Is Anybody Even Scared Of Bill Barr Anymore?
We don't know how to say this, but we think Attorney General Bill Barr might have bited off LI'L BIT more than he can chew.
Everything was going so great for Barr, he was doing so many fascisms and cover-ups for Donald Trump, and Trump really seemed to trust him to pretty much singlehandedly destroy America's concept of the rule of law with his grubby stinkpaws. With Barr's help, whatever assignments Vladimir Putin seems to have given Trump have seemed totally achievable!
Except for how things suddenly aren't going quite so well.
Rachel Maddow ticked off a bunch of Barr's recent failures yesterday evening, starting with when Barr tried to do a Friday Night Massacre this past weekend at the Southern District of New York (SDNY). Barr tried to remove Trump appointee Geoffrey Berman as US attorney — most likely to try to damage/thwart ongoing investigations into Trump associates like Rudy Giuliani, and maybe even Trump himself, and maybe as a favor for Trump's dictator pal in Turkey — and replace him with some pant-licker sycophant from New Jersey named "Craig." Unfortunately, Barr is such a fuckup that he completely lost the game of chicken with Berman, who, though he is still obviously fired, managed to make sure his successor would be his longtime deputy, Audrey Strauss, whom SDNY actually respects, until a permanent nominee is confirmed. Not the pant-licker from New Jersey named "Craig."
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, who continually battles with Barr for the employee-of-the-month parking space inside Trump's ass, responded to the Berman firing by saying he will respect home-state Democratic senators' right to "blue-slip," or veto, Trump's new Manhattan US attorney nomination, which is theoretically supposed to be current SEC chair Jay Clayton, except for how Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are like "Eat this bag of New York dicks, they're really weird and foldy like New York pizza, so you'll need a buncha napkins."
Now, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler has opened an investigation into the matter, and he is going to subpoena Barr for testimony. And when Barr receives that subpoena and uses it to wipe Trump's ass-skin off his lips before throwing it in the garbage? Appearing on Maddow last night, Nadler said he's totally prepared to DEFUND THE POLICE, by which we mean cut off the Justice Department's funding, if Barr refuses to appear.
BREAKING: House Judiciary Committee to subpoena Attorney General Barr, use DOJ budget as leverage to encourage appe… https://t.co/f71pbY8tQ3— Maddow Blog (@Maddow Blog) 1592876185.0
NADLER: We have other remedies, too, to try to force the attorney general. We can eliminate his office budget. [...]
MADDOW: His office budget, like his paper clips budget? Or does he have some sort of large amount of discretionary funding you could cut off?
NADLER: No, no, we're talking about the budget of the Department of Justice.
Something has changed in the way people are handling Bill Barr, it seems.
(We do think they should also take his paper clips, just to be dicks. And his stapler.)
News of the subpoena first came out in a whiny-ass letter Jim Jordan (the House Judiciary Committee's ranking Republican) sent to Nadler. Jordan just thought it was very unfair Nadler was going to subpoena Barr, because of how Barr is totally willing to testify "once the pandemic concludes." And since the Trump administration is such a fucking failure at fighting the pandemic, we guess we can pencil that in for "never." Jordan accused Nadler of being "odd and decidedly partisan" toward Bill Barr, as if Barr has ever done anything to deserve such treatment. Jordan also thinks it's just crazy that Nadler thinks Barr was trying to murder the rule of law and do cover-ups for Trump in his fuckshow firing of Geoffrey Berman.
Most of Jordan's letter is irrelevant, as it's full of hallucinations, conspiracy theories, and pro-Kremlin propaganda, and not even one acknowledgement that he totally knew the team doc at Ohio State was sexually assaulting college wrestlers. Fuck Jim Jordan.
So that's all happening.
As we said, Maddow ticked through a bunch of the recent history of Barr's fuckups last night. Barr keeps losing at the Supreme Court, which really confuses Trump, because he thought he had rigged the Court to his satisfaction — but Barr is losing at least partially because of incredibly shitty lawyering. Meanwhile, Barr's role in creating Trump's fascist Bible-hoisting spectacle in front of St. John's church, giving the order to "clear out" (gas) innocent peaceful American citizens protesting, was just fucking embarrassing.
And then there are all these resignations, none of which have made big breaking news on their own, but which were all curious because of their timing. In recent days, we have seen departures or announcements of departures from the Justice Department from:
- Brian Benczkowski, head of the DOJ's criminal division. Before he had that job, he was representing Alfa Bank, one of the Russian banks at the very bull's eye of the Russian investigation, as their lawyer. Yes, that Alfa Bank. So he's a fucking goon.
- Jody Hunt, head of the DOJ's civil division, who has been largely responsible for explaining why Trump doesn't have to do what Congress says, because of the very important legal theory of Congress Is Not Trump's Real Dad. Also, he's been a point man on defending Trump's racist travel bans and the like. So he's a fucking goon.
- Noel Francisco, the solicitor general. Also too a fucking goon.
Those are three really, really high up mofos at DOJ.
But again, they're all garbage human beings, so nobody was like "Oh, look, principled resignations!" It wasn't like Mary Elizabeth Taylor, the high-up State Department official who announced she was leaving because Trump's recent racist fascism has "cut sharply against my core values and convictions." Nah.
The timing, however, has been odd enough to make us say "Huh" at each other in the Wonkette secret chatcave. "Huh," said we. "Why now?" Why the summer before Trump's big campaign for a second term?
With everything else that's going on, it's really looking like rats abandoning the sinking ship. As Wonkette elegantly wrote recently, They Know He's Going To Lose. And it sounds like maybe they don't want to go down with Barr.
Did we mention there's DOJ whistleblower testimony in Congress on Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee? (And yes, we will probably liveblog that!) Aaron Zelinsky, who was on Robert Mueller's team, and who was part of the Roger Stone prosecutorial team that resigned en masse when Bill Barr stuck his dick in to try to get a lighter sentence for Stone, will be there. So will John Elias, from the DOJ's anti-trust division. Again, as whistleblowers.
A lot of shit is going on, is our point. And we aren't sure, but we feel like folks are a lot less scared of Bill Barr, and Donald Trump, than they used to be.
Nothing but shitshow from here on out, kids!
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