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Tag: William Barr

Trump to Nominate Tim Shea as New Acting Administrator of DEA

Tim Shea

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Tim Shea, the top federal prosecutor in Washington D.C. and a former senior adviser to Attorney General William Barr, will soon be tapped to become the DEA administrator, ABC News reports, citing an administration official.

President Trump plans to replace him with Justin Herdman, the U.S. attorney in Cleveland.

Shea oversaw the Justice Department’s move to drop charges against Michael Flynn, the president’s former national security adviser. He also played a significant role in reversing the sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally.

Shea will replace Uttam Dhillon, who was serving as acting DEA administrator. Dhillon will be transferred to a senior leadership position in the Justice Department.

Judge in Flynn Case Appoints Ex-Judge to Look Into Case After DOJ Moves to Drop It

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan/court photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In a case riddled with unusual twists, the federal judge in Washington overseeing the case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn has appointed a former prosecutor and judge to oversee and oppose the Justice Department’s effort to drop the case, the New York Times reports.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Washington appointed former judge, John Gleeson, who is also a former federal prosecutor. Flynn pleaded guilty twice to lying to investigators as part of a larger probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. He later tried to withdraw his plea.

Last week, in what many considered a highly unusual move, the Justice Department moved to drop the charges. Subsequently, critics including former federal prosecutors, accused Attorney General William Barr of undermining the rule of law.
Sullivan’s appointment complicates the DOJ’s move to dismiss the case.

Former DOJ Official Claims Barr Twisted Her Words to Drop Charges Against Michael Flynn

Former acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary McCord.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Mary McCord, former career Justice Department official, said Attorney General William Barr twisted her words to argue that former national security adviser Michael Flynn should not be prosecuted for lying to the FBI.

McCord, who oversaw the early stages of the Russia investigation, said in a New York Times op-ed Sunday that the DOJ’s motion to dismiss the charges largely hinged on her account about what led up to the bureau’s interview with Flynn, who was President Trump’s first national security adviser.

“The account of my interview in 2017 doesn’t help the department support this conclusion, and it is disingenuous for the department to twist my words to suggest that it does,” McCord wrote. “What the account of my interview describes is a difference of opinion about what to do with the information that Mr. Flynn apparently had lied to the incoming vice president, Mr. Pence, and others in the incoming administration about whether he had discussed the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia in his calls with (Russia’s then ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Those apparent lies prompted Mr. Pence and others to convey inaccurate statements about the nature of the conversations in public news conferences and interviews.”

McCord acknowledged the FBI should have coordinated Flynn’s interview with the Justice Department, but said she does not believe the agencies lacked a reason to suspect Flynn may have violated crimes.

“It has no bearing on whether Mr. Flynn’s lies to the F.B.I. were material to the clear counterintelligence threat posed by the susceptible position Mr. Flynn put himself in when he told Mr. Pence and others in the new administration that he had not discussed the sanctions with Mr. Kislyak. The materiality is obvious,” she concluded.

McCord concluded, “In short, the report of my interview does not anywhere suggest that the FBI’s interview of Mr. Flynn was unconstitutional, unlawful or not “tethered” to any legitimate counterintelligence purpose.”

Justice Department Moves to Drop Criminal Case Against Michael Flynn, Drawing Criticism

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department dropped its criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, citing documents detailing how FBI officials planned to handle a January 2017 interview with Flynn.

The decision to recommend that a judge dismiss the case drew immediate criticism from legal experts and Democrats, who raised serious questions about the motivations of the DOJ and Attorney General William Barr.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian diplomat and even cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

In documents filed Thursday in federal court in Washington D.C., the Justice Department said, “The Government has concluded that the interview of Mr. Flynn was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn,” NBC News reports.

“The Government is not persuaded that the January 24, 2017 interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue,” the filing said.

The decision follows the release of an internal review into the handling of the case. Flynn’s lawyers claimed the review shows Flynn had been entrapped into lying when FBI agents interviewed him.

Trump applauded the DOJ’s recommendation.

“I didn’t know that was happening at this moment. I felt it was going to happen just by watching and seeing like everybody else does,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

“He was an innocent man,” he said of Flynn. “He is a great gentleman.”

The move was “outrageous,” chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said.

“The evidence against General Flynn is overwhelming. He pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. And now a politicized and thoroughly corrupt Department of Justice is going to let the President’s crony simply walk away,” Nadler said in a statement.

Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, who responded to the DOJ’s actions by saying “This is not justice,” urged Justice Department lawyers not to resign.

“DOJ lawyers of integrity will be tempted to resign over today’s motion to dismiss the Flynn case,” McQuade tweeted. “My advice is to please stay. We need you instead of those who might replace you.”

The recommendation still needs to be approved by Judge Emmet Sullivan.

Barr Directs Prosecutors to Take Legal Actions Against ‘Overbearing’ Restrictions Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Attorney General William Barr

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr is directing federal prosecutors “to be on the lookout” for state and local stay-at-home orders that may be too restrictive.

“These kinds of restrictions have been necessary in order to stop the spread of a deadly disease — but there is no denying that they have imposed tremendous burdens on the daily lives of all Americans,” Barr said in a memo titled, “Blanacing Public Safety with the Preservation of Civil Rights,” issued Monday. “If a state or local ordinance crosses the line from an appropriate exercise of authority to stop the spread of COVID-19 into an overbearing infringement of constitutional and statutory protections, the Department of Justice may have an obligation to address that overreach in federal court.”

In the memo, acknowledged that restrictions may be necesssary to curb the spread of the coronavirus, “but there is no denying that they have imposed tremendous burdens on the daily lives of all Americans.”

At his daily news conference, Trump defended Barr’s actions.

“He wants to see people get back to work,” Trump said. “He does not want people to be held up when there is no reason for doing it.”

Read the full memo here.

Barr: DOJ May Intervene in States’ Stay-at-Home Orders Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

AG William Barr in Detroit, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Most epidemiologists and public health experts agree that reopening states’ economies too quickly could cause a significant surge in COVID-19 infections.

But Attorney General William Barr warned Tuesday that the Justice Department may intervene in some states’ restrictions, saying they are placing “unprecedented burdens on civil liberties right now.”

“You know, the idea that you have to stay in your house is disturbingly close to house arrest,” Barr said during an interview on The Hugh Hewitt Show. “I’m not saying it wasn’t justified. I’m not saying in some places it might still be justified. But it’s very onerous, as is shutting down your livelihood.”

Barr said the restrictions may go too far by interfering with interstate commerce.

The debate has pitted President Trump against most governors, who want to continue enforcing the orders until there’s a significant decline in coronavirus cases and an adequate supply of testing kits. The coronavirus has swept across the U.S., killing more than 45,000 people.

AG Barr Pictured with Australian Minister Who Tested Positive for Coronavirus

Attorney General William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A senior Australian minister who tested positive for the coronavirus and was quarantined Friday met just days ago with Attorney General William Barr in Washington D.C.

Australian’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Barr were in a picture together, along with Ivanka Trump, on March 6. Both officials were attending a meeting with members of the Five Eyes Security Pact, which includes U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, USA Today reports.

It wasn’t clear when Dutton became sick or whether he had additional contact with Barr.

On Saturday, a senior adviser to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro posed for a photo with President Trump at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida. Bolsonaro has since tested positive for the coronavirus.

Judge Orders Review of Barr’s Report, Criticizes AG’s ‘Lack of Candor’

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A federal judge ordered the Justice Department to turn over an unredacted copy of the Mueller report after sharply rebuking Attorney General William Barr’s “lack of candor” in his handling of the special counsel report.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said Barr issued a “distorted” and “misleading” account of the report’s findings, The New York Times and other media reported.

Walton bluntly said Barr couldn’t be trusted because of “inconsistencies” between his public statements about the report and the public, partially redacted version of it.

The judge plans to review the unredacted report to determine the justification for the information that was blacked out.

The inconsistencies “cause the court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller report to the contrary,” wrote Walton, an appointee of President George W. Bush.

The judge’s decision came as part of a lawsuit filed by EPIC, a watchdog group, and BuzzFeed News.

The judge’s criticism of Barr is just the latest rebuke of an attorney general who has been accused of politicizing the attorney general’s office.