Fed. judges' assoc. calls emergency meeting after DOJ intervention

dublinbay z6 (KS)

Bill Barr has more criticism coming his way from his judicial colleagues.

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"A national association of federal judges has called an emergency meeting Tuesday to address growing concerns about the intervention of Justice Department officials and President Donald Trump in politically sensitive cases, the group’s president said Monday.

Philadelphia U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe, who heads the independent Federal Judges Association, said the group “could not wait” until its spring conference to weigh in on a deepening crisis that has enveloped the Justice Department and Attorney General William Barr.

[. . .]

Rufe, nominated to the bench by President George W. Bush, said the group of more than 1,000 federal jurists called for the meeting last week after Trump criticized prosecutors' initial sentencing recommendation for his friend Roger Stone and the Department of Justice overruled them.

Trump also took a swipe at the federal judge who is set to preside at Stone’s sentencing hearing Thursday.

“Is this the judge that put Paul Manafort in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, something not even mobster Al Capone had to endure?” Trump tweeted last week, referring to U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson. “How did she treat Crooked Hillary Clinton? Just asking!"

Jackson jailed Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, prior to his convictions in two separate financial fraud cases after he sought to tamper with potential witnesses.

[. . .]

The unusual concern voiced by the judges’ group comes in the wake of an equally unusual protest. More than 2,000 former Justice Department officials called on Barr to resign Sunday, claiming his handling of the Stone case "openly and repeatedly flouted" the principle of equal justice.

[. . .]

Last week's move in the Stone case was followed by Friday's disclosure that Barr had appointed an outside prosecutor to review the criminal case of Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. He is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI . . . .

[. . .]

Founded in 1982, the 1,100-member association supports "a fair, impartial, and independent judiciary," according to its website.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/federal-judges-association-calls-emergency-220244852.html

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Sounds like we are on the verge of witnessing a federal judicial rebellion!

Watch out, Bill--they are coming to get you!

Kate

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

How exciting!

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barncatz

I'm not sure we can assume this will result in criticism, Kate. But it's gratifying that they felt Barr's actions warranted this discussion, rather than normalizing what he did by ignoring it.

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Annie Deighnaugh

Apparently evidence is coming out that his interference in federal cases has been ongoing, not just the stone case. He's been at it for awhile now...helping trump become the man who would be king.

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Annie Deighnaugh

I have no idea though what if anything these judges can do....

If the way to get rid of barr is via impeachment...we know how that'd go in the senate already.

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maddie260

Since this is a new thread, I'll ask the question that I posted on another; it received no replies, only likes:

Serious question for POTUS supporters: are the now more than 2000 ex- DOJ employees all members of the "Deep State"? I think these people are sounding a fire alarm that we should pay attention to. Equal justice under the law is being eroded for all of us.

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sjerin

Don't you think trump et al are just smiling? DOJ employees quit over this, and he/they appoint friendly faces? Teflon don.

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Izzy Mn(4)

What I don't really understand is the resigning in protest. Wouldn't bit be better not to resign and stay and work on problem from within. Also resigning opens position for a person who would do the biding of Trumpsters and be more malleable to Trump's "suggestions".

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maddie260

There is a part of me that thinks- and I hope I'm wrong- that these people are aware the department, and the country, is beyond help. It is hopelessly corrupted by potus and his pals. In our 250 year history, has there ever been such letter? New signatories sign on all of the times- judges, attorneys, staff members, etc. It is frightening.

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war garden

the doj has over 90,000 current employees

so 1000 former employees is small percentage.

the trial will lead to mistrial due to bias of jury

foreman. the four prosecutors story is turning

out to be different then first reported.


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maddie260

war garden: Unless you can state how many LIVING ex-DOJ employees there are, I'll stand by my statement that 2,000+ people and more signing on every day is a very significant number. I can't find a number for how many there are?

How/why is the prosecutor's story changing? I can find nothing of that in the news- do you have a source for it?

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Annie Deighnaugh

I don't think the percentage of existing doj employees is that relevant as I'm sure there are many who want to keep their job and knowing, esp under this president and AG, signing such a letter is at a minimum a career ender.

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Annie Deighnaugh

I still don't see how any of this is helpful so long as trump has friends on the supreme court. Let's not forget the smoke around Anthony Kennedy's retirement and his son's relationship with Deutschebank...the one and only bank who would lend money to trump....the same bank that was fined $600 mil for laundering russian money esp through real estate deals.

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Ziemia(6a)

1,000+ federal jurists

2,000+ former judicial officials

90k employees

*********

The voices of the jurists and officials are notable however it means squat if they don't meaningfully inform & get out voters.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

It is discouraging, isn't it, Annie, when we see the web of connections among the 'privileged' ones.

Be that as it may, public cries of protest can be influential, in my opinion. I have no idea what percentage of DOJ former employees the 2,000+ protesting signatures may represent, but it should be clear that those 2000+ signatees are former Justice Department officials. That's impressive.

What impact has that had? Well, it certainly made the 24 hour TV news cycle and is still going strong. That's all they are talking about this morning on MSNBC, for instance.

Can anyone remember another time when 2000+ exDOJ officials came together to publicly protest anything? They certainly got my attention. And then the national association of federal judges calls an emergency meeting (see OP) because they are so concerned about what is happening under Bill Barr. The protests are rippling outward!

Anyone old enough remembers the impact the Saturday Night Massacre (the firings/resignations during the Nixon years) had on the public consciousness and the protests that broke out everywhere preceding Nixon's resignation.

Or how about the public outcry against appointing Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. I still remember collecting hundreds and hundreds of signatures opposing that appointment, and I wasn't the only one by any means. The outcries kept spreading to the point that "to bork" became a new and recognized dictionary word!

And any child of the 1960s remembers how to end a war--by conducting mass protests. You know, "Make love, not war!"

I say, let the noise begin! This is no longer just a partisan complaint, but a growing general concern about the future of our constitutional democratic republic! Time to speak up!

Kate

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

"Former Deputy Attorney General Shares Dire Warning If William Barr Does Not Resign

[. . .]

In an op-ed for The Atlantic published Monday, Donald Ayer, who has known Barr for more than four decades and once worked with him at the Department of Justice, warned of a grim future if his former colleague is not removed from office.

Reflecting on Barr’s first year of service, Ayer concluded that he 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.”

Any optimism that Barr would stand strong against attempts to inject politics into the department’s work was misplaced, Ayer wrote, highlighting a series of “disturbing” events beginning with his “public whitewashing of Robert Mueller’s report, which included powerful evidence of repeated obstruction of justice by the president,” and ending with the “worst of all”: Barr’s reported intervention in the criminal prosecution of Trump’s friend Roger Stone.

“For whatever twisted reasons, he believes that the president should be above the law, and he has as his foil in pursuit of that goal a president who, uniquely in our history, actually aspires to that status.”

The fundamental reason that Barr is unfit for office, according to Ayer, is that he does not believe in the central tenet of America’s democracy: that “no person is above the law.”

“Bill Barr’s America is . . . a banana republic where all are subject to the whims of a dictatorial president and his henchmen. To prevent that, we need a public uprising demanding that Bill Barr resign immediately, or failing that, be impeached.”

https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/donald-ayer-trump-barr-resign-012947209.html

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We've heard that language before--right here on HT!

The protests increase!

Kate

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barncatz

What Barr did was extraordinary and anti-Anerican in the truest sense of the word. Americans should be in the streets, but I am not. I am typing on a screen.

Barr has not tried to hide his support of extreme Presidential power. His explicit support for that view is why he is now Atty Gen.

Amy McGrath is now statistically tied with Mitch McConnell. Please consider sending her a donation.

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mrskjun(9)

What exactly did Barr do that he should resign? He made a recommendation, that's it. The judge is under no obligation to even consider it. Consider that a rapist get 4.2 years, consider that McCabe isn't even being charged. and up to nine years for Stone? Justice should be equal, but we haven't been seeing much of that.

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Ziemia(6a)

It's like the ice today on the ponds and lakes in southern New England. Looking at the surface tells you little.

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sheesh(5b)

Mrskjun, will you agree with a long sentence, if that's what the judge imposes?

If there was something to charge McCabe with, he would have been charged. If there is nothing to charge McCabe with, why do YOU want him charged anyway? What evidence have you seen that that he should be charged with?

Do you really feel that US prisons are filled with criminals who receive light sentences?

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Annie Deighnaugh

What exactly did Barr do that he should resign?

He is doing exactly what he shouldn't. He is supposed to be AG for the people of the United States, not chief enforcer for the president, but he has chosen the latter. He is supposed to be a firewall between justice and politics. He swore an oath to the Constitution, not to the President, but he is acting as a henchman for the president, protecting his minions and attacking his enemies.

He is injecting himself into the execution of justice in politically charged cases:

  • overruled recommendations by career prosecutors in the stone case
  • assigning a new person to oversee the flynn case
  • announcing he is solely in charge of deciding which political cases will be pursued and no one else will be making that decision
  • assembled a team of outside officials who have started grilling career prosecutors: The outside officials have begun grilling line prosecutors in the Washington office about various cases — some of which are publicly known, and some of which are not — including investigative steps, prosecutorial actions and why they took them... Source: NYT

He is fully accepting and supporting the president's assertion that he has the right to interfere in any case he wants to and has barr doing just that for him.

[bolding is mine to point out that we don't even know what cases are being politicized...who else don't we know about has been the president's agent or enemy and is becoming a victim of this politicization.]



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Annie Deighnaugh

One of the fundaments of American justice is that no man is above the law and the law needs to be applied fairly and equally based on individual rights, not based on who one knows or one's political persuasion or religious beliefs or anything else. But what barr is doing is weaponizing the DoJ and all of its enforcement powers against trump's political enemies and in favor of his allies.

This should be anathema to *all* Americans as that weapon can easily be turned on you for whatever whim or reason the president may decide.

Perhaps reading the letter that over 2000 have signed would be helpful:

excerpted below

https://medium.com/@dojalumni/doj-alumni-statement-on-the-events-surrounding-the-sentencing-of-roger-stone-c2cb75ae4937

As former DOJ officials, we each proudly took an oath to support and defend our Constitution and faithfully execute the duties of our offices. The very first of these duties is to apply the law equally to all Americans. This obligation flows directly from the Constitution, and it is embedded in countless rules and laws governing the conduct of DOJ lawyers. The Justice Manual — the DOJ’s rulebook for its lawyers — states that “the rule of law depends on the evenhanded administration of justice”; that the Department’s legal decisions “must be impartial and insulated from political influence”; and that the Department’s prosecutorial powers, in particular, must be “exercised free from partisan consideration.”

And yet, President Trump and Attorney General Barr have openly and repeatedly flouted this fundamental principle, most recently in connection with the sentencing of President Trump’s close associate, Roger Stone, who was convicted of serious crimes. The Department has a long-standing practice in which political appointees set broad policies that line prosecutors apply to individual cases. That practice exists to animate the constitutional principles regarding the even-handed application of the law. Although there are times when political leadership appropriately weighs in on individual prosecutions, it is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case. It is even more outrageous for the Attorney General to intervene as he did here — after the President publicly condemned the sentencing recommendation that line prosecutors had already filed in court.

Such behavior is a grave threat to the fair administration of justice. In this nation, we are all equal before the law. A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the President. Governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics; they are autocracies.

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Annie Deighnaugh

I think part of the problem is here that the trumplicans wrongly believe that the FBI and DoJ were already politicized as they went after trump. So to then see trump weaponize the doj via barr, is no big deal...he's just doing what they did only better. So what's your problem?

But the reality is those organizations were not personal enforcers for the president and they did not favor the DNC...they saw corrupt behavior by trump and his people that was a threat to national security and followed up on it as was their job. Turns out they were right given the number of indictments they issued and felons they uncovered. Now barr is in there trying to undo all that they accomplished in favor of the corrupt criminals, to the detriment of the Constitution or American justice.

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Annie Deighnaugh

consider that McCabe isn't even being charged. and up to nine years for Stone? Justice should be equal, but we haven't been seeing much of that.

Well, some of us believe you need *evidence* before you run around charging people willy nilly. But then again, under trump's doj, you don't. You just go ahead and attack a political enemy just because they're a political enemy. Y'know the way trump didn't care about any investigation into biden...only wanted an *announcement* of one by Zelensky as that would do the damage to biden he wanted.

But in this statement I see the same incorrect principle being applied:

  • fair and balanced does not mean 2 people are given equal time about if the moon is made of green cheese or not...we present you decide. Rather fair and balanced respects the truth and presents the facts in evidence.
  • fair and balanced does not mean that for every gop operative who is convicted of a felony, there needs to be a dem operative who is also convicted of a felony. Rather fair and balanced justice respects the truth and presents the facts in evidence...including the fact that the trump administration is rife with criminals and lackeys.
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bfox254

Consider that a rapist get 4.2 years, consider that McCabe isn't even being charged. and up to nine years for Stone? Justice should be equal, but we haven't been seeing much of that.

It's a fact that justice isn't equal and of course the rapist deserves a sentence longer than 4 years. We don't know why they decided not to charge McCabe. It's possible his case went before a grand jury and they decided there was not enough evidence to indict. You can bet that if Barr was able to make the case for prosecution, it would have happened.

Regardless, Roger Stone violated a gag order multiple times, including a veiled threat against the judge. Not a good idea to thumb your nose at a judge. He deserves whatever sentence the judge decides and Trump's opinion should have no bearing on the outcome. If he cares so much, he can pardon him and risk the political fallout.

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bob_cville

> It's a fact that justice isn't equal and of course the rapist deserves a sentence longer than 4 years.

Especially if that rapist violently raped a 13-year old girl like Trump has been accused of doing.

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bob_cville

Solely the sake of argument, if Bill Barr were to be disbarred as an attorney, would that have any effect on his being the Attorney General? Meaning is there any rule that says the Attorney General has to be a licensed attorney?

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Annie Deighnaugh

It's not clear to me that there is that requirement...only that it is customary. I've seen conflicting info on the net, so at this point, I don't know if he's required to have a law license....but if it gets pulled say for ethics violations, I don't know if that means he has to go or not...I think the only way to get him out of office is through impeachment, which the senate I'm sure won't go along with.

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