Turns Out Bill Barr's Been Ratf*cking SDNY From The Jump. Yeah, Don't Faint.
Holy Tarmac, Batman! After Bill Barr's spectacularly botched attempt to ratfuck the DOJ branch in the Southern District of New York last weekend, that office has started leaking. Who could have seen it coming? Turns out that about five minutes after being sworn in, the attorney general marched into SDNY and demanded to see all the files related to Donald Trump and his associates. You know, in the interests of justice.
Barr's first order of business was to see if he couldn't figure out some way to keep Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen out of the hoosegow. Cohen had already pled guilty to violating campaign finance law at the direction of "Individual 1," AKA that rancid, orange couch potato tweeting all day in the Oval Office, and was facing a three year stretch at FCI Otisville.
According to the New York Times, the newly confirmed AG spent weeks grilling prosecutors about their decision to charge Cohen, even going so far as to order them "to draft a memo outlining legal arguments that could have raised questions about Mr. Cohen's conviction and undercut similar prosecutions in the future." Just in case some other presidential candidate got his lawyer to pony up $130,000 to pay off a porn star to keep quiet about their affair, failed to disclose the debt, and then hid the repayment in his business accounts as a legal "retainer." It could happen!
With Cohen already sentenced (unlike Michael Flynn!), there wasn't much Barr could do to unwind the case. But the Times notes that the Justice Department closed the investigation in July of 2019 without charging any Trump Organization executives with lying to the FBI. Which is interesting in light of reporting at the time that "Executive 1," AKA Trump's consigliere/accountant, greenlighted those "retainer" payments to Michael Cohen, some of which had Don "Failson" Jr.'s signature on them. And Allen Weisselberg is alleged to have structured the whole deal to compensate Cohen for his tax liability by "grossing it up" to 12 easy payments of $35,000. Lucky for them Attorney General Barr was on the case to make sure nothing untoward happened, huh? Unluckily, New York's Attorney General Letitia James is not inclined let accounting bygones be bygones.
Barr has already gotten caught with his flaccid little billy in the cookie jar on the Roger Stone and Michael Flynn investigations. But according to the Unitary GOP Executive Theory, in which a Republican president has unlimited power to direct the Justice Department to prosecute his enemies and go easy on his friends, this is totally fine. Offer not valid for Democratic presidents unmasking traitors who undermine US sanctions policy against hostile powers who attack our elections! In that case, it is LOCK HER UP.
The Times reports that the Cohen case wasn't the only one Barr took an interest in. Our fearless AG has helped himself to a front row seat for the investigations of Trump's chucklefucker buddies Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who did get indicted, and Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who didn't. The Times and The Daily Beast have both reported that the grand jury investigating Crazy Racist Uncle Rudes for violating foreign lobbying laws has been shut down for COVID, but let's speculate wildly here that Bill Barr will allow SDNY to indict Rudy ... NEVER.
When it comes to launching probes of the FBI for doing RUSSIA HOAX FRAMES to Michael Flynn, though, Deputy Dawg's got all the time in the world.
Hey, remember that time Loretta Lynch recused herself from the Hillary Clinton email investigation — an investigation which Barr just tapped out on in October of 2019 — after having a brief discussion about her grandkids on the tarmac with Bill Clinton? Remember how Republicans spent the last three years pretending that their chat proved that the FBI was totally BIASSSS, and thus it was UNLEGAL to investigate the Trump campaign's bumbling attempts to coordinate with Russian hackers to steal the election?
Apparently it is totally fine to fix FBI investigations to benefit the president's allies. But only if you're a Republican.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.