When former Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his final report for the Russia investigation, he declined to deliver a judgment on whether President Donald Trump should be prosecuted for obstructing justice. Attorney General Bill Barr decided to usurp this responsibility, declaring that the fa
Rep. Adam Schiff talks with Ali Velshi about the revelations in John Bolton’s new book, Bill Barr’s efforts to use threats from the DOJ to protect Donald Trump from embarrassment, and how Bolton’s testimony would have aided in the impeachment of Trump.
Source: Schiff rips Barr for using DOJ to protect Trump from Bolton : MSNBC
The Trump administration on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to shield redacted grand jury materials related to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe from the Democratic-led House.
William Barr has become one of the most polarizing figures in Washington, and the ongoing Ukraine scandal has further thrust the attorney general and his relationship with President Trump under
Less than two weeks after he was inaugurated, Donald Trump did something that, at the time, seemed decent: On Jan. 31, 2017, the White House put out a press release promising to safeguard LGBTQ rights. Specifically, the memo claimed the new president would not overturn a 2014 Obama administration executive order protecting LGBTQ employees of federal contractors from workplace discrimination.
“President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community,” the memo stated.
Trump’s been gaslighting America on the subject of LGBTQ rights ever since. Through executive orders, agency rule-making and tweets, the Trump administration has been blasting away at the LGBTQ community from the start.
Now, the administration is ratcheting up the stakes, filing a series of briefs ― one late last week and one expected this Friday ― in a critical LGBTQ rights case scheduled to come before the Supreme Court this fall.
On Oct. 4, the court will hear oral arguments in a trio of cases considering whether the protections of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion and sex, extends to sexual orientation and gender identity.
To put it simply, the question before the court is: Can you be fired for being gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender?
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is suing the Justice Department and FBI over his termination from the agency last year, arguing that his firing was a politically motivated move stemming from President Trump‘s attacks against him and other Department of Justice (DOJ) officials.
McCabe alleges in the lawsuit filed Thursday that Trump administration officials “responded to Plaintiff’s two decades of unblemished and non-partisan public service with a politically motivated and retaliatory demotion in January 2018 and public firing in March 2018 — on the very night of Plaintiff’s long-planned retirement from the FBI.”
He claims that the actions have harmed his “reputation, professional standing, and dramatically reduced his retirement benefits.”
In the 48-page complaint, McCabe alleges that Trump was at the heart of his firing, saying the president “purposefully and intentionally caused the unlawful actions of Defendants … and other Executive Branch subordinates that led to Plaintiff’s demotion and purported termination.”
“It was Trump’s unconstitutional plan and scheme to discredit and remove DOJ and FBI employees who were deemed to be his partisan opponents because they were not politically loyal to him. Plaintiff’s termination was a critical element of Trump’s plan and scheme.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he was firing the No. 2 FBI official last March, pointing to findings from a DOJ watchdog that McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and “lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.”
The firing came shortly before McCabe would have been eligible for his pension, after more than 20 years at the bureau.
McCabe is asking a judge to find that “his demotion was unlawful and his purported termination was either a legal nullity,” and to award him with the retirement benefits he had planned on receiving as a former deputy director of the FBI.
Last week, the Federalist Society grand poobah Leonard Leo, widely credited as the mastermind behind Trump’s extremist court-packing scheme, got into a bit of spat with another high powered conservative legal luminary. That would be George Conway, the prominent Trump critic who is also the husband of Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway. Leo was upset because Conway had started a legal organization called Checks and Balances, which is dedicated to opposing Trump’s abuse of presidential power and degradation of the rule of law.
Leo said he found the whole concept outrageous. Just because the president spouts off day and night wondering why the Department of Justice isn’t jailing his political rivals and demanding that its top officials pledge fealty to him as he imagines Joe McCarthy’s lawyer (and Trump mentor) Roy Cohn would have done — well, isn’t an abuse of power unless he takes action.
I measure a president’s sensitivity to the rule of law by his actions, not his off-the-cuff comments, tweets or statements. And the president has obviously had lots of criticisms about former Attorney General Sessions and about the department, but at the end of the day, he hasn’t acted upon those criticisms.
This was fatuous in all respects but particularly so since Trump has just fired Jeff Sessions because he followed the ethical guidelines of the department and recused himself from the Russia investigations, thus failing to protect Trump. That is taking action. The same goes for firing James Comey for failing to quash the Russia investigation.
Ask people with deep knowledge of the US justice department about the damage Donald Trump might be doing to the country, and the conversation quickly flips back to Watergate.
Following Richard Nixon’s failed attempt to pull the plug on a special prosecutor who turned out to be on to something, the need for investigators to work free from White House interference was recognized by the public and reinforced by elected officials.
But now Trump is president, the public can seem apathetic or amnesiac and the norms governing justice department independence are being tested. Severely.
In interviews, two former assistant attorneys general, law professors and analysts from across the political spectrum used recurring words to describe Trump’s assault on justice: “dangerous”, “alarming”, “high-stakes”.
Some analysts warn that national security has also been endangered, as Trump has undermined public trust in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and intelligence agencies whose work is often conducted in secret and who therefore depend uniquely on such trust to function.
The question is whether Trump’s snips and snaps at the norms of justice department independence represent some greater dislocation: a constitutional crisis of some kind or even an erosion of the rule of law in America, as some commentators have posited.
In recent weeks, Trump has escalated his war on his perceived foes in the Department of Justice (DoJ), which hosts the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating alleged collusion between Moscow and Trump campaign officials.
That investigation, Trump has informed his Twitter followers, is the work of a “criminal deep state” engaged in a “WITCH HUNT” originally engineered by none other than Barack Obama.
If the Trump-supporting public is bothered by that kind of freewheeling conspiracy talk, there’s little sign of it. The president’s average approval rating is hovering close to 42%, pretty good for him. But others are deeply bothered by Trump’s seemingly nonstop provocations directed at the FBI, the attorney general, the intelligence apparatus and other DoJ agencies.
On Thursday, Trump casually granted a pardon to the race-baitingconservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to campaign finance charges. The pardon was taken as a potential signal to former associates not to “flip” and cooperate with federal prosecutors – because even if they are convicted, a pardon may be waiting.