At this point, there is really no reason to believe anything that anyone associated with the current regime says about anything until it can be independently verified. That ought to be the case with any administration, really, but the sheer volume and audacity of the lies coming out of the crew assembled by Donald Trump, American president, has brought things to a new level. This is government by used car salesmen, whose only job is to sell the notion that The Boss hasn't already removed the muffler.
So there was really no reason to credulously accept the little routine that Trump's pet toad of an attorney general, William Barr, rolled out for ABC News on Thursday. Earlier in the week, federal prosecutors recommended that a judge sentence Trump associate Roger Stone to seven-to-nine years in prison for various crimes including witness tampering and lying to Congress about his ratfucking exploits in 2016. Then the president tweeted his dissatisfaction with the supposedly harsh recommendation. Then top officials at the Department of Justice seized control—soon enough, Trump tweeted Barr congratulations for "taking charge"—and engineered a more lenient recommendation, which prompted all four prosecutors on the case to quit. It's now up to U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, whom Trump has also attacked, to actually hand down a sentence on February 20.
So on Thursday, Barr prepared a whole shtick about how independent he is, and how the president "has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case." (Strangely, he was not so forthcoming when Senator Kamala Harris asked him a similar question under oath: "Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?" Barr hemmed and hawed.) The attorney general even debuted a new act wherein he is Very Frustrated with the president's behavior on the Tweet Machine, something he could never have foreseen when he took the job multiple years into Trump's presidency. The tweets, he said, "make it impossible for me to do my job."
EXCLUSIVE: Attorney Gen. Bill Barr tells @PierreTABC “the president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case”—but should stop tweeting about the DOJ because his tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job.” https://t.co/ohLk7JTpRs pic.twitter.com/Lac2RkzMYq— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 13, 2020
Don't tweet, just call me! There is literally no level of cynicism sufficient to grapple with the machinations of these people, and no level of skepticism that is out of order. Barr already manipulated the findings of the Mueller Report with his execrable Letter, which was billed as summarizing its findings until everyone found out it distorted the findings, at which point Barr said it was not really a summary. The idea that Donald Trump is not interfering in the Department of Justice, or that he is even capable of stopping himself from interfering, is absurd.
Need evidence? Here's Trump the very next morning, also known as today.
“The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.” A.G. Barr This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2020
It's not the first time Trump has asserted some sort of absolute right to interfere in the (formerly?) independent system of justice which separates the American republic from authoritarian states. Sometimes he'll cite Article II of the Constitution, which many people are saying makes him an American king. (This is one of many arguments geared towards establishing an American monarchy. Just ask Alan Dershowitz. Eat shit, Alan.) The president believes there are no limits to his power as president of a constitutional republic.
The fact of the matter is that William Barr would not have this job if he did not accommodate Trump's regular interference. Jeff Sessions lost the job because, while he was down with the racism and the private prisons and all that, he refused to completely corrupt the Department of Justice and reconstitute it as an arm of presidential power. The acting attorney general in the interim between them, Matthew Whitaker, was a former Big Dick Toilet Salesman who got the president's attention by defending him on television. As historian Douglas Brinkley once told me, "It's by nature almost impossible for Trump to build an administration of quality...It's not about good governance or ethics or even dead-rock patriotism. It's about full-bore allegiance to him, to Trump."
For proof of concept, here's the House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, demonstrating the cultish demands of Trump allegiance—specifically on the Stone case and Barr's Extreme Independence.
Rep Kevin McCarthy says Democrats "don't just hate the President. They hate you, they hate me, they hate the viewers" pic.twitter.com/EZXuwowrmn— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) February 14, 2020
So Stone didn't commit the crimes? Or it doesn't matter if he crimed because he just loves Our President? This is the same routine from the impeachment trial, wherein the president's defenders refuse to engage with the evidence or the conduct in question and simply yell and wail about Bias and The Radical Left Democrats Who Hate You, a Real American. "The only thing these people are guilty of that had to go to jail," McCarthy told Sean Hannity, "They're guilty of the same thing you and I are guilty of: that we support our president." Also, you know, numerous federal crimes. Jesus, this guy is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. No wonder he once blurted out on national television that the Benghazi stuff was all about hurting Hillary Clinton's poll numbers.
Then we're supposed to believe this clown, who only has the job because even Paul Ryan had enough sense to pull the ripcord, when he says Barr "has the highest character I've ever been around, he is very independent. If you ever talk to him about any issue, I've never known a man more independent than him." He's the most independent man alive! He's courageous, a hero, a true maverick, a warrior for justice! This is like when Trump used to tell reporters he's "the least racist person you will ever interview." They are all wraiths now, trying to ride abject shamelessness to a ring of power. They are all him, but somehow more pathetic. In surely unrelated news, here's a photo of McCarthy with Rudy Giuliani's Ukrainian henchmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.
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