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Tag: Attorney General

Barr Appoints U.S. Attorney to Investigate Origins of Russia Probe

U.S. Attorney John Durham.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr has assigned a U.S. prosecutor to examine what prompted the Russia probe and whether federal authorities overstepped their authority in investigating the Trump campaign, the AP and New York Times report.

The appointment of John Durham, a Republican and U.S. attorney in Connecticut, comes a month after Barr told members of Congress that he believed “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has defended the bureau’s involvement, saying he was unaware of anyone overstepping their authority to investigate the Trump campaign in 2016.

Trump has long claimed the investigation was a “witch hunt” by “angry Democrats.”

A person familiar with the appointment told the AP that Barr wants to determine whether the investigation into Trump’s campaign was “lawful and appropriate.”

The Justice Department’s inspector general is conducting a similar investigation, which is expected to be completed in May or June.

Durham’s long career includes investigating national security officials and whether they act appropriately during their inquiries.

How Democrats Plan to Continue Fight over Mueller Report And Defiant Trump Officials

Former special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The fight over the Robert Mueller report is far from over.

After Democrats threatened to impose fines on Attorney General William Barr for refusing to turn over the full, unredacted report, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., expressed optimism that Mueller would testify before Congress.

“The American people have a right to hear what the man who did the investigation has to say and we now know we certainly can’t rely on the attorney general who misrepresented his conclusions,” the House Intelligence Committee chairman said on “This Week” Sunday. “So he is going to testify.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Schiff also said Democrats are not backing down from imposing fines and holding contempt hearings against Trump officials who refuse to comply with congressional subpeonas.

“We’re are going have to use that device if necessary, we’re going to have to use the power of the purse if necessary,” he said. “We’re going to have to enforce our ability to do oversight.”

Also on Sunday, Schiff said he fears the country cannot “survive another four years” of Trump.

“I don’t think this country could survive another four years of a president like this, who gets up every day trying to find new and inventive ways to divide us,” the congressman cautioned. “He doesn’t seem to understand that a fundamental aspect of his job is to try to make us a more perfect union. But that’s not at all where he’s coming from.”

Here’s What House Democrats Can Do Next After Panel Approved Contempt for Barr

AG William Barr.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The House Judiciary Committee approved a contempt resolution Wednesday after Attorney General William Barr refused to disclose Robert Mueller’s full, unredacted report, but that’s only the first step.

What options do Democrats have left?

The committee on Wednesday essentially recommended that the full House hold Bar in contempt of Congress, and that seems more likely as Democrats grow frustrated with the attorney general’s continued insistence that he will not disclose the unredacted report. President Trump also invoked executive privilege over the report.

If the full House approves the contempt resolution and the records still aren’t turned over, Democrats could then ask the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia or the Justice Department to charge Barr for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena. They also could ask a court to enforce the subpoena, or they have the authority to call on their sergeant at arms to arrest Barr.

The House and Senate have the authority to seek jail time for people who violate congressional orders, but that hasn’t happened in nearly a century, The Atlantic reports. Then again, these aren’t ordinary times.

“Its day in the sun is coming,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told the Atlantic.

“This is not some peripheral schoolyard skirmish,” Raskin added. “This goes right to the heart of our ability to do our work as Congress of the United States.”

If Democrats don’t seek to hold Barr accountable, they could begin impeachment hearings, but that option is becoming less likely.

Whatever the case, Democrats made the first step Wednesday. What happens next is anyone’s guess.

FBI Director Wray Defends Bureau, Says No Evidence ‘Spying’ Occurred

FBI Director Christopher Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray distanced himself from Attorney General William Barr, saying Tuesday he’s unaware of any illegal surveillance and that he doesn’t use the politically charged term “spying.”

“That’s not the term I would use,” Wray told senators at a budget hearing when asked about Barr’s allegations that the bureau may have abused their powers in investigating Trump’s campaign.

The question came from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who said he “was very concerned by” Barr’s “use of the word spying, which I think is a loaded word.”

Wray also was asked if he had “any evidence that any illegal surveillance” of Trump’s campaign occurred.

“I don’t think I personally have any evidence of that sort,” Wray said.

The FBI director also offered to help explain to Barr how the Russia investigation began.

House Committee Sets Contempt Hearing for AG Barr

Attorney General William Barr testified before Senate committee.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The House Judiciary Committee is planning to vote Wednesday on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena to turn over special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report by Monday’s deadline.

But first, committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., has agreed to meet with Justice Department officials to “negotiate” the report’s release, Axios reports.

In a letter to Nadler on Monday, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd reminded Nadler that he and the committee have been offered to look at an “even-less-redacted version” of the report.

Barr failed to meet the committee’s demands to turn over the full report Monday, and he also did not appear at a hearing last week focused on the Mueller report.

“Although the Committee has attempted to engage in accommodations with Attorney General Barr for several months, it can no longer afford to delay, and must resort to contempt proceedings,” the contempt resolution reads.

Comey Suggests to Barr That Trump ‘Has Eaten Your Soul’

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey slammed Attorney General William Barr’s handling of the Robert Mueller report on Russian interference in the presidential election.

In an op-ed in The New York Times on Wednesday, Comey questions how a “bright and accomplished lawyer” like Barr could downplay obstruction of justice and other disturbing findings in the Mueller report.

Comey attempts to answer the question, suggesting accomplished people’s “proximity to an amoral leader” and their “lacking inner strength” can make it difficult to “resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from.”

Comey says leaders must make “compromises” and adopt his language and “praise his leadership” to avoid termination.

“And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul,” Comey concluded.

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.

Read Deputy AG Rosenstein’s Full Letter of Resignation, Ending 2 Tumultuous Years as DOJ’s No. 2

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, via Justice Department.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein submitted his letter of resignation to President Trump on Monday, ending two years as the No. 2 at the Justice Department.

His resignation is effective May 11.

“I am grateful to you for the opportunity to serve; for the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations; and for the goals you set in your inaugural address: patriotism, unity, safety, education and prosperity,” Rosenstein wrote.

Jeffrey Rosen, who served as second in charge at the U.S. Department of Transportation, is expected to take Rosenstein’s place as long as he’s confirmed by the Senate.

Rosenstein served two tumultuous years after he appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the presidential election. The appointment enraged Trump.

Attorney General William Barr applauded Rosenstein for his long career in federal law enforcement.

“Over the course of his distinguished government career, he has navigated many challenging situations with strength, grace, and good humor,” Barr said in a statement. “Rod has been an invaluable partner to me during my return to the Department, and I have relied heavily on his leadership and judgment over the past several months.”

Read Rosenstein’s full letter of resignation here:

Rosenstein Resignation Letter by on Scribd