How Much Sh*tshow Is Bill Barr's Justice Department Right Now? This Much Sh*tshow.
Before we forget, we wanted to highlight some great reporting from Katie Benner and Adam Goldman at the New York Times on what's really been going on in the Justice Department and the DC US attorney's office, which has been handling (or not handling) cases involving a lot of the crimes committed in service of Donald Trump. It provides some important context to Trump's ongoing attacks on the Roger Stone judge and jury and prosecutors, who have obviously all been colluding with reality to convict yet another Trump buddy of so many fucking crimes. It also gives some more background to the ouster of former DC US Attorney Jessie Liu, a Trump appointee, because while she was willing to do a lot in service of Trump, she apparently didn't kiss the ring enough.
Liz wrote for you yesterday on the shadow campaign to get Liu fired, led by Senate Judiciary Committee staffer/idiot Barbara Ledeen, as part of Clarence Thomas's wife Ginni Thomas's Trump witch hunt campaign to purge everyone deemed insufficiently loyal to Dear Leader. (Trump, by the way, told reporters today in India that his enemies list purge is a good thing for "America," because of how that stupid fascist motherfucker thinks he is literally "America.")
Liu had committed some sins, you see, like refusing to LOCK HER UP Brett Kavanaugh's accusers, and not indicting former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, and signing sentencing recommendations for Michael Flynn that featured prison, just because he committed crimes. It's not that she didn't try, especially with McCabe. It's just that these Deep State grand juries kept coming back and saying, hello, your "case" is bullshit. As Liz wrote, Liu's greatest sin seems to be that she was unwilling to literally invent charges against McCabe and others who made the president's butt itch and hurt his feelings.
But did we mention she TRIED? She TRIED:
[Liu] pressed the McCabe case even after one team of prosecutors concluded that they could not win a conviction. After a second team was brought in and also failed to deliver a grand jury indictment, Ms. Liu's relationship with Mr. Barr grew strained, people close to them said.
Oh look, more prosecutors quitting cases when things went stupid. Seems to be a feature of the Trump Justice Department.
The Times picks up on February 3, the day Bill Barr's loyalist Timothy Shea showed up to take Liu's place. His first order of business, of course, was to get the prosecutors to go against DOJ sentencing guidelines for Roger Stone, because he and Barr thought the DOJ guidelines for sentencing a good boy such as Roger were NO FAIR.
Were there fisticuffs in the US attorney's office that day? There were at least rumors of fisticuffs!
In an attempt to ease the strain, David Metcalf, Mr. Shea's chief of staff, clasped his hand on the shoulder of one of the prosecutors, Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, as they passed in a hallway. But the gesture prompted a terse and sharp verbal exchange, according to three people briefed on the encounter. As word of the spat spread through the office, unfounded rumors swirled that the altercation had been physical.
Sounds like the entire office, which as the Times points out is 600-strong, figured out pretty quickly that Shea was only there to do Barr's, and Trump's, dirty work, and it didn't help when Barr suddenly swooped in to demand new sentencing recommendations after Trump whined on Twitter, undermining the line prosecutors on the case, which led them all to quit in protest. (What did those line prosecutors think of Barr's intervention? A "last-minute order with no legal basis," according to Benner and Goldman.) Indeed, the Times report suggests a US attorney's office where many of the career professionals have zero trust for their current shitty bosses.
Shea, for his part, reportedly had no idea what kind of maelstrom he was jumping into, or how much fucking everybody hates fucking Bill Barr, how could he possibly have known? It's only the most obvious thing on the entire fucking planet, after all.
[A]ccording to two people who have spoken with Mr. Shea, he did not know that some prosecutors now working for him had come to view Mr. Barr not as their chief defender from political interference but as an agent of the president's pressure campaigns on law enforcement.
The fuck you say.
And of course, this is the situation all over the Justice Department, as Bill Barr keeps appointing outside US attorneys to check for the 50,000th time to see if Michael Flynn was framed, or if Hillary Clinton committed aggravated emailing, or, in the case of the John Durham investigation, to see if the entire Robert Mueller investigation was a Deep State plot led by Hillary, to steal the election from herself so she could frame Trump for Russian collusion.
Point is, folks are not happy. Will we see more resignations? Will this shit blow out into the open again, as Bill Barr continues to do Trump's dirty work, while whining to impressionable reporters about how super-tough it is for him to do his job, which is doing cover-ups for Trump and protecting Trump's crime friends, when the president won't stop tweeting?
Probably. It's so bad Bill Barr might have to quit and go find somebody to do cover-ups for who doesn't have a Twitter account!
What a damned shitshow.
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