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


#324

More on how to handle Barr’s mishandling of justice and whether we know how Barr might be questioned or removed. Former prosecutor Joyce White Alene questions Barr’s intentions as does Preet Bharara.

U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President. Although Berman’s situation was unusual because he was not Senate-confirmed, even with this quirk, there were legitimate ways Trump and Barr could have chosen to replace him. So the real question is, why did Barr concoct the transparent lie about Berman resigning? It was almost sure to come to light, despite Barr’s late-Friday-night gambit. Why did Barr subject himself and Trump to ridicule and controversy to get Berman out of the way? The answer to that question is important. The independence of the Justice Department and its U.S. Attorneys may well turn on it.

There is plenty of speculation over the reason. It could have been animus over Berman’s prosecutions of Trump cronies or concern regarding ongoing cases. The Southern District’s jurisdiction is broad and the President’s business and now-defunct foundation lie within its borders. Berman is known to have subpoenaed information regarding the President’s inauguration. He is also investigating Deutsche Bank, which made loans worth over $1 billion at a time other banks were hesitant to make loans to pre-presidency Trump, and John Bolton has claimed the President wanted to interfere in the prosecution of a Turkish bank. But Barr isn’t saying why he so desperately wanted to remove Berman from the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York. We only know that it wasn’t competence or performance, as Barr said he offered him the job of Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, considered a plum role at DOJ. And one thing that is certain is that Barr would not have lied about the decision to remove Berman if it was a legitimate one, made in good faith.

We need answers to the questions that stem from Barr’s misbegotten Friday night massacre. Only Congress, or perhaps the press, can get them. With five months to go until the election, we cannot afford to wait. Congress must subpoena both Barr and Berman.

Berman is now free to testify about whatever pressure was brought to bear upon him during his tenure, even if he may not discuss non-public details of the investigations he was pursuing. Barr is another matter. He canceled scheduled testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in May 2019 after the Committee voted to permit questioning by staff attorneys, who went on to perform so impressively during impeachment. Following a year-long dance with the Committee over his unwillingness to submit to Congressional oversight regarding the Mueller report, Barr was scheduled to testify on March 31. Prior to that hearing, House Democrats noted their intention to question Barr about the removal of another U.S. Attorney, Jessie Liu, in Washington, D.C., who was overseeing the Roger Stone and Michael Flynn prosecutions. Stone’s prosecution had become the subject of controversy due to the Attorney General’s personal interference. Liu was promised another high-ranking job, which failed to materialize after she left the D.C. office and House Democrats wanted to know why. Barr ducked the hearing in March after the coronavirus threat emerged.

It’s time for the House to force Bill Barr to testify and answer the questions the American people have for him. Even if one were to accept Barr’s fringe views about the expansiveness of the powers a President possesses, nothing in the Constitution creates an all-powerful Attorney General. He and his department are accountable to Congress and to the American people, and it’s time to remind him of that. A subpoena to Barr would be a fitting birthday present for the Department of Justice.


#325

Authoritarian responses from the WH to have the secret service clear out the press tonight, due to protesters across the street.

The US Secret Service on Monday evening told members of the White House press corps to immediately leave the White House grounds, a highly unusual decision that did not immediately come with an explanation.

The decision came during an ongoing demonstration in Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House where protesters were trying to bring down a statue of former President Andrew Jackson that stands in the middle of the park. Those protesters were eventually pushed back out of the park by police.

Protesters spray painted “BHAZ” on the pillars of St. John’s Episcopal Church, which sits across the street from Lafayette Square. The acronym stands for “Black House Autonomous Zone,” an apparent reference to the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) in Seattle where protesters have taken over a six-square-block area of the city and kept out police in order to set up their own self-governing space.

The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone had been a relatively peaceful protest until this past weekend. Two men were shot in the zone early Saturday morning and one of them later died. Police said a “violent crowd” prevented them from getting to the wounded individuals.

President Donald Trump tweeted late Monday evening, “Numerous people arrested in D.C. for the disgraceful vandalism, in Lafayette Park, of the magnificent Statue of Andrew Jackson, in addition to the exterior defacing of St. John’s Church across the street,” adding: “10 years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!”


(David Bythewood) #326

I was waiting to find out what the heck was going on.

That was nuts.

They funneled the press right out into the chaos.

If they were trying to prevent the press from seeing reactions in the White House, that backfired, because instead we got reactions from the press to the chaos at street level. I was looking at some of the tweets and reports as they came in.


#327

Today is the KY primary to determine who will be the Democratic candidate against McConnell. He has continued to be devious with who can vote, and setting up racially biased ways to do that - voter id laws.

The most-watched race in the state is the Democratic US Senate primary between Charles Booker and Amy McGrath to decide who will face off against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in November. Primary elections throughout the country this year have been marred by long lines and confusion over mail-in ballots, and Kentucky’s may be no exception. But McConnell has been steadfast in blocking a series of bills passed by the Democratic-led House of Representatives that would make it easier to vote.

Here are the major bills McConnell is refusing to hold votes on:

  • In March 2019, the House passed the “For the People Act,” the most significant democracy reform bill in a generation. It would make it easier to vote through policies like nationwide automatic voter registration and two weeks of early voting in every state. McConnell strongly opposed the bill, dubbing it “the Democrat Politician Protection Act,” and called the idea of making Election Day a federal holiday a “power grab” by Democrats, seemingly admitting that Republicans lose when more people vote.
  • In December 2019, the House passed a bill to restore and modernize the Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that states with a long history of voting discrimination no longer needed to approve their election changes with the federal government. It would require states like Georgia and Texas—which have slashed hundreds of polling places in recent years, leading to six-hour lines at the polls—to seek federal approval for such potentially discriminatory election changes. McConnell has taken no action on the bill for 200 days and said in 2016 that he opposed reinstating the preclearance section of the VRA.
  • In May of this year, the House passed the “Heroes Act,” a coronavirus relief bill that would give $3.6 billion in election aid to help states run their elections in November. This would allow states to open more polling places, buy new voting equipment to handle a surge of mail-in ballots, and equip election workers with protective gear to shield them from coronavirus. It would also require states to expand vote-by-mail and have at least 15 days of early voting to guard against the spread of COVID-19 and would give the United States Postal Service $25 billion to help with vote-by-mail. McConnell has yet to schedule a vote on it, saying only that the next round of coronavirus relief should be “narrowly crafted.” Republicans have also blocked consideration of the “VoteSafe Act” by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), which includes many similar election reforms.
  • McConnell has blocked three bills passed by the House aimed at preventing election interference. They would require campaigns to notify the FBI and Federal Election Commission if contacted by foreign actors and require states to use voting machines with paper backups. McConnell has been sharply criticized by election officials in his home state for blocking funding for election security.

McConnell’s opposition to these bills could have an outsize impact in Kentucky, where the Republican-controlled state legislature passed a new voter ID law for November that could make it more difficult to cast a ballot and is expected to disproportionately affect voters of color, who are less likely to possess the required photo IDs. The legislature also has yet to commit to expanding vote-by-mail for the general election. In 2016, Kentucky ranked 44th in MIT’s election performance index, which measures each state’s voter participation and ballot access. McConnell’s refusal to make it easier to vote amid an unprecedented public health crisis and widespread voting problems in the primaries will only increase the likelihood of an election meltdown in November.


#328

This sounds like a possibility to extend his surrender date, conveniently keeping Stone out of jail, and leaving T enough time to pardon him, which is what he wants to do.

https://twitter.com/kaitlancollins/status/1275531758830837762?s=20

Stone, a longtime ally of President Trump, has been sentenced to more than three years in prison for lying to Congress and witness tampering, and is scheduled to be taken into federal custody June 30.

But in a filing submitted Tuesday to U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an attorney for Stone asked that the date be extended to September 3.


#329

https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1275621808381874176?s=19


(David Bythewood) #330

Prosecutor to tell Congress of pressure from ‘highest levels’ of Justice Dept. to cut Roger Stone ‘a break’

Read John W. Elias’s opening statement to the House Judiciary Committee

Read Aaron Zelinsky’s opening statement to the House Judiciary Committee


#331

:boom: Flynn’s charges to be dismissed - overriding Judge Sullivan’s, and Gleeson’s * moves to study this.

Politically charged for sure.

A federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered a judge to grant the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) unusual move to drop charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

A three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals approved Flynn’s petition to intervene in the case after a district court judge had tapped an outside counsel to argue against the DOJ’s move.

– Developing

https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2020-06-24/us-appeals-court-orders-dismissal-of-criminal-case-against-michael-flynn

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday directed a federal judge to drop the criminal case against President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn as demanded by the Justice Department, preventing a judicial review of the propriety of the request.

In a split decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of Flynn and the Trump administration in preventing U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan from exercising his discretion on whether to grant the department’s motion to clear Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty.

  • Gleeson Gleeson is the one who said Legal

‘Everything about this is irregular’: Ex-judge tapped to review Flynn case

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/10/gleeson-flynn-sullivan-barr-justice-department-311018blasts Trump DOJ


#332

Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes discusses this DC Circuit opinion…what next?

https://twitter.com/benjaminwittes/status/1275806206536364035?s=20

And Wapo reports

https://twitter.com/RDEliason/status/1275826333050945540?s=20


#333

https://twitter.com/kyledcheney/status/1275913325646413829?s=21

Read :point_down:

https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1289641/download


#334

Poetic justice

https://www.fresnobee.com/news/nation-world/national/article243664982.html

Devin Nunes can’t sue Twitter over statements by fake cow, judge rules

A judge has ruled that Rep. Devin Nunes has no right to sue Twitter over statements made by a fake Internet cow, someone parodying his mother and a Republican strategist.

Judge John Marshall said in a decision Friday that Twitter was “immune from the defamation claims of” Nunes, R-Tulare, due to federal law that says social media companies are not liable for what people post on their platforms.

Nunes “seeks to have the court treat Twitter as the publisher or speaker of the content provided by others based on its allowing or not allowing certain content to be on its internet platform,” Marshall wrote. “The court refuses to do so.”


#335

Trump Administration continues to chip away at ACA via filings to knee cap it’s coverage, and today it looks like it is filing with the Supreme Court something to do with Contraception and ACA.

Getting rid of ACA is definitely a campaign promise for T and those on the right.

https://twitter.com/ASlavitt/status/1276159092504104961?s=20

https://twitter.com/ASlavitt/status/1276166252629811204?s=20

https://twitter.com/ASlavitt/status/1276166255150497797?s=20

https://twitter.com/KFF/status/1276168401916919815?s=20

A filing on Contraception within ACA to SCOTUS.

Never have seen this blog/publication Center on Budget and Policy/Sabotage Watch - but they are tracking ACA and a timeline for all the actions the Admin has taken against ACA


#336

Why am I not surprised at this…? Reports of stimulus checks going out to people who had died is just as haphazard as every government response has been. Why stop now?

WASHINGTON – More than 1 million dead people got stimulus checks from the federal government under a new federal law designed to juice the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, a watchdog agency reported Thursday.

The Government Accountability Office said that a legal interpretation left the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service unable to use government death records to stop the stimulus checks from going to people who are deceased.

As a result, nearly 1.1 million payments totaling nearly $1.4 billion were distributed to dead people as of April 30, the report said.

The report, which takes a critical look at the government’s response to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, comes as President Donald Trump and congressional leaders are considering another economic recovery package to deal with the fallout from COVID-19.


(David Bythewood) #337

More articles on that:





#338

All roads lead to AG William Barr who has been doing cleanup for the SDNY that has kept T 'n Co out of the frey.

Two articles tonight coming out - NYT stating that Barr has been over-scrutinizing what was happening to SDNY, and that Barr feels he needs to be a part of. But SDNY do not trust Barr’s motives on Cohen, and Halkbank (sp)

Atty Gen can use existing ends for the President’s ends.

In the 2nd Article - NPR gives more of Barr’s position…that he was doing his job and not meddling.

Last month, Mr. Barr ordered that prosecutors in Washington drop the case against Mr. Flynn, who had twice pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about phone calls with the Russian ambassador. Mr. Barr also overruled a sentencing recommendation from career prosecutors in Washington for Mr. Stone, which he viewed as excessive, prompting the office to backtrack.

Even before he became the attorney general, Mr. Barr had criticized the special counsel’s inquiry into whether Mr. Trump had obstructed justice, submitting an unsolicited memo to the Justice Department attacking what he called a “novel and legally insupportable reading of the law.”

Mr. Berman had been recused from the case against Mr. Cohen for undisclosed reasons, leaving it in the hands of other senior prosecutors in his office. In August 2018, facing the threat of an indictment, Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to personal financial crimes and campaign finance violations, one of which stemmed from a $130,000 payment to the adult film star, Stormy Daniels.

In pleading guilty, Mr. Cohen pointed the finger at the president, saying he had acted at Mr. Trump’s direction.

The New York Times reported previously that Mr. Barr had questioned the legal theory of the campaign finance charges against Mr. Cohen, but it was not known that the attorney general went so far as to ask for the draft memo or had raised his concerns more than once.

Attorney General William Barr said Thursday that he doesn’t believe President Trump has overstepped the boundaries between the White House and the Justice Department in a number of big recent cases.

Barr told NPR in a wide-ranging interview that he believes Trump has “supervisory authority” to oversee the effective course of justice — but Barr said that ultimately, the choices were made and carried through independently by the Justice Department.

"It’s very important that the attorney general make sure that there’s no political influence at stake involved in that — and there wasn’t," Barr said.

NPR’s Steve Inskeep asked Barr about the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, in which the Justice Department dropped charges even after Flynn’s guilty plea; about the firing of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in New York City; and about others.

Barr faulted what he called “irregularities” in the Flynn case that he said made it appropriate for him to resolve it by scrapping the prosecution. And he denied that there was anything suspicious about the replacement of Berman, including any connection to ongoing investigations that might involve associates of Trump.

"Anytime you make a personnel move, conspiracy theorists will suggest that there’s some ulterior motive involved," Barr said.


#339

Seems like if you work within the T organization or help them in any way, you are sitting pretty in terms of getting contractual rewards. Here’s a $2.4 million dollar contract given to a White House ‘volunteer,’ with little to no medical exerience. ProPublica uncovers this kind of grift.

A $2.4 million deal to supply the Bureau of Prisons with surgical gowns was the second multimillion dollar contract for coronavirus supplies that went to somebody who did work for the White House but had little relevant experience.

A company created by a former Pentagon official who describes himself as a White House volunteer for Vice President Mike Pence won a $2.4 million dollar contract in May — its first federal award — to supply the Bureau of Prisons with surgical gowns.

Mathew J. Konkler, who worked in the Department of Defense during the George W. Bush administration, formed BlackPoint Distribution Company LLC in August 2019 in Indiana, state records show, but had won no federal work until May 26. The Bureau of Prisons chose the company with limited competition for a contract to supply surgical gowns to its facilities.

It is at least the second contract awarded to a company formed by an individual who had worked in or volunteered for the Trump administration; a company formed by Zach Fuentes, a former White House deputy chief of staff, won a $3 million contract just days after forming to supply face masks to the Indian Health Service. The masks did not meet FDA standards for use in health care settings, and an IHS spokesman said this week that the agency is trying to return the masks to Fuentes. Members of Congress called for investigations into the contract, and the Government Accountability Office now plans to review the deal “in the coming few months, as staff become available,” spokesman Charles Young said last week.


#340

:boom:

https://twitter.com/jimsciutto/status/1276568816227692545?s=20

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that President Trump did not have the legal power to siphon money from the Pentagon to build his border wall, erecting another legal hurdle in the path of his most flamboyant campaign promise.

The 2-1 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes just two days after Mr. Trump visited the wall in Arizona, signing his name to a plaque marking 200 miles of construction during his term.

In the new decision Judge Sidney R. Thomas, a Clinton appointee, said the wall is not a military project, so Mr. Trump couldn’t transfer $2.5 billion in military money over to the border project.


(Lynn) #341

And the hits just keep on coming…:exploding_head:

https://twitter.com/ProjectLincoln/status/1277034391710113793


#342

Biden Criticizes Trump Over Intelligence on Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops

There’s two stories here, read, more follow up on what Trump knew and when he knew it.

About six hours later on Saturday night, the director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, issued a statement echoing the White House’s assertion that Mr. Trump had not been briefed on the intelligence finding.

But one American official had told The Times that the intelligence finding that the Russians had offered and paid bounties to Afghan militants and criminals had been briefed at the highest levels of the White House.

Another said it was included in the President’s Daily Brief, a written document which draws from spywork to make analytic predictions about longstanding adversaries, unfolding plots and emerging crises around the world. The briefing document is given to the president to read and they serve as the basis for oral briefings to him several times a week.

Asked on Saturday evening how the president could not have known about the report if it had been in his daily brief, a National Security Council spokesman did not immediately respond.

Ms. McEnany notably did not question the substance of the intelligence assessment, saying only that her statement “did not speak to the merit of the alleged intelligence.” She also did not challenge the Times’s reporting that the National Security Council had convened an interagency meeting about what to do about the report in late March.

Ms. McEnany did not explain why such an important report would have been withheld from Mr. Trump. Nor did she indicate whether Mr. Trump was upset at his subordinates for purportedly withholding the information from him.

I think it’s safe to say, the President doesn’t read his daily briefings.


#343

As Joe would say (and it is his code word for being the ‘nice’ guy) “it is a bunch of malarky.”

#SelectiveReasoning #SeeNoEvilProtectAFriend

More and more horrible events happening with ‘do nothing’ responses. Ratcliffe is a #1 T loyalist and not around at the time of the briefing. He will CYA for the president…

Reporters have said that this ‘intel’ was leaked by NSC because nothing was being done about it. (Maddow show 6.26.20)

The officials familiar with the intelligence did not explain the White House’s delay in deciding how to respond to the intelligence about Russia.