Barr thinks one person IS above the law

Donald Ayer was a Deputy Attorney General under George Bush 1 and he sees how crooked Barr is. It’s pathetic that Trump’s army pretend they don’t.

Beginning in March with his public whitewashing of Robert Mueller’s report, which included powerful evidence of repeated obstruction of justice by the president, Barr has appeared to function much more as the president’s personal advocate than as an attorney general serving the people and government of the United States. Among the most widely reported and disturbing events have been Barr’s statements that a judicially authorized FBI investigation amounted to “spying” on the Trump campaign, and his public rejection in December of the inspector general’s considered conclusion that the Russia probe was properly initiated and overseen in an unbiased manner. Also quite unsettling was Trump’s explicit mention of Barr and Rudy Giuliani in the same breath in his July 25 phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, as individuals the Ukrainian president should speak with regarding the phony investigation that Ukraine was expected to publicly announce.

It’s all way more like being a crime boss’s lawyer than like being a nation’s legal supervisor.

Then there’s the whole thing about launching his own investigations for highly trump-facing reasons.

When Barr initiated a second, largely redundant investigation of the FBI Russia probe in May, denominated it criminal, and made clear that he is personally involved in carrying it out, many eyebrows were raised.

And many “fuck”s were articulated.

But this past week has taken the biscuit.

The evenhanded conduct of the prosecutions of Roger Stone and Michael Flynn by experienced Department of Justice attorneys have been disrupted at the 11th hour by the attorney general’s efforts to soften the consequences for the president’s associates. More generally, it appears that Barr has recently identified a group of lawyers whom he trusts and put them in place to oversee and second-guess the work of the department’s career attorneys on a broader range of cases.

The “but Trump’s tweets” interruption changed none of that, it was just Barr pretending to be not dirty.

Bad as they are, these examples are more symptoms than causes of Barr’s unfitness for office. The fundamental problem is that he does not believe in the central tenet of our system of government—that no person is above the law. In chilling terms, Barr’s own words make clear his long-held belief in the need for a virtually autocratic executive who is not constrained by countervailing powers within our government under the constitutional system of checks and balances.  

It’s a hell of an eccentric thing to believe, for someone raised in a country that preens itself on being not a monarchy. Why would he think one person’s judgment is always and everywhere preferable to that of several? Why would he trust our weird election system, where empty prairie states have more say than crowded industrial/agricultural states, to pick one human who can be trusted with all that unfettered power?

Barr would make real Nixon’s vision that if the president does it, it may not be challenged by the Department of Justice, or from any other agency of the executive branch. But Barr’s efforts to place the president above the law go far beyond foreclosing interference through checks that might arise within his own branch. His department has been very active, and he has personally been quite vocal, in working to cripple the traditional checks and balances on presidential prerogatives that arise from the distinct, co-equal roles of Congress and the courts.

Read the whole thing.

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