Frustrating that Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice, scrupulous about avoiding the appearance of political motivation, has been so reluctant to even investigate anti-democratic criminal activity we all saw play out in front of us, that we see playing out in front of us now as our democracy hangs by a thread, amid the threat of further, better-organized mob violence.
The belatedly formed House Select Committee on January 6 is doing an excellent job investigating and laying out the case, as two teams of impeachment managers also did, clearly setting out a case that could have been proved beyond doubt by testimony and other evidence withheld, for the benefit of Mr. Trump who never, ever obstructed justice. Of course, the impeachment trials were pure politics, the foreman of the jury pledging to work closely with the defense team to acquit each time. The outcome would have been far different in a court of law. Now it’s Garland’s moment to step up. Step up, my man.
Garland famously followed Barr’s lead when he appealed the judge’s decision not to let the Department of Justice stand in for Trump as defendant in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit, on Barr’s ridiculous theory that the president calling someone who accused him of rape a fucking liar he wouldn’t fuck with Mike Pence’s dick was acting in the scope of his “official duties”. It’s true that the DOJ leaped into action to try to challenge the Texas anti-abortion law that cleverly circumvents court review (DOJ appeal dismissed by Supreme Court) and to protect parents at school board meetings (quickly weaponized by the GOP as Garland’s partisan war against people giving totally legal Nazi salutes to show their hatred of commie school boards who hate our freedom) but, Jesus Christ.
Bending over backward to appear impartial and apolitical, the Biden DOJ let Don McGahn finally testify behind closed doors about what he told Mueller (Trump asked him to fire Mueller, then, when McGahn refused, asked him to write a memo stating they’d never discussed firing Mueller– you know, as one does while not corruptly abusing one’s power…) not under oath (the honor system again), after the court belatedly found McGahn’s defiance of a subpoena under Barr’s ridiculous blanket protective privilege claim not supported by law. You can read the transcript of McGahn’s boring, two year-delayed interview, but nobody else ever did, I won’t even bother you with a link. (OK, fine, click this one— link to transcript halfway down, above graphic.) A cold, legalistic transcript is nothing like damning testimony, delivered under oath, with skilled cross-examination, on live TV.
Equally tellingly, the Biden administration has done nothing to combat Trump’s favorite tactic of weaponizing court delay until the underlying issue becomes moot. No inter-branch dispute court has been created, no changes to the judicial docket in DC have been made, let alone the assignment of special judges for expedited rulings on urgent matters of national security, things that can currently be tied up indefinitely by unscrupulous litigants employing toothless appeals to waste additional months or years. Oh, well.
As for the detailed information that is already out there, here’s a bit from the November 6, 2021 New York Times, all undisputed (except by a compulsively litigious serial liar with millions in donated legal funds) and supported by sworn testimony and documentary evidence:
WASHINGTON — Even by the standards of President Donald J. Trump, it was an extraordinary Oval Office showdown. On the agenda was Mr. Trump’s desire to install a loyalist as acting attorney general to carry out his demands for more aggressive investigations into his baseless claims of election fraud.
On the other side during that meeting on the evening of Jan. 3 were the top leaders of the Justice Department, who warned Mr. Trump that they and other senior officials would resign en masse if he followed through. They received immediate support from another key participant: Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel. According to others at the meeting, Mr. Cipollone indicated that he and his top deputy, Patrick F. Philbin, would also step down if Mr. Trump acted on his plan.
Mr. Trump’s proposed plan, Mr. Cipollone argued, would be a “murder-suicide pact,” one participant recalled. Only near the end of the nearly three-hour meeting did Mr. Trump relent and agree to drop his threat.
Mr. Cipollone’s stand that night is among the new details contained in a lengthy interim report prepared by the Senate Judiciary Committee about Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department to do his bidding in the chaotic final weeks of his presiden
The report draws on documents, emails and testimony from three top Justice Department officials, including the acting attorney general for Mr. Trump’s last month in office, Jeffrey A. Rosen; the acting deputy attorney general, Richard P. Donoghue, and Byung J. Pak, who until early January was U.S. attorney in Atlanta. It provides the most complete account yet of Mr. Trump’s efforts to push the department to validate election fraud claims that had been disproved by the F.B.I. and state investigators.
The interim report, released on Thursday, describes how Justice Department officials scrambled to stave off the pressure during a period when Mr. Trump was getting advice about blocking certification of the election from a lawyer he had first seen on television, and the president’s actions were so unsettling that his top general and the House speaker discussed the nuclear chain of command . . .
. . . Republicans have sought for months to downplay reports of Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign, arguing that he simply cast a wide net for legal advice and correctly concluded that it would be a mistake to replace Mr. Rosen with Mr. Clark. Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, echoed those sentiments on Thursday with the release of a report by committee Republicans, which called Mr. Trump’s actions “consistent with his responsibilities as president to faithfully execute the law and oversee the Executive Branch.”
But Mr. Rosen, Mr. Donoghue and Mr. Pak — all Republicans — testified that Mr. Trump was not seeking their legal advice, but strong-arming them to violate their oaths of office, undermine the results of the election and subvert the Constitution.
The report is not the Senate Judiciary Committee’s final word on the pressure campaign.
Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, echoed those sentiments on Thursday with the release of a report by committee Republicans, which called Mr. Trump’s actions “consistent with his responsibilities as president to faithfully execute the law and oversee the Executive Branch.”
Of course, they did. Merrick?
As for Barr:
The report recommended that the Justice Department tighten procedures concerning when it can take certain overt steps in election-related fraud investigations. As attorney general, the report said, Mr. Barr weakened the department’s decades-long strict policy of not taking investigative steps in fraud cases until after an election is certified, a measure that is meant to keep the fact of a federal investigation from impacting the election outcome.
The Senate panel found that Mr. Barr personally demanded that the department investigate voter fraud allegations, even if other authorities had looked into them and not found evidence of wrongdoing. These allegations included a claim by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer and a prime force behind the unfounded election fraud allegations, that he had a tape that showed Democratic poll workers kicking their Republican counterparts from a polling station and fraudulently adding votes for Joseph R. Biden Jr. into the count.
Fucking bagpipe playing bastard.