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Archive for May 1st, 2019

Lengel: Attorney General William Barr, the Shameful Lapdog

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

I’ve always been intrigued by the Attorneys General and how they manage to navigate between serving the people and being loyal to the president who appointed them.

Watching Attorney General William Barr in recent weeks brings me to the conclusion that he’s failed miserably at that job,  and done so with arrogance.

Barr, in order to save his job, has become President Donald Trump’s public relationships man.

His summary of the Robert Mueller report was clearly done with the intention of minimizing a two-year investigation by Robert Mueller and company.

But what was even more shameful was the press conference Barr had before releasing the report, something I would have expected from Richard Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell. And we all know where Mitchell ended up.

Interestingly, I had the lowest of expectations when it came to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Trump. I thought Sessions would easily roll over for Trump.

Though I didn’t agree with some of his policies, surprisingly, Sessions recused himself and maintained the integrity of the office, even after he was repeatedly humiliated by Trump via Twitter.

In his short time in office, Barr has made it clear holding on to such a powerful position is far more important than holding on to his integrity. It happens inside the Beltway. Power trumps any monetary rewards guys like Barr can earn at a fancy law firm.

An attorney general has to be willing to be fired or resign rather than be a lapdog for the president.

Someone close to Barr needs to tell him that.

Though at this point it may be too late.

 

5 Takeaways from Attorney General Barr’s Testimony about Mueller Report

Attorney General William Barr testifies on Wednesday.

Attorney General William Barr was defiant Wednesday while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Here are five takeaways from the hearing:

1. Calls for Barr to resign

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, demanded Barr resign, accusing him of lying to Congress and covering up for President Trump.

“You lied to Congress.” Hirono said. “Now we know more about your deep involvement and trying to cover up for Donald Trump. Being attorney general of the United States is a sacred trust. You have betrayed that trust. America deserves better. You should resign.”

2. “Misleading” testimony

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, accused Barr of “purposely misleading” the committee when he suggested he was “not aware of any challenge to the accuracy of the findings.”

Leahy pointed out that Mueller expressed his misgivings with Barr about his handling of the Mueller report.

“Mr. Barr, I feel that your answer was purposely misleading, and I think others do, too,” Leahy told the attorney general.

3. Barr suggests Trump ‘fully cooperated’

Barr insisted Trump “fully cooperated” with Mueller’s investigation, drawing criticism from Democrats.

Mueller’s report repeatedly indicated that Trump and his team failed to cooperate with a lot of the investigation and that the president refused to sit down for an interview.

The report states, “We again requested an in-person interview, limited to certain topics, advising the President’s counsel that ‘this is the President’s opportunity to voluntarily provide us with information for us to evaluate in the context of all of the evidence we have gathered.’ President Trump declined.”

4. Barr has no qualms with Mueller testifying 

When Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, asked Barr if Mueller should testify, Barr responded, “I already said publicly, I have no objection.”

But when Durbin asked if former White House counsel Don McGahn should testify, Barr said, “That’s a call for the President to make.”

Durbin responded, “Well, he’s a private citizen at this point.”

Barr said, “I assume he would be testifying about privileged matters.”

5. Barr refers to Mueller report as “my baby”

Barr testified that Mueller’s report was “my baby” after the special counsel turned it over to the Justice Department.

“His work concluded when he sent his work to the attorney general,” Barr said. “At that point, it was my baby, and I effective overrode the regulations, used discretion, to lean as far forward as I could to make that public. And it was my decision how and when to make it public, not Bob Mueller’s.”

Barr is scheduled to testify Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee.

Former Chief of FBI’s Financial Crimes Section Joins House Probe of Trump’s Business Dealings

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Patrick Fallon, the former chief of the FBI’s Financial Crimes Section, has been hired to help the House Intelligence Committee investigate President Trump’s financial dealings, two sources familiar with the move told The Daily Beast.

Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., hired Fallon, who started this week.
The committee is investigating whether Trump’s business dealings are influencing his decision as president, Schiff announced earlier this year.

“That pertains to any credible allegations of leverage by the Russians or the Saudis or anyone else,” Schiff told CNN.

Hiring Fallon was significant, said Frank Figliuzzi, former assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.

“The fact that the Committee has hired someone at the former senior executive service level from within the FBI’s Financial Crimes Section is significant, and to me denotes an effort to apply significant resources to examining and analyzing financial findings,” Figliuzzi said. “By the time you got to the head of the Financial Crimes section, you would have substantial white collar crime and global financial crime experience, both at the street level and the supervisory level. And his role at headquarters would have had him overseeing the bulk of all financial crime cases in the FBI.”

Mueller Expresses Frustration with AG Barr’s Characterization of Full Report on Russian Interference

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Robert Mueller shared his misgivings in a letter to the Justice Department about how Attorney General William Barr characterized the special counsel’s full report on the Russia investigation.

In a letter to the Justice Department in late March, Mueller expressed opposition to Barr’s summary, which President Trump used to claim he was exonerated of collusion and obstruction of justice, The Washington Post, CNN and The New York Times report.

Mueller complained to Barr that his summary to Congress “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the special counsel’s 448-page report, especially when it came to obstruction of justice.

“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote. “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

After Barr received the letter, he and Mueller, who are longtime friends, also spoke over the phone. Barr said he was pushing for the full report to be released as soon as the appropriate redactions were made.

The discovery of Mueller’s letter came one day before Barr is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. On Thursday, Barr is set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

Democrats are likely to hammer Barr over the rift between himself and Mueller.

In Barr’s summary, he said Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice. Barr concluded in his summary that he examined the evidence and concluded it was insufficient to rise to the level of charges.

Democrats are questioning whether Barr is acting like an independent, objective attorney general or the personal attorney for Trump.