WTF Community

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


(M A Croft) #3

Haven’t seen much comment here on the Trump Tweet relating to NY and the implication that they drop investigations and he will stop the Global Entry decision.

Vox has a very good article here:

Trump implicitly linked the possible end of punitive travel restrictions the federal government took against citizens of New York with the state’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) doing favors for him, including ending investigations of his finances. In short, he attempted an extortionate quid pro quo, right out in public.

“I’m seeing Governor Cuomo today at The White House. He must understand that National Security far exceeds politics. New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harrassment [sic], start cleaning itself up, and lowering taxes,” Trump tweeted, before closing with a gratuitous shot at Cuomo’s brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo. “Build relationships, but don’t bring Fredo!”


#4

Yes…this is messy.

Here’s the response from the NY AG Letitia James who is not having any of it.


#5

On Capitol Hill, Democrats were already furious with their Republican colleagues about the acquittal, to a degree that I can’t recall having witnessed in my decades of observing congressional politics. They accuse G.O.P. senators of having enabled and facilitated Trump’s “Personal Retribution Tour,” as Sherrod Brown, of Ohio, termed it. “He’s unleashed,” Brown said. “The lesson is he can do whatever he wants, abuse his office, and he’ll never, ever be held accountable.” When the President, on Thursday, publicly demanded that the governor of New York drop lawsuits and other “harassment” against him—even as the Trump Administration has banned New Yorkers from joining the federal government’s “trusted traveler” program—it was an almost uncanny parallel to one of the post-acquittal scenarios that the House impeachment managers had warned about. If Trump was allowed by the Senate to withhold nearly four hundred million dollars in congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine, their trial brief warned, what was to stop him in the future from demanding that individual states “perform personal political favors” or else face federal wrath? Democrats were defeated, but Trump’s post-trial vindictiveness has left them feeling vindicated. “Like we warned,” Senator Chris Murphy, of Connecticut, tweeted, “acquittal has turned out to be a green light for him to take a wrecking ball to democracy.”


#6

9 Democratic senators call on Bill Barr to resign over Roger Stone case

Most of them from the Judiciary Committee

Nine U.S. senators signed a letter on Friday calling for Attorney General Bill Barr to immediately resign after the Justice Department submitted a new sentencing recommendation for former Trump adviser Roger Stone this week, NBC reports.

What they’re saying: “The interference in this case by you or other senior DOJ officials working under you is a clear violation of your duty to defend fair, impartial, and equal justice for all Americans.”

  • “It appears to show that you and other top DOJ officials intervened in a clearly political fashion to undermine the administration of justice at the President’s behest in order to protect a well-connected political ally who committed a ‘direct and brazen attack on the rule of law.’”
  • “The shocking actions taken by you or your senior staff to seek special protections for Mr. Stone make a mockery of your responsibilities to seek equal justice under the law and reveal that you are unfit to head the DOJ.”
  • The senators also wrote it is “not credible” for the attorney general to claim he oversees the DOJ independently, as he suggested in an ABC News interview on Thursday.

The senators who signed the letter:

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.)
  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.)
  • Sen. Ed Markey (Mass.)
  • Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.)
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley (Ore.)
  • Sen. Chris Van Hollen (Md.)
  • Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.)
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.)
  • Sen. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii)

Trump acknowledged in a tweet earlier this week that Barr personally intervened to overrule career prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation for Stone.


#7

Imperial T…he knows no bounds.

Outright comparisons to being a king.*

  • interesting note- watched Bill Maher show which always infuriates T. Katie Couric was guest and said she had learned from a Bloomberg campaign person that Bloomberg has hired an expert in Narcissist Personality disorders and will be using that information to create more political ads designed to get under T’s skin. If you watch, about 3/4 into show.

Remarkable that we deal with this imperious personality. :crown:


(David Bythewood) #8

No surprise here.

Mind you, everybody is saying this; Trump is SO transparent, his lack of anger at Barr makes it clear that this was staged.


#9

Barr pushes back against Trump’s criticism of Justice Dept., says tweets ‘make it impossible for me to do my job’

Trump’s anger over the lack of charges against FBI personnel flared again in January, prompted by two unrelated developments, according to people familiar with the matter.

First, prosecutors updated their position in the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying a sentence of some prison time would be appropriate. Around the same time, The Washington Post reported that U.S. Attorney John Huber in Utah — tapped years earlier to reinvestigate several issues related to vague allegations of corruption against Hillary Clinton — had quietly wound down his work after finding nothing of consequence.

Those two developments further enraged the president, according to people familiar with the discussions. These people said that while the public debate in recent days has focused on leniency for Stone, the president is more upset that the Justice Department has not been tougher on his perceived enemies.

In the president’s mind, it is unacceptable that people such as Comey and McCabe have not been charged, particularly if people such as Stone and Flynn are going to be treated harshly, these people said.


#10

This.

The president and his staff have increasingly equated disloyalty to him with disloyalty to the nation

He’s hunkering down with his original staff - Hicks and all the ones who were let go…
He’s paranoid - because he thinks it is healthy to be skeptical of others around you.
He’s pumped up post-impeachment-aquittal.

Mr. Trump has always been convinced that he is surrounded by people who cannot be trusted. But in the 10 days since he was acquitted by the Senate, he has grown more vocal about it and turned paranoia into policy, purging his White House of more career officials, bringing back loyalists and tightening the circle around him to a smaller and more faithful coterie of confidants.

The impeachment case against Mr. Trump, built largely on the testimony of officials who actually worked for him, reinforced his view that the government is full of leakers, plotters, whistle-blowers and traitors. Career professionals who worked in government before he arrived are viewed as “Obama holdovers” even if they were there long before President Barack Obama. Testifying under subpoena was, Mr. Trump has made clear, “insubordinate.”

The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., said on Twitter after the acquittal that the investigation was useful, in its own way, because it made it easier “unearthing who all needed to be fired.” The president and his staff have increasingly equated disloyalty to him with disloyalty to the nation. All of which makes for a volatile eight months ahead as Mr. Trump fights a rear-guard battle with his own government while facing off against Democrats on the campaign trail to win a second term.

I think he feels like the people are out to get him, going overboard. I mean just put yourself in his shoes,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a staunch ally, told reporters this past week as the president railed on Twitter against Justice Department prosecutors. “There’s just a general frustration that the system is — there’s a double standard in the media and actually in the law.

Mr. Trump’s personal loyalty test now extends not to whether someone has worked in his White House since his inauguration, but to whether someone was part of his 2016 campaign and there from the beginning,

Going back to his days in the real estate business, Mr. Trump has long considered suspicion a key to success. “Be paranoid,” he advised in a motivational seminar in 2000


#11

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


#12

@dragonfly9
Boston Globe with an :boom: Editorial

William Barr must go


#13

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.”


#14

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.”

Letter

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.


#15

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.


#17

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.


#18

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.”


#19

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.

quote:

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



#21

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
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/trump-intends-to-name-jessie-k-liu-us-attorney-for-district-to-top-treasury-dept-sanctions-post/2019/12/10/7c0b5664-1ba7-11ea-b4c1-fd0d91b60d9e_story.html

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
#23

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.