WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee, William Barr, said Tuesday that the idea that a memo he wrote last year criticizing the Mueller investigation was a veiled job application is “ludicrous.”
Shortly after Barr’s confirmation hearings got underway Tuesday, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. told Barr that some have said that the memo was intended to draw the president’s attention to his potential as a possible attorney general.
“That’s ludicrous,” Barr responded. “If I wanted the job and was going after the job, there are many more direct ways of me bringing myself to the president’s attention than writing an 18-page legal memorandum.”
Barr faced a barrage of related queries about — and criticism of — his views on Mueller’s Russia probe from the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday as proceedings began, including a memo he sent to the Justice Department last year in which he criticized Mueller’s investigation.
Democrats on the Judiciary Committee — including at least three potential 2020 presidential contenders — had been expected to zero in on that memo.
Source: William Barr to Dems: ‘Ludicrous’ to say my Mueller memo was a bid for AG job : NBC News
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.
Leo told Axios:
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.
Source: Mob boss gone mad: Trump longs to go after Clinton, apologizes for murderers | Salon.com
“I don’t think he demonstrates good negotiating skills when it comes to Mr. Putin,” said John Brennan, who led the CIA from 2013 until January of his year.
Source: Fmr. CIA Director Brennan Says Trump ‘Ceded’ Ground to Putin at Meeting – NBC News