Wednesday, December 11, 2019

William Barr Needs to Be Removed from Office

The Attorney General of the United States ("AG") is supposed to be the nation's top lawyer and is supposed to oversee the Department of Justice and by extension the FBI -  all for the goal of furthering the protection and interests of the American public. Unfortunately, the current AG, William Barr ( a bloated toad, in my view), has perverted his office and is now serving as the attorney of Donald Trump and conducting investigation that further Trump's interest even as he denigrates and attacks the FBI and spins untruths. It's the type of behavior one expects in authoritarian regimes such as Putin's Russia, not the behavior of an AG seeking to uphold his or her oath of office.  Columns in both the Washington Post and the New York Times make the case for Barr's removal and detail his departure from the duties he should be performing.  The Post column says this: 
[Trump’s] his most senior aides have done him no favors by acting as accelerators rather than brakes on his unconscionable conduct.
Three senior officials, in particular, could have tried to dissuade [Trump] the president from misusing his office for personal gain, but there is no evidence that they ever attempted to do so. History will record their names along with Trump’s in the annals of ignominy. [Trump's] The president’s principal accomplices in his brazen assault on the rule of law are Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Attorney General William P. Barr.
The attorney general has already misled the country about the findings of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation by falsely claiming that the president had been absolved of collusion and obstruction of justice. Barr then refused to investigate complaints that a crime had been committed during Trump’s call with Zelensky. Now, he is flying around the world to pressure allies to cooperate with his politically motivated probe designed to show that the investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia was actually a “witch hunt” by the so-called deep state — just as Trump claims. Barr’s highly improper requests have stirred a backlash in Italy, Australia and Britain — close allies that have no desire to be thrust into U.S. domestic politics.

The Times column examines the ways in which Barr is damaging the FBI and law enforcement in general and causing damage that will out last his tenure.  He needs to be removed from office.  Here are column highlights: 
Donald Trump famously said that he could shoot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not “lose any voters.” I don’t know about that. But I’m confident that he wouldn’t lose Bill Barr.
Execution privilege, Barr would probably call it. He’d release a statement or hold a news conference to say that Trump had a spastic trigger finger or was triggered by Adam Schiff or was set up by those dastardly Ukrainians, who are never up to any good. Such is the magnitude of Barr’s servility, the doggedness of his deference. He’s [Trump's] the president’s moral launderer. Trump does evil, and Barr washes him clean.
As attorney general, he’s supposed to be the nation’s lawyer. But he has bought into the autocratic delusion that Trump equals America, that national interest and presidential prerogative are inextricably intertwined. So he’s Trump’s advocate, come hell or high crimes, as surely as Pat Cipollone or Rudy Giuliani is.
On Monday, showing fresh contempt for the people who work under him in the Justice Department, Barr renounced a determination by the department’s inspector general that the F.B.I.’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia was legitimate and that anti-Trump bias was not its animating force. He did this instantly. And then, on Tuesday, did it again, with even less subtlety and more sanctimony. . . . He was dismissing the whole effort as rotten. It was an eerie echo of his efforts last spring, when he sought to neuter Robert Mueller’s findings about the Trump campaign’s openness to Russian help and the president’s attempts to obstruct justice. But what of the Constitution? What of common decency? Barr isn’t concerning himself with those. To appreciate his perspective, you must travel back two months, to the University of Notre Dame, where he delivered a speech that garnered some headlines but not nearly enough of them. You should note his remarks’ obsession with morality and you should try not to laugh, the same way you stifle chuckles when you’re reminded that Mike Pompeo is a putatively worshipful Christian and you try to square that with how he abetted the persecution of Marie Yovanovitch, leaves his State Department charges twisting in the wind and genuflects before a false prophet. In Trump he trusts.
You should dwell on the part of Barr’s jeremiad where he says that “men are subject to powerful passions and appetites and, if unrestrained, are capable of ruthlessly riding roughshod over their neighbors and the community.” Ruthless? Roughshod? That’s Trump in an alliterative nutshell, but Barr seemed to be perversely oblivious to that.
All these supposedly godly men — Barr, Pompeo, Mike Pence, Ben Carson, Rick Perry and more — cluster around such a demonstrably godless one. They rationalize that Trump’s indulgence of certain religious factions absolves him of his sins. Barr is the principal agent of that absolution. [I]f Barr could dig out his conscience from under all those layers of ego, he’d see that the rapacious individual in direst need of restraint is the one he’s letting roam free.

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