For Trump, l'etat, c'est moi. Attorney General Barr does whatever he wants | Lloyd Green | Opinion

W elcome to law and order in the age of William Barr. Against the tableau of a raging pandemic and job market in freefall, on Thursday th...


Welcome to law and order in the age of William Barr. Against the tableau of a raging pandemic and job market in freefall, on Thursday the justice department announced that it would be dropping its case against Michael Flynn, the president’s short-tenured national security adviser.

The fact that Flynn had pleaded guilty and Donald Trump had previously accused him of lying to the vice-president no longer mattered. These days, Trump was claiming that Flynn had been exonerated and, after all, Barr was the president’s obedient servant. His tweets were Barr’s commands.

To be sure, Barr had already been there before with Trump and decades earlier with George HW Bush.

Little more than a year ago, after Robert Mueller had relayed his conclusions to the justice department, Barr issued a summary that distorted the special counsel’s report and turned them into a wholesale vindication of the president. When Mueller complained in writing of Barr’s deceit, Barr became “pissed”, thought Mueller’s letter “nasty” and felt personally “betrayed”. Supposedly, the two men had been friends.

But that wasn’t the end of his story. This past March, Barr also earned the ire of Reggie Walton, a George W Bush appointee to the federal bench. The judge “seriously” questioned Barr’s integrity and credibility. The court’s March 2020 opinion deployed words like “distorted” and “misleading” to drive the point home, not the language generally used to describe the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

To be sure, that was just another episode of Barr’s fealty to Trump. In February, Barr put his finger on the scale when it came to the sentencing of Roger Stone and overrode the recommendations of career prosecutors. For his valor, Barr won the president’s admiration. In a pre-8am tweet, Trump congratulated his attorney general and trashed Mueller, accusing him of lying to Congress.

Like Roy Cohn, Trump’s personal lawyer of yore, Barr had attended Horace Mann and Columbia. History can repeat itself, in more ways than one.

In the early 1990s, when Barr was George HW Bush’s attorney general he repeatedly ran political interference for the man who hired him. Confronted with congressional demands for copies of classified documents and that Barr appoint an independent counsel to investigate Iraqgate, the extension of government credits to Saddam Hussein’s regime before its invasion of Kuwait, Barr pushed back hard.

In a rebuke to congressional oversight, Barr refused to turn over the information. In a separate letter to the House judiciary committee, Barr denied the committee’s request for an independent counsel, tossing around such phrases as “not a crime”, “simply not criminal in any way”, “nothing illegal”, and “far from being a crime”. In essence, Republican presidents were legally off-limits, ditto their appointees.

But that wasn’t the end of Barr running interference for the elder Bush. After he lost his re-election bid to Bill Clinton, Barr successfully argued for the pardon of Caspar Weinberger, Ronald Reagan’s defense secretary, and others in the aftermath of the Iran-Contra scandal.

Then as now, Barr was attorney general: “I favored the broadest pardon authority,” said Barr. He added, “There were some people just arguing just for Weinberger. I said, ‘No – in for a penny, in for a pound.’”

Not every attorney general is the president’s handmaiden. Likewise, not every president is determined to ride roughshod over DoJ.

John Ashcroft, attorney general to George W Bush, refused to be steamrolled by the White House and declined to reauthorize “Stellar Wind”, a domestic surveillance program. At the time, Ashcroft was in a hospital intensive care unit. The fact that the president’s counsel and the White House chief of staff were hovering over his bed did not alter the outcome.

Indeed, unlike Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, the younger Bush recognized that presidential pardons were not baubles. Bush commuted the prison sentence meted out to Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, after a jury had convicted Libby of obstruction of justice and perjury in connection with an investigation of unauthorized leaks of the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA officer. But despite Cheney’s repeated requests for a pardon he was rebuffed.

At the time, Bill Burck, the deputy White House counsel, told the president: “You have to follow the law, and the law says if you say something that is untrue, knowingly, to a federal official in the context of a grand jury investigation and it is material to their investigation, that’s a crime.”

The favoritism and unfairness of the process “frustrated” Bush. Ultimately, the relationship between Bush and his vice-president took a permanent hit. As history would have it, Libby had represented Marc Rich, whose pardon further tarnished Clinton’s legacy

There is a coda. Trump subsequently pardoned Libby just as he pardoned Joe Arpaio, the Arizona sheriff found to be in contempt of court.

For Trump, l’état, c’est moi, and for Barr it’s pretty much what a Republican president says it is.



Source link

COMMENTS

Name

Africa,728,Americas,3909,Art & Culture,14227,Arts,6334,Arts & Design,1525,Asia,3115,Automobile,415,Baseball,502,Basketball,401,Books,3726,Business,5167,Celebrity,2593,Cricket,605,Crime,122,Cryptocurrency,1389,Dance,587,Defense,797,Diplomatic Relations,2451,Economy,1009,Editorial,260,Education,1118,Elections,291,Energy & Environment,2989,Entertainment,22088,Environment,3469,Europe,4064,Faith & Religion,206,Family & Life,775,Fashion & Style,3086,Finance,18979,Food & Drink,3576,Football,1027,Games,75,Gossip,10245,Health & Fitness,3917,Health Care,871,Hockey,181,Home & Garden,881,Humour,951,Latin America,49,Lifestyle,16230,Media,491,Middle East,1399,Movies,1581,Music,2486,Opinion,2734,Other,11233,Other Sports,4868,Political News,11236,Political Protests,2280,Politics,17282,Real Estate,1687,Relationship,63,Retail,3070,Science,2473,Science & Tech,9487,Soccer,159,Space & Cosmos,276,Sports,11401,Technology,3269,Tennis,505,Theater,1562,Transportation,276,Travel,2438,TV,3529,US Sports,1434,Video News,3531,War & Conflict,1026,Weird News,954,World,15567,
ltr
item
Newsrust: For Trump, l'etat, c'est moi. Attorney General Barr does whatever he wants | Lloyd Green | Opinion
For Trump, l'etat, c'est moi. Attorney General Barr does whatever he wants | Lloyd Green | Opinion
https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/1efc1917cea0e708c75218be8d2e9db2e6581c12/0_64_2874_1725/master/2874.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-align=bottom%2Cleft&overlay-width=100p&overlay-base64=L2ltZy9zdGF0aWMvb3ZlcmxheXMvdGctb3BpbmlvbnMucG5n&enable=upscale&s=87caaced3300ef1ff674470dd065369c
Newsrust
https://www.newsrust.com/2020/05/for-trump-letat-cest-moi-attorney.html
https://www.newsrust.com/
https://www.newsrust.com/
https://www.newsrust.com/2020/05/for-trump-letat-cest-moi-attorney.html
true
732247599994189300
UTF-8
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy Table of Content