In Defense Of Bill Barr

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on widespread accusations against Attorney General Bill Barr, including former prosecutors who called for his resignation before knowing all of the underlying facts. Critics have simply ignored reports that various Justice Department officials believed (as did many of us) that the original recommended sentence for Roger Stone was wildly out of proportion with the underlying crimes. They have also ignored indications that Trump’s controversial statements on the case came after a decision was made to modify the recommendation. Some have even gone as far to declare that Barr, who has served his country for decades, is “unAmerican.” Such hair-trigger attacks have become common in Washington, but there must remain some modicum of decency and restraint when so few of the facts are fully established.

Here is the column:

In the story by Franz Kafka, “In the Penal Colony,” an officer was standing next to a lethal punishing machine. When asked about his qualifications, he explained simply, “My guiding principle is this: Guilt is never to be doubted.” It seems many in Washington can claim the same Kafkaesque qualification this week when it comes to Attorney General William Barr.

After a Justice Department sentencing recommendation was withdrawn and replaced in the case of Roger Stone, Senator Elizabeth Warren said, “If that guy will not resign, then the House should start impeachment proceedings against him.” Not to be outdone, Representative Maxine Waters declared, “Bill Barr should not only be disbarred, but he, Donald Trump, and Roger Stone should be sharing a jail cell.”

What is most astonishing about the calls for impeachment, incarceration, and disbarment is that they ignore any countervailing information other than raw political manipulation of the Justice Department. Even more importantly, they ignore even the slightest possibility that the Justice Department may have done the right thing for the right reason.

More than 1,100 former Justice Department officials are calling on Barr to resign due to allegations of political interference. Notably, in expressing alarm over the threat to professional ethics, these lawyers did not feel it was necessary to learn critical details about the underlying controversy before warning of “future abuses” and “unlawful orders.” They show the same lack of interest in a fair process they accuse Barr of committing.

I have been a friend of Barr for years, and I also testified in favor of his confirmation before the Senate. Nevertheless, when this controversy erupted, I immediately stated that these concerns were legitimate and that an investigation is warranted. I still believe that. However, the calls for summary judgment ignore three key elements in reaching any conclusion, which are the timing, the merits, and the process.

THE TIMING

The calls for impeachment and incarceration began as most scandals do in the Trump administration with irresponsible tweets from the president. It was not surprising or unreasonable for critics to latch on to the timing of the tweets followed by the withdrawal of the sentencing recommendation and resignations of prosecutors in the Stone case.

However, both the White House and the Justice Department quickly stated that there was no communication between Trump and Barr regarding the case and that the decision to withdraw the recommendation was made previously. If true, Trump showed his uncanny ability to undermine his own administration and then magnified that damage with a type of “atta boy” for Barr after the recommendation was withdrawn.

Barr then gave a television interview criticizing tweets by the president about pending federal criminal cases as “making it impossible to do my job.” Critics seemed caught off guard for about five minutes, and then resumed their calls for his utter destruction. The interview did not fit their narrative of Barr being a witless Trump troll so it was ignored.

(Just for the record, also ignored in the coverage is how the Justice Department under Barr allowed the Russia investigations to proceed unimpeded despite continual tweets by the president, prosecuted and convicted various Trump associates, including Stone, over objections by the president, declined to charge either James Comey or Andrew McCabe despite demands by the president, continued to investigate Trump figures and related businesses, and has not only prosecuted but expanded the investigation of close associates of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.)

THE MERITS

Worse yet, many media analysts and legal experts ignored one relevant point, which is that Barr was correct. Justice Department prosecutors were wildly off base in their initial draconian recommendation of seven to nine years in prison for Stone. It was on the high end of the sentencing guidelines range, but only because prosecutors “stacked” counts against Stone, who is generally viewed as a clownish political provocateur. This time, what he has called his “performance art” went too far.

Before this controversy erupted, many of us, including critics of the Trump administration, described the sentencing recommendation as excessive. The new recommendation got it correct. It recommended that Stone be given prison time but not a maximum sentence. That is precisely what the court should do. In other words, the prosecutors got it wrong and the new recommendation did precisely what the Justice Department is supposed to do in advising a court honestly and fairly.

THE PROCESS

There are good faith reasons to question a Justice Department process that led to the resignation of multiple prosecutors after the lowering of a recommended sentence for a friend of the president. There also stands a legitimate question of why it was necessary to intervene in this particular case over a sentencing recommendation. However, there are reasons to be skeptical of the portrayals of a Justice Department commissariat slavishly carrying out orders by the president.

First and foremost, there is indeed nothing uncommon about the Justice Department criminal division supervising or even dictating the moves within a high profile federal case. You see, Main Justice has prosecutors too. The United States Attorney manual states, “If primary prosecutorial responsibility for a matter has been assumed by the criminal division or higher authority, the United States Attorney shall consult with the persons having primary responsibility before conducting grand jury proceedings, seeking indictment, or filing an information.”

It is not unprecedented for Main Justice to overrule local prosecutors. For example, in 2008 when President Obama was first running for the White House, prosecutors wanted to bring charges against Black Panthers who stood in front of polling places brandishing weapons. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department overruled them, despite a rather widespread view that the men were trying to intimidate voters. There were no calls to impeach or incarcerate Holder, who was widely viewed as one of the most political attorney generals in modern history.

Barr has explained that there was a “miscommunication” after a meeting at Main Justice where he believed it was understood that “we should not affirmatively recommend seven to nine years.” Instead, the prosecutors recommended that extreme sentence. According to some accounts, they made it over the objection of interim United States Attorney Tim Shea, a veteran prosecutor, who told Main Justice that he and other prosecutors considered the sentencing recommendation to be too harsh.

None of this means that there was no political interference or that there should not be an investigation. There are serious credible concerns to be investigated, and Barr has agreed to appear before Congress to answer those questions. However, the critics have shown the very same disregard for the facts, the merits, and the process that they ascribe to Barr.

I have my own presumptions and bias regarding Barr, based on decades of friendship. Yet neither affinity nor hostility should shape our analysis of this episode. So here is a novel suggestion. Before we impeach, disbar, and incarcerate Barr, maybe we should hear from him.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law for George Washington University and served as the last lead counsel during a Senate impeachment trial. He testified as a witness expert in the House Judiciary Committee hearing during the impeachment inquiry of President Trump.

339 thoughts on “In Defense Of Bill Barr”

  1. Quick on the draw with investigations of Trump and now Barr with no investigation of the political motives for the 7-9 year sentence? Swat team raid on Stone and Manafort. Despicable torture of Manafort via solitary confinement. Get some priorities Turley.

    1. OK, Lloyd, you need to stop watching Fox. Manafort’s “solitary confinement” consists of an actual suite of rooms that he does not share with another prisoner. He has a small library to himself, a computer with internet access and all the comforts of home (except, of course, no ostrich jacket and no “Just For Men” hair dye). It was done for his safety. He is not being tortured at all–he is being protected and he has it better than most federal prisoners. The only thing getting tortured here is the truth.

      The 7 to 9 year sentence comes from the Sentencing Guidelines, and apply to all persons convicted of the same offenses as Stone. There is a Sentencing Commission that meets and confers about the reasons for suggesting the range of sentences, and then publishes these guidelines. There can be no political motivation for following the guidelines, which is one reason for them in the first place: equal treatment of everyone convicted of the same offenses. Those with connections don’t get a better deal than someone without connections. In the end, it is up to the Judge, who can reject the recommendation entirely. There are multiple factors that go into the Judge’s decision on what sentence to impose. A couple that apply for Stone is his advanced age and lack of a criminal history. The Sentencing Guidelines and prosecutor recommendations are just two factors. This is another example of Trump displaying his disrespect for the rule of law. He got Barr to try to get the Judge to go softer on Stone. That is way out of line.

      Raids are done, with a warrant, issued by a judge, and based on probable cause to prevent the subject from destroying evidence, such as computer hard drives, activating a “self-destruct” feature for a hard drive (I’ve had a case in which this was done) flushing evidence down the toilet or setting documents on fire. Trump has this idea that his friends and campaign workers should receive special treatment. We all have seen how little he respects the law: he refuses to cooperate in any way, shape or form. That’s not how our criminal justice system works.

      1. Raids are done, with a warrant, issued by a judge, and based on probable cause to prevent the subject from destroying evidence, such as computer hard drives, activating a “self-destruct” feature for a hard drive (I’ve had a case in which this was done) flushing evidence down the toilet or setting documents on fire.

        Hillary: [through fits of cackling] Hold my beer!

  2. Ok, “Friend of Barr” why doesn’t he investigate why Mueller and his band of partisan Democrat prosecutors for obvious attempts to SUBORN PERJURY from Stone and Manafort through perjury traps and using phoney Ukraine evidence to re-open the tax case against Manafort. Are prosecutors above the law? Each and every prosecutor who commits misconduct should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Oh! That would make Barr’s job difficult. NO IT WOULD BE DOING HIS JOB! The DOJ is filth and you know it, Turley!

    1. More slop from Fox and Friends. There is no such thing as a “perjury trap”. All you have to do is tell the truth. No one can trap you into telling a lie. What is clear here is that Trump’s endless attacks on the rule of law are working.

      1. Natch is the face of the modern Democrat: attack, insult, denigrate and and all who stand in their way for lust for power.

        Thankfully the Democrats will not last as a party. They have gutted, slashed, stabbed and bludgeoned each other to death much like Natch does on here daily

  3. The Dems are acting as expected: total chaos, not unified, fragmented and gutter. The Dems today make the mafia look like amateurs

    Drudgereport headlines:

    Dem voters at watch parties unimpressed by Bloomberg’s first debate performance…
    Gets Savaged Seconds Into the Debate…
    Takes Direct Fire…
    attacked from all sides…
    Spent $200 Million to ‘Get His A** Handed to Him’…
    ‘Fat broads and horse-faced lesbians’: Warren calls out Bloomberg’s sexism on debate stage…
    Who Said It: Mike Bloomberg or Donald Trump?…

    Trump delights in Bloomberg ‘getting pounded’…
    Piles On Bloomberg Over ‘Stumbling, Bumbling, and Grossly Incompetent’ Debate Performance: ‘Perhaps the Worst’ in History…
    rallies supporters in Arizona…
    Kamala Harris: With All-White Debate, Everyone Is ‘Accountable’ On Black Maternal Health…
    Bernie Sanders campaign says demands for medical records similar to birther smear…

    IT’S WAR
    KNIVES OUT
    BLOOMBERG UNDER ATTACK
    #METOO MOMENT
    AGGRESSIVE VERBAL ASSAULT
    WARREN DESTROYS ‘ARROGANT BILLIONAIRE’
    …HE CALLS WOMEN ‘FAT BROADS’
    …‘HORSE-FACED LESBIANS’
    PIGEONS WEAR MAGA HATS

  4. Every exorcism follows the same path: the high priest, (Bill Barr) casts out the demons and they respond with howling, spitting, cursing and the expected. Barr will be fine and the country will be far better when these demons are cast into the herd of swine from which they came. Maybe they can run off a cliff in San Francisco. We hear the homeless are thriving in Pelosi’s district and the homeless deserve free bacon!

  5. Your first sentence says it all … Democrats for three years have had NO facts to sustain or support their smear campaigns against hundreds of people. Democrats don’t use their brain or facts – they only use their emotional lust for power and vengeance to try incite the masses with simplistic memes of hate – similar to Mao, Castro, Chavez, Lenin and (Yes – I have to say it) Hitler.

    However, though Barr is gentleman enough to come talk to these power lusting Democrats, I think he should ignore them, just as the best way to stop a 2 year old’s temper tantrum is to let them have it – by themselves!

  6. Since we conservatives are really going crazy over one-sided justice wouldn’t it help if things could be explained to the public by Mr. Barr in laymen’s language? For instance, why are Kerry and Murphy not being charged with the Logan Act for speaking to Iran? Just give us a reason. No one ever says why they aren’t being charged just that they should be. And if not the Logan Act, surely there must be a law for going around the State Department and trying to set foreign policy. And Nancy Pelosi for heaven’s sake Mr. Barr. Is not ripping up the State if the Union a miscarriage of justice? Does she just get away with it? Isn’t she speaker of both houses? She ruined a 200 year old tradition of respecting the president’s words no matter which political party. I have a list a mile long. So tell us why when no actions are taken. We are smarter than you think.

  7. The “professionals” who signed the letter, did more to discredit their profession than anything Barr or Trump have done to date.

    1. “more to discredit…..”

      That is not possible. The Dems entrenched in the Federal govt have been exposed for being frauds since Trump won the election. Their attacking Barr is just another day at the races of the Dems accelerating into the pits of hell. They have no moral standing in any discussion related to the corruption of our government since they are the face of it

      1. The issue of excessive federal sentencing recommendations coming from the DOJ persecutors is deeper than just Republicans versus Democrats.

        A lot of guys have been caught with a few rocks of crack cocaine in their pockets and been recommended for heavy sentences due to a “presumption” they had OH SO MUCH that they MUST be coke dealers. Like 5 doses instead of one. And, sent to jail for a DECADE or more, with ZERO evidence presented they had any “intent” or scheme to sell at all.

        Lots of guys. They say this was racist. I dont think so, but I think it was bad. The federal persecutors need to STOP THROWING THE BOOK AT ANYONE THEY DONT LIKE!

        They pull this crap on doctors now too, have been for years. First it was supposed Medicaid fraud, now it’s supposedly overprescribing oxy pills. Guys getting locked up for heavy time who were just writing scrips to sick people. Really sad.

  8. My guiding principle is this: Guilt is never to be doubted.” It seems many in Washington can claim the same Kafkaesque qualification this week…

    This week? Sorry JT, but this principle is no longer fictional and certainly not just this week. Out here in deplorableland, it is very apparent that the political class and the Democrat party specifically, have completely abandoned all pretenses of justice and they have the full support of the MSM carrying their message. What’s worse is it’s politically motivated. This is where we are today:

    But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.
    http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html

    1. We need to give Prof. Turley a lot of credit for bring this issue to the fore. He has hit the nail on the head, but as far as the Democrats are concerned, he is a turn coat, and they will get nothing out of this article. Until Trump, or any other Republican for that matter, is no longer a threat to their quest for power, they will continue to act with malice.

      1. Ron Paul, who is no fan of either of the two main political parties, identified The Law by Bastiat as his #1 recommended read. His book describes exactly where we are today and where we are headed. It’s really not an indictment of one political party over another. It’s an indictment of any faction that would abuse their power. That being said, if we look at the direction the Democrat party is going, this is what we get:

        Socialists desire to practice legal plunder, not illegal plunder. Socialists, like all other monopolists, desire to make the law their own weapon. And when once the law is on the side of socialism, how can it be used against socialism? For when plunder is abetted by the law, it does not fear your courts, your gendarmes, and your prisons. Rather, it may call upon them for help.

        To prevent this, you would exclude socialism from entering into the making of laws? You would prevent socialists from entering the Legislative Palace? You shall not succeed, I predict, so long as legal plunder continues to be the main business of the legislature. It is illogical — in fact, absurd — to assume otherwise.

        This question of legal plunder must be settled once and for all, and there are only three ways to settle it:

        1. The few plunder the many.
        2. Everybody plunders everybody.
        3. Nobody plunders anybody.

        We must make our choice among limited plunder, universal plunder, and no plunder. The law can follow only one of these three.

        Limited legal plunder: This system prevailed when the right to vote was restricted. One would turn back to this system to prevent the invasion of socialism.

        Universal legal plunder: We have been threatened with this system since the franchise was made universal. The newly enfranchised majority has decided to formulate law on the same principle of legal plunder that was used by their predecessors when the vote was limited.

        No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate).

  9. by the way., while the tempest in a teapot over Stone brews, I find proof that US scientists engineered, in a laboratory, a novel coronavirus with enhanced infectious features, derived from Chinese bat DNA, back in 2015.

    Does this trouble anyone or is it just me?

    https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/lab-made-coronavirus-triggers-debate-34502

    https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.3985

    that’s peer reviewed expert literature, not “conspiracy theory”

    it seems to me to be at least possible, then :

    a) the COVID-19 novel coronavirus is not as “novel” as they’re suggesting, rather, it was engineered.

    b) they were experimenting with it at R4 labs in America, Canada, wherever– including Wuhan’s R4 lab;

    c) maybe somebody just made a mistake and botched a security protocol and let it loose by accident

    d) maybe it was not an accidental release but the result of sabotage, terror, or some other mischief

    IS THIS NOT NEWS?

    Senator Tom Cotton is the only prominent voice speaking out on these troubling possibilities.
    Law Professor Boyle of UIC Law school has recently been interviewed on Alex Jones about this. Yes, yes, I know. Alex Jones bad.But if its true its true no matter who says it first!

    And Franics Boyle is in fact a bona fide expert on bioweapons and was an author of parts of a major bioweapons treaty from the GHW Bush era. He is also something of a leftist, if that matters. In this instance I do not think it does.

      1. you really are a disgrace with your constant fear mongering and conspiracy theories.
        No wonder you drive so many comments on this forum since no one would ever put up with you in real life

        1. SPETE

          show me I am wrong. Dont just call me names. Are these publications I Have cited bogus?

          DEAL WITH THE FACTS DONT JUST CALL PEOPLE NAMES

        2. As for real life, I have plenty of friends and family and people who pay me to think and speak on their behalf. It doesnt matter who I am, however, it only matters IS THIS A VALID HYPOTHESIS WORTHY OF FURTHER INVESTIGATION?

          repeat: back in 2015:

          https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.3985

          “The emergence of SARS-CoV heralded a new era in the cross-species transmission of severe respiratory illness with globalization leading to rapid spread around the world and massive economic impact3,4. Since then, several strains—including influenza A strains H5N1, H1N1 and H7N9 and MERS-CoV—have emerged from animal populations, causing considerable disease, mortality and economic hardship for the afflicted regions5. Although public health measures were able to stop the SARS-CoV outbreak4, recent metagenomics studies have identified sequences of closely related SARS-like viruses circulating in Chinese bat populations that may pose a future threat1,6. However, sequence data alone provides minimal insights to identify and prepare for future prepandemic viruses. Therefore, to examine the emergence potential (that is, the potential to infect humans) of circulating bat CoVs,

          [PAY ATTTENTION:] we built a chimeric virus encoding a novel, zoonotic CoV spike protein—from the RsSHC014-CoV sequence that was isolated from Chinese horseshoe bats [UM SOUND FAMILIAR??????][THEY BUILT AN ENHANCED CORONAVIRUS TAKEN FROM BATS IN 2015– IS IT THE SAME ONE? iM JUST ASKIN!]

          …..—in the context of the SARS-CoV mouse-adapted backbone. The hybrid virus allowed us to evaluate the ability of the novel spike protein to cause disease independently of other necessary adaptive mutations in its natural backbone. Using this approach, we characterized CoV infection mediated by the SHC014 spike protein in primary human airway cells and in vivo, and tested the efficacy of available immune therapeutics against SHC014-CoV. Together, the strategy translates metagenomics data to help predict and prepare for future emergent viruses.”

          ps. NYT says Senator Tom Cotton who is the only guy talking about this in the mainstream media, is “repeating a conspiracy theory” ok a theory but …. BUT IS IT CORRECT?!

    1. they are howlers for sure. Look at how they howled last night!
      Talk about a dumpster fire

      LOL

      Dailybeast:

      “Bloomberg Spent Hundreds of Millions to Get His Ass Kicked”

      It became clear early on that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was not welcome on the debate stage or anywhere else in the Democratic primary by the 2020 field.

      “ LAS VEGAS—In a city that runs on cash, Mike Bloomberg learned that all the money in the world couldn’t save him from an unrelenting pummeling from the 2020 field.

      In the grand tradition of a Vegas fight night, Wednesday’s face-off at the Paris Hotel was the most contentious Democratic debate of the 2020 nomination cycle. The six candidates onstage drew sharp-edged contrasts on matters of both policy and personality, with a near-singular focus on newcomer Bloomberg—and with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has defined her candidacy around sticking it to the wealthy and well-connected typified by the New York billionaire, leading the charge.

      “I’d like to talk about who we’re running against: a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,” Warren said immediately out of the gate, in an exchange that set the tone for the following two hours. “No, I’m not talking about Donald Trump—I’m talking about Michael Bloomberg.”

      “Look, I’ll support whoever the Democratic nominee is,” Warren added later.” But understand this: Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.”

      Even though the night started with a round of attacks focused squarely on Bloomberg’s record as mayor of New York, the chippiness quickly spilled over to former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who grouped Bloomberg and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders together as each too polarizing to win a general election.

      Buttigieg warned that Democrats could awake the day after Super Tuesday with Sanders and Bloomberg as the only candidates left standing, who are “the two most polarizing figures on this stage.”

      “We shouldn’t have to choose between one candidate who wants to burn this party down and another candidate who wants to buy this party out,” Buttigieg said”

  10. “More than 1,100 former Justice Department officials are calling on Barr to resign”
    _________________________________________________________

    JT: It would have been nice if you had bothered to mention that the vast majority of these former Justice officials were members of an established anti-Trump group.

  11. These ‘hair trigger’ responses by these idiots FIRST BEGAN when then President Obama would hold a press conference about some outrageous comment seemingly murder by some policeman. SPECIFIC examples are Freddie Gray a 25-year-old African American resident of Baltimore, Maryland. Gray sustained injuries to his neck and spine while in transport in a police vehicle. This was just ONE of about 6 such incidents where the charges were made by Obama before the investigation was 1 day old. So as we used to say COOL YOUR JETS!

  12. JT’s defense of Barr starts with attacks on his critics, who, unlike him are ex-DOJ and now number over 2000, and are in a better position to understand and honor the necessary integrity of the department so willfully tarnished to help a presidential crony.

    First he claims Trump did not cause Barr’s actions because both of these notorious liars say so, and as if Barr wouldn’t know Trump’s wishes. Does Barr review all sentencing recommendations coming from DC? Are you kidding?

    In an aside he lists examples of DOJ actions that were not corrupted – yet – by Barr as an achievement. Yeah, and OJ didn’t kill Joe Montana so………

    Then he compares this travesty to a decision by Holder which had nothing to do with any acquaintances, let alone cronies of Obama. One can agree or disagree with that call, but Obama wasn’t going to be hanging out with accused.

    He then challenges the initial recommendation as too tough while ignoring that Stone thumbed his nose at the proceedings and that’s what prosecutors always do in those cases. Is JT asking for reforms? Are you kidding?

    Then he cites an irrelevant quote while touting the thoughts of a Barr crony – Shea – on overruling an already presented recommendation, not one still cooking in the DOJ halls. That is UNPRECEDENTED.

    1. Do you think that JFK ever told his little brother RFK who was his AG, what to do? I sure do

      The AG is subordinate to the POTUS.

      At some point you guys need to recognize that there is a constitutional chain of command and whatever the expectations of the bureaucrats may be about the niceties of how they receive their instructions, the boss still has a right to command.

      Also in context, the recommended punishment was excessive. So let’s not pretend the persecutors were acting like perfectly neutral clerks. They never are. they are advocates. But not for their OWN opinion, rather, they serve the United States according to the instructions of their superiors.

      You guys want to legitimate every act of foot dragging, sabotage, and insubordination. Overall, it is a very troubling pattern which paves the way for more fraction and potentially deeper mischief ahead, no matter which party is at the helm.

        1. Nah, just that much. Today I’m interested in whether or not the Coronavirus derived from bats that was lab engineered back in 2015 is the same one that is circulating the world today as incipient pandemic

          maybe it just slipped out of the lab while they were studying it, and brought about the very thing they feared?

          https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/lab-made-coronavirus-triggers-debate-34502

          Im not sure why only Senator Tom Cotton (and alex jones interviewing law prof francis boyle) are the only ones talking about this?

        2. I think by ‘unprecedented’ he means his son told him that such and such had never happened to him in the two or three U.S. Attorney’s offices in which he’d worked.

      1. btb:

        “ex-DOJ and now number over 2000, and are in a better position to understand and honor the necessary integrity of the department so willfully tarnished to help a presidential crony.”
        ********************
        Yep the “fast and furious” crowd meets the “tarmac talk” crowd and integrity ensues. You need a theatrical agent with that stand-up routine.

      2. Kurtz, the issue is not the President’s involvement in DOJ decisions regarding policy. It his involvement in using the DOJ to go after political enemies and protect presidential cronies. If JFK did that, he is blameworthy,but also long dead. We should want to know,but not as much as with a current president.

        1. Ok book. This is the precise point Dersh was making. Just because he goes against a foe, with an investigation, or in this case, possible instruction to lighten a sentence recommendation (keep in mind Barr denied it) but lets say he did– just because an action may hamper his foes, does not mean it was not a VALID ORDER and IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.

          For example. Back to JFK. JFK ‘s AG Robert Kennedy had a lawyer working for him named Robert Blakey. Bob Blakey is still alive today by the way, he taught at Notre Dame law school a long time. Bob Blakey wrote a law called the RICO act, which was eventually signed into law by Nixon. Aimed at organized crime. Im sure you’ve heard of it. There’s little doubt that RFK, JFK supported Blakey’s work, even though it was not yet fully formed into law at the time of the end of his presidency.

          Now we know that a lot of gangsters hated Kennedys. HATED Them.

          WERE JFK AND RFK WRONG FOR TARGETING ORGANIZED CRIME?

          They were rivals too.

          See what I am saying is, a President can issue orders for the public good, in his opinion, EVEN IF THEY BENEFIT THE PRESIDENT.

          This is a core concept in fiduciary law. A bank trustee can order that its own bill be paid out of corpus. It can spend down corpus to cover its legal fees. It can chose many different things so long as these things, in general, are what a reasonable prudent fiduciary would do.

          This is analagous to public office.

          I am sure we could find many other incidents in history where presidents ordered things that clearly benefitted them, which also, at least arguably, were in the public interest.

          in my mind, excessive sentencing recommendations, whether they are aimed at dope peddlers who get caught with a few rocks of crack and are faced with decades in jail, or if they are aimed at Stone, are generally NOT in the public interest. So I see this as a valid intervention, if IT WAS ONE AT ALL. And Barr says it wasnt, anyhow.

          1. Lets go back to Biden-Ukraine thing. Now let’s think about what a local sheriff does. He stands for election. Let’s say a rival candidate is possibly involved in corrupt illegal activities in an adjacent jursdiction.

            Can the sheriff call the other jurisdiction and provide a lead and ask for investigation, even though it might hamper his political adversary?

            OF COURSE HE CAN. Even if they don’t find anything, even if it comes out and the rival is embarrassed by it. It happens all the time. This is essentially what Dersh was saying in DJT’s defense at impeachment Senate phase. Same concept here.

            Simple stuff, really. You guys are again making a mountain out of a molehill. It gets old ya know. People notice.

            1. Kurtz, Trump sought a public announcement by Zelensky of a Biden investigation. Your hypothetical does not include that, nor does it include extorting the other sheriff, or that we have professionals who do our investigations under legal guidelines at least partly designed to keep a would be tyrant weaponizing the powers of his office against political opponents.

          2. Kurtz, your benign interpretation of these events requires accepting that this being about a Trump crony, rather than some principle setting anonymous case is just an accident, and that Trump possesses any principles other than his own advancement and survival. Neither passes the smell test.

            1. yes Stone is his friend and political supporter. which is precisely why he was targeted with a heavy sentence by prosecutors motivated by personal enmity to Stone and the President.

              Very germane that the charges related to the electoral contest, or at least information which influenced it, was precisely the subject matter of what Stone was prosecuted for disseminating.

              at the base of all of the accusations against Stone, one thing was never established: were the Wikileaks that embarrassed Hillary false? See the whole Russiagate thing pushed those issues aside.

              https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/10/20/13308108/wikileaks-podesta-hillary-clinton

              one can read the questions there, I’m not interested in rehashing details of the Hillary stuff, but the point is, Stone was being punished not just because he broke some law, but also in part because he publicized things that embarrassed someone that these specific biased prosecutors really liked. There is a clear message of punishment and a deliberate chilling of free speech intended by the Stone prosecution just from the indictment let alone the result.

              So it’s a question of perspective. You see it as undue influence exerted on Barr to punish foes and reward allies.

              But I see that exactly principle operating in the prosecution of Stone in the first place.

              It’s kind of like you guys want to be able to exercise power, which is presumably legit
              but when power is a shoe on the other foot, it’s always illegit.

              Bottom line point Im making: the heavy sentence recommendation reveals bias in the Stone prosecutors in the first place. it was just for Barr to order them to lighten it up.

              I understand the opposing viewpoint asserted against Barr here, I just dont share it.

        2. We want to know about the “current president” and his AG.
          It’s true that the JFK/ RFK alliance was over 55 years ago, and an anti- nepostism law was past in about 1966, preventing family members from cabinet appointments.
          In addition to the “guilt is never doubted” standard applied to Barr ( or Sessions, or Whitaker), those applying that standard want to also pretend that the Obama/ Holder/ Lynch alliances are ancient history and irrelevant.

    2. JT and I are on the same page when he says they should at least wait for the facts to come out before cranking up the outrage machine.
      Barr almost immediately agreed to testify before Congress.
      An unbiased person would at least have waited to see what testimony and documentation he provided before arriving at a conclusion.
      As a black man, I am not overly swayed by numbers of people holding an opinion. I am more interested in the basis for that opinion.
      Not too long ago, great numbers of people thought that I was unworthy of equal citizenship.

  13. Hmmm….”Petition by Amnesty International regarding Assange: BACK SOON! PETITION MAINTENANCE IN PROGRESS
    Sorry, the petition for Julian Assange is experiencing technical difficulties and has temporarily disappeared.

    You’ll be able to take action for Julian Assange again 11am Friday 21 February. Please come back!

    Rest assured – Amnesty International has researchers on the ground for when these things happen. We’re looking into it right now.”

    (BTW Trump supporters, wikileaks will provide proof that Russia did not hack the DNC. It was a leak from within the DNC itself. If you’re ever interested in learning more, see Consortium News interview w/Ed Butkowsky.)

    1. Petition by Amnesty International

      IOW, the same outfit which declared Wesley Cook (aka “Mumia Abu Jamal”) a ‘prisoner of conscience’. The ‘human rights lobby’ is, by and large, a radically unimpressive collection of poseurs and should be told to pound sand early, often, and always.

  14. In defense of Bill Barr! What twaddle. Don’t worry about Barr. He’s doing what he promised before he got the job. It’s our independent justice System and the independent judiciary you’re should be defending but I get it. If the president does it, it’s legal. If he wants it, he should get it.

    The dance going on between Barr and the President to create a perception of independence is offensive but not surprising. Trump believes perception is all.

  15. ‘There were no calls to impeach or incarcerate Holder, who was widely viewed as one of the most political attorney generals in modern history.’

    If Obama or Holder faced one-thousandth of the scrutiny President Trump has endured, both would spend their remaining years in a federal prison.

    The media refuses to investigate the Obama administration’s truly serious and disturbing actions, e.g., the NSA’s unwarranted collection of US citizen’s phone conversations, and the submission on at least 6 occasions of knowing material and factual misrepresentations to the FISA court justifying the unlawful spying of US citizens.

  16. The Professor said, “but there must remain some modicum of decency and restraint when so few of the facts are fully established.”

    No. That is not right at all. The Democratic Mob does not care at all about stuff like that. All that matters to them is winning. Nothing else has to matter for them because their enablers in the Main Stream Press do not point a Spotlight of Ignominy on them. Why change your method when your method is working?

    My goodness, was there any Blasey Ford story there? It was a Moron’s Lie from the beginning but still the Dems are smearing Kavanaugh.

    This is no longer anything but a wrestling match and the Good Wrestlers best learn how to use a folding metal chair, and fast.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. “… there must remain some modicum of decency and restraint when so few of the facts are fully established.”

      Nope. Been there, done that. DEM leadership is at war with half of America … the half I’m in. I accept their declaration of war and will rise to do battle and win. Their policy is to take no prisoners! I will do my part to meet and defeat their challenge.

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