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More Questionable Behavior from Trump, T Admin, DOJ, and R's vs Dems, Press, Justice


Those prosecutors, who had put Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen in prison, were in court Tuesday to oversee the trial of another politically tinged defendant, Michael Avenatti, the celebrity lawyer who has claimed Trump as his nemesis. For them, the prospect of interference in sensitive cases carries particularly high stakes.

And beyond New York, the Stone situation has reverberated across the country in the past few days, with prosecutors incensed over the apparent intervention by Attorney General William Barr to lighten the sentencing recommendation for Trump’s ally, along with fear of what some perceive as a growing political directive coming from Washington.

On the West Coast, one federal prosecutor said there was an overwhelming sense of “outrage” felt in his office.

A prosecutor on the East Coast voiced concern about the potential impact of political interference on juries and judges, who could perceive that cases aren’t being brought objectively.

And a former prosecutor said his clients have expressed concern about cooperating with investigations out of fear that the Justice Department could interfere improperly in a case, putting them in jeopardy.

On the Pro-Trump and Pro Barr side

Elsewhere, in Connecticut, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, the US attorney’s offices have picked up investigations that are in line with what the President has wanted, looking into the origins of the investigation into the 2016 election, examining the Ukraine dealings of the son of Trump’s political rival Joe Biden and reviewing the Michael Flynn prosecution.

A career prosecutor in the rural Northwest said she has faith in Barr and wishes Trump would get out of his way. "He’s not a rookie. He knows what he’s doing," she said of the attorney general. “Let him do his job.”

New York is ground zero

Manhattan prosecutors have also generated cases that are of concern to Trump personally, including the prosecution of Cohen and an investigation of the Trump Organization that ended without charges.

And for the past few months, prosecutors there have been investigating Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, as well as Trump’s inaugural committee.

Still, despite the alarm sounded in recent days, Southern District of New York prosecutors believe that their leader, Geoffrey Berman, has defended the office’s relative autonomy, particularly since Barr’s arrival, according to people familiar with the matter.

Barr, these people said, has attempted to micromanage certain cases, asking more questions and for more frequent updates than his predecessors on matters from Berman.

Berman has bristled at those demands, according to these people, and has repeatedly pushed for actions on certain politically sensitive cases in opposition to Justice Department leadership, most notably the indictment in October of the state-owned Turkish bank, Halkbank.

According to a person familiar with the discussions, Barr personally spearheaded an effort last year to negotiate a settlement with the bank that would have allowed it to sidestep an indictment after Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, pressed Trump in a bid to avoid charges. Berman, however, insisted on criminal prosecution, according to the people familiar with the matter.

There are questions however swirling around SDNY’s Geoffrey Berman, and whether he is indeed a T loyalist. This back-and-forth on whether this bank should have been prosecuted was one thing, but pundits are questioning Berman’s role in the Les Parnas/Igor Furnass indictment…and suggest they were framed as scapegoats to cover for Giuliani.

I will list this lawyer’s viewpoint, who really feels that Berman is too aligned with Barr. Remember, Barr visited SDNY the day before these two were arrested, so if ever there was an ‘all in’ signal, this is it.

Thread on Geoffrey Berman


Boston Globe with an :boom: Editorial

William Barr must go


People close to the attorney general say his frustration with Trump is genuine, and that Barr had privately expressed his concerns to the president more than once in recent weeks. When those efforts did not seem to have the desired effect, Barr decided to speak out publicly, these people said.

Current and former officials said the move to add new prosecutors to the Flynn case seemed to be part of a new pattern of Justice Department political leadership spinning up inquiries that might help Trump and his friends and hurt their perceived foes.

David Laufman, a former chief of the Justice Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, said such reviews are “enormously demoralizing, certainly for the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C., and I would imagine throughout the Department of Justice and U.S. attorneys offices nationwide.”


A letter circulating today with over 1100 signatures of former DOJ prosecutors asking for AG Barr’s resignation because of his influence campaign on the Roger Stone Case.

More than 1,100 former federal prosecutors and Justice Department officials called on Attorney General William P. Barr on Sunday to step down after he intervened last week to lower the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr.

They also urged current government employees to report any signs of unethical behavior at the Justice Department to the agency’s inspector general and to Congress.

“Each of us strongly condemns President Trump’s and Attorney General Barr’s interference in the fair administration of justice,” the former Justice Department lawyers, who came from across the political spectrum, wrote in an open letter on Sunday. Those actions, they said, “require Mr. Barr to resign.”


We, the undersigned, are alumni of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) who have collectively served both Republican and Democratic administrations. Each of us strongly condemns President Trump’s and Attorney General Barr’s interference in the fair administration of justice.

As former DOJ officials, we each proudly took an oath to support and defend our Constitution and faithfully execute the duties of our offices. The very first of these duties is to apply the law equally to all Americans. This obligation flows directly from the Constitution, and it is embedded in countless rules and laws governing the conduct of DOJ lawyers. The Justice Manual — the DOJ’s rulebook for its lawyers — states that “the rule of law depends on the evenhanded administration of justice”; that the Department’s legal decisions “must be impartial and insulated from political influence”; and that the Department’s prosecutorial powers, in particular, must be “exercised free from partisan consideration.”

All DOJ lawyers are well-versed in these rules, regulations, and constitutional commands. They stand for the proposition that political interference in the conduct of a criminal prosecution is anathema to the Department’s core mission and to its sacred obligation to ensure equal justice under the law.

And yet, President Trump and Attorney General Barr have openly and repeatedly flouted this fundamental principle, most recently in connection with the sentencing of President Trump’s close associate, Roger Stone, who was convicted of serious crimes. The Department has a long-standing practice in which political appointees set broad policies that line prosecutors apply to individual cases. That practice exists to animate the constitutional principles regarding the even-handed application of the law. Although there are times when political leadership appropriately weighs in on individual prosecutions, it is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case. It is even more outrageous for the Attorney General to intervene as he did here — after the President publicly condemned the sentencing recommendation that line prosecutors had already filed in court.

Such behavior is a grave threat to the fair administration of justice. In this nation, we are all equal before the law. A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the President. Governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics; they are autocracies.

We welcome Attorney General Barr’s belated acknowledgment that the DOJ’s law enforcement decisions must be independent of politics; that it is wrong for the President to interfere in specific enforcement matters, either to punish his opponents or to help his friends; and that the President’s public comments on DOJ matters have gravely damaged the Department’s credibility. But Mr. Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words. Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign. But because we have little expectation he will do so, it falls to the Department’s career officials to take appropriate action to uphold their oaths of office and defend nonpartisan, apolitical justice.

For these reasons, we support and commend the four career prosecutors who upheld their oaths and stood up for the Department’s independence by withdrawing from the Stone case and/or resigning from the Department. Our simple message to them is that we — and millions of other Americans — stand with them. And we call on every DOJ employee to follow their heroic example and be prepared to report future abuses to the Inspector General, the Office of Professional Responsibility, and Congress; to refuse to carry out directives that are inconsistent with their oaths of office; to withdraw from cases that involve such directives or other misconduct; and, if necessary, to resign and report publicly — in a manner consistent with professional ethics — to the American people the reasons for their resignation. We likewise call on the other branches of government to protect from retaliation those employees who uphold their oaths in the face of unlawful directives. The rule of law and the survival of our Republic demand nothing less.


Pelosi is staying on the right side of history and upholding these Democratic ideals that a whistleblower should remain protected under the law and aonnymous.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has named an official director for the newly established House Office of the Whistleblower Ombudsman.

The new director, Shanna Devine, previously worked as an advocate for whistleblower rights at Public Citizen, a public interest organization in D.C., according to a statement from Pelosi.

The office was established in early January with the convening of the new Congress. Whistleblower protections have been heavily tested under the Trump administration, after a whistleblower’s complaint touched off the inquiry into the Ukraine pressure campaign and led to the President’s impeachment. Some of Trump’s allies are still calling for the whistleblower’s identity to be publicized.


Absolutely. It’s all just political theater and would be laughable if it didn’t actually play with Trump’s base.

I wish ABC would have scrolled a translation across the bottom of the screen during the interview.

Barr: I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.

Translation: Hey, Donald, shut the f**k up. You’re blowing our cover as we turn the Justice Department into your personal enforcement squad.


RE: Roger Stone’s sentencing, Judge Amy Berman Jackson is calling for a conference call with lawyers 2 days before Feb 18th, sentencing day. She’s pretty straightforward…and the ball is in her court. I would imagine she’s giving the lawyers some straight talk.

Some comments on what various lawyers think Judge Amy Berman Jackson will be doing…re: Sentencing

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson will decide next week whether to take the Justice Department’s proposal to sentence Stone below what is recommended under federal guidelines, or to look instead to the initial recommendation by career prosecutors for seven to nine years in prison.

“I’m sure that she’s talking to every judge in D.C. trying to figure out what’s the right thing to do,” White-Banks said.

The unprecedented move by the Justice Department followed an early Tuesday morning tweet from President Donald Trump calling the prosecutors’ prison proposal a “miscarriage of justice.” The president has continued over Twitter and from the White House to defend Stone — convicted last year of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering — and to attack Jackson, the prosecutors who brought Stone’s case to trial and the Stone trial jury foreperson who spoke out this week.

White-Banks explained the dilemma Jackson now faces, with any sentence she hands down on Feb. 20 either subjecting her to attack as an “anti-Trumper” or having caved to “extra-judicial improper pressures.”


This is more crazy town - and more authoritarian, whereby the entire narrative gets switched over to quite another one, and alas T is trying to re-write this.


The whole Mueller investigation was a shakedown and a disgrace. It probably should be expunged,” Trump said

And for every time T utters the word, “Hoax” 'Witch Hunt" “Fake News” there are believers.

The U.S. intelligence community long ago produced evidence of Russia’s illegal interference in the 2016 presidential election to try to boost Donald Trump’s candidacy. Then the special counsel investigating the matter detailed myriad ways President Trump sought to stymie the probe. And then Robert S. Mueller III testified to Congress about Trump’s conduct — and warned of Russia’s continued interest in thwarting U.S. elections.

But it is Trump who is trying to have the last word.

Seven months after Mueller’s marathon testimony brought finality to the Russia investigation, Trump is actively seeking to rewrite the narrative that had been meticulously documented by federal law enforcement and intelligence officials, both for immediate political gain and for history.

Turbocharged by his acquittal in the Senate’s impeachment trial and confident that he has acquired the fealty of nearly every Republican in Congress, Trump is claiming vindication and exoneration not only over his conduct with Ukraine — for which the House voted to impeach him — but also from the other investigations that have dogged his presidency.

This includes lawsuits filed against Trump by the state of New York over his finances as well as alleged misuse of charity funds by his nonprofit foundation. Trump sought last week to turn the page on these probes, declaring on Twitter ahead of a White House meeting with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) that “New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harrassment.”

Still, Russia is foremost on Trump’s mind. Since even before he was sworn in as president, Trump has viewed the FBI’s Russia investigation as a dark cloud over his administration that threatened to delegitimize his claim on the office. And more than three years in, Trump remains haunted by all things Russia, according to advisers and allies, and continues to nurse a profound and unabated sense of persecution.

As his reelection campaign intensifies, Trump is using the powers of his office to manipulate the facts and settle the score. Advisers say the president is determined to protect his associates ensnared in the expansive Russia investigation, punish the prosecutors and investigators he believes betrayed him, and convince the public that the probe was exactly as he sees it: an illegal witch hunt.

“The whole Mueller investigation was a shakedown and a disgrace. It probably should be expunged,” Trump said in an interview last week with radio commentator Geraldo Rivera, a longtime friend.

(David Bythewood) #20

I don’t recall if this was shared or not:

Trump is considering barring all officials from listening to his phone calls with foreign leaders, which could be ‘catastrophic’ for national security


lol yep @dragonfly9 has an entry but it’s actually good to crosspost this, it’s pretty questionable fucking behavior. :skull:

(David Bythewood) #22

Wasn’t sure, I am going through back stories to post now that I have twitter access again.

Here’s a bit on Jessie Liu, though.

Jessie Liu stepped into the role of U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia in 2017.

That means she is a Trump appointee.

GOP in the Senate already forced her to withdraw from a previous nomination in 2019 due to her support of positions commonly considered liberal.

D.C.’s U.S. attorney, Jessie Liu, withdraws from consideration for No. 3 Justice Dept. job

Liu WAS up for a Treasury Department position, resigning her previous post in anticipation of becoming the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes, leading the administration’s aggressive use of economic sanctions as a national security and foreign policy tool.

Trump intends to nominate Jessie Liu, U.S. attorney for D.C., *to top Treasury Dept. sanctions post

However, Trump blamed her for many of the cases that have come through her office against himself and his many criminal cohorts, leading to the sudden withdrawal of that nomination as part of his revenge spree.

Jessie Liu, ex-U.S. attorney who oversaw Roger Stone case, resigns from Trump administration after nomination for Treasury post withdrawn

Who The Fuck Has Left The Trump Administration

What will Judge Amy Berman Jackson say during the Tuesday 2.19.20 call with the lawyers from the Stone call? She wants to get both defense and prosecution lawyers on the record with her, including the 4 lawyers from the prosecution who resigned.

Thx. @rusticgorilla

It’s unclear whether the judge will decide to proceed with the sentencing as scheduled, given the latest motion for a new trial and questions about how easily prosecutors will be able to respond to it with those most familiar with the case having formally stepped back from it and, in one instance, quit his job altogether.

Some former Justice Department prosecutors are urging Jackson to inquire into the abrupt withdrawal of the trial team last week and the reversal in the government’s position, but she has not yet signaled any plans to do that.

As recently as Friday, the judge seemed intent on moving toward sentencing, issuing an order requiring the government to respond to the latest new trial motion — which remains under seal — by midnight Tuesday.


So this National Association of Judges thinks it is important to talk about the issues facing Judge Amy Berman Jackson enough to call an emergency meeting. This on the heals of a letter signed by now 2000 legal types -Prosecutors, etc to have Barr resign.


A national association of federal judges has called an emergency meeting Tuesday to address growing concerns about the intervention of Justice Department officials and President Donald Trump in politically sensitive cases, the group’s president said Monday.

Philadelphia U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe, who heads the independent Federal Judges Association, said the group “could not wait” until its spring conference to weigh in on a deepening crisis that has enveloped the Justice Department and Attorney General William Barr.

“There are plenty of issues that we are concerned about,” Rufe told USA TODAY. “We’ll talk all of this through.”

Rufe, nominated to the bench by President George W. Bush, said the group of more than 1,000 federal jurists called for the meeting last week after Trump criticized prosecutors’ initial sentencing recommendation for his friend Roger Stone and the Department of Justice overruled them.

Trump also took a swipe at the federal judge who is set to preside at Stone’s sentencing hearing Thursday.

Rufe said the judges’ association is “not inclined to get involved with an ongoing case,” but she voiced strong support for Jackson.

“I am not concerned with how a particular judge will rule,” Rufe said, praising Jackson’s reputation. “We are supportive of any federal judge who does what is required.”

The unusual concern voiced by the judges’ group comes in the wake of an equally unusual protest. More than 2,000 former Justice Department officials called on Barr to resign Sunday, claiming his handling of the Stone case “openly and repeatedly flouted” the principle of equal justice.

(David Bythewood) #25

Well, fuck.

Corporations are working with the Trump administration to control online speech

Some of the biggest corporations in the United States are brawling over the future of the law that allows free speech and innovation to thrive online. Under the guise of getting rid of lies and protecting children, they’re working with the Trump administration and top Republicans to undermine Americans’ rights and give the government unprecedented control over online speech.

Special interests trying to influence federal laws and regulations are nothing new in Washington. Big banks and drug companies have been wildly successful at working the system to discourage competition and stay on top. Occasionally, however, Congress actually passes a law that protects the less powerful elements of our society, the insurgents and the disrupters. That’s what it did in 1996 when it passed a law I co-authored called Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Section 230 was written to provide legal protection to online platforms so they could take down objectionable material without being dragged into court. It lets companies remove posts from white supremacists or trolls without being sued for bias or for limiting individuals’ First Amendment rights. If a website wants to cater to the right wing, it can. If it wants to ban Trump supporters, it can do that, too.

Section 230 also says the person who creates content is the one responsible for it. So if President Trump libels an innocent person on Twitter, he can be sued. Without 230, social media couldn’t exist. Sites such as Yelp would be sued to death. Start-ups such as Portland’s AllGo, which collects user reviews about how restaurants serve plus-size customers, would never get off the ground. Movements such as Black Lives Matter or #MeToo, whose advocates post controversial accusations against powerful figures on social media, would have remained whispers, not megaphones for oppressed communities.

The fight is defined by an intensive lobbying effort by big legacy corporations such as Disney and IBM that are looking for an advantage against big tech companies such as Google and Facebook. Each side wants to rewrite the rules to cement its own dominance.

Some have argued that repealing Section 230 would punish Facebook and Google for their failures. That’s simply not true. The biggest tech companies have enough lawyers and lobbyists to survive virtually any regulation Congress can concoct. It’s the start-ups seeking to displace Big Tech that would be hammered by the constant threat of lawsuits.

Whenever laws are passed to put the government in control of speech, the people who get hurt are the least powerful in society.

That’s what happened in 2018, when, in the wake of news stories about disturbing ads on a site called Backpage, Congress scaled back 230 with a law known as SESTA-FOSTA — a combination of the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act. At the time, I proposed a different approach, including hiring more prosecutors. And I warned that this bill would do little to stop sex trafficking or help true victims but would simply push sex work underground.

By all accounts that is exactly what has happened. Backpage was shut down before SESTA even went into effect. And sex workers have been driven to the dark Web or the streets, where sex trafficking has increased dramatically. The most vulnerable group bore the brunt of this law.

This is how speech regulation inevitably works in practice. If Congress somehow were to amend the First Amendment and ban hate speech from the Internet, I see no reason to believe President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr would use that authority to protect LGBTQ activists or female journalists or African American civil rights leaders.

Instead, I’m certain this administration would use power to regulate speech to punish its enemies and protect its allies. It would threaten Facebook or YouTube for taking down white supremacist content. It would label Black Lives Matter activists as purveyors of hate.

The Trump administration is working with Republican Senate leaders to advance legislation giving the attorney general power to set online speech guidelines along with the opportunity to access everything Americans do with their digital devices.

There are plenty of things Congress can do to hold Big Tech accountable. I’d start with passing a strong privacy law, such as my Mind Your Own Business Act, which includes tough enforcement provisions for tech executives, including the possibility of jail. And concerns about anti-competitive practices, including the Facebook-Instagram merger, deserve serious investigation from the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission.

I stand ready to work with anyone to hold the biggest corporations accountable, whether for dodging taxes, extorting Medicare or ripping off consumers. I draw the line at putting any politician in charge of what people can say or how they can say it, whether it’s on the Internet or anywhere else.

(David Bythewood) #26

So THIS happened this morning:

That moment when the President of the United States, or at least the guy who stole that spot, threatens to sue everybody because he doesn’t like being held account able.

And I bet Barr’s Department of Injustice will co-sign that.


Barr Review from 1991 - before he was appointed to President George.H.W. Bush’s Attorney General’s position, someone he went to school with wrote up Barr’s right-wing tendencies, and bullying nature as a teen on up.

And a review of his GHW Bush years…hindsight is 2020 for sure.

This year, in the run-up to his second term as attorney general, now under a President less genteel than Bush, Barr offered Congress a more fulsome defense of the Mueller investigation.

Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, Barr promised to not interfere with the probe and to let the special counsel carry his investigation through until its end.

“I feel I’m in a position in life where I can do the right thing and not really care about the consequences in the sense that I can truly be independent,” Barr said. “I am not going to do anything that I think is wrong, and I will not be bullied into doing anything I think is wrong – by anybody, whether it be editorial boards, or Congress or the President. I’m going to do what I think is right.”

(David Bythewood) #28

DeBartolo is the former owner of the NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers. During DeBartolo’s time as owner, the team won five Super Bowl titles.

DeBartolo pleaded guilty in 1998 to failing to report a felony in a bribery case, which led to former Louisiana Gov. Edwin W. Edwards getting sent to federal prison.

Kerik was police commissioner during the 9/11 attacks but later went to federal prison on tax and other charges

I live in Illinois. This one makes me furious.

Trump Insiders Seek Pardon for ‘Junk Bond King’ Michael Milken

There is also a large consensus that pardoning Blago is about Comey.

Trump also issued pardons to Ariel Friedler, a former technology entrepreneur who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to access a protected computer; Paul Pogue, a former construction company owner who underpaid his taxes; David Safavian; a former government official who served one year on perjury charges; and Angela Stanton, a television personality who served six months of home confinement for activities related to a stolen vehicle ring.

In addition to Blagojevich, sentences were commuted for Tynice Nichole Hall, a mother who was sentenced for possession and intent to distribute drugs; Judith Negron, who was serving time on charges related to a scheme to defraud the government, and Crystal Munoz, who was convicted for her role in a marijuana ring.

In other words, almost all people who definitely did things that were wrong.

(David Bythewood) #29

Hold on to you hats. It’s about to get extra dumb.

This article, and Dershowitz’s claim, seem to be an attempt to justify what Trump is doing:

Pressed on the claim that Obama pressed for an FBI probe, Dershowitz responded: “That’s going to come out in a lawsuit in the near future, yeah. That is not unusual. People whisper to presidents all the time; presidents whisper to the Justice Department all the time. It’s very common; it’s wrong, whoever does it – but it’s common, and we shouldn’t think it’s unique to any particular president. I have in my possession the actual 302 [witness report] form which documents this issue and it will at the right time come out, but I’m not free to disclose it now because it’s a case that’s not yet been filed.”

Incidentally, no, it’s not common, yes, it’s wrong, and Trump isn’t whispering, he’s shouting and shooting off fireworks in the air giving directions.


AP source: Barr tells people he might quit over Trump tweets.

If true…and sounds like a planted story - with a lot of CYA, a dangle only. :boom:


8 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr has told people close to him he’s considering quitting his post after President Donald Trump wouldn’t heed his warning to stop tweeting about Justice Department cases, an administration official told The Associated Press.

Some reactions…

And Lisa Page

Attorney General William P. Barr has told people close to President Trump — both inside and outside the White House — that he is considering quitting over Trump’s tweets about Justice Department investigations, three administration officials said, foreshadowing a possible confrontation between the president and his attorney general over the independence of the Justice Department.

So far, Trump has defied Barr’s requests, both public and private, to keep quiet on matters of federal law enforcement. It was not immediately clear Tuesday if Barr had made his posture known directly to Trump. The administration officials said Barr seemed to be sharing his position with advisers in hopes the president would get the message that he should stop weighing in publicly on the Justice Department’s ongoing criminal investigations.

He has his limits,” said one person familiar with Barr’s thinking, speaking on the condition of anonymity, like others, to discuss internal deliberations.


In my experience these resignation rumors usually turn out to be true. Barr’s motivations don’t seem all that cut and dry. He’s kind of an ideologue but is he about protecting the unilateral powers of the president or is he just a Trump man. :woman_shrugging:t2: Time will tell.