Shameless Bagpiper Bill Barr Needs to Go Home

Full disclosure, I personally hate this pugnacious, lawless, lying, culture war prosecuting handmaiden to the infallible Unitary Executive, the current exemplar of which is, demonstrably, the worst president in American history. I will, therefore, turn this post over to more cool-headed sources, that you might see the seriousness of what we’re up against having an essentially lawless man in charge of “Law and Order”, unaccountably carrying out the vindictive will of a thin-skinned idiot who has never taken responsibility for any of his many serious errors, omissions, frauds, crimes, etc.

Here is a nice snapshot of some of Barr’s more egregious abuses of power (though it omits, for example, Barr’s inappropriate military command of the violent clearing of peaceful protesters for the president’s Bible holding stunt in front of the church):

Congress must continue to pursue this matter [the recent whistleblower revelations about coercive political interference in Roger Stone sentencing revisions — ed]. It could start by subpoenaing the supervisors that Zelinsky named during his testimony and it could continue when Barr testifies in July. As Zelinsky noted in his opening statement, the deliberative process privilege, which the White House has long used to shield the president’s allies from testifying, does not apply if it is being used to cover up government misconduct or if the government selectively releases information in a misleading fashion. The House Judiciary Committee should not permit Barr to skirt its subpoena, and should ask him pointed questions about his conduct in the Stone sentencing, the Michael Flynn dismissal, and the teargassing of protesters outside the White House.

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As a typically irrefutable-sounding New York Times editorial confidently laid out when Barr was authoritatively spreading a false narrative about the findings of the Mueller Report, a lying mischaracterization Mueller himself immediately objected to: Why Barr Can’t Whitewash the Mueller Report.

Sorry, Grey Lady, it appears he could, and did. So much for your precious norms.

Upon taking office in February 2019, Barr refused to recuse himself from Russia/Mueller Investigation, notwithstanding that in June of 2018 he had sent a 20 page unsolicited legal memorandum to the Department of Justice — which he separately sent to and discussed with the president’s legal team — in which he perversely claimed that Mueller had no authority to investigate the Trump for obstruction of justice. When Mueller filed the report of his investigative findings with Barr, the latter summarized them in a letter to Congress that can only be characterized — charitably — as a whitewashing of much of the wrongdoing that the former had uncovered. In fact, when a redacted version of the report was released in April of 2019, fact-checkers and news outlets reported that Barr had deliberately mischaracterized the Mueller report and its conclusions.

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The recent, unexplained promotion, resignation, er, “presidential firing” of US Attorney Geoffrey Berman:

The only plausible reason for Berman’s sacking would appear to be his record as U.S. Attorney including: his prosecution of Michael Cohen, Trump’s prior attorney/fixer; his prosecution of two associates of the president’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who were said by prosecutors to have been involved in the effort to recall the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch; his investigation of Giuliani himself, in connection with allegations stemming from his lobbying practice; and his indictment, against Trump’s personal wishes, of Halkbank, a Turkish state-owned bank, on charges that it conspired to undermine the United States Iran sanctions regime.

There is much else one can say about Barr and about how he has perverted the administration of justice during his most recent tenure as attorney general. But the instances set forth above are noteworthy because they are part of a clear pattern. The findings of the Mueller report showed there was massive Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, almost all of it on behalf of Trump. Those findings were an embarrassment to Barr’s boss and, more importantly, a huge blow to his boss’s incredibly fragile ego. In response, Barr, doing Trump’s bidding, set out upon a course to do all he could to discredit the Mueller investigation. He misrepresented its findings, is still pursuing a vengeful and baseless investigation into Mueller’s investigators, and has sought to undermine two of Mueller’s most important prosecutions. His firing of Berman is of a piece with his treatment of the Mueller investigation. Berman went after Trump associates, and so Berman had to go. And he had to go before he could do any more damage to Trump’s reputation.

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Barr has to go, before he can do any more damage to the administration of justice in the USA, to our shaken experiment in democracy itself. It won’t happen voluntarily for this shameless political bully, and not by the operation of law either. Not while Mr. Trump is the president and The Grim Reaper, Mitch McConnell, is a gleeful and all-powerful party to the president’s ongoing obstruction of justice.

The House still ought to initiate impeachment of Barr — let the American people hear a clear presentation of the many reasons he needs to vacate his office and then watch as Mitch vows to do everything possible to work closely with Barr’s defense team and let Barr off the hook in another quick party-line Senate trial without witnesses or evidence. With all the legal niceties of an old-time Southern trial for a black man accused of a capital offense, only in reverse — Barr style! — with the greatest of deference extended to friends of the right people– in the “interests of justice” as Barr likes to phrase it.

Time for another nationally televised (only one camera, no reaction shots!) demonstration of what the Republican Party has become under its greatest leader. The time is right for it now, if Nancy Pelosi gets out of the way.

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