Tag Archives: William Barr

182. The Erosion of Policing and Intelligence under Trump

29 Jul

Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence,  may soon resign. Coats has a key role in coordinating all of our intelligence agencies. He is highly respected by all and his replacement by Trump could dangerously politicize these agencies, which have already been weakened.

This event calls into question the efficacy of our national policing and intelligence agencies. Weakening and controlling such agencies is a key step towards autocracy. Here are some of the considerations.

In at least one case, Trump revealed agency secrets to Russian officials, causing the distrust of our agencies by similar agencies of our foreign allies. Trump has generally ignored our agencies and instead supported foreign leaders like Vladimir Putin of Russia. He valued Putin over our agencies.

The office of Attorney General was filled by a Trump sycophant William Barr. Barr has supported Trump’s policies and interests and has disregarded the truth. Mueller has challenged him regarding his false characterizations of his report. The whole Department of Justice has been tainted by Barr.

The FBI has been attacked many times by Trump and his staff. The FBI, of course, plays a vital role in protecting all of us. Many have lost confidence in the FBI due to these attacks on specific agents and agency policies.

Trump has attacked unfairly the Special Counsel numerous times. He does not mention that Special Counsel Mueller is, in fact, a Republican. Trump has no respect and makes personal attacks with little substance.

Committees of Congress responsible for oversight of government agencies have been attacked by Trump. In addition to personal attacks of committee chairman and members, he ignores all requests for documents and testimony. He lies about their findings. He is also ignoring subpoenas.

A related problem is the appointment of radically conservative federal judges. Law enforcement is limited and weakened by these appointments.

Policing of our southern border has been eroded by Trump demands for harsh treatment to discourage attempts for asylum. No matter how many immigrants are involved, there is no excuse for what amounts to their torture by extreme over-crowding and unsanitary conditions. A good illustration of serious incompetence is the wrongful incarceration for 23 days of a US born citizen carrying a birth-certificate and drivers license. He and many others have reported horrendous conditions.  

Trump has gradually undermined and taken over  policing and intelligence agencies. This is a major step towards tyranny. Please see my Blog 179 and others for a comprehensive list of all such steps. We are getting close to a point where Trump’s take-over (autocracy) will be almost impossible to reverse. Control of the FBI, for example, would allow Trump to fulfill his dream of arresting political opponents and  members of the press.

 

 

 

 

170. 800 Prosecutors Can’t be Wrong!

9 May

Briefly: Barr and McConnell have lied, Trump in a rage suppresses everything, M. Report shows obstruction, 800 prosecutors agree, some say Constitutional Crisis, Trump a billion-$ loser, Trump Jr was subpoenaed.  Are we at a turning point?

In the last day or two there have been dramatic events related to the Trump investigation and Robert Mueller Report. Here are the most important developments. I also have to add that my Blog-169 entitled “In the USA, an Emerging Tyranny?” was written two days earlier, Monday May 6. The six steps towards tyranny anticipate many of today’s events, such as Trump’s total suppression of testimony, documents, and subpoenas.

One of the most important events is the posting on the web site Medium of a letter from (as of now) 800 former prosecutors,  including both Republicans and Democrats. (Trump says he is exonerated.)  Here is the second paragraph:

“Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.”  

In a tweet today (@RichardLeeWB), I wrote:  I think there is already plenty of evidence for Trump indictments and impeachment from the Mueller Report and other information. So we could forget unwilling testimony and Trump obstruction. Note: impeachment even without conviction still makes an important statement, here and globally.

Today, the House Judiciary Committee voted 24 to 16 to hold Attorney General Barr in contempt for defying a Mueller Report subpoena. The committee wants the entire report as a part of their oversight investigation process. The Congress, which is of equal standing to the Executive branch, has a constitutional responsibility for Executive oversight.

A few days ago, Attorney General William Barr refused to testify before the House Judiciary Committee because he did not like the format. Claims that the examination by an outside lawyer was unprecedented, are false. An example is the recent supreme court hearings for Kavanaugh where Dr. Ford was questioned.

Several years of Trump’s early tax returns were examined by reporters of the NY Times. Examination of the period 1985 to 1994  indicates an incredible business loss of over one billion dollars.

Trump Jr was subpoenaed by the GOP-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee to testify regarding the Russian investigation.  This is the first time one of the Trump family members was subpoenaed.

President Trump told reporters that “we are fighting all the subpoenas.” He has decided to restrict all testimony and documents that the Congress has every right to receive. This is based on “executive privilege.”  Please see my previous Blog-169 that outlines the step by step emergence of Tyranny.

 

 

 

 

168. What Stands Out, in This Complicated World

7 May

For an ordinary citizen of the USA, I would guess that there are so many political events and ideas reported by the media — that it may be difficult to decide what is important and what to focus on. I see my role as a blogger, to help explain important current issues in a clear way. And, of course, I admit that I see the world in my own special way and with my own set of beliefs. Maybe I should explain just a little more. I believe in the following: Kindness wherever possible, a strong and prosperous middle class, the spirit of the US Constitution, respect for 99% of the law, and that the vote of every citizen should have an equal effect. To further explain the last point, a very wealthy person should not have extra influence on elections.

Here are my choices for the most outstanding and important current ideas and issues.

Climate-Change disasters are already here and we must make every effort to work on this problem, including considerable research and construction of “green” devices. This effort will take some money, but next to nothing compared to the expense of neglecting it. Briefly, numerous populated lowland areas will be permanently flooded, there will be massive migrations, and increased fires and hurricanes. Actual global warming is increasing faster than previously estimated. Climate change work must be funded, just like our military, government and other necessary agencies without asking where will the money come from.

We must put much more effort into protecting our elections from Russia and maybe other meddlers. Generally, our voting system must be hardened and reliable. Trump has put little effort into protecting our election system, but there are some efforts by various agencies and state governments to help. Our President has little interest because the meddlers have helped him.

Our government must support scientific and tech research, which can improve our lives and help with increasing population. For example, we must stop condemning GMO foods (see my blogs) and do sufficient research to improve trust in this valuable method. Nature is constantly modifying the DNA of all living things, and does not inform us of changes. GMO changes are known and we can test their safety. Humans have changed DNA for many centuries by animal and plant breeding; GMO is a similar, but quicker and more effective.

We clearly need improvements to our health care system. Abolishment of ObamaCare without a good replacement would be a catastrophe for millions of US citizens. ObamaCare provides more citizens with insurance and more safeguards for insurance loss due to various limits and pre-existing conditions.

We must maintain good relationships with our traditional allies: Canada, Mexico, members of the EU (and UK), Australia, India, Scandinavians, Japan, and others. We must very carefully work out an appropriate relationship with China and Russia. International relationships are very complicated and require the participation of many experts. Our current gov is simplistic and often resorts to coercion when good diplomacy is better. It also uses trade policies without considering all the possible effects.

Although sanctions can be useful in forcing more responsible government, they can be ineffective because the leaders of a country will always have plenty of food and various  luxuries. It’s the ordinary citizens that suffer the most. Sometimes really good, intelligent negotiation is better.

Immigration issues at our Southern border must be worked out in a reasonable and humanitarian way. This, of course, is a very complicated issue, with many valid interests to consider. Repubs and Dems must work together and form a viable plan. Our current gov has ignored real solutions and has taken action for purely political purposes, causing needless suffering for many.

The Robert-Mueller-Report makes NO statements of innocence, and includes facts related to many administration crimes, illicit actions, various wrongdoings, and suspicious activity. Ignoring these findings would be a disaster for our country. In order to satisfy certain rules and traditions, conclusions have been ignored, and left to Congress. The evidence provided in the Report can be used for various legal actions and when appropriate for articles of impeachment.

Our new Attorney General, William Barr, is a Trump sycophant who lies, and cannot be trusted. He must be nullified in some way.

Those who believe in democracy always include a free and independent press as one of the most important requirements. The best reporters, like those who work at major newspapers, don’t attack anyone without good cause. If a leader hates the press, then likely he is corrupt and making big mistakes.

Many writers have tried to explain the bizarre behavior of our President. Here are my thoughts: his desperation to keep voters leads him to contradictions, such as supporting both Israel/Jews and Neo-Nazis (Charlottesville conflict). He has no ideals or patriotism, and is only motivated by self-interest. Like most older people, he is somewhat affected by Alzheimer’s disease, which produces memory loss, repetition, and confusion. Stress and sleep loss may be other factors.

For more ideas, please read my other blogs and my tweets,   @RichardLeeWB.

 

167. Slippery Barr Defies Logic (Revised)

2 May

US Attorney General William Barr says that the word “spying” is the same as “investigating.” Spying is more sinister and he knows it. When Russia sends “spies” over here, do we call them “investigators”: NO.  Barr, a Trump sycophant,  is saying that the investigations of Trump’s administration, approved by numerous officials at the highest levels and by FISA courts, are somehow illicit and can be called spying. That would mean that a dozen FBI officials and judges (mostly Republicans) all conspired to persecute Trump for no reason.

If you read the M. Report carefully, you will not see anywhere, a statement of “innocence.” For all questions, either evidence is presented or it is stated that no evidence proving a crime was found; implying that further investigation could lead to such evidence. White House Lawyer Emmet flood confirmed in a letter that a prosecutor never finds that anyone is “innocent” or “exonerated.”

Barr said that he was not “summarizing” the Report, but was only stating the verdicts. But the analogy does not hold, because this is not a trial with verdicts. The Report is primarily a summary of evidence, presented without conclusion, to be used by Congress (not the A.G.) to decide on impeachment. Impeachment is somewhat different from ordinary criminal rules and procedures. Slippery Barr tried to say he was presenting verdicts; nonsense. The public does not care what this Trump sycophant thinks, it wants a decision from Congress.

Regarding  “conspiracy” or “collusion”, there was no clear evidence of an actual crime. But there were plenty of suspicious interactions of Trump and staff with Russians that indicated illicit Russian influence. The Trump-Putin exchange did not have to be based on money, it could have simply been based on Russian help with the election. The interactions include secret Trump-Putin meetings without any US officials, such as the Secretary of State. Contrary to usual governmental procedures, there was no official discussion before or after these meetings. There were numerous communications by Presidential staff with Russian leaders and favors for Putin, like delaying sanctions. Refusal to believe (for a long time), that Russia influenced the election. Putin was treated like an ally, instead of an aggressor (partially taking over Ukraine) and a killer of reporters (that Trump did not condemn). The suspicious acts of Trump were numerous and sufficient to start an investigation, without any need for the Steele Dossier.

I already discussed Barr’s prejudicial scheduling of the release of the redacted Mueller Report. First, it was released on the Thursday before the Friday holiday and a vacation time, so that no actions could be taken for a while. Even worse, about three weeks later, the press conference where slippery Barr presented his incorrect views of the Report, was held two hours before the Report was released, so that he could not be properly questioned. Thus, sycophant Barr had two opportunities to present his distorted views before anyone could read the Report. The American public paid millions of dollars for this vital investigation, which Trump, through Barr, claimed exoneration.

Mueller sent two letters to Barr stating that his interpretation of the Report was faulty. Barr stated that in conversations, Mueller said his interpretation was satisfactory. Until we have more testimony, we need to accept the written version, that Barr mislead the American people.

Thom Hartmann  writes (Salon, March 26, 2019) that back in 1992 Bill Barr did a cover up similar to what happened today. He reportedly buried evidence related to “the Iran-Contra scandal.” Conservative William Safire referred to him as the “Coverup-General. 

The manner in which Barr got his job as A.G. is very troubling. Back in June 8, 2018, Barr wrote a memo regarding “obstruction of Justice” that was favorable to Pres. Trump. It supported the view that an AG would not have to recuse himself regarding supervision of the Muelller investigation. Trump liked this idea and it probably influenced his decision to nominate Barr.

This morning, slippery Barr did not show up for his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, claiming that his examination by an outside attorney was somehow wrong. There is recent precedence for this: the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing (October 2018), where an outside attorney did some of the questioning. A historical search shows that there were many instances of questioning by staff or outside counsel.