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Politics William Barr’s interview: McConnell, top Republicans support him. Critics are suspicious.

15:35  14 february  2020
15:35  14 february  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

McConnell: Trump 'ought to listen to' Barr's advice on DOJ tweets

  McConnell: Trump 'ought to listen to' Barr's advice on DOJ tweets Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said President Trump should follow Attorney General William Barr's advice after the top Justice Department official said the president's tweeting was making it "impossible" to do his job. Asked during an interview with Fox News's Bret Baier about Barr's comments, McConnell said that "the president should listen to his advice.

Both sides thought Trump should take Barr ' s advice. But critics questioned the attorney general's motive for speaking out about Trump's tweets. Critics are suspicious . In this July 2019 file photo, Attorney General William P. Barr , left, and President Trump turn to leave after speaking in the Rose

Barr is telling the president that his impulsiveness is making it politically harder for him to deliver the results he wants. In his interview with ABC, Barr added that public statements and tweets about the department and its pending cases “make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts

There were two views Thursday night on Attorney General William P. Barr’s complaints about President Trump’s tweets targeting the Justice Department and they couldn’t have been more distinct: Supporters of the Trump administration took Barr at face value and praised him. Critics thought he was faking it.

“The attorney general says it’s getting in the way of doing his job,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told Fox News anchor Bret Baier. “Maybe the president should listen to the attorney general.“

McConnell: Trump 'Ought to Listen' to Barr's Advice on His Tweeting Habits

  McConnell: Trump 'Ought to Listen' to Barr's Advice on His Tweeting Habits "The president made a wise selection in picking Bill Barr. I think he ought to listen to him," McConnell said.In a recent interview with ABC's Pierre Thomas, Barr said that Trump's tweeting about DOJ criminal cases "makes it impossible for me to do my job, to assure the courts and the prosecutors and the department that we're doing our work with integrity." The attorney general issued the remarks after having faced days of significant backlash from Democrats and Trump critics this week over the DOJ's handling of Roger Stone's criminal case.

Attorney General William Barr . Photo: CBS This Morning. After the legal Establishment had granted him the benefit of the doubt, Attorney General William Barr has shocked his erstwhile supporters with his aggressive and frequently dishonest interventions on behalf of President Trump.

Attorney General William P. Barr offered his first public comments Thursday since a controversy erupted at And while he offered a significant rebuke of President Trump, Barr ’ s comments seem as much His comments are also stronger, notably, than some Republican members of Congress who

“Barr doesn’t care where it takes him,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said to Fox’s Sean Hannity. “He just looks for justice.”

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Barr’s detractors didn’t think the attorney general was looking for justice. Rather, many thought he objected to Trump’s tweets because they expose the administration’s true motives.

“I have no doubt that when the president tweets, he is causing problems for the Attorney General,” Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), who served as a manager in Trump’s impeachment proceedings, said in a tweet late Thursday. “But he’s not making it harder for Barr to do the right thing, he’s making it harder for him to get away with doing the wrong thing.” On CNN, Demings also speculated that Barr and Trump were “in cahoots.”

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  Attorney General suggests US should take stake in Ericsson, Nokia to compete with Huawei His concerns come from China's dominating role in 5G.US Attorney General William Barr suggests a way for the US to compete with Huawei.

Supported by. William Barr at the confirmation hearing on Tuesday for his appointment as attorney general. A more dispassionate review of Mr. Barr ’ s memo shows that he was trying to prevent an unprecedented expansion of a federal criminal statute intended to prevent crimes such as destroying

William Barr , President Trump’ s nominee for Attorney General, wrote a long memo last year arguing against investigating Trump for obstruction of justice. “After Mr. Trump offered him the job, Mr. Barr briefly told the president that he had written a memo about aspects of the Russia probe that could

In his interview with ABC News, Barr said it was “time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.” He added that such statements from Trump “about the department, about people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending here, and about judges before whom we have cases, make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors and the department that we’re doing our work with integrity.”

The interview was the latest development in the ongoing controversy surrounding the Justice Department’s handling of a sentencing recommendation for Trump’s longtime confidant Roger Stone.

There were plenty of plausible and practical reasons for Barr’s comments and their timing. The Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court in Washington has expressed concern about judges being pressured in the wake of Trump’s tweets and Barr’s statement allows government lawyers to disown the president’s comments when they appear in court.

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His interview came as Trump stands accused of interfering with the sentencing recommendation for The two men are so close that there was immediate speculation that Barr ' s television interview may Another staunch Trump ally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell , supported Barr ' s comments

The next day, Attorney General William Barr ordered his team to lower its sentencing request. The president then went on Twitter again, praising Barr ’ s decision. The amendment still faces opposition from many Republicans , including Mitch McConnell , the Senate majority leader.

Barr is also facing unrest from lawyers within and outside of the department, including from the New York Bar, over the handling of the Stone case and Trump’s perceived role in it. The main thrust of Barr’s interview with ABC’s Pierre Thomas was to explain that Trump played no role but that his tweets made it look otherwise.

The reactions followed what appeared, on its face, to be an act of rebellion by Barr in the wake of an extraordinary Justice Department flip-flop on the sentencing recommendations for Stone, who was found guilty of lying to Congress and witness tampering related to his efforts to get hacked Democratic campaign emails from WikiLeaks.

It started Monday when line prosecutors in the Justice Department recommended that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentence Stone to seven to nine years in prison, on the heavier side of the federal sentencing guidelines for such crimes. In an early-morning tweet Tuesday, Trump erupted at the length of the sentence for his confidant and said it couldn’t be allowed to stand.

Later that same day, the Justice Department overruled the prosecutors and later submitted a revised memorandum to Berman, saying the original recommendation “could be considered excessive and unwarranted under the circumstances.” All four prosecutors withdrew from the case and one quit his job entirely. Trump then spent Tuesday night firing off a series of tweets attacking the prosecutors and Berman, who is scheduled to sentence Stone on Feb. 20. The president went on to congratulate Barr for the switch on Wednesday, furthering the idea, denied by Barr, that he acted under pressure from Trump.

Attorney General William Barr to testify before House Judiciary Committee

  Attorney General William Barr to testify before House Judiciary Committee The arrangement comes as Democrats have demanded answers about Barr's apparent intervention in the sentencing of Roger Stone.The arrangement comes as Democrats have demanded answers about Barr's apparent intervention in the sentencing of President Donald Trump’s longtime ally Roger Stone, who was convicted last year on charges that he lied to congressional investigators and threatened a witness.

Attorney General William Barr ' s interview on ABC News rebuking President Donald Trump for tweeting about ongoing criminal cases has fueled speculation that the president may be McConnell confirms he will ram through a Supreme Court confirmation just before the election if it opens up.

Following McConnell ' s interview , the White House responded to Barr ' s critique by saying he has the right to publicly offer his opinion on the president. In a statement attributed to Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, the White House said Trump has "full faith and confidence" in Barr to do his job

Democrats and others remained skeptical of Barr’s intent.

“Barr isn’t objecting to Trump’s political interference with the Justice Department to undermine the rule of law,” observed Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.). “He’s saying Trump shouldn’t tell everyone about it.”

Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) pointed to Barr’s reputation as “the president’s defender.”

“Basically, the attorney general was saying, ‘Look I got this. I’m executing it. I’m doing all the things you want me to do. I’m your Roy Cohn,'” Cicilline told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, referencing Trump’s late fixer and lawyer. "'Don’t make my job harder by tweeting about it and drawing attention to it.'”

John Dean, the former White House counsel to President Richard M. Nixon who became the chief witness against him before Congress, thought that “Barr staged it and I’d bet with a heads up to the White House.” Meanwhile, Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, tweeted that Barr is “shrewd, deliberate, smart, calculating, careful, and full of it.”

Barr’s interview was potentially risky, considering Trump’s anger at criticism from anywhere, let alone from within his own cabinet. But Barr, while complaining about the impact of the tweets on the department’s mission, didn’t take issue with the substance of Trump’s comments, including one suggesting that the judge in Stone’s case was biased.

Why AG Bill Barr's Trump 'rebuke' is so hard to take seriously

  Why AG Bill Barr's Trump 'rebuke' is so hard to take seriously For Bill Barr, Trump's tweets about the Justice Department are not themselves the problem. It's the effects of the tweets that are the problem. As Asha Rangappa, a lawyer and former FBI special agent, put it yesterday, "It definitely makes it harder to crime for the President when the President keeps making it obvious that you are criming for him.

Warren says attorney general William Barr is corrupt and calls for his resignation. She includes a harsh appraisal of Senate Republicans . His AG overruled career prosecutors to reduce the sentence for his buddy Roger Stone after Stone committed crimes to protect him.

In an ABC interview , Barr , the country' s top law enforcement officer, said Trump' s Barr spoke after his Justice Department abandoned prosecutors' initial recommendation to give the veteran Trump' s fellow Republicans also expressed support for Barr . Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell , a

And Barr’s comments didn’t elicit the expected flurry of backlash from Trump and his allies. Instead, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement saying, “The President wasn’t bothered by the comments at all.” She added that Trump “has full faith and confidence in Attorney General Barr to do his job and uphold the law.”

McConnell and other top Republicans, including McCarthy and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), echoed the White House, taking to social media and cable TV shows to support Barr.

The belief that Barr’s statement was driven by unspoken motives stems in part from a steep mountain of distrust for the attorney general that began building with his attempt to spin the results of former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia probe in April before it was released to the public. The negative sentiments only increased in the weeks that followed.

Many Democrats and critics in the legal community concluded that Barr had abandoned his commitment to the integrity of the agency and keeping the duties of DOJ lawyers insulated from political pressure in favor of turning the department into a tool for the president.

“I don’t think he’s fit for the office because I think what he’s done is undertake a campaign essentially to undermine the Department of Justice,” Donald Ayer, a former colleague of Barr and deputy attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, said on MSNBC Thursday night. “Nothing he said today changes anything.”

More than 1,100 ex-Justice Department officials call for Barr’s resignation .
In a public letter, former prosecutors urge current officials to report any improper conduct.

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