NPR reporter tells us the follow-up on T firing Berman…and the coercion/lies that AG Barr was involved with.
Excerpt from NYT above
Trump Fires Berman After Tensions Rose Over Inquiries - The New York Times
“While there have always been turf battles between the Southern District and the Justice Department in Washington, and occasionally sharp elbows, to take someone out suddenly while they’re investigating the president’s lawyer, it is just unprecedented in modern times,” said David Massey, a defense attorney, who served as a Southern District prosecutor for nearly a decade.
A spokesman for the office said Mr. Berman would not immediately comment.
The struggle over Mr. Berman came amid a broader purge of administration officials, one that has intensified in the months since the Republican-led Senate acquitted Mr. Trump at an impeachment trial. Since the beginning of the year, the president has fired or forced out inspectors general with independent oversight over executive branch agencies and other key figures from the trial.
Kevin Hassett to leave White House [Again] this summer
White House adviser Kevin Hassett will leave the administration this summer, after returning in March to help the president respond to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, according to two administration officials.
Mike Griffin, the Pentagon’s first undersecretary of research and engineering, and his deputy, Lisa Porter, will leave July 10.
Well I totally missed this!
Over Memorial Day weekend, Attorney General William Barr removed a low-profile US attorney in Texas following the public airing of a dispute over an investigation into Walmart – a move that didn’t draw the same attention as the firing of the high-profile US attorney in Manhattan, but is now raising new questions about political interference inside the Justice Department.
Joseph Brown, the US attorney for the Eastern District of Texas and a Trump appointee, was pushed out after ProPublica published a nearly 7,000-word storyheadlined “Walmart was almost charged criminally over opioids. Trump appointees killed the indictment,” which described an internal battle over a Texas prosecutor’s efforts to bring criminal charges against Walmart, according to people familiar with the matter. Walmart has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Late last month, Brown was contacted by a Justice Department official in Washington and given an ultimatum, he could resign or it would go “differently,” according to a person familiar with the exchange.
The official didn’t explain why Washington officials wanted Brown to leave, according to the person, "but it was clear it was related to ProPublica. That’s the only explanation.”
And a twofer!
Joshua Russ, the assistant US attorney in Texas overseeing the civil investigation and the co-head of a Justice Department working group, resigned in October after the civil investigation stalled.
In his resignation letter, which was published by ProPublica, Russ wrote, “I appreciate that there are rational disagreements about how best to proceed, and I respect those divergent views. However, I deeply regret that Department leadership prevented EDTX from filing its lawsuit in 2018.”
Brown was replaced by Stephen J Cox, a Barr pick who ran the civil division in Washington. According to ProPublica, when Texas prosecutors wanted to file a civil lawsuit against Walmart Cox was among the Washington officials who said it wasn’t ready.
The Federal Election Commission is losing its short-lived quorum after Caroline Hunter, a longtime Republican commissioner of the FEC and former chair of the agency, is resigning, according to a resignation letter obtained by POLITICO.
Her departure from the agency means that the FEC will be unable to make major enforcement actions.
White House Economist Tested Positive for Covid-19
Tomas Philipson said this week he would depart as acting chairman of Council of Economic Advisers
White House liaison to Hill out amid allegations of contacts with lobbyists
Chris Cox, President Donald Trump’s top liaison to the House of Representatives, has told associates he is leaving the White House, 15 hours after POLITICO raised questions about his alleged contacts with a former lobbying client while in government.
On multiple occasions, Cox suggested while working in the White House that he was collecting intelligence or doing work after speaking to representatives and lobbyists from corporate interests, multiple sources said. White House spokesman Judd Deere defended the practice in Playbook’s afternoon editionThursday. “I’m not seeing anything nefarious here,” he said.
A top terrorism fighter’s dire warning
Russell Travers, the former head of the U.S. government’s hub for analysis of counterterrorism intelligence, was so alarmed that he shared his concerns with the intelligence community’s top internal watchdog in his final weeks on the job.
“I think there are really important questions that need to be addressed, and I don’t think they have been thus far,” said Travers, who ran the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) until March of this year. “And that has me worried, because I do think we could very easily end up back where we were 20 years ago.”
Travers detailed his concerns, much of which remain highly classified, to the intelligence community’s inspector general. About a week later, he was summarily ousted, he says — and the Trump administration official who fired him didn’t explain why.
ICE chief to depart agency
Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting Director Matt Albence is retiring from the agency he has led since last year, according to a Department of Homeland Security official.
A longtime career law enforcement official, Albence has filled the top spot at the agency multiple times during the Trump administration as leadership at ICE – an agency under DHS – has shifted.
Reopened, Fire away Mr President, I’m ready.
How a veteran’s secret podcast put her in the Trump administration’s crosshairs
I did listen for a long while…Mueller She Wrote. She had excellent podcasts with very noteable people - Ex FBI Andy McCabe became a fan.
I like her sense of humor. I listened too. It’s was a funny show.
DHS removes official who oversaw intelligence reports on journalists
The Department of Homeland Security is removing its top intelligence official from his post amid criticism of his office’s role in the civil unrest in Portland, Oregon. Brian Murphy, who has been the acting chief of DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), is being removed from that role, a person familiar with the matter confirmed to POLITICO. The person said acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf made the decision.
Missed one, thanks
State Department watchdog resigns in another shake-up at IG’s office
The internal State Department watchdog, whom President Trump installed after the previous inspector general was abruptly fired, has resigned, the department said in a statement, marking another significant shake-up for an office sworn to investigate malfeasance and wrongdoing.
Stephen Akard’s departure, which will be effective Friday, was announced to staff members by his deputy, Diana R. Shaw, who told colleagues that she will become the temporary acting inspector general.
Iran Envoy Brian Hook, a ‘Survivor’ on Trump’s Team, to Quit
Brian Hook, the State Department’s special envoy for Iran and one of the few national security officials to survive the turmoil in the foreign policy team through most of President Trump’s term, plans to announce Thursday that he is resigning his post.
The departure of Mr. Hook, 52, appears to bury any remaining chance of a diplomatic initiative with Iran before the end of Mr. Trump’s term. In the four years during which Mr. Hook became the face of United States sanctions against Tehran, Mr. Hook also held out the possibility of resuming direct talks, the way the Obama administration had.
But to the Iranians — and to some of his critics in Europe and at home — Mr. Hook was merely a defender of a policy meant to break the country and force it to the table to renegotiate a deal they had reached, and complied with, with the Obama administration in 2015.
Postal Service overhauls leadership as Democrats press for investigation of mail delays
Twenty-three postal executives were reassigned or displaced, the new organizational chart shows. Analysts say the structure centralizes power around DeJoy, a former logistics executive and major ally of President Trump, and de-emphasizes decades’ worth of institutional postal knowledge. All told, 33 staffers included in the old postal hierarchy either kept their jobs or were reassigned in the restructuring, with five more staffers joining the leadership from other roles.
The reshuffling threatens to heighten tensions between postal officials and lawmakers, who are troubled by delivery delays — the Postal Service banned employees from working overtime and making extra trips to deliver mail — and wary of the Trump administration’s influence on the Postal Service as the coronavirus pandemic rages and November’s election draws near.