How can any American trust the Department of Justice?

How can any American trust the Department of Justice?
William Barr image by U.S. Department of Justice

Of all the wounds Donald Trump has inflicted on our sacred institutions, probably the most enduring will be his administration’s utter defecation on the rule of law as it formerly existed in the United States of America.


William Barr, Donald Trump’s selected head of the U.S. Department of Justice, has thoroughly defaced not only the office but the very idea of an “attorney general.”

As Washington blew up last week over President Trump’s campaign to pressure Ukraine into becoming a disinformation arm of the GOP, his attorney general was nowhere to be found.

With the President of the United States now facing an inquiry demanding his response to looming charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that could justify his removal from office, where was the head of this country’s so-called arm of legal enforcement (or “Justice,” to use a term now becoming increasingly quaint)?  The same one who is implicated in the scandal as acting as an instrument to cover-up this president’s potential crimes?

You would think such a person would go to ground, and huddle up with his own lawyers, considering that his own involvement may lead to his disbarment, a prison sentence, or worse. At the very least you would think that he would be striving to preserve his institution’s imprimatur of respectability for the rule of law, assuming he had any legal grounds to stand on.

Oh, but he was in Italy, tilting at Fox News windmills.

From The Daily Beast:

ROME–When Attorney General William Barr showed up at the U.S. embassy’s Palazzo Margherita on Rome’s tony Via Veneto last week, he had two primary requests. He needed a conference room to meet high level Italian security agents where he could be sure no one was listening in. And he needed an extra chair for U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut who would be sitting in as his right-hand man.

Barr was in Rome on an under-the-radar mission that was only planned a few days in advance. An official with the embassy confirmed to The Daily Beast that they had to scramble to accommodate Barr’s sudden arrival. He had been in Italy before, but not with such a clear motive. Barr and Durham are looking into the events that led to Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and suddenly all roads were leading to Rome.

The exhaustingly well-documented Mueller investigation into Russia’s influence on the 2016 election and Trump’s involvement in soliciting that influence, and the facts supporting Trump’s attempt to extort manufactured “dirt” from Ukraine regarding Joe Biden’s son, are two wholly separate things. They are unconnected in their execution, both sporting their own unique cast of characters. As far as the actual facts underlying the Special Counsel’s investigation are concerned, and as far as the whistleblower complaint and the IG’s report have shown, each is a sterling example of presidential criminality into itself. The only thing they have in common is Trump’s evident willingness to betray this country to foreign interests for the sake of maintaining his own power.

There is no evidence--none-- that the series of events described in the whistleblower complaint did not occur exactly the way they have been described. But now we have the highest official representing our federal Justice system, brazenly attempting to concoct a conspiracy that somehow connects the motives underlying the investigation into these two separate inquiries, for the sole purpose of seeding right-wing media propaganda and fomenting disbelief among Trump’s electoral base.

The only reason Barr went to Rome was to try to find fuel for a right-wing conspiracy theory suggesting that the entirety of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election was a deliberate hoax perpetrated to “entrap” Trump by our intelligence services. Specifically, the nutty theory that the source of information provided to the Trump campaign by Russia about Hillary Clinton was manufactured and transmitted by a Rome-based professor named Josef Mifsud in order to deceive a perfectly innocent Donald Trump. And thus the Mueller investigation was all based on deliberate disinformation “planted” to make Trump look bad.

In other words, it’s the “Deep State” lunacy writ large:

The Daily Beast reported on Tuesday that Barr and Durham focused on Mifsud in meetings with Italian officials. The news outlet cited one source as saying that the pair were played a tape of a deposition that Mifsud gave in which he explained why he believed himself to be in danger.

Barr has worked with Trump to try to discredit the Mueller investigation from the start, and this latest jaunt to Italy represents a continuation what has effectively become a weaponization of the Department of Justice for Trump’s political ends.

Ever since Robert Mueller concluded his probe in March 2019, Barr has worked to blunt its impact—and investigate the investigators behind it. Barr assigned Durham to look into the Mueller probe’s origins. And the attorney general’s name is listed in the whistleblower complaint about the July 25 call Trump made to the Ukrainian president to pressure him into investigating political rival Joe Biden. According to the complaint, Barr was directly involved in the president’s attempt to “solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.” The minutiae of his involvement are feeding a scandal gripping Washington that changes by the nano-second.

Just try to go back in time, when this country had a functioning Department of Justice, and imagine the Attorney General leaving American shores to plot with foreign governments to try to influence their response to charges brought by an American Congress, in an effort to discredit a multitude of sources that were suddenly lined up against them based on their own well-documented criminal acts. Can anyone imagine Eric Holder doing such a thing?

Can anyone imagine Janet Reno doing such a thing?

Can anyone imagine any American official charged with the public trust doing this?

Barr is destroying the credibility of the Department of Justice, and everything it represents, all in the slavish service of Donald Trump, to try to stifle an incessant torrent of factual information clearly establishing his criminality. What exactly is this agency supposed to stand for, if not the rule of law?

Nothing emanating from that Department can have the slightest shred of credibility as long as William Barr remains in charge. Our judicial system and the American people should treat this corrupted Department accordingly, until he is removed.

Until that time, there is no such thing as a “Department of Justice.”

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