stone case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top judge [Beryl Alaine Howell] on the U.S. District Court in Washington said in an unusual public statement on Thursday that public criticism “is not a factor” in sentencing decisions, after President Donald Trump took aim at a judge [Amy Berman Jackson] from her court who is overseeing longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone’s criminal trial. [clarifications by The Secular Jurist]

See also:

Trump takes on Judge Amy Berman Jackson ahead of Roger Stone’s sentencing

Trump Escalates Crisis With Attack On Roger Stone Jury Foreman

As sentencing approaches, Roger Stone turns to former mob lawyer for help

From:  First on CNN: Jessie Liu resigns from Treasury after pulled nomination

(CNN) – The US attorney whose nomination for a top Treasury Department job was yanked because she ran the office that oversaw Roger Stone’s prosecution has resigned, an administration official tells CNN.

Jessie Liu, who previously headed the US attorney’s office in Washington, submitted her resignation to the Treasury Department, effective Wednesday evening. She went to the Treasury Department with the intention of filling a Senate-confirmed position, which is no longer available after her nomination was withdrawn earlier Wednesday, the official said.

The revoked nomination — paired with the mass withdrawal of the career prosecutors from Stone’s case on Tuesday — punctuated a stunning cascade of developments set into motion on Monday.

More DNC shenanigans

From:  New Democratic Party Rules Could Put Bloomberg On Debate Stage

The Democratic National Committee announced new rules for getting on stage for the party’s Feb. 19 debate in Nevada — and they have the potential to shake up who is on the stage.

The new qualification standards scrap the grassroots funding support threshold that candidates have had to meet for prior debates. That means former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who is self-funding his campaign and is not soliciting donations, could make his first appearance on stage.

Today’s other news

From:  Virginia House passes bill to give electoral votes to popular vote winner

The compact will go into effect only if the cumulative total of the states’ electoral votes surpasses the 270 necessary for a majority, which would require states that voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 to sign on. Levine also noted that the pact has a July 20 deadline in order to go into effect for November’s general election.

Currently, 15 states and the District of Columbia have joined the compact, for a total of 196 electoral votes, according to National Popular Vote Inc., the organization leading the effort. Most recently, Oregon joined the pact last June. If Virginia were to join, with its 13 electoral votes, the total would bump up to 209.

Pentagon to shift money for fighter planes, ships toward border wall

Holding-cell stats raise questions about Trump asylum policy

Feds reviewing previously unreported cyber attack on Florida elections office

Ex Navy Yard Guard Sentenced For Lying About White Supremacy Ties

McClatchy files for bankruptcy protection [publisher of the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star, and dozens of other newspapers]

Turkey-Syria clashes escalate as humanitarian crisis grows

East Africa famine warning amid locust plague

Iceberg twice the size of Washington, D.C., breaks off Pine Island glacier in Antarctica

8 thoughts on “Friday Focus: Barr under the microscope, defending against Trump attacks, and more DNC shenanigans

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