Friday, February 14, 2020

Shame On The NY Times For Its Continuing And Fraudulent Coverage Of How Trump and Barr Are Politicizing The Justice Department!


Disorganized Crime [detail] by Nancy Ohanian

I don't get out much but when I do, it's the only time I listen to the radio-- my car has an NPR preset. Last night I drove to a restaurant to meet friends on the other side of town and, of course, back. I heard Trump's Roy Cohn AG's canned interview 3 times-- twice on the way there and once on the way home-- straight "news," not a word of commentary. It was so obviously phony that it didn't need commentary-- at least not for me. But for the low-IQ Trump supporters and New York Times reporters... maybe not that obvious?

Short version: Barr is a criminal and his well-planned "interview" with ABC News’ Pierre Thomas was part of a coverup. He did not criticize Trump for any of his criminal behavior and his "criticism" was certainly pre-cleared and without controversy outside of the manufactured kind. But looking at this morning's NY Times, with the innocuous "straight news" headline: Barr Says Attacks From Trump Make Work 'Impossible' would give you the idea that reporter Katie Bennet fell for the scam. Her lede paragraph was extraordinarily simpleminded and entirely misleading: "Attorney General William P. Barr delivered an extraordinary rebuke of President Trump on Thursday, saying that his attacks on the Justice Department had made it 'impossible for me to do my job' and that 'I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.'" Is this a joke? Am I living in the Twilight Zone? A George Orwell novel? The editors allowed this silliness to pass as reporting???? "Mr. Barr has been among the president’s most loyal allies and denigrated by Democrats as nothing more than his personal lawyer, but he publicly challenged Mr. Trump in a way that no sitting cabinet member has. 'Whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards or the president, I’m going to do what I think is right,' Mr. Barr said in an interview with ABC News, echoing comments he made a year ago at his confirmation hearing. 'I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.'"

Yes, echoing the lies he told-- and have since been proven to be lies-- at his confirmation hearing, where every Democrat saw through them except for the 3 with shit in their eyes after pulling their heads out of Trump's ass: Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Joe Manchin (WV) and poor Doug Jones (AL).

Oh, wait! A glimmer of truth! "Mr. Barr’s remarks were aimed at containing the fallout from the department’s botched handling of its sentencing recommendation for Mr. Trump’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr., who was convicted of seven felonies in a bid to obstruct a congressional investigation that threatened the president. After career prosecutors initially recommended a sentence of seven to nine years in prison, Mr. Trump spent days attacking them, the department and the judge presiding over Mr. Stone's case... The fallout from the Stone episode threatened to spin out of control after the four prosecutors on the case withdrew from it and Mr. Trump widened his attacks on law enforcement, thrusting Mr. Barr into a full-blown crisis. Career prosecutors began to express worry that their work could be used to settle political scores and doubts that he could protect them from political interference." Now just connect the dots.

The Swamp by Nancy Ohanian

"The fallout from the Stone episode threatened to spin out of control after the four prosecutors on the case withdrew from it and Mr. Trump widened his attacks on law enforcement, thrusting Mr. Barr into a full-blown crisis. Career prosecutors began to express worry that their work could be used to settle political scores and doubts that he could protect them from political interference." Sounds like she's going to get to the point, right? But no... more spin and propaganda:
The attorney general had been contemplating how to respond since he became aware of Mr. Trump’s attacks on the department, according to a person familiar with his thinking. Speaking up could have put Mr. Barr at risk of losing the backing of the president, but remaining silent would have permitted Mr. Trump to continue attacking law enforcement and all but invited open revolt among the some 115,000 employees of the Justice Department.

Ultimately, Mr. Barr concluded that he had to speak out to preserve his ability to do his job effectively, the person said.

Mr. Trump did not immediately respond on Twitter, but his press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, played down the attorney general’s remarks. “The president wasn’t bothered by the comments at all, and he has the right, just like every American citizen, to publicly offer his opinions,” she said, adding that Mr. Trump has confidence in his attorney general.

Mr. Barr was hardly the first top adviser to the president to wish he would stop tweeting, but he was the first to say it so publicly and forcefully while still in office. His action instantly set off speculation inside the administration about what it would mean for his future.

The attorney general had let the president know some of what he planned to say and is remaining in his job, a person familiar with the events said. But as with other issues, Mr. Trump’s view may depend on how the news media, particularly Fox News, covers Mr. Barr’s comments.

Some Fox personalities quickly drubbed Mr. Barr for crossing the president. “I am so disappointed in Bill Barr,” Lou Dobbs, one of Mr. Trump’s favorite hosts, said on Fox Business, just a day after praising the attorney general for “doing the Lord’s work” by overruling the career prosecutors.

Republicans in Congress rushed to voice support for Mr. Barr, urging the president to heed his advice. “If the attorney general says it’s getting in the way of doing his job, maybe the president should listen,” Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, said in an interview on Fox News.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who is close to the president, said in a statement that the attorney general was “the right man at the right time to reform the department and stand up for the rule of law.”

In the ABC interview, Mr. Barr declared his independence in what amounted to an explicit challenge for a president who prizes loyalty over almost anything.

“The thing I have most responsibility for are the issues that are brought to me for decision,” Mr. Barr said. “And I will make those decisions based on what I think is the right thing to do, and I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.”

Mr. Trump has made it difficult for Mr. Barr to maintain the appearance of independence, threatening the attorney general’s credibility by repeatedly calling for federal investigations of his own perceived enemies. Mr. Trump suggested to the president of Ukraine on a July call that helped prompt impeachment that he work with Mr. Barr and the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to investigate some of Mr. Trump’s political opponents.

Justice Department officials have sought to distance Mr. Barr from the episode, saying that he did not know the president named him on the call and that he had no contact with Ukraine about any such cases.

Mr. Barr, whose expansive views on executive power are well established, said in the ABC interview that presidents have the right to ask law enforcement officials to scrutinize issues outside their personal interests, like terrorism or bank fraud, but he drew a line at interventions for personal benefit.

“If he were to say, ‘Go investigate somebody,’ and you sense it’s because they’re a political opponent, then an attorney general shouldn’t carry that out, wouldn’t carry that out,” Mr. Barr said.

But given Mr. Barr’s remarkable deference to Mr. Trump’s interests until now, critics of the attorney general were loath to accept his comments at face value, seeing them mainly as a face-saving way to deflect responsibility for his own role in carrying out the president’s political wishes.
Waaaay down the page, a hint of what was really going on here from Joe Lockhart, a White House press secretary under Bill Clinton, who voiced the obvious, that it was "impossible to believe" that after all he has done as a coconspirator in Trump's criminal regime, "that now Barr is genuinely upset... The tell here will be Trump’s reaction. If he doesn’t lash out, we’ll all know this was pure political theater because everyone agrees Trump has no self-restraint."

And then Katie was back to the press handouts and idiocy: "Mr. Barr," she wrote, "said in the interview that he did not see the president’s comments on Tuesday about the Stone sentencing before he decided to lower the recommendation-- he reads only tweets that aides show to him, he said-- and acknowledged that Mr. Trump’s behavior boxed him into a corner. 'Do you go forward with what you think is the right decision or do you pull back because of the tweet?' Mr. Barr said. 'That just sort of illustrates how disruptive these tweets can be.' Yet Mr. Barr shared Mr. Trump’s dim view of the initial Stone sentencing request, a senior administration official noted. Officials on Tuesday blamed the original filing on a miscommunication and said they had intended to correct it even before Mr. Trump assailed it." Uh huh.

The Times then ended their coverage with more of the kind of unadulterated propaganda you find-- unchallenged-- in TrumpWorld. Señor Trumpanzee, she noted, "accused the prosecutors of engaging in an 'illegal' investigation of Mr. Stone. He incorrectly accused Judge Jackson, who presided over multiple cases from the special counsel inquiry, of placing his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in solitary confinement. The chief judge of the Federal District Court in Washington, Beryl A. Howell, issued a rare public response to the president’s attacks on Thursday, saying that 'public criticism or pressure is not a factor' when judges make sentencing decisions." The disgusting and repulsive Señor T "also attacked Robert S. Mueller III, the former F.B.I. director and special counsel, putting Mr. Barr in an especially awkward position. 'Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!' the president wrote on Twitter this week, accusing him of a felony, which, if true, the attorney general would presumably be obliged to prosecute." The ultimate swamp creature renewed his complaints yesterday, "claiming in a tweet that the Stone jury forewoman had 'significant bias,' his first vocal assault on a juror. He was responding to a Fox News report that the forewoman was an anti-Trump Democratic activist." Yes, and setting up the pretext for the eventual pardon.

The worst part of The Times naive coverage came at the end, actually attempting to paint the crooked AG as some kind of a hero: "Barr’s comments were remarkable in part for his decision to criticize the president while still serving him," wrote the credulous Katie. "Other top advisers have denounced Mr. Trump only after they left the administration. His former chief of staff John F. Kelly said in a speech on Wednesday that a military aide was right to raise questions about whether the president was exploiting American policy for personal gain in his call with the president of Ukraine."

Politico at least came right out and said that "The benign response from the White House prompted speculation from some quarters that Barr‘s message was aimed more at calming the furor at the Justice Department over the episode than actually scolding Trump." And, as is so often the case, Justin Amash's Twitter account offered more worthwhile and realistic coverage than the Gray Old Lady.

UPDATE: Barr Must Resign

Presidential candidates Bernie and Elizabeth, along with 7 of their Senate colleagues-- Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI)-- sent a letter to Barr today expressing widespread opposition to Barr's and his cronies' unethical political intervention and meddling in the Roger Stone's case, and demanded Barr immediately resign as Attorney General. From the letter: "This is an extraordinary turn of events. It appears to show that you and other top DOJ officials intervened in a clearly political fashion to undermine the administration of justice at the President's behest in order to protect a well-connected political ally who committed a 'direct and brazen attack on the rule of law. It demonstrates that you lied to Congress during your confirmation hearing when you stated that you would 'keep the enforcement process sacrosanct from political influence,' and it reveals your unwillingness or inability to maintain the integrity of the DOJ and to uphold justice and the rule of law... While you asserted yesterday in an interview with ABC News that you were 'not going to be . . . influenced by anybody,' this statement is simply not credible given that it is sharply at odds with the behavior of top DOJ officials and the comments of the President over the past 72 hours."



At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

forget barr resigning. it ain't happening. and besides, he needs to be impeached.


so remain bent over. it ain't getting better and it ain't gonna stop either.

But that's how you keep electing it, isn't it? Bring your own lube at least.

At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will the media get the spelling correct? Don't they know that it's really the "Just Us Department"?

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll just remind you all that the way holder gooned prosecutions was by never allowing any of them (against torturers and bank fraudsters, to name 2) in the first place.

I'll observe that the optics are better (in the eyes of the colossal morons of this shithole) when you just don't undertake any prosecutions than undertaking them only to lower the sentencing recommendations after the shithead is found guilty.

In this case, the democrap AG is clearly better, wouldn't you say?


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