MUSINGS ON BARR AND HIS DOJ


Hapless Bill Barr

America’s Department of Justice under Bob Barr is a hot mess. Yes it is. As of today, Wednesday December 2, 2020 there are three stories coming from there that under an ordinary administration would be a big deal but under the criminal enterprise known as the Trump administration receive a regular ho-hum.

In the midst of Trump still contesting the elections in ways that are as scandalous as anything he’s ever done, Barr came out to say his department hasn’t seen anything that would change the outcome of the 2020 elections to say Trump should be the winner and not Biden. It doesn’t take much to know that would upset the petulant CiC. Barr has done whatever he could to please Trump; even before the Nov 3rd elections he gave US Attorneys Generals the ability to take overt steps to pursue allegations of “vote tabulation irregularities” in certain cases before results were certified. We know Trump took that as a sign to openly, unilaterally declare voter fraud throughout the process of the elections. It didn’t help that Christopher Cox Krebs the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency came out shortly after the elections to say the structural integrity of the elections was sound, there was no fraud and the results were certifiable. With that leg of government openly in defiance of Trump’s scheme to declare the process irredeemably null and void, Barr could more easily make his assertion that all was well with the vote.

Like most everything else about this administration, it can’t seem to get out of its own way. The news that the Attorney General thought the elections were legitimate was eclipsed by two other newsworthy events: Barr’s announcement he had appointed Connecticut US Attorney John Durham to act as special counsel investigating whether intelligence and law enforcement violated the law in investigating the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and the news coming out of the DC Superior Court of a criminal investigation into an age old Trump pay for play scheme involving presidential pardons. First off, John Durham was supposed to have completed his investigation if all went according to Trump’s plans just in time to influence the 2020 elections with news that the previous administration and by extension Biden had illegally conducted an investigation into Trump’s campaign and that all things Russia were really the hoaxes Trump always said they were. Trouble is Durham didn’t follow Trump’s timeline and his handling encountered what appeared to be an image problem when one of his assistants, an equally reputable Attorney General Nora Dannenhy quit during the investigation. An unidentified colleagues of Dannehy’s, said she resigned partly out of concern that the top of the Justice Department, i. e. Bill Barr was pressuring Durham’s team to produce results before the election for maximum effect for Donald Trump.

John Durham

I tweeted that Barr’s intent with this appointment was to leave Durham as a burr under the saddle of a Biden Administration, much like some viewed Robert Mueller’s tenure during the early period of Trump’s term a sort of ‘right back at ya’ gesture. Some said that the special counsel appointment means Durham will be around for as long as Trump’s Deep State-ers want him to be, playing the role of political gadfly to Biden’s flank providing information for demonic Republicans to enhance their own or Trump’s future political aspirations. Republicans have already lined up to say to Biden to allow Durham to do his apolitical work as if his appointment by Barr was about anything but politics. But once again, this Administration has proven itself to be inept because it could be argue Durham’s appointment is in violation of § 600.3 Qualifications of the Special Counsel which states in its entirety

(a) An individual named as Special Counsel shall be a lawyer with a reputation for integrity and impartial decisionmaking, and with appropriate experience to ensure both that the investigation will be conducted ably, expeditiously and thoroughly, and that investigative and prosecutorial decisions will be supported by an informed understanding of the criminal law and Department of Justice policies. The Special Counsel shall be selected from outside the United States Government. Special Counsels shall agree that their responsibilities as Special Counsel shall take first precedence in their professional lives, and that it may be necessary to devote their full time to the investigation, depending on its complexity and the stage of the investigation.

(b) The Attorney General shall consult with the Assistant Attorney General for Administration to ensure an appropriate method of appointment, and to ensure that a Special Counsel undergoes an appropriate background investigation and a detailed review of ethics and conflicts of interest issues. A Special Counsel shall be appointed as a “confidential employee” as defined in 5 U.S.C. 7511(b)(2)(C).

A Biden Attorney General could successfully, safely fire Durham because his appointment goes against the conditions for having a special counsel, that is he is within government as the Attorney General for Conneticutt and if Republicans insist appoint someone of his/her own choosing not a Trump partisan. Trump’s penchant for poorly selected appointees and acting directors has gotten him in trouble before. An acting Attorney General, Mathew Whitaker who was a shady spokesman for toilets for well endowed men or Chad Wolf who a federal judge in New York ruled that as acting homeland security secretary Wolf lacked the authority to limit the work permits of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children because his appointment to the top position in the department did not appear to be lawful are just some examples of how disastrous Trump has been about employing the best people to do the jobs for which they are appointed. One could make the argument that keeping Durham as special counsel would taint whatever conclusions he is able to make because his appointment is illegal; that would be par for the course for this inept administration.

Finally there’s this from Trump’s own DOJ

The Justice Department in August investigated a potential “bribery-for-pardon” scheme in which a large political contribution would be offered in exchange for a presidential pardon by the White House, according to court records unsealed Tuesday.

The documents show that U.S. prosecutors were scrutinizing whether two individuals approached senior White House officials as unregistered lobbyists, and a related scheme in which cash would be funneled through intermediaries for a pardon or reprieve of a sentence for a defendant apparently in Federal Bureau of Prisons custody at some point.

Is there any doubt who the “senior White House officials” are in the Trump White House? Who is it Trump trusts the most to help him maneuver in his daily life other than his family? When this latest news story emerged from the the DOJ talk of Trump pardoning his family members also surfaced and one has to ask whether the two stories are related. Regardless what’s extraordinary is a Trump justice department had opened an investigation into whether his family (yes I know it’s not revealed it was his family members who were approached but the original charge papers were heavily redacted) was the focal point for Trump’s customary pay for play, quid pro quo schemes he’s been involved in all his life. From his charities which have been shut down to other business ventures that were recipients of financial contributions for services promised that weren’t delivered like Trump University Trump has begged for money and promised to give something in return which he never did or he misled contributors into giving him money . In other words, not much has changed in the way Trump does business. His sole intent is to enrich himself at other people’s expense; he does so by seeking out people whose only job is to give him what he wants at all costs even that cost is illegal; he does not care how the ends are met. Trump has turned a professional justice department into an inept bunch of Trump spokes people who go about doing his bidding, sometimes at great risk to themselves for being insulted or thrown under the bus by Trump. The latest news coming out of DOJ is not pretty but it’s all Trump’s doing. No Deep State here, only Trump’s own ego, narcissism that’s gotten in the way and become his downfall.

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