Is Bill Barr Cockblocking The SDNY? Sure Damn Looks Like It!
Hey, y'all hear those rumors that Attorney General Bill Barr has been threatening to resign, and has been supposedly telling Trump folks that? Ha ha! That is not what this post is about. Pink pussy hat and GIT OUT if it's true, asshole!
Were we not just saying like five seconds ago (yesterday morning) that it's getting KIND OF WEIRD how Barr keeps appointing special buddy pal US attorneys to look into whatever is grieving Donald Trump that day? They're not special counsels, they are Bill Barr's special boys!
Well surprise, there's a new one! And if we're reading this right, it's a pull-the-fire-alarm moment because it sounds like Barr is directly and obviously fucking with the Southern District of New York (SDNY), which likes to introduce itself at cocktail parties as the "Sovereign District of New York," because of how notoriously independent it is. That would be bad.
But first, real quick, let's review all Barr's other special US attorney friends, at least the ones we know about so far:
1. There was the one where US Attorney John Huber of Utah was supposed to look at Louie Gohmert's insane clown chart of Hillary Clinton's alleged Uranium One Clinton Foundation nefarious-ness. Huber was actually appointed, inappropriately, by former AG Jeff Sessions, and is therefore grandfathered into this list. Anyway, that one ended like a wet turd, and that made Donald Trump GRRR MAD.
2. There is the Durham investigation, where John Durham, US attorney for Connecticut, is on some sort of Carmen Sandiego-on-bath-salts adventure with Bill Barr, traversing the globe to find the REAL Deep State killers who started the Russia WITCH HUNT! Last we heard on that one, Durham was investigating the very important question, "CIA, HOW DOES IT WORK?"
3. There is the thing where Barr has asked Jeffrey Jensen, US attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, to please drop everything and check for the millionth time to see if MICHAEL FLYNN WUZ FRAMEDDDEDED!1111!!GHAZI!
4. There is the Pittsburgh Thingie, where Scott Brady, US attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, has been given the very important task of handling "Ukraine evidence" on the Bidens provided by "public" (Rudy Giuliani). Of course, everything "public" (Rudy Giuliani) has to share about the Bidens in Ukraine is a conspiracy theory, some of it from the Kremlin, and has been roundly debunked. But sure, OK! (For the record, at least one of your favorite MSNBC law people, Barbara McQuade, thinks "Pittsburgh" may be a way to keep Giuliani off of Barr's dick. Please, Scott Brady, be Roodles's friend!)
Which brings us to the new one, which is also about Ukraine stuff — REAL Ukraine stuff, not the back channel suggestion box they've set up in Pittsburgh where Rudy is supposed to drop his Ukraine batshit.
Barr's new special US attorney friend is Richard Donoghue in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) in Brooklyn. In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, Assistant AG Stephen Boyd explained that Donoghue has been been assigned to be the official hall monitor of #UkraineStuff, and that going into the future, all #UkraineStuff must be cleared through Donoghue and also Main Justice.
Who has been in charge of much if not most of the #UkraineStuff? SDNY, just across the river from EDNY in Manhattan.
Here, have some letter:
In light of several open matters being handled by different U.S. Attorney's Offices and Department components that in some way potentially relate to Ukraine -- the existence of which have been publicly reported -- Deputy Attorney General [Jeffrey] Rosen has assigned Richard Donoghue, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to assist in coordinating such matters. The Deputy Attorney General implemented this policy to avoid duplication of efforts across Department Offices and components, to facilitate information sharing, to ensure there are no conflicts among potentially overlapping matters, and to efficiently marshal the resources of the Department.
So many open matters pertaining to Ukraine and crimes and Donald Trump! Wonder why that is. Anyway, better shove 'em all over here to EDNY, where they will be safe! Ahem, "safe."
The letter clarifies that this is different from the back channel where Giuliani is supposed to send his bullshit, which will remain routed to Pittsburgh:
To protect the integrity of ongoing matters, particularly with respect to unsolicited information offered to the Department, the Deputy Attorney General has also assigned Scott Brady, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, to assist in the receipt, processing, and preliminary analysis of new information provided by the public [lol "public" — Ed.] that may be relevant to matters relating to Ukraine.
The facts laid out in the letter echo a memo sent throughout the Department back in January, which stated that going forward, anything Ukraine-y will have to be cleared and coordinated with EDNY and with the deputy attorney general at Main Justice.
We are curious what SDNY thinks about this, since it's got so much Ukraine-y shit going on right now, specifically investigations into Giuliani and his chucklefuck pals Lev and Igor. Is this a Bill Barr special, to throw roadblocks in the SDNY's way? Sure sounds like it. What the hell does this mean for the Giuliani investigation? That SDNY has to get a permission slip from the guys across the river and at Main Justice anytime they want to do anything? OK cool.
(And let's be clear: SDNY and EDNY are kind of rivals. That's important for context.)
Former SDNY prosecutor Mimi Rocah weighs in:
By the way, as Ryan Goodman points out on Twitter, this letter came in response to a whole shitload of very specific questions Jerry Nadler asked, none of which Barr's Justice Department saw fit to answer.
We don't know quite what to make of all this yet, but it sounds bad.
Last summer, we wrote a post sincerely asking if the SDNY was OK, and saying they should blink once for "yes" and blink twice for "Bill Barr." CNN had just reported that, bizarrely, the investigations into Donald Trump's businesses and porn payoffs had just kinda disappeared and were likely to end without any charges, which made little sense when you remembered that Trump had already been named in court filings as the "Individual 1" who directed Michael Cohen to commit those porn payoff crimes, and that Donald Trump Jr. had signed reimbursement checks to Cohen.
At the time, CNN was reporting that the investigations had seemed to die about five months before last summer. And what happened five months before last summer? Oh nothing, just Bill Barr got confirmed. And there was reporting just this past weekend in the New York Times that suggested that, indeed, just after he was confirmed, Barr waddled all the way up the road to New York to get up in SDNY's grill about those very cases, going so far as to undermine their entire legal theory on the campaign finance violations.
So that happened.
Oh yeah, did y'all hear Barr has issued new rules saying that if any "politically sensitive" investigations are to be opened, specifically those related to presidential campaigns, he has to personally sign the permission slip for those too? Because of how he's such a neutral arbiter, obviously! That's the guy we want deciding if "politically sensitive" stuff should be investigated, you betcha. But hey, if you want to investigate Democrats, you will get your permission slip signed, we reckon!
So again: SDNY, are you OK? It does not sound like it to us.
This is a major moment, if SDNY is now compromised by Donald Trump's rogue Big Lots version of Roy Cohn over at Justice. We don't know where this story goes next, but it's definitely not over.
Leakers, start your engines!
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