Repercussions of T’s ire on those who were against him in his impeachment…
Here’s a nugget
We also learned on Tuesday that a Defense Department official who had been nominated to serve as the Pentagon’s chief financial officer would reportedly have that nomination withdrawn. Elaine McCusker was one of a number of officials who raised objections to Trump’s decision to hold aid to Ukraine last year as his team was pushing for the investigations Trump sought.
Trump’s War Against [Imaginary] ‘Deep State’ Enters a New Stage
I fixed this headline, the deep state isn’t real.
As far as President Trump is concerned, banishing Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman from the White House and exiling him back to the Pentagon was not enough. If he had his way, the commander in chief made clear on Tuesday, the Defense Department would now take action against the colonel, too.
“That’s going to be up to the military,” Mr. Trump told reporters who asked whether Colonel Vindman should face disciplinary action after testifying in the House hearings that led to the president’s impeachment. “But if you look at what happened,” Mr. Trump added in threatening terms, “I mean they’re going to, certainly, I would imagine, take a look at that.”
More axes are sure to fall. A senior Pentagon official appears in danger of losing her nomination to a top Defense Department post after questioning the president’s suspension of aid to Ukraine. Likewise, a prosecutor involved in Mr. Stone’s case has lost a nomination to a senior Treasury Department position. A key National Security Council official is said by colleagues to face dismissal. And the last of dozens of career officials being transferred out of the White House may be gone by the end of the week.
Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) sent a letter signed by 23 Judiciary Committee Democratic Members confirming Attorney General William Barr will testify before the Committee on March 31st to address numerous concerns regarding his leadership of the Department of Justice and the President’s improper influence over the Department and our criminal justice system.
Full text of the letter confirming Attorney General Barr’s testimony can be found below and here:
Thanks for fixing that headline. NYT should bring you in as a fact checker.
Here’s another term being tossed around in recent headlines about Trump’s mob-style behavior that’s really bugging me: “unleashed.” As in “Trump Unleashed” – that in no way conveys the heinous nature of what he’s actually doing – it’s just red meat for his base. It makes it sound like he has been liberated – as if all those pesky constitutional checks and balances were just getting in his way. What a crock.
The buck did stop there…with Congress. And flagrant misuse of power by T.
Former U.S. attorney Chuck Rosenberg, who has served in both Democratic and Republican administrations, said, “This president is not going to change. We need adults to step up and check his behavior. There was a demonstrated lack of spine recently in the United States Senate. Maybe they have a breaking point and maybe they don’t. One of the things that people said about this Congress is that they’ve lost their authority. That’s not true. They’ve just chosen not to exercise it.”
Susan Glasser* 's newest column: “The constraints are gone. The leverage is lost. One ABC News interview with a single Cabinet official is not going to restore it. Trump, unhinged and unleashed, may actually turn out to be everything we feared.”
Numerous House Democrats are now advocating for the House to solicit testimony from the four prosecutors involved in the initial recommendation for Stone, aides tell me. Four have withdrawn from the case, and one quit his job.
Two senior Democratic aides told me many House members want to see these hearings well in advance of Barr’s planned testimony to the Judiciary Committee on March 31.
“Time is of the essence, since this scandal gets worse by the hour,” one senior aide to a member of Judiciary told me, adding that hearing from the four prosecutors could help create “a record of what happened before Barr gets to set the narrative.”
Another senior House aide told me there’s a “pretty widespread sentiment” among members that the four prosecutors must be heard from, “to get the full story of what’s happening under Barr’s tenure.”
“Career prosecutors are quitting, and Congress needs to understand why,” this aide continued, adding that there’s an expectation that members might soon grow more public in this demand.
It’s not clear which committee might do this — it could be Judiciary or Oversight, which also played a role in the impeachment inquiry. It’s also not clear how open House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is to it. A senior Democratic leadership aide told me this has been discussed "at the staff level,” but no decisions have been made.
Yes, the story is murky…and a stitched together (plausible) explanation as to what might have happened, but made especially clear that Barr NEVER heard anything from T, and was NEVER aligning himself with T’s wishes. Baloney.
Here’s the thing…Barr is setting the story line…and waiting 6 weeks to give an explanation. But his allegiances to T are clear. Barr is his toadie.
ABC News’s Pierre Thomas pressed Barr on a question we’ve often asked here, which is how that could even happen? How could the attorney general be caught so off-guard by a recommendation he had been involved in?
“I’m afraid it’s one of those situations,” Barr said. “I’m confused, too. And I think it really was a situation of miscommunication.”
Okay, fair enough. Let’s take that at face value for now.
So what happened after that supposed miscommunication and after Barr overruled the prosecutors? All four of them withdrew from the case, one resigned from a temporary position in Shea’s office, and another resigned from the government entirely. It is obvious these withdrawals and resignations were in protest.
Given the resignations and the supposed miscommunication, it would seem like a situation that the attorney general would want to get to the bottom of. How did the miscommunication happen, after all, and why did the prosecutors see fit to lodge such a protest?
But Barr apparently isn’t terribly curious about it. He said not only that he hadn’t spoken to the prosecutors, but that he also hadn’t learned why they resigned:
THOMAS: And you know, people have pride, though, and you could see how they would see as a public rebuke. You think that’s part of why they resigned in protest from the case?
BARR: I don’t know why they resigned.
THOMAS: So you’ve not had a chance to talk to them?
To be clear, three of these prosecutors remain in Barr’s employ, which would make it rather easy for him to demand answers of them. At the time of his interview, it had also been two days since they had withdrawn and resigned. Barr is puzzled by how all of this went down, but he hasn’t sought information from them about how this all might have gone haywire and why they quit?
At best, that seems like a real lack of curiosity from the man in charge of the Justice Department. Even from strictly a management perspective, figuring out what happened would seem to be Job No. 1 for Barr right now.
And that’s if you accept that this was indeed just a miscommunication. The fact that they lodged such protests suggests there might be something more to it. Barr either couldn’t or wouldn’t shed any light on that on Thursday. Someone probably should.