Barr's DOJ offers talking points for Trump amid speculation of political motives
U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr is facing backlash for the Department of Justice's (DOJ) declassification and disclosure of various pieces of unverified, sensitive information, giving President Donald Trump more talking points to weaponize for his political agenda.
Barr and the DOJ unveiled a cascade of information about multiple seemingly unrelated topics, according to Politico. From the Michael Flynn's prosecution and the Russian intelligence investigation to the Senate's investigation into the Steele Dossier origin and information on one of Trump's latest arguments: the federal investigation into the discarded absentee ballots found in Pennsylvania, the president now has quite a bit to voice complaints about.
At a glance, the investigations and proceedings have no connection or correlation but that has not stopped Trump from using the sensitive details to his political advantage.
"A new trove of documents -- and you have to go home, you gotta' read these documents -- they now prove that Russia interfered in 2016. Unfortunately it was on behalf of Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump," the president said during a campaign rally in Newport News, Va., on Friday.
"Newly released text messages make 100 percent clear the FBI knew that Democrats purchased Russian disinformation targeting me, your favorite president, which then formed the basis of the witch hunt," Trump also said on Friday.
Now, Barr is accused of using the Department of Justice for Trump's re-election campaign and political aspiration and many legal experts are concerned about the impact his actions could have on the integrity of campaign and election practices.
William Jeffress, the veteran defense lawyer who represented former President Richard Nixon after his tenure in the White House, weighed in on Barr's claims. Although the attorney general argues that his actions were not politically motivated, Jeffress highlighted the typical deadline for the Department of Justice to refrain from actions that could be "politically sensitive" ahead of an election.
"These actions are not typical," Jeffress said. "Tradition is that politically sensitive actions by DOJ go dark at least 60 days before an election."
Gene Rossi, a former Virginia federal prosecutor, also echoed similar sentiments. According to Rossi, Barr's actions signal a distinct conflict of interest with his ties to the White House and Trump's re-election campaign.
"The attorney general is working hand in glove with the White House and the Trump reelection campaign," Rossi said. "We have not seen that level of unseemly coordination since Attorney General John Mitchell."