The Case Against Bill Barr: A Response To Professor Turley From Ralph Nader, Lou Fisher, and Bruce Fein

440px-William_BarrI recently received a letter contesting my statements concerning Attorney General Bill Barr in columns (here and here and here and here) and congressional testimony (here and here).  The letter is from Ralph Nader, Lou Fisher, and Bruce Fein. I have known all three signatories for many years and I have the utmost respect for them.  They offer detailed and thoughtful disagreements with my past statements and the record of Attorney General Bill Barr. I asked them if they would allow me to share their arguments with the blog and they have agreed to do so.  As with the prior posting of Professor Morrison, I strongly encourage you to consider the analysis from three of the most influential minds in Washington.

These are figures who require little introduction.  They are well known throughout the world for their contributions to the law and public policy.  Ralph Nader is as legendary figure who has fought his entire life for consumer protection, environmental protection and good government. He has run for president repeatedly (indeed I voted for him) and is widely viewed as one of the most influential figures in the world on public policy.  Lou Fisher spent four decades at the Congressional Research Service and is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the shaping of congressional legislation and policies.  He is widely regarded as one of the foremost experts on constitutional and congressional issues.  Bruce Fein was a high ranking Justice Department figure in the Reagan Administration and has been one of the most influential conservative voices in print and television for decades. He is known for his independent and principled analysis of legal and constitutional issues.

As I stated in Attorney General Barr’s confirmation, he comes to this position with long-established and robust views of executive privilege and powers.  While I have long disagreed with him on many of these issues, I view many of the current controversies to reflect policy and interpretative differences, not ethical or criminal or impeachable misconduct.  I do not agree with presumptions made about his improper motivations or designs in carrying out his duties, for a second time, as Attorney General of the United States. Despite my many friends on the other side, my view has not changed. Nevertheless, people of good-faith can disagree and that is precisely what is offered by Messrs. Nader, Fisher, and Fein (sounds like a great law firm!)

Here is their letter for your consideration:

Dear Professor Turley,

We highly respect your intellect, productivity, and integrity over the years.

We are convinced, however, that the crabbed views of bribery elaborated in your July 12, 2020 internet posting, “When ‘Awfully Close’ Is Just Awful: Nadler Raises Invalid Bribery Theory In Call For Barr Investigation,” are misplaced. You focused narrowly on the definition of bribery under the federal criminal code as expounded the United States Supreme Court and subordinate tribunals.

But “bribery” as an impeachable offense in Article II, section 4 is not so circumscribed. It does not require proof of a crime. Indeed, when the Constitution was adopted and ratified, there was no federal criminal code. And the Constitution did not create common law crimes. United States v. Hudson & Goodwin, 11 U.S. 32 (1812). Thus, bribery in the context of impeachment could not have been anchored to a federal crime. In contrast to treason, the Constitution refrains from any definition of bribery. Accordingly, Congress might rationally conclude that Attorney General Barr’s offering a promotion to Geoffrey Berman exchange for his non-noisy resignation as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York constituted impeachable bribery even if not a violation of the federal criminal code. The reasonably suspected ulterior motive was the hope that Berman’s successor, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, clueless about criminal justice, and interim Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District, Craig Carpenito, United States Attorney for New Jersey, would be less aggressive in investigating targets tied to President Trump. As you know, an investigation running on twenty cylinders as opposed to one cylinder is the difference between night and day, even if both are equally uncompromised. Simply because Mr. Barr’s hope was thwarted and Berman’s professional deputy became Acting U.S. Attorney does not make the solicitation of Berman’s quiet resignation in exchange for a promotion any less impeachable as non-criminal bribery under Article II, section 4.

Ask yourself, Professor Turley, if you were in Mr. Barr’s place, would you have done what he did with his motives? If not, isn’t that a cogent clue that the Attorney General did something wrong in soliciting Mr. Berman’s quiet resignation in exchange for a promotion?

We submit that in your multiple writings, testimonies, or articles a much wider lens might have been employed in evaluating Attorney General Barr: namely, serial violations of his constitutional duty to faithfully and evenhandedly execute the laws to inspire public trust in the administration of justice. The abuse or violation of a public trust, Alexander Hamilton explained in Federalist 65, is an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor.

Mr. Barr has shattered public trust in a non-partisan, uncompromised administration of justice by implementing or condoning President Donald Trump’s partisan, chronically lawless political agenda. The following enumeration is inexhaustive:

  1. Seeking to void former national security adviser’s Michael Flynn’s guilty pleas in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for reasons never afforded any other criminal defendant.
  2. Second-guessing the sentencing recommendations of the Department’s schooled lawyers for President Trump’s personal and political confidant Roger Stone, found guilty of lying to Congress and witness tampering.
  3. Condoning President Trump’s commutation of Stone’s sentence, which will encourage congressional witnesses during Trump’s tenure to lie in expectation of a presidential sanctuary. James Madison instructed at the Virginia Ratification Convention: “There is one security in this case [a misuse of the pardon power by the president] to which gentlemen may not have adverted: if the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds to believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty…”
  4. Gratuitously casting aspersion on the Mueller Report by unilaterally proclaiming in the manner of a papal encyclical that President Trump was innocent of obstruction of justice. The Report chronicled multiple instances of evidence of obstruction but refrained from opining on whether they met the threshold for criminal prosecution. Mr. Mueller inexplicably balked at seeking to depose Mr. Trump or even compel him to answer written questions about his conduct as President.
  5. Making deceitful redactions in the public release of the Mueller report that provoked United States District Judge Reginald Walton in FOIA litigation to write that Barr may have “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.”
  6. Condoned unconstitutional defiance of scores of congressional subpoenas or requests for information by executive officials that handcuffed the congressional power of oversight and investigation. In 1974, without judicial blessing, the House Judiciary Committee voted an article of impeachment against President Richard Nixon for flouting a single committee subpoena. Congress does not need judicial permission to find that disobedience to a congressional subpoena is an impeachable offense.
  7. Condoned or supported President Trump’s June 4, 2020, Executive Order 13927 declaring a special economic national emergency based on COVID-19 as a pretext to waive environmental laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act, to accelerate federal approval of new mines, highways, pipelines, and other federal projects as reported in The Washington Post (“Trump signs order to waive environmental reviews for key projects,” by Juliet Eilperin and Jeff Stein, June 4, 2020). Notwithstanding the alleged national emergency, President Trump has refrained from promulgating a national blueprint to fight COVID-19, and proclaimed we are witnessing “the greatest [economic] comeback in history.”
  8. Condoned or supported President Trump’s Executive Order 13294 instructing federal government agencies to rescind, modify, or cease enforcing regulations temporarily or permanently if they “may inhibit economic recovery” as reported in The Washington Post (“Citing an economic emergency, Trump directs agencies across government to waive federal regulations,” by Steven Mufson, Julie Eilperin, Jeff Stein, and Renae Merle, June 26, 2020). Compare the English Bill of Rights of 1689 condemning King James II for“assuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and suspending of laws and the execution of laws without consent of Parliament.” Standing alone, such industrial scale derelictions in failing faithfully to execute the laws justifies the impeachment of Mr. Barr.
  9. Condoned Mr. Trump’s criminal violations of the Hatch Act by directing federal employees to place his name on checks to CARES beneficiaries and to send White House letters to direct deposit CARES beneficiaries to advance his 2020 presidential campaign. Mr. Barr has refused to respond to our letter pointing out the substantial credible evidence of violations and urging the appointment of a special counsel under Department of Justice regulations.
  10. We take guidance from your splendid January 13, 2012 article in The Washington Post entitled, “10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free.” Attorney General Barr has championed or endorsed every one of those 10 violations and more.

He has championed President Trump’s authority to play prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner to kill any American citizen deemed a past or future threat to national security based on secret, unsubstantiated suspicion without accountability to Congress, the courts, or the American people. President Trump has weakened internal inhibitions on assassinations that he inherited from President Obama. They also violate Executive Order 12333, section 2.11

He has endorsed indefinite detention without trial of terrorism suspects not charged with crimes at Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere.

He has endorsed presidential power to decide between military or civilian justice. French Premier Georges Clemenceau quipped that “Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.”

He supports the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to approve arbitrary targeting of organizations and American citizens for non-criminal justice purposes for political advantage. He supports the national security letters issued by the FBI with no judicial vetting which have chronically abused according to the DOJ’s Office of Inspector General and others.

He has endorsed secret evidence and secret law to justify detentions and dismissals of civil suits for government assassinations, torture, or kidnappings. The secrecy invites government deceit, as confirmed by the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1 (1953) enabling a false Air Force affidavit to scuttle a wrongful death suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

He has endorsed blocking war crimes investigations of the American military by the International Criminal Court, including in Afghanistan, and issued asset freezes and denied visas to ICC investigators as punishment. (Although the United States is not an ICC signatory, Afghanistan is. Under the Rome Statute of the ICC, it has jurisdiction over war crimes perpetrated by the American military in a signatory nation).

He has endorsed limitless use of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to target any person within the rearview mirror of an alleged suspected terrorist.

He has endorsed judicial immunity for companies complicit with the government in warrantless surveillance of citizens; and, sought to enlist the judiciary under the All Writs Act of 1789 to compel companies like Apple to become arms of the FBI in breaking privacy codes on cell phones.

He endorsed the warrantless use of surveillance drones to monitor American citizens, including protestors demonstrating over George Floyd’s homicide.

In the past before the practice was abandoned by President Obama, he endorsed extraordinary rendition to send U.S. detainees to countries notorious for torture or murder, for example, innocent Mahar Arar dispatched to Syria for torture. Extraordinary rendition is a lesser presidential power than the limitless presidential power to assassinate that Mr. Barr champions.

In addition to the ten violations referenced above, the Attorney General supports unbridled presidential power to initiate and continue war (including use of WMD) on his say-so alone in flagrant violation of the Declare War Clause. As you know, James Madison wrote to Thomas Jefferson on behalf of every participant in the making and ratification of the Constitution: “The constitution supposes, what the History of all Govts. demonstrates, that the Ex. is the branch of power most interested in war, & most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the Legisl…”

Thus, Mr. Barr supports our ongoing, never-ending unconstitutional presidential wars never declared or initiated by Congress: Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Many wrongly believe the war against Iraq is constitutional under the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. It is not because Congress abdicated its responsibility for war to the President, an abdication prohibited by the Declare War Clause. Only Congress can take the nation from peace to war, and it did not make that decision in the 2002 AUMF. It handed off that decision to the President, who waited more than five months to attack.

Neither by treaty nor by statute may the Senate or Congress surrender the war power to the President. The League of Nations was defeated in the Senate over that issue. And the United Nations Charter, learning from history, requires a congressional declaration of war before the President may employ the military to enforce a Security Council resolution under Chapter 7. Congress is prohibited from delegating certain legislative authorities to the President to preserve separation of powers, which is a structural bill of rights to protect the people from tyranny. Clinton v. New York, 524 U.S. 417 (1998).

You appreciate the enormity of the constitutional violations of presidential wars because you represented Members of Congress in a 2011 lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama’s unconstitutional war in Libya, which continues to this very day with Mr. Barr as Attorney General.

The gravity of the Attorney General’s constitutional derelictions cannot be overstated. Do you not think his taking a wrecking ball to our constitutional order warrants impeachment and removal from office?

We look forward to a thoughtful response.

Very truly yours,

 

Ralph Nader                                   Lou Fisher                         Bruce Fein

166 thoughts on “The Case Against Bill Barr: A Response To Professor Turley From Ralph Nader, Lou Fisher, and Bruce Fein”

  1. As impressive for its exhaustive length as it is for its preening hyperbole.

    Off the top of my head, I’ll address a few of the more egregious parts:

    Roger Stone:

    Mssrs. Nader, Fisher and Fein find it offensive and apparently lawless for AG Barr to “second-guess” Roger Stone’s sentencing. Factually, he found it troubling that the recommended sentencing for Stone was 3-4 times the length of sentencing for similar offenses. Moreover, the base points assigned (underpinning the sentencing recommendation) were exceeded by the enhancement points (a red flag) which consisted primarily of Stone allegedly threatening a witness. The only problem is that the witness in question denied in court that he was threatened. The obvious and fair solution–charge him anyway.

    In view of the facts, if Barr didn’t step in, he wouldn’t be fulfilling the sworn duties of his office nor would he be upholding the rule of law. With full discretion, the final sentencing rendered by the judge essentially vindicated Barr’s reasoning.

    To the gentlemen in question: so what exactly again is the issue in view of the above? If you are outraged at the Stone sentencing, then you must truly be apoplectic at the sentencing / lack of sentencing for a certain James Wolfe and Andrew McCabe. Strangely or perhaps not so strangely, I must have missed your op-ed or response.

    Michael Flynn:

    As you must be aware but somehow omitted, Barr appointed the US Attorney for EDM, Jeffrey Jensen, to review the Flynn case. Mr. Jensen, a former FBI agent, made the Flynn recommendation to Barr. Holding aside the Logan Act, exculpatory evidence and a host of other prosecutorial misadventures for the moment, let me pose a simple question: when is it ever appropriate for the FBI to manufacture a crime and spring a perjury trap on a subject? When?

    Remember when Mueller was trying to get an interview with Trump on the now proven to be illusory Russia collusion allegation. Trump’s reasoning was that he worried that Mueller was trying to lay a perjury trap. If you remember, the MSM went into manic spin cycle mode–how the FBI doesn’t engage in perjury traps, the definition Trump was using was inaccurate and if he was telling the truth, what should he be worried about?

    A sample quote for posterity’s sake–“What Giuliani and Trump are trying to do is create the impression that Mueller and his team would somehow nefariously trick someone who intends to be open and honest into lying.”

    Legally, it’s just a matter of time before the charges against Flynn are appropriately dismissed and the rule of law upheld.

    The Mueller Report:

    One of my all-time favorite political narratives is the notion that Bill Barr “misled” the public by releasing a summary of principal conclusions. This was in keeping with what he said he would do all along and subsequent to that release, he would release the entire report subject to exemptions such as those for Rule 6(e)–this turned out to be about 5% of the report.

    What Barr released in the summary was simply the prosecutorial decisions that were reached. My questions are the following 1) Are those facts accurate? (Hint: Yes), 2) Have those facts changed one iota from the day the summary was released? (Hint: No). Then how is Barr misleading the public? The most cogent (everything is relative) response I’ve heard is that Barr somehow “seized the narrative”. Except that facts are not narrative, they are the facts. Narrative is when you opine that if you stare at the Mueller report detail long enough (in what is the greatest partisan Rohrschach test ever), you will see that what’s really there is some kind of blue print for impeachment. However, Mueller and his team and the DOJ were in full possession of the detail as well and the bottom line remains as true now as it did then: did they charge or not?

    Then there’s Mueller’s novel and bizarre theory of obstruction of justice so robustly supported by 1) an 18th century law dictionary entry and 2) a footnote(!) in an OLC memo. Hardly the stuff of Supreme Court legend which is where this was headed. This brings us to the infamous Mueller non-interview with Trump. Since you’re wondering, Mueller declined to subpoena Trump for the interview because he conducted a risk/benefit analysis and determined he was unlikely to prevail as a constitutional matter. Your broad and sweeping interpretation of US v. Nixon fails to take into account the President is presumptively privileged and the unique set of circumstances at hand in Nixon. In Nixon, privilege gave way to prosecutor’s demonstrated specific need for particularized evidence in a criminal case. That’s hardly a compelling parallel to the Trump situation. In short, Mueller would have had to demonstrate a specific, compelling and essential need for evidence that he was unable to obtain elsewhere—keeping in mind his obstruction of justice rationale, the fact that he knew at the time there was nothing to the Russia allegations and he was voluntarily given access to a host of documents and witnesses. Bon chance.

    Geoffrey Berman:

    You postulate that “in exchange for his non-noisy resignation as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Barr committed an act of impeachable bribery even if not a violation of the federal criminal code.” If this is true, the all of DC and most of the country would be guilty of “bribery”. In fact, Berman was offered a promotion to a different position. This is nothing more than the sort of quid pro quo negotiations that happen every day.

    What you are putting forth is essentially the underpinning for Mueller’s inexplicable obstruction of justice theory–that a constitutionally permissible act can be an impeachable offense if done with “corrupt intent”. In your case you assert that “the reasonably suspected ulterior motive was the hope that Berman’s successor, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, clueless about criminal justice, and interim Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District, Craig Carpenito, United States Attorney for New Jersey, would be less aggressive in investigating targets tied to President Trump”. In your particular and unique brand of reasoning, the impeachment of AG Barr is now fait accompli–all you need is a quid pro quo situation and hearsay and speculation as to intent and you’re good to go. You offer zero evidentiary basis to back up your untethered assertions but given your entire reasoning to date, why be bothered with facts now?

    In fact, if one were to encapsulate the thinking behind your entire response it’s that as long as one can posit, infer and string together an untoward motive or intent (coupled with a not-so-unbiased “whistleblower”) regarding a constitutionally permissible action, then that constitutes an impeachable offense. The precedent you would create would make the President and Executive Branch officials essentially terminable at political will.

    No doubt that would more than pique the interest of the not so dearly departed Lavrentiy Beria but perhaps you should leave the mind reading to the local soothsayer and stick with the facts.

    1. “Legally, it’s just a matter of time before the charges against Flynn are appropriately dismissed and the rule of law upheld.”

      The rule of law will only be upheld when those responsible for the Russia hoax are put behind bars and all their scheming with domestic and foreign agents revealed.

    2. M’s post forestalls most of what I would have wanted to say.

      It is just wild that Nader et al. lead off with their weakest (or at least most notoriously weak) point, the Flynn matter. They spend the rest of their letter grasping at the flimsiest of straws, the most disgusting hypocritical of which was their claim that Barr “supports the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to approve arbitrary targeting of organizations and American citizens for non-criminal justice purposes for political advantage.” I’m sorry, did you guys not catch the Inspector General’s Senate Testimony or the supporting documents of the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the Flynn charges. The political use of the FISA court was basically the preferred mode of the Obama White House/DOJ/FBI efforts to create a fake investigation of the Trump campaign.

      Turley was smart rather than charitable in posting Nader et al’s letter. It makes Nader et al. look stupid and desperate, and Turley looks good by comparison.

  2. Jonathan: The letter from Ralph Nader, Lou Fisher and Bruce Fein was a devastating indictment of AG William Barr. So what is your substantive response? We’re waiting.

  3. Referenced in the letter by Nader, Fisher and Fein:

    “10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free”

    By Jonathan Turley

    January 13, 2012

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-the-united-states-still-the-land-of-the-free/2012/01/04/gIQAvcD1wP_story.html

    Excerpt:

    Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture.

    Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act, signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?

    While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit.

    Since 9/11, we have created the very government the framers feared: a government with sweeping and largely unchecked powers resting on the hope that they will be used wisely.

    The indefinite-detention provision in the defense authorization bill seemed to many civil libertarians like a betrayal by Obama. While the president had promised to veto the law over that provision, Levin, a sponsor of the bill, disclosed on the Senate floor that it was in fact the White House that approved the removal of any exception for citizens from indefinite detention.

    Dishonesty from politicians is nothing new for Americans. The real question is whether we are lying to ourselves when we call this country the land of the free.

    -Jonathan Turley

    Jonathan Turley asks:

    “The real question is whether we are lying to ourselves when we call this country the land of the free.”

    Are we ‘lying’ to ourselves?

    Yes.

    1. Question posed by Jonathan Turley:

      Are we ‘lying to ourselves when we call this country the land of the free.”

      The answer:

      Yes.

      Most Americans have no idea.

      1. From the letter by Nader, Fisher and Fein.

        “We take guidance from your splendid January 13, 2012 article in The Washington Post entitled, “10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free.” Attorney General Barr has championed or endorsed every one of those 10 violations and more.”

        1. “From the letter by Nader, Fisher and Fein.

          “We take guidance from your splendid January 13, 2012 article in The Washington Post entitled, “10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free.” Attorney General Barr has championed or endorsed every one of those 10 violations and more.”
          ****************************
          And yet it’s author draws no such conclusions. Confirmation bias there Ralphie?

    2. The full article is not behind a paywall.

      I am not sure which anonymous sent this but thank you for doing so and helping to provide additional context to Professor Turley’s opinions. Of course all the points he made are debatable even though I have significant agreement with him but one point he made is something that has impacted the discussion on the blog almost continuously.

      “Warrantless searches. [add secret court FISA]

      Bush acquired this sweeping power under the Patriot Act in 2001, and in 2011, Obama extended the power, including searches of everything from business documents to library records. The government can use “national security letters” to demand, without probable cause, that organizations turn over information on citizens — and order them not to reveal the disclosure to the affected party.”

      This type of power grab by the federal government has permitted the bureaucracies and government to grab even more power. The original power (FISA and more) was meant to disappear as soon as the country got its feet on the ground and better secured the nation but it continued and instead of ratcheting the temporary powers granted the power was extended and then covertly extended to an illegal investigation of the President which turned out to be a political hoax.

      We cannot trust our leaders. Bush pushed for the Patriot Act which was understandable at the time but continued it throughout his administration. Obama expanded it and tried to hide his intentions.

      “The indefinite-detention provision in the defense authorization bill seemed to many civil libertarians like a betrayal by Obama. While the president had promised to veto the law over that provision, Levin, a sponsor of the bill, disclosed on the Senate floor that it was in fact the White House that approved the removal of any exception for citizens from indefinite detention.
      Dishonesty from politicians is nothing new for Americans. The real question is whether we are lying to ourselves when we call this country the land of the free.”
      Too many on this blog have little regard for the law or civil liberties.Civil liberties are too important to give up so easily.

  4. All our friends that keep standing by the NYT and denying the true facts on the Russia hoax can now count the number of lies in just one article from the NYT. Why this was withheld from the public is unexplainable. It also further shows that the Mueller investigation was dishonest. The big mouths like BTB, Paint Chips and CHTD won’t feel a bit embarrassed about their lies that continuously are proven false.
    —–

    Just-released Trump-Russia documents show anti-Trump leaks in NYT were wrong 9 times in same article
    The first document is a 57-page summary of a three-day FBI interview in January 2017 with Christopher Steele’s ‘primary sub-source’ in the anti-Trump allegations and ‘dossier.’ Document number two takes apart a New York Times article written by Michael Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti, and Matt Apuzzo.

    Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has released two newly-declassified documents related to government surveillance abuses against the Trump campaign in 2016.

    The first document, withheld from public view until now, is a 57-page summary of a three-day FBI interview in January 2017 with Christopher Steele’s so-called “primary sub-source” in the anti-Trump allegations and “dossier.”

    According to the analysis by Sen. Graham’s office:

    The document reveals that the primary “source” of Steele’s election reporting was not some well-connected current or former Russian official, but a non-Russian-based contract employee of Christopher Steele’s firm. Moreover, it demonstrates that the information that Steele’s primary source provided him was second and third hand information and rumor at best.
    Critically, the document shows that Steele’s “primary sub-source” disagreed with and was surprised by how information he gave Steele was then conveyed by Steele in the Steele dossier.
    Document number two, also withheld from public view until now, takes apart a New York Times article written by Michael Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti, and Matt Apuzzo.

    Comments made by then-FBI agent Peter Strzok undercut a litany of claims made in the Times article, which was entitled: “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contact With Russian Intelligence.”

    Claim in NYT article: “Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.”

    Note by Strzok: “This statement is misleading and inaccurate as written. We have not seen evidence of any individuals in contact with Russians (both Governmental and non-Governmental)” and “There is no known intel affiliation, and little if any [government of Russia] affiliation[.] FBI investigation has shown past contact between [Trump campaign volunteer Carter] Page and the SVR [Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation], but not during his association with the Trump campaign.”

    Claim in NYT article: “… one of the advisers picked up on the [intercepted] calls was Paul Manafort, who was Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman for several months …”

    Note by Strzok: “We are unaware of any calls with any Russian government official in which Manafort was a party.”

    Claim in NYT article: “The FBI has obtained banking and travel records …”

    Note by Strzok: “We do not yet have detailed banking records.”

    Claim in NYT article: “Officials would not disclose many details, including what was discussed on the calls, and how many of Trump’s advisers were talking to the Russians.”

    Note by Strzok: “Again, we are unaware of ANY Trump advisers engaging in conversations with Russian intel officials” and “Our coverage has not revealed contact between Russian intelligence officers and the Trump team.”

    Claim in NYT article: “The FBI asked the NSA to collect as much information as possible about the Russian operatives on the phone calls …”

    Note by Strzok: “If they did we are not aware of those communications.”

    Claim in NYT article: “The FBI has closely examined at least four other people close to Mr. Trump … Carter Page … Roger Stone… and Mr. Flynn.”

    Note by Strzok: “We have not investigated Roger Stone.”

    Claim by NYT: “Senior FBI officials believe … Christopher Steele … has a credible track record.”

    Note by Strzok: “Recent interviews and investigation, however, reveal Steele may not be in a position to judge the reliability of subsource network.”

    Claim by NYT: “The FBI’s investigation into Mr. Manafort began last spring [2016].”

    Note by Strzok: “This is inaccurate … our investigation of Manafort was opened in August 2016.”

    Claim by NYT: “The bureau did not have enough evidence to obtain a warrant for a wiretap of Mr. Manafort’s communications, but it had the NSA closely scrutinize the communications of Ukrainian officials he had met.”

    Note by Strzok: “This is inaccurate …”

    There is as yet no explanation in the documents or from the New York Times as to the identities of the four “American officials” who apparently provided the misleading and false information; or what their motivation was.

    However, it is clear that inaccurate reporting such as that in the Times had a significant influence on the trajectory of the Trump-Russia collusion probe, which ultimately concluded there had been no collusion on the part of Trump, anyone in the Trump campaign, or any U.S. person.

    https://justthenews.com/accountability/russia-and-ukraine-scandals/just-released-trump-russia-documents-show-anti-trump

  5. This was actually written by real life lawyers?

    This is nonsense allegations lacking any sort of actual evidence. In order to make the response look large and take up more space they clearly include things that would mean we would have to pretty much impeach every Attorney General ever. I’m kind of surprised there is so much text without pictures…

    While it is true you can impeach someone without proving a crime that actually adheres to a statute in theory, in fact things are a bit different. I understand that maybe some lawyers don’t think much of us poor peasants but we have a population that is fairly literate, even used car salesmen and lawyers. That means that we can read definitions and statutes and, in turn, we can see how biased jerks can be blinded by their own biases and raise cases based purely on their own emotions. In other words, “We poor peasants can tell when someone is railroaded.”

    My guess is the same people that wrote this thought collusion was real, Michael Cohen was in Prague, FISA abuse never occured, Flynn was a real life traitor, and the easter bunny, Santa Claus, and the tooth fairy are real too.

    I am amazed at the bias I watch everyday on TV and read online coming from people that are supposed to be “experts,” including people in positions I once thought were for grown ups. As I get older I realize that there are plenty of stupid, incoherent, children in positions of power and that even went to fancy schools and like to ramble on about being educated. The post above is a perfect illustration of just that. These people should be ashamed of themselves and should, instead of writing responses to you, they should be taking a look at themselves to determine why they keep finding themselves being wrong about just about everything, and instead of giving excuses, give apologies.

  6. A particularly insidious corruption of justice has arisen since Trump’s inauguration. Step one is an authority seated in Congress or on a judicial bench concludes with certainty what are the motives of an official duly exercising his/her constitutional powers. Step two is a declaration that those alleged motives are of such a loathsome nature that they undermine the authority of the official to take the action taken. Step three is to issue a judicial injunction blocking the action, or as Nader, Fisher & Fein propose, impeach the official.

    As we have seen, this corruption has been used to block Trump’s immigration actions, and most seriously, even to impeach the president.

  7. I like Mr. Turley but he never explains why he doesn’t think Barr’s decisions are “not ethical.” And, Turley’s response , “I have long disagreed with him on many of these issues…but..” is a response one gives when they wish to keep the peace. Think about how many times you argued with a friend or colleague and rather than explain your reasoning you simply say, “Well, I don’t agree with you!” And, you just leave it at that! Sometimes it’s the right thing to do. Now, is not one of those times!

    1. Where was all three’s concern for O’s wing man and his unilateral disregard for the constitution? What they are saying to their friend the good professor is we dont think you should think the way you do because we hate the non politician that occupies the white house. Message to you so called “intellectuals” from a blue collar mind, get over yourselves and realize if your opinion mattered the non politician in the white house would have never got elected. We the people tired of your elitist views!

      1. Spot on ANON – IANA But, No whimpers when AGs Holder and Lynch were in actions, AND NONE WHEN Judicial Watch has sued and disclosed many more transgressions of obama and his admin sycophants than any DOJ, or FBI sources. Always use the ruse; hide behind, “National Security”. If there are no huge allegations of A Coup attempted by the Obama thumb printing, and his myrmidons (Clapper, Brennan, Rice, Hillary, Strozk, Page, Comey, et al) then the sun will not rise tomorrow morning. Barr will delay the Durham report until after the election. He must think that will save the “System”, but to me, that will damage the System beyond the pale, and there is no rule of law. The law now seems to consists of apply the rule when they choose, and ignore as they choose. Nero is fiddling hard.

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