A “Slippery, Bootlicking A.G.”? The Media Goes Silent As Garland Adopts Previously Denounced Positions Of Barr

Below is my column in The Hill on the recent decisions of Attorney General Merrick Garland to support the prior positions taken by his predecessor, William Barr, on issues ranging from the Lafayette Park protests to immigration to withholding information related to the Mueller investigation. Positions that were once denounced by media and legal experts as raw partisanship have now been adopted by the Biden Administration with little acknowledgement from those same figures.

Here is the column:

When Joe Biden nominated Merrick Garland to be attorney general, many — including me — heralded Garland as an honorable, apolitical judge who would follow the law. He was not, the Washington Post editors insisted, “a lackey who will serve as the president’s personal attorney” like Donald Trump‘s AGs. Garland has indeed followed the law, but some are not thrilled by where it has taken him.

President Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has adopted some of the same positions taken by the Trump administration that a host of legal and media experts once denounced. This week, the DOJ sought to replace itself as the defendant in a lawsuit against Trump brought by writer E. Jean Carroll, who alleges that Trump raped her. The week before, it sought to dismiss a Black Lives Matter lawsuit over the clearing of Lafayette Park during a June 2020 protest.

This time last year, both positions were cited by legal and media experts as grotesque examples of then-Attorney General Bill Barr’s political bias. Now, those same experts are silent as Garland takes the same positions Barr took in federal court.

Garland is free, of course, to reject prior legal positions of Barr, but he has reached the same conclusion as his predecessor on several points of law thus far. In yet another adherence to Trump-era policy, the DOJ will defend opposing the ability of Puerto Ricans to receive social security disability benefits before the Supreme Court. Likewise, Garland agreed with Barr that a DOJ memo finding no legal basis for an obstruction charge against Trump should not be released to the public in its entirety.

Is Garland a Trumpist mole, part of some “deep state” resistance to his own president? Or is the more likely alternative that some in the media and many others in politics or the law knowingly distorted past legal controversies to use those as political fodder against Trump?

The general lack of media criticism — or even coverage — has never been more striking than with the latest filing in the Carroll case. In November 2019, Carroll sued Trump, claiming he defamed her when he denied sexually assaulting her. She alleges that Trump raped her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the 1990s.

The Biden administration has told the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that it — rather than Trump — should be the defendant because his comments were made as part of his official capacity as president. Said the Biden DOJ: “Courts have thus consistently and repeatedly held that allegedly defamatory statements made in that context are within the scope of elected officials’ employment — including when the statements were prompted by press inquiries about the official’s private life.”

That is the identical position taken by then-AG Barr last year.

A district court rejected that effort, and the Trump administration appealed. While I disagree with the treatment of any such statements as part of a president’s official duties, I stated at the time that there was support for the position in the governing federal statute and case law.

However, some media outlets featured an array of experts who denounced Barr’s legal move. Vanity Fair was typical of the coverage with a column titled “Bill Barr Sinks To New Low, Uses Justice Department To Try To Kill Trump’s Rape Defamation Suit.” In it, writer Bess Levin explained that the move proved that Barr was “willing not just to do [Trump’s] dirty work but to do it completely out in the open and without a scintilla of shame.” Citing the DOJ effort to replace Trump as a party in the suit, Levin declared that experts confirmed that “this special arrangement is wholly unique to Trump and his slippery, bootlicking A.G.” She cited University of Texas law professor and CNN legal analyst Steve Vladeck and an array of other experts cited in a New York Times article. The Times wrote how “some current and former Justice Department lawyers, speaking on the condition of anonymity, echoed Mr. Vladeck’s concerns, saying they were stunned that the department had been asked to defend Trump in Ms. Carroll’s case.”

One would expect that these same media outlets and experts would denounce Garland now as another “slippery, bootlicking A.G.” doing Trump dirty work. But … no.

The same is true with the Biden DOJ ‘s recent filing in the BLM lawsuit. Last year news stories stated as fact that Barr ordered Lafayette Park to be cleared of protesters to make way for Trump’s controversial photo op before St. John’s Church. From the outset, the Trump/Barr conspiracy claim had little support, and soon there were reports contradicting it. As I explained in my testimony to Congress on the protest, the plan to clear the park area to establish a wider perimeter was due to an extreme level of violence by protesters over the preceding two days, including the injury of a high number of federal officers. The violence was so great that Trump had to be moved to a bunker. (An IG investigation debunked the conspiracy theory). None of that mattered. Viewers on CNN, MSNBC, and other news outlets wanted to hear that it was all a conspiracy. Experts like Vladeck continued to claim that Barr ordered federal officers “to forcibly clear protestors in Lafayette Park to achieve a photo op for Trump.”

Now the Biden administration is arguing that the BLM case should be dismissed. Moreover, it is advancing the same position as Barr’s DOJ that “Presidential security is a paramount government interest that weighs heavily in the Fourth Amendment balance.” The DOJ’s counsel, John Martin, added that “federal officers do not violate First Amendment rights by moving protesters a few blocks, even if the protesters are predominantly peaceful.”

The Biden administration is not reluctant to change positions in litigation when it disagrees with the prior administration. However, in these cases the Biden administration insists that Barr was right on the law, even if it disagrees with Trump’s statements themselves. That would likely come as a surprise to many viewers of CNN or MSNBC.

Reasonable people can disagree about such legal disputes — but the point of much of the past coverage was that there was no real dispute, just raw political abuse by Barr.

As we watch the anger and divisions growing in our nation, we need to be honest about the role that media coverage continues to play in our age of rage. It is little surprise that many are enraged when legal experts state as a fact that the Justice Department is acting without legal basis; that makes for undeniably good ratings. Now that the ratings have receded, however, the law has again emerged — with the Biden administration in full agreement with its predecessor’s legal arguments.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

163 thoughts on “A “Slippery, Bootlicking A.G.”? The Media Goes Silent As Garland Adopts Previously Denounced Positions Of Barr”

  1. Adam Schiff, aka “pencil neck” got upset over the DOJ’s report. All these Russian hacking ransom attacks takes back stage on Adam’s watch. Adam dispatched secret service to public restrooms for investigating who takes better schitts. Adam or Whoopi Goldberg?

    1. Re: “When Joe Biden nominated Merrick Garland to be attorney general, many — including me — heralded Garland as an honorable, apolitical judge who would follow the law. He was not, the Washington Post editors insisted, “a lackey who will serve as the president’s personal attorney” like Donald Trump‘s AGs.”

      Garland is obviously a progressive/Establishment darling. Furthermore, it has since come out that Barr was working with the Biden administration before the latter’s inauguration to help compose many of the EO’s designed to eradicate Trump initiatives. He also sat on classified information about many things which would have greatly helped Trump in the court of public opinion. In other words, Barr was a Deep State operative in place to limit the Trump Administration.

      Garland similarly is an Establishment player. The thrust now seems to be to create the ‘New Normal’ or ‘Great Reset.’ Trump was an obstacle to many aspects of that agenda, but now that he is removed and his supporters suppressed and disenfranchised, they are all moving very quickly forward into this Brave New World.

      If they recount the election and publish proven results that differ from the unverified but constitutionally certified electoral college results, they will not like this and so will be doing whatever they can to block and/or denigrate any such results, for they will have no legal or constitutional standing, only standing in the court of public opinion, which they control quite well.

      The DOJ is one of the core corrupt players in the Administrative State which is hell-bent on destroying the founding principles of the Republic and establishing some new and better (in their mind), though they don’t trust us enough to explain what that is exactly, except that it will involve eradicating racists and bigots from society, and they get to define who such deplorables are.

      Totalitarianism here we come…

  2. So, we’re going to talk about Barr today? Goody.* Tell us, Turley, did Fox mention to you that it has come to light that the Trump/Barr DOJ secretly obtained warrants for the phone records of DEMOCRATIC (only) members of Congress, AND their wives and children, looking to find the source of leaks about Trump’s incompetence and any other dirt they could use offensively? After obtaining the records, Barr’s staff told him there was nothing there, BUT he ORDERED them to keep looking? Before the Trumpsters start howling about this not being true, the source was Apple, which had been under a gag order until yesterday. They notified their account holders of the warrants, which included, of course, Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell and members of the House Judiciary Committee. Yet more illegal and unethical behavior flowing from Trump and carried out by Barr.

    The reason Merrick Garland has taken the actions he has chosen is because he wants to prove that the DOJ is not controlled by the White House. Cases do not and should not get filed or dismissed because of a change of administration. The DOJ is supposed to be above politics. AND, contrary to your claim, Turley, I heard this on MSNBC and CNN, so there’s no media cover up. That doesn’t mean that any of the criticism of the Barr/Trump agenda is invalid or that Garland agrees with them or that he would have filed the actions had he been the AG at the time. It does not prove Barr was vindicated, either.

    Or, Turley, is today’s piece just pre-defense of Barr until Fox and the other alt-right media can come up with some cover story for Barr’s conduct, which may have been criminal, and likely a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct?

    *credit to the writers of “The Philadelphia Story”.

  3. “cited by legal and media experts as grotesque examples of then-Attorney General Bill Barr’s political bias. Now, those same experts are silent as Garland takes the same positions Barr took in federal court.”

    We don’t need to know much more than this. The media is polluting the political environment, and some people cannot distinguish fact from fiction and opinion.

  4. Jonathan: Since your close friend left the DOJ in disgrace you have spent a lot of time defending Bill Barr’s decisions–from the Lafayette Square protests, the E, Jean defamation case, etc. These cases are small potatoes compared to what Barr did to turn the DOJ into Trump’s private law firm. Michael Flynn and Roger Stone come to mind.

    Trump tried to settle political scores with his opponents in Congress and the media beginning with AG Jeff Sessions. In 2017-18 the DOJ seized communications records of members of the House Intel Committee–particularly those of Adam Schiff–and media reporters. At the time the House was investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s involvement.. Even aides to House members and family members were subject to subpoenas by the DOJ. After a year of investigation prosecutors couldn’t find any evidence of a violation of the law by either House members or the press so they closed down their investigation. After Barr took over the DOJ in 2019 he revived the Schiff-related case in particular because Trump was obsessed that Schiff was one of the principal “leakers” of damaging information about him. So Barr’s prosecutors seized vast amounts of metadata on Schiff and secured a gag order on Apple so lawmakers could not know they were being investigated. At the same time Barr also seized communication records of many journalists. This was a unprecedented effort by Barr in violation of both the “free speech” rights of reporters and the separation of powers–the right of congressional committees to investigate wrongdoing by a president. Former DOJ official, David Laufman, has said of Barr’s actions: “In combination with former President Trump’s unsustainable vendetta against Congressman Schiff, it raises serious questions about whether the manner in which this investigation was conducted was influenced by political considerations rather than purely legal ones”. After an extensive investigation Barr could find no legal basis to charge either Schiff, other members of Congress or any journalist.

    You have never addressed Barr’s attempts tp politicize the DOJ or his attacks on the “free speech” rights of journalists. That’s the problem with close friendships. We often view our friends through rose tinted glasses. Viewed through an objective lens Barr was not a defender of the DOJ as an independent agency but he weaponized the DOJ in service to almost whatever Trump demanded during his authoritarian rule. That abuse of power is a place you don’t want to go because it won’t vindicate Barr.

    1. The above is another who cannot see past his own desires and doesn’t believe in the rule of law.

    2. “After Barr took over the DOJ in 2019 he revived the Schiff-related case in particular because Trump was obsessed that Schiff was one of the principal “leakers” of damaging information about him.”

      Because Schiff was leaking day and night. Anyone who doubts this, just because he wasn’t ‘caught’ is a fool.

  5. Free press! But since most news is on air not on paper, all the news is not fit to print.

  6. The principles of the main stream media were put in writing long ago by Machiavelli. Even though his encouragement of reaching a goal by any means necessary has been condemned as immoral the main stream media have continued to employ his recommended tactics. Get rid of Trump by any means necessary. Masks are not effective because we need them in hospitals. We can save the people of the world by creating a virus that can kill them because it’s worth the risk. Get rid of the Jews for the health of the nation. There new motto is being chiseled in granite on the edifice of the N.Y. Times. “BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY”.

      1. Are you nasty again Anonymous the Stupid? By the way, we cannot be sure what QAnon is except for what they say. The media has used QAnon to distort what actually happens. We see the media distortion in Turley’s post, so it should be obvious, one cannot trust the media.

        If anyone has a verifiable fact about QAnon, I would like to hear whether it be favorable or not favorable to QAnon’s image. Based on what I have read, I cannot conclude anything, in large part because the media is engaged in talking points and spinning the news rather than producing news. Listening to all the talk about this organization, one can assume much of that talk is garbage. Right here, we see QAnon being used as a buzzword by a very ignorant person who generally doesn’t know what he is talking about.

  7. The country should thank Mitch McConnell for blocking Merrick Garland’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Well done Mitch.

  8. When Trump said FAKE NEWS it is clear he was often correct. Change reads into watching and the quote is as appropriate as ever.

    “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” Thomas Jefferson

  9. I feel like there are some language issues in this piece that interfere with meaning. You quote WP as describing “a lackey who will serve as the president’s personal attorney” (in quotes) and then you follow it with, no quotes, =like Donald Trump’s AG’s=. To me, the lack of quotes or qualifiers implies that you agree with that assessment, but judging by your previous and current supportive stance of Barr, I am guessing that this interpretation is incorrect. May I suggest amending that statement to read “as Donald Trump’s AG’s are alleged to be” or “accused of being” or something.
    Idem for the passage where you describe the “raw political abuse by Barr.” I am assuming once again, based on your clearly amicable stance towards Barr, that you yourself do not consider Barr guilty of raw political abuse. May I suggest changing the word “point” to “implication.” Or something.
    I am guessing that you use a text-to-speech technology (you once referred to Derek Chauvin as “Eric Chauvin”) and I understand that most of these columns are written in haste. However I do believe it is important that if your intent is criticize a certain behavior that you do not give the impression of supporting or agreeing with said behavior.

  10. Here’s another example:

    Washington Post this morning, “The Justice Department under Biden is appealing a lower court judgment in favor of the congressional Democrats in their suit” to obtain GSA documents on the Trump DC Hotel lease.

    Will JT pretend that they’re not reporting on that either?

    I hope the DOJ loses the suit. Trump shouldn’t have been allowed to keep the lease during his presidency, as it created a domestic emoluments clause conflict, and Congress should be allowed to investigate the GSA documents.

    1. The ruling came days ago and it was virtual crickets from the liberal media. Still, you’re missing the point. No media is ATTACKING Garland like they did Barr, at best some “question” why. If you do a google date search you’ll find hundreds of news stories the day of the motion from Barr. over the next couple of weeks you’ll find hundreds more. There;’s been a handful of media stories about Garland’s Justice Department following suit and none that I can find attacking him personally, most seem to be questioning the decision itself.

      1. There are many more than a “handful” of stories about these suits.

        I haven’t read all of the DOJ filings, but I know that in the E. Jean Carroll filing, the DOJ’s statements are considerably more critical of Trump than the Barr filings were, so perhaps they’re not criticizing Garland in the same way because he isn’t deferential to Trump in the same way.

      2. The media and Anonymous the Stupid do not like to follow the rule of law.

    2. The media will always report anything that disparages Trump and/or his family, no matter the relevance to anything of import. Because Trump had a running feud with the media and routinely called them out for false reporting or reporting rumor/innuendo as fact, the media developed a hate driven objective of savaging him at every turn. While not a Trump supporter, it became evident the media was not to be trusted when reporting on Trump as their stories rarely held any element of truth.

      1. If these same media outlets like CNN and MSNBC want to stop their ratings from tanking even further, they might consider shifting their focus to actually reporting on the corruption of the Biden family (with the same fervor they had reporting on Trump and his family). Starting with the Big Guy and Hunter, then working their way to Biden’s brothers, the tax fraud, the payoffs, the bribes, the corruption, the sex, the drugs, the shoplifting. So much juice there if only the cable news would squeeze the Biden’s the way they did the Trumps.

        This would grab the viewers interest because Joe Biden’s real life family is more dysfunctional, dishonest, drug and sex addicted, greedy and corrupt than any reality TV show.

        1. Plus let’s not forget that the Joe Biden family has done as much plastic surgery, Botox, veneers, fillers, hairplugs as any other reality TV show favorites.

    3. Anonymous, according to your logic no person owning property should be allowed to hold high government office. The result would be that only those who have made their life work as a politician would be allowed. Nancy Pelosi would also be ruled out because of her financial holdings. Elementary my dear Anonymous. Elementary.

  11. The top priority for the 2021 U.S. Supreme Court should be to correct it’s interpretation of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution [Supremacy and Oath Clauses]. Constitutionally, the top duty of the Judicial Branch courts is to interpret the “letter & spirit” of amendments and clauses for modern times, not to amend the Constitution bypassing the constitutional-amendment process.

    There are already U.S. Supreme Court rulings granting “supremacy” to the federal government on many issues (which is mostly a good thing), but the federal government is not authorized to violate core constitutional rights of persons [citizens or non-citizens] within it’s jurisdiction.

    Many Executive Branch officials interpret Article VI as giving supremacy on 100% of things to the federal government, but Article VI does not say that exactly in letter or spirit. It only gives supremacy to the federal government if the federal government is operating within constitutional out-of-bounds (as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Judicial Review” authority (“Marbury v. Madison”).

    For example: in “War on Drugs” court rulings, like “Terry v. Ohio” in 1968, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Douglas rightly pointed out that the court needed a constitutional-amendment to change the 4th Amendment’s letter & spirit. This faulty ruling led to thousands of African-Americans being killed and millions in prison over the decades. Rulings like “Terry v. Ohio” created the “Stop & Frisk” tactics used primarily against African-Americans and poor people. This slippery slope – lacking a strong 4th Amendment – was then exploited on the “War on a Tactic” after 9/11.

    In 2021, according to the federal government, we have over 1 million persons on various blacklists (or watchlists) using terrorism-authorities with a failure rate of 99.9% when compared to terrorism-convictions. When compared to non-terrorism convictions, the failure rate exceeds 90%. Of that 1 million plus, the federal government admits to more than 25,000 Americans are currently blacklisted. Many unaware they are on covert lists.

    It’s very likely more innocent Americans, on U.S. soil, have suffered premature death from blacklisting than from the 9/11 attacks. These Americans have never even been accused of any wrongdoing whatsoever. These innocent Americans have been blacklisted, harassed by police and federal officials, defamed and suffered employment tampering for more than 7000 consecutive days (which absolutely makes it torture).

    Covert blacklisting (aka: Cointelpro) robs it’s victims of “legal standing” in a court of law. If the government punishes someone “overtly”, the victim can go to court and correct illegal practices, but with “covert” punishments the victim can’t seek relief from the courts. This post 9/11 illegal practice actually creates an incentive for future abuses, corrupt officials can use it like a “Nixon’s Enemies List” to punish legal 1st Amendment activity. Reputable newspapers have reported African-American college students, LGBT-Americans, environmentalists and other non-violent individuals being placed on Fusion Center watchlists with terrorism suspects, exploiting 9/11 to go after political speech. There is no legal penalty to the police officer or federal official for falsifying blacklists.

    The federal government, including the U.S. Department of Justice (which is oath-sworn to protect constitutional rights and the primary enforcer of civil rights statutes) actually promotes and funds state operated “Fusion Centers” [blacklisting centers]. Congress and state legislatures have made FC’s virtually exempt from Freedom of Information Act laws for even non-terrorism cases.

    This tyranny that likely has killed more innocent Americans than the 9/11 attacks is largely justified by federal security agencies using the Article VI Supremacy Clause – not to protect constitutional rights but to violate American’s rights without any due process. The U.S. Supreme Court needs to state clearly that Article VI makes the U.S. Constitution “the supreme law of the land” and federal officials are not above the law either!

    1. Wow…lots of wild-eye accusations and speculation. Would like to see any valid references where “this tyranny than likely has killed more innocent Americans than the 9/11 attacks…” On the subject of “reputable” newspapers…please indicate which one as most have abandoned hones journalism in favor of yellow-dog journalism for the purpose of reporting opinion as fact. If you read JT often he routinely cites WP, NYT, VF, Atlantic, etc, as examples. Not to be left out, CNN has notoriously abandoned all efforts of objective reporting and now more close resembles a propaganda machine. As for Fusion Centers, while you are aware of them I don’t think you fully understand their role, their participants and their role in synthesizing intel and law enforcement data. You might ask for a tour as they are open to the public understanding on their mission and how it impacts law enforcement.

      1. It’s nearly impossible to get the phone number of your state’s “Fusion Center”. I once tried to find out where to have a process server serve court papers to a Fusion Center and that is nearly impossible – you need a person’s name and address to serve court papers. The state police of every state usually house the Fusion Center and they sometimes won’t reveal that information. One time I got lucky and found the phone number of my FC and the FC employee demanded to know who revealed the secret phone number to me.

        The ACLU – the legal organization that was hired by Oliver North, Rush Limbaugh, Jerry Falwell, etc – has all of these records if you go to ACLU.org and search “Fusion Centers”.

        For example: In the early 2000’s Virginia’s Fusion Center blacklisted 100% of African-American college students that attended all-black colleges using 9/11 terrorism authorities. Around 2019, Virginia’s FC was exposed as blacklisting peaceful environmentalist “tree sitters” for trespassing (not for terrorism). South Carolina or Georgia blacklisted by LGBT-Americans and non-violent environmentalists using 9/11 terrorism authorities. The ACLU has great records on all of this, if you distrust the newspapers.

        Reminder: even if there was a genuine “terrorism” suspicion, there is no “terrorism-exemption” in the U.S. Constitution. Americans still have 4th Amendment rights to protect us from warrantless searches and warrantless surveillance. The U.S. Supreme Court in “Carpenter v. US” clearly worded the ruling in regards to any surveillance, if surveillance lasts longer than 2 weeks, it is a “search” and governed by the 4th Amendment. In other words totalitarian surveillance itself requires a judicial-warrant after 2 weeks.

  12. “[Bess Levin] cited University of Texas law professor and CNN legal analyst Steve Vladeck and an array of other experts cited in a New York Times article. The Times wrote how “some current and former Justice Department lawyers, speaking on the condition of anonymity, echoed Mr. Vladeck’s concerns, saying they were stunned that the department had been asked to defend Trump in Ms. Carroll’s case.” One would expect that these same media outlets and experts would denounce Garland now as another “slippery, bootlicking A.G.” doing Trump dirty work. But … no.”

    So let’s see what Bess Levin and Vladeck have said this week, if anything.

    Oh look! Bess Levin wrote another Vanity Fair article. It’s titled “Why the Hell Is Biden’s Justice Department Defending Donald Trump? It’s becoming a (bizarre) pattern” and in it, she references Vladeck again. Vladeck commented again in his Twitter feed.

    What accounts for JT’s false claim — incompetence? laziness? dishonesty? … I don’t know what the explanation is, but it doesn’t reflect well on him.

    1. You have a fevered imagination if you can find anything in that VF piece that comes close to describing *Garland* as a “slippery, bootlicking A.G.”

      We got it, already. You’re being paid to use any means necessary to smear Turley’s reputation. If there’s any “dishonesty” here, it’s all yours.

      1. If, two years into Garland’s tenure, he has the same history with Biden that Barr had with Trump after two years (which is when Levin said that), then I’ll agree with you.

        If you actually read what the Barr DOJ and Garland DOJ wrote in their filings, the Garland DOJ isn’t nearly the bootlicker that the Barr DOJ was. The Garland filing, for example, calls out Trump’s statements as “crude and disrespectful” and elsewhere as “unncessary,” “unwarranted,” and “inappropriate.” Barr’s filing did not criticize Trump.

        Do you seriously consider that criticism to be bootlicking?

        “You’re being paid to use any means necessary to smear Turley’s reputation.”

        To quote you, “You have a fevered imagination.” No one is paying me. I’m retired, and I’m criticizing JT because I think he merits being criticized.

        “If there’s any “dishonesty” here, it’s all yours.”

        Please do quote what I wrote that you believe is false. If you’re correct that I wrote something false, I’d like to correct it.

        1. “You’re being paid . . .”

          I retract that. The rest stands.

          Your dishonesty is your habit of subtly misrepresenting Turley’s (and other’s) arguments. Then when called on it, you switch the context and use diversion — as you did in your reply to me. You have mastered the arts of sophistry — and that is not a compliment.

          1. “Your dishonesty is your habit of subtly misrepresenting Turley’s (and other’s) arguments.”

            Again, please quote what you’re talking about. If you’re right, I’d like to correct it.

            I literally quoted Turley. How does that become “misrepresenting” him?

            You said “You have a fevered imagination if you can find anything in that VF piece that comes close to describing *Garland* as a “slippery, bootlicking A.G.” I never claimed that Levin’s piece describes Garland that way, so the conditional clause of your claim is false.

            And no, I did not use “diversion.” I addressed what you wrote. JT’s claim that “One would expect that these same media outlets and experts would denounce Garland now as another “slippery, bootlicking A.G.” doing Trump dirty work” simply isn’t accurate. One would NOT expect that, because the DOJ under Garland actually isn’t acting the same way with respect to Trump that the Barr DOJ was. How about you quote something from a Garland filing that you consider “bootlicking”?

        2. You’re either dishonest or ignorant. Anyone who thinks Barr was carrying water for Trump is ignorant.

          Does a boot-licker refer to person whose boots he’s supposedly licking as a “deposed king ranting”?

          Does he accuse his master of “betrayal of his office”?

          Does he comment on Trump’s tweets as “‘Impossible for me to do my job’?

          Does he break with his master and refuse to appoint a special counsel to investigate the supposed election fraud? And furthermore state there’s no evidence of fraud? And there is no basis’ to seize any voting machines?

          Is that the boot-licking you’re referring to?

          Lets see, does a boot-licker refuse to appoint a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden like Barr refused to do?

          Does a boot-licker decry his masters statement that Russia was not responsible for the cyber attack on US federal government agencies and instead say it certainly appears the Russia was responsible for hack? Is this yours and the liberal medias Trump boot-licker? lol.

          1. “Is that the boot-licking you’re referring to?”

            You’d have to ask Bess Levin. It’s her term, not mine.

            “Anyone who thinks Barr was carrying water for Trump is ignorant.”

            That’s a matter of opinion. People often have different opinions about things.

          2. I actually think of it that trump was carrying water for Barr on a lot of levels. Would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall when the strategic meeting was had to attach Barr to trump…, clearly it was the inner power within inner power that put him there for his abilities to minimize crisis, something Barr had become famous for from his Iran Contra turn. Decision was made from on high that trump needed a fixer of that capacity.

            Also, despite Repub orthodoxy being fully willing to fundraise off of trump’s stop the steal madness, they cut ties with him in one crucial week in December…, the bankers at Deutche Bank who dealt with trump accounts resigned. First step for Deutche to have plausible deniability when trump gets indicted…

            And then when Barr resigned with a month to go in the term. No doubt he was getting wind of what was going to happen on 1/6 combined with, most likely, a sincere hatred of trump. A common result of anyone who deals with him for any length of time.


        3. What do Attorney General Garland’s filling statements about President Trump being “crude and disrespectful”, “unnecessary”, “unwarranted” and “inappropriate” have to do with the LAW? Oh my you may have hurt someone’s feelings, is that a cause for action or no action in a Legal Filling?

    2. CNN is piped into many if not most or all US airports. You can’t escape it. Vanity Faire is almost meaningless by comparison. Your analogy is pathetic. And still they did not even name Garland. 99% of MSM practically called Barr Trump’s pimp or whore.

  13. “The general lack of media criticism — or even coverage — has never been more striking than with the latest filing in the Carroll case.”

    This is total bunk.

    If you Google “E. Jean Carroll” and then limit the results to the last week, there’s lots of coverage: NYT, The Nation, Vox, CNN, NPR, NBC, ABC, etc.

    There are titles like “Why on earth is Biden’s DOJ backing Trump in a rape denial case?” and “Why Is Garland’s DOJ Taking Trump’s Side Against E. Jean Carroll?”

    Just how did JT determine that there’s a “general lack of media criticism — or even coverage”? Did he even bother to do a simple search on it to see what the coverage is?

    1. Cherry picking a few articles, ones that don’t even fault, but rather try to rationalize Garlands position.. or forgive it… does not make the point you think you’re making.

  14. monument colorado

    There is only ONE political party in the U.S., and it has two right wings. Just because one of them is slightly less right-wing than the other wing – doesn’t mean they are leftist.

    1. bill mcwilliams wrote, “There is only ONE political party in the U.S., and it has two right wings. Just because one of them is slightly less right-wing than the other wing – doesn’t mean they are leftist.”

      That statement shows some genuine political ignorance.

      1. Steve Witherspoon

        I’m sorry that you feel that way. Being comfortably numb must be your go-to feeling.
        Good luck to you.

        1. bill mcwilliams wrote, “I’m sorry that you feel that way.”

          My statement was not an expression of how I “feel”, it was an description of the quoted statement. Maybe what you truly meant to write was “you’re welcome to your own opinion”.

          I’ll say it now; you’re welcome to your own opinion Bill but you’re not welcome to your own facts. Your statement I originally quoted shows “some genuine political ignorance” and if you would like to show me how I’m wrong, go for it. Support your “there is only ONE political party in the U.S., and it has two right wings” argument with facts, I won’t hold my breath waiting for your supporting facts.

          bill mcwilliams wrote, “Being comfortably numb must be your go-to feeling.”

          That’s how internet trolls write. If that’s the only way you can counter my “genuine political ignorance” argument then you can bite me, jerk.

  15. Freedom of the press, applies to those who are actual journalists, as envisioned by our founders, and not political operatives disguised as journalists. Time for the Courts to recognize that fact.

    1. One of the worst offenders at this time is PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor’s “reporting.” It’s clear that Yamiche uses her role, not so much to *inform her audience, but instead to *advance the agenda and *protect the interests of the current administration with which she mostly agrees.

      PBS has not been worth watching for a long time now. And it is only getting worse. What a shame.

  16. Rachel Maddow dragged Garland the other night. It was awesome. Granted cleaning up after Barr is a awful job, but he’s making one mistake after another by not clearing up worst of the corruption.


  17. While I despise the media for their dishonest propaganda, I have a special contempt for the Lefties who swallowed those lies.

    Many Lefties suspected that they were being lied to, but preferred to accept those appealing lies.

    Many Lefties are fundamentally dishonest and encourage a dysfunctional country because it enhances their power (see the 2020 election).

    1. Your statement is just as true if you replace “Lefties” by “Righties.” It’s true of some on both sides and not true of others on both sides. Better to discuss that truthfully.

    2. A lot of those that take the bait also, in spite of their condescension, though inherently good people, simply live in extraordinarily insular bubbles and are legitimately ignorant.

      The precepts of leftism more so than ever most definitely resemble a fundamentalist religion these days. That’s fine as far as it goes, I guess, so long as it is acknowledged for what it is and not masquerading as liberated thinking, progress, or heaven forbid, ‘evolution’ (my biggest, loathed talking point: ‘We have evolved.’ Uh-huh. What we have been is dragged backward by decades, if not more, by their puerile nonsense).

      We have grown adults so terrified of being cast into the right/wrong social delineation (i.e. ‘the cool kids’) high schoolers are blushing.

      1. “The precepts of [rightism] more so than ever most definitely resemble a fundamentalist religion these days” is just as accurate.

  18. The raw political abuse is by the press. They should be held to account. Ignore them.

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