Pretend he’s a king

Bad news 2:

William P. Barr, President Trump’s nominee to be attorney general, wrote an unsolicited memo to top Justice Department officials in June objecting to the notion that Mr. Trump may have committed the crime of obstruction of justice.

And by “memo” they don’t mean a short note scribbled on an office pad with “Memo” at the top.

In a 19-page memo, Mr. Barr sharply criticized an apparent aspect of the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, that Mr. Trump may have committed a crime by trying to get the F.B.I. director at the time, James B. Comey, to quash the criminal investigation into his first national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, and later by firing Mr. Comey.

Mr. Barr argued that the Justice Department must not accept the notion that a president can violate a statute that criminalizes obstruction of justice by exercising his constitutional authority in an otherwise lawful way — such as by firing a subordinate, pardoning someone, or using his “complete authority to start or stop a law enforcement proceeding” — but with a corrupt motive.

In other words Barr told the Justice Department that a president – in this case the runaway maniac Trump – is above the law.

Mr. Barr’s views are likely to become a topic of intense scrutiny at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. They raise the question of whether, if he is confirmed and takes over supervision of Mr. Mueller’s inquiry as attorney general, he would order Mr. Mueller to shut down the obstruction-of-justice component of his investigation.

Ya think? It’s hard to see how he wouldn’t do that.

Mr. Barr’s theory that obstruction-of-justice statutes cannot cover a president’s exercise of authorities echoed constitutional arguments put forward by other defenders of Mr. Trump over the past year, including Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard Law School professor. But the now open embrace of it by a nominee to take over the Justice Department — and supervision of Mr. Mueller — elevated the debate to new significance.

Several Democrats reacted with alarm. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, called Mr. Barr’s memo “very troubling,” saying it concluded that “the president is above the law.”

I don’t think it’s “very troubling.” I think it’s fucking terrifying. We cannot be having a Trump who is above the law, a Trump the law cannot constrain.

Renato Mariotti on the memo:

This is the guy who will be Trump’s next Attorney General if he’s confirmed.

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