Jake Johnson

USPS quietly awards $5 million contract to DeJoy's former company: 'Epic level of corruption'

The U.S. Postal Service last month quietly awarded a $5 million contract to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's former company XPO Logistics, raising fresh allegations of unethical activity by the Trump megadonor as he continues to come under fire for causing nationwide mail delays that could impact next month's election.

CBS News reported Friday that the Postal Service "will pay XPO $3.3 million annually to manage its route between the two cities, which are roughly 700 miles apart."

"The USPS database shows the contract has one of the highest annual rates out of more than 1,600 contracts the Postal Service initiated with outside firms in its most recent quarter, which is the first full quarter DeJoy has served as head of the agency," according to CBS.

Under pressure from Democratic lawmakers and ethics groups, DeJoy—who was a top executive on XPO's board before leaving the company in 2018—belatedly agreed last week to divest from XPO, in which he held between $30 and $75 million worth of stock. As CBS noted, the logistics company "still pays DeJoy about $2.3 million a year in rent and expenses for 220,000 square feet of office space he controls in his home state of North Carolina. XPO's lease agreements for DeJoy's properties run through 2025."

"This epic level of corruption is hurting the seniors and disabled veterans who rely on medicines by mail," advocacy coalition Lower Drug Prices Now tweeted in response to news of the XPO contract, which was negotiated in August and disclosed by USPS earlier this month.


As Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) researcher Meredith Lerner wrote last week, "DeJoy's initial decision to retain his interest in [XPO Logistics] relied on an explanation from a USPS ethics official that divestiture was not necessary because DeJoy would not make decisions affecting the company's contracts with USPS."

"While it is undoubtedly a good thing that DeJoy has agreed to divest his stake in XPO," Lerner wrote, "his delayed divestiture will not absolve him of possible conflict of interest violations related to the company that he may have committed in the months that he worked at USPS while retaining a significant interest in the company."

'An insult': Doctors furious as Trump peddles baseless claim they are inflating COVID death count for profit

Medical professionals responded with outrage late Saturday after President Donald Trump pushed the baseless claim that doctors and hospitals are intentionally inflating coronavirus death counts because they have a financial "incentive" to do so, a narrative that has been circulating for months in right-wing media circles and among some Republican lawmakers.

During a campaign rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin Saturday night, the president said "doctors get more money and hospitals get more money" if they attribute to Covid-19 deaths that, according to Trump, should have been primarily attributed to comorbidities.

Trump's claim resembles falsehoods that have been spreading on Facebook and Twitter since the early stages of the pandemic, such as one viral post asserting that "hospitals get $750 if you die from the flu, and $17,500 if you died from Covid-19."

Deeming the claim false, PolitiFact noted: "Under the CARES Act, the largest of the three federal stimulus laws enacted in response to the coronavirus, Medicare pays hospitals a 20% 'add on' to its regular payment for Covid-19 patients. But there is no indication that hospitals are over-identifying patients as having Covid-19 for the sake of padding their revenue. If anything, evidence suggests the illness is being underdiagnosed."

"Medicare pays hospitals based on a diagnosis; whether a patient dies does not affect the amount," PolitiFact pointed out. "And even then, the same diagnosis might trigger one reimbursement amount at one hospital, and a different payment at a hospital in another location."

Experts have also rejected Trump's insistence that people with comorbidities who die after falling ill with Covid-19 should not be counted as a coronavirus fatality. Justin Lessler, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Scientific American last week that "when we ask if Covid killed somebody, it means 'Did they die sooner than they would have if they didn't have the virus?"

While preexisting conditions make people more vulnerable to coronavirus, Lessler said, "the fact is: they're not dying from that preexisting condition."


Trump's comments—which came as the U.S. coronavirus death toll approached 225,000, the highest in the world—were met with immediate condemnation by physicians and other medical professionals.

"As a doctor, this is such an insult," said Rob Davidson, an emergency room physician and executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare. "We report deaths how they occur. If you did your damn job we wouldn't be reporting so many Covid-19 deaths. About 130,000 fewer according to a Columbia University study."

Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious disease doctor and an associate professor at Boston University School of Medicine, tweeted that the president's claims are an affront "to the almost quarter of a million people who have died of this disease."

"In people with comorbidities, Covid, like any major insult to the system, serves to worsen the outcome," Bhadelia continued. "The virus is still absolutely the reason that person died. The comorbidities were their vulnerabilities that the virus took advantage of."

"This speech by the person who should supposedly be leading us through this crisis—it breaks me," wrote Bhadelia. "This apathy, utter willful disconnect from reality of the pain of this pandemic while the country spirals into what might be our worst surge yet—we cannot let this cruelty continue."

Trump officials weighing deep funding cuts to essential healthcare services in Dem-led cities: HHS documents

Documents obtained by Politico reveal that the Trump White House is weighing millions of dollars in federal funding cuts to Covid-19 relief, newborn screenings, and other crucial healthcare programs in Democrat-led cities, a move critics decried as politically motivated "retribution" that could have a devastating impact on poor and sick Americans amid the ongoing pandemic.

Politico reported late Tuesday that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has "identified federal grants covering... nearly 200 health programs that could be in line for cuts as part of a sweeping government-wide directive the administration is advancing during the final weeks of the presidential campaign and amid an intensifying pandemic Trump has downplayed."

"Vote these monsters out," progressive strategist Murshed Zaheed tweeted in response to the new reporting.

According to Politico:

HHS compiled the list with input from at least 12 agencies it oversees. The list includes 185 programs that touch on everything from Trump's own initiative to end HIV transmission by the end of the decade to the opioid crisis and research into lung diseases. The list also includes funding for other programs, like $423,000 for universal hearing screenings for newborns in the District of Columbia, housing for people in addiction recovery in Seattle, and services providing nutrition and mental health counseling to elderly New Yorkers.

The administration's decision to target funding for life-saving health programs stems from a September 2 memorandum in which President Donald Trump ordered federal agencies to review "funding to state and local government recipients" that the White House has condemned for not quashing racial justice protests.

Last month, as Common Dreams reported, the Department of Justice designated New York City, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon as "anarchist jurisdictions" that could lose federal grant money amid a pandemic that has taken an enormous toll on state and local budgets.


Chrissie Juliano, executive director of the Big Cities Health Coalition, an organization that represents major city health departments, warned that "there's no extra money lying around" to help local governments make up for potential federal funding cuts.

"This is not a time to be playing politics with people's health," Juliano told Politico.

Billionaire wealth has surged by nearly $1 trillion during 7 months of pandemic and economic collapse

Over just the past seven months—as millions lost their jobs and health insurance, tens of thousands of small businesses shuttered permanently, and more than 200,000 Americans were killed by the coronavirus—U.S. billionaires saw their combined net worth surge by more than $930 billion, bringing the collective wealth of just 644 people to a staggering $3.88 trillion.

That's according to an analysis released Tuesday morning by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), progressive organizations that have been tracking the explosion of billionaire wealth since the start of coronavirus lockdowns in mid-March. (See the groups' compilation of billionaire wealth data here.)

The new analysis shows that the collective wealth of America's billionaires grew by $931 billion—or nearly 33%—between March 18 and October 13, a period that also saw unprecedented job loss, a nationwide surge in hunger, and a sharp increase in housing insecurity.

The groups noted that the jump in billionaire wealth over the past seven months exceeds the size of both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) so-called "skinny" Covid-19 relief bill and the estimated two-year budget gaps of all state and local governments, which have been forced to lay off more than a million public-sector workers due to revenue shortfalls caused by the coronavirus crisis.

"Sadly, the Gilded Age is here again," ATF executive director Frank Clemente said in a statement. "We have extraordinary gains in wealth by a small sliver of the population while millions suffer, this time from the ravages of the pandemic, much of which could have been avoided."

"In the short-term we need a robust pandemic relief package that meets the urgency of the moment, not Senator McConnell's skinny bill that offers political cover," Clemente continued. "In the long-term we need major reform that taxes the extraordinary wealth of the billionaires and millionaires and uses that wealth to create an economy that works for all of us."


The new analysis shows that a handful of billionaires "have seen a particularly astonishing increase in wealth" over the past seven months:

  • Jeff Bezos' wealth grew from $113 billion on March 18 to $203 billion on October 13, an increase of 80%. Adding in his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott's wealth of $65.7 billion on that day and the two had a combined wealth of more than a quarter of a trillion dollars thanks to their Amazon stock.
  • Mark Zuckerberg's wealth grew from $54.7 billion on March 18 to $101 billion on October 13, an increase of 85%, fueled by his Facebook stock.
  • Elon Musk's wealth grew from $24.6 billion on March 18 to $92.8 billion on October 13, an increase of 277%, boosted by his Tesla stock.
  • Dan Gilbert, chairman of Quicken Loans, saw his wealth rocket by 656%, to $49.2 billion from $6.5 billion seven months earlier.

"With Mitch McConnell's Senate paralyzed with inaction, U.S. society is kicking into inequality overdrive, with wealth surging up to U.S. billionaires," said Chuck Collins, director of IPS' Program on Inequality. "The juxtaposition between surging billionaire wealth and the imploding livelihoods of ordinary Americans is grotesque and unseemly."

Trump mocks Biden for vowing to 'listen to the scientists' as coronavirus cases surge in most states

Speaking to a largely maskless crowd of supporters on Carson City, Nevada late Sunday, President Donald Trump mocked Democratic nominee Joe Biden for vowing to "listen to the scientists" on the Covid-19 pandemic if elected in November and boasted about his own refusal to heed the advice of experts even as coronavirus cases and deaths continue to surge nationwide.

"If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression," Trump said, neglecting to mention that the U.S. is, in fact, currently in the midst of an unprecedented economic downturn.

"We're like a rocket ship, take a look at the numbers," the president added, remarks that came just days after the Labor Department reported that another 1.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits during the week ending October 10. According to data from the Census Bureau, nearly 80 million U.S. adults are struggling to afford basic necessities such as food and rent.

Watch Trump's comments:



The Biden campaign and allies of the former vice president were quick to respond to Trump's attack, which was in line with the president's repeated dismissals of expert recommendations and basic public health guidelines as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the country.

Ronald Klain, Biden's former chief of staff who led the Obama administration's Ebola response, tweeted, "Trump admits he doesn't listen to scientists. No wonder the U.S. leads the world in Covid deaths."

Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates called Trump's remarks "tellingly out of touch and the polar opposite of reality."

"Trump crashed the strong economy he inherited from the Obama-Biden administration by lying about and attacking the science, and layoffs are rising," Bates said.

The president's anti-science rhetoric, policies, and personnel moves—which have included the installation of political officials at federal public health agencies—have led nonpartisan publications and groups like Scientific American and the National Academy of Sciences to publicly criticize Trump, in some cases, call for his ouster in November.

"Policymaking must be informed by the best available evidence without it being distorted, concealed, or otherwise deliberately miscommunicated," the nonpartisan National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine said in a joint statement last month. "We find ongoing reports and incidents of the politicization of science, particularly the overriding of evidence and advice from public health officials and derision of government scientists, to be alarming."

Trump's millionaire adviser celebrates 'creative destruction' as millions lose their livelihoods

With millions of Americans out of work, struggling to afford food for themselves and their children, and facing the possibility of losing their homes, President Donald Trump's top economic adviser on Friday celebrated what he described as the "gales of creative destruction" supposedly unleashed by the U.S. economic system in the midst of the pandemic-induced recession.

"The talk is that a lot of folks who became unemployed, alright, most regrettably—but, they're sticking with it and they're going out and starting new businesses," Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said in an appearance on Fox Business. "They're going to be small businesses."

"But that's the great part of American capitalism, gales of creative destruction," Kudlow continued, deploying a phrase popularized in the 1940s by economist Joseph Schumpeter. "I just love that new business start-up story."

Watch:

Critics immediately noted that the millions of people across the U.S. who are teetering on the brink of complete financial ruin are likely not impressed by the so-called "creative destruction" praised by Kudlow, who in June complained that the $600-per-week federal unemployment insurance boost many jobless workers were receiving at the time was excessive.

"Wonder how the 14% of households with kids who reported that they didn't get enough food to eat in the last seven days or the 32% of adults who are having trouble paying for usual household expenses feel about the 'gales of creative destruction,'" tweeted Washington Post reporter Jacqueline Alemany, pointing to data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Kudlow's comments came a day after the Labor Department reported that an additional 1.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, yet another indication that the strong economic recovery Kudlow has repeatedly predicted in recent weeks is not materializing.

"As American capitalism becomes even crueler, the rhetoric of its apologists will only grow more explicit," Jacobin's Luke Savage tweeted in response to Kudlow's remarks.

On top of being cold comfort for Americans struggling to get by as the prospect of another federal relief package before the November election remains uncertain, Kudlow's rosy insistence that the economic turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic spurred a major new wave of entrepreneurship was also likely factually dubious.

"Self-employment is absolutely helping us to adapt to the pandemic," Adam Ozimek, chief economist at freelancing platform Upwork, told the Post's Jeff Stein. "But it's really nowhere near enough to make up for the massive shortfall in overall employment that we still have. Not even close."

COVID-19 deaths predicted to spike 80% in U.S. by February as White House leans into doomed strategy

As the Trump administration ignores the pleas of its own health experts and embraces a "herd immunity" strategy that scientists have condemned as fringe and dangerous, researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine are predicting an 80% spike in U.S. coronavirus deaths by February as cases continue to rise across the nation.

A model designed by experts at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecasts that the U.S. coronavirus death toll will soar from around 217,000 at present to 389,087 fatalities by February 1.

Under the model's best-case scenario—in which all Americans adhere to mask guidelines—the U.S. death toll is predicted to rise to 314,000 by the beginning of February. If mask-wearing requirements are eased, the model predicts total U.S. deaths from the pandemic could rise to 477,000.

"We expect deaths to stop declining and begin increasing in the next one to two weeks," the institute's researchers told CNN. "The winter surge appears to have begun somewhat later than the surge in Europe. Daily deaths will reach over 2,000 a day in January even with many states reimposing mandates before the end of the year."

The alarming projection—which runs directly counter to President Donald Trump's repeated insistence that the pandemic is fading away—came as the U.S. reported more than 64,000 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, the highest single-day total since late July.

As the Washington Post reported Thursday, "In 44 states and the District of Columbia, caseloads are higher than they were one month ago, and many of the new infections are being reported in rural areas with limited hospital capacity."

The upward trend of new infections is "a very ominous sign," Dr. Peter Hotez, professor and dean of tropical medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN. "This is the time when we could be entering one of the worst periods of our epidemic and one of our worst periods in modern American public health. I'm very worried for the nation."

Despite rising cases and the advice of public health officials, Trump—who was diagnosed and hospitalized with Covid-19 just two weeks ago—has resumed holding large in-person rallies across the nation ahead of next month's election, prompting concerns that the president's campaign is sanctioning "superspreader" events that could endanger both those in attendance and entire communities.

"Wisconsin has had over 10,000 Covid cases in three days," Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, tweeted Friday. "Donald Trump, why are you still holding a superspreader rally here tomorrow?"

Just ahead of Trump's rally in Sanford, Florida on Monday—where many attendees did not adhere to mask or social distancing guidelines—Dr. Anthony Fauci said the president is "asking for trouble" by holding massive in-person events.

"We've seen that when you have situations of congregate settings where there are a lot of people without masks, the data speak for themselves," said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "It happens. And now is even more so a worse time to do that, because when you look at what's going on in the United States, it's really very troublesome."

As Common Dreams reported earlier this week, the White House has embraced a declaration by a right-wing think tank calling for a "herd immunity" approach to the coronavirus pandemic—a strategy that experts have warned would result in millions of additional deaths if implemented without a widely available and effective vaccine.

In an interview with CNBC Thursday, Fauci denounced the so-called herd immunity approach as "nonsense" and "dangerous."

"By the time you get to herd immunity," Fauci said, "you will have killed a lot of people that would've been avoidable."

Lindsey Graham accused of committing 'a crime in plain sight' in desperate bid for campaign cash

Locked in a tight race with Democratic opponent Jamie Harrison, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday urged South Carolinians who are "excited about Judge Barrett" to contribute to his reelection campaign—a blatant violation of U.S. law barring members of Congress from soliciting donations while inside federal buildings.

Speaking to reporters following the third day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Graham—the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee—said while on camera, "I don't know how much it affected fundraising today, but if you want to help me close the gap, LindseyGraham.com. A little bit goes a long way."

"The bottom line is my opponent raised $57 million. Congratulations to him, that's the most anybody's ever raised in the history of the Senate," Graham continued. "I raised $28 million, the most any Republican has ever raised. I think the contest in South Carolina has taken on sort of a national profile. I think in my case is that I stood up for Kavanaugh, and that made some people pretty upset on the left."

In response to footage of Graham's remarks posted on Twitter by Aída Chávez of The Intercept, observers pointed out that it is illegal for members of Congress to ask for donations "while in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties."

"Senator Graham might need a lawyer," attorney Marc Elias tweeted, pointing to 18 U.S. Code § 607.

Watch Graham's comments:



The Intercept's Ryan Grim noted that "because it's a crime to solicit contributions inside a federal building," members of Congress often "leave their offices and make fundraising calls from their cars (no, really)."

"Doing it on camera," Grim added, "is next-level."

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) agreed, tweeting: "This is a crime. Lindsey Graham committed a crime in plain sight."

Ro Khanna urges Democrats to strike COVID relief deal with White House: 'People are suffering'

Still alone among progressive members of Congress in publicly urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to run with the Trump White House's $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief offer, Rep. Ro Khanna said Monday that Democratic lawmakers have a "moral obligation" to pursue a deal to provide additional aid to individuals and families facing a deadly pandemic, mass layoffs, a growing hunger crisis, and a looming wave of evictions.

While Khanna is thus far the only progressive member of Congress to speak out in support of accepting most of what's in the $1.8 trillion White House proposal—which includes one-time stimulus payments that for many families would be bigger than the previous round, a $400-per-week federal boost in unemployment insurance, and $300 billion to state and local governments—the California Democrat told Roll Call Monday that a number of his fellow Democrats have expressed a similar position in private.

"Quite a few members feel this way," Khanna said, telling Roll Call that at least 10 of his progressive colleagues share his position on the $1.8 trillion stimulus proposal, which the White House put forth on Friday in the latest bid to jumpstart negotiations that have been stalled for months and were briefly called off by President Donald Trump last week.

"Now I don't know how many of them will be vocal, but members are hearing in their districts that people are suffering," said Khanna, the first vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. "We have a moral obligation to do something. We are the party that stands for the working poor."

Acknowledging the important disagreements between the White House and Democratic leaders on key issues at hand in the relief negotiations—such as funding for coronavirus testing—Khanna said he believes they can be resolved. Democratic leaders have demanded $75 billion for coronavirus testing but, thus far, the White House has only been willing to offer around $45 billion in new funds.

"I think we can get the $30 billion and we should signal if the administration meets us at $75 billion... and they have a national testing plan, then we have a deal," said Khanna.

The dire consequences of failing to pass additional aid before next month's election have been on display in recent weeks as the nation's economic crisis has continued to wreak havoc, permanently eliminating jobs and prompting warnings of a prolonged recession if another stimulus package is not forthcoming. According to the Main Street Alliance, more than a third of U.S. small businesses are at risk of permanent closure by the end of the year if another relief bill isn't approved.

As HuffPost's Zach Carter wrote Monday, the "economic rationale" for accepting the $1.8 trillion relief offer from the White House is "straightforward."

"According to the most recent weekly data, 840,000 people are losing their jobs every week," Carter noted. "Prior to the pandemic, the previous all-time weekly high was 695,000. Job growth picked up in June as states began reopening their economies, but that growth has slowed every month. At the moment, growth is stalled out and the unemployment rate is 7.9%."

"The dispute over the stimulus in Democratic circles has not been about the economic situation, but the politics of addressing it," Carter continued. "Passing a stimulus bill, critics argue, would hand Trump a much-needed legislative win heading into the November election."

But, as Common Dreams reported Monday, some progressives and Democratic commentators have countered that reaching a relief compromise with the White House and putting the onus on Senate Republicans could come with a substantial political upside for Democrats.

If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his Republican colleagues reject the deal—as they've indicated they would—the GOP would be responsible for the potentially devastating fallout that could result from denying crucial economic aid to people and cash-strapped state and local governments. If Republicans agree to pass the $1.8 trillion compromise bill without any sneaky poison pills, countless out-of-work Americans, hungry families, and frontline workers would receive help they desperately need to make ends meet.

As Carter put it, "Heads, working people win; tails, Republicans lose. Pelosi should take the deal."

Matt Bruenig, founder of the People's Policy Project, a left-wing think tank, tweeted Monday that "Ro is right about this."

"If there is a White House approved proposal for $1.8T, then the House should pass it. Worst case scenario is it dies in the Senate, but possible it could pass with Trump's support. No downside, possible upside."

In an interview on MSNBC Tuesday morning, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) sounded a note of optimism when discussing the prospects of another coronavirus relief deal before next month's election, pointing to Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's four previous bipartisan agreements.

"We ought to be able to make a fifth if the president would stay on target and have a single message," said Hoyer.

But Pelosi—whose chamber has passed two ambitious relief bills that Senate Republicans have refused to even consider—has shown no indication of backing away from her opposition to the Trump administration's $1.8 trillion offer, which she denounced as riddled with "deficiencies" in a Dear Colleague letter on Tuesday.

"A fly on the wall or wherever else it might land in the Oval Office tells me that the president only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day and for the market to go up," Pelosi said. "I remain hopeful that the White House will finally join us to recognize the needs of the American people, and take action to address the health and economic crisis in their lives."

On a House Democratic caucus call Tuesday, there was "no pushback" against Pelosi's strategy of rejecting the White House's $1.8 trillion offer, according to the Washington Post's Jeff Stein.

Ethics groups demand Congress impeach Barr for using DOJ as 'vehicle' to advance Trump reelection

A team of legal experts is calling on the House of Representatives to immediately launch formal impeachment proceedings against Attorney General William Barr for an array of abuses during his tenure as the nation's top law enforcement official, including wielding the powers of the Justice Department to advance the political objectives of President Donald Trump.

In a detailed 267-page report (pdf) released Monday, lawyers from the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law at the University of Pennsylvania and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington made the case that based on his words and actions as attorney general, "Barr appears to embrace an autocratic view of the power of the executive branch, specifically presidential power, and he views his own extensive authority as flowing from this nearly unbounded view of presidential power."

"This authoritarian worldview limits the degree to which Mr. Barr regards himself as bound by the rule of law and makes him see himself as entitled to ignore the laws, ethics, and historical practices that have helped to ensure that the work of the department is in line with the values of a democratic nation," the report reads.


After closely examining Barr's record since his confirmation by the Republican-controlled Senate last February, the legal experts conclude that Trump's attorney general is guilty of numerous transgressions and politically motivated decisions that warrant his impeachment, including:

  • "Seriously and intentionally" mischaracterizing the findings of the Mueller report in Trump's favor;
  • Appointing U.S. Attorney John Durham to review the origins of the Mueller probe, prompting concerns of a politically motivated ploy to announce "high level indictments" right before the November election;
  • Political interference by the Justice Department in the cases of Michael Flynn and Roger Stone;
  • Exploiting "loopholes in the law" to justify deploying federal troops to crush protests in U.S. cities like Portland, Oregon at Trump's behest;
  • Ramping up "surveillance and other law enforcement activities aimed at the political left," including allegedly tapping protesters' phones; and
  • Repeatedly stonewalling attempts by Congress to conduct lawful oversight of Justice Department activities; and
  • Making "scores of unsubstantiated claims" suggesting that mail-in voting is highly vulnerable to mass fraud, a narrative also peddled by Trump.

The legal experts said a "common theme" that emerges from their findings is Barr's repeated "use of the DOJ to further President Trump's 2020 re-election campaign."

"The working group came to the reluctant conclusion that Attorney General Barr is using the powers of the Department as a vehicle for supporting the political objectives of President Donald Trump," the report reads. "It appears that the department has transitioned from one that is subject to law, to become one that instead views the application of law as politically discretionary; moving from rule of law to rule by law."

"Such a rule by law system," the report continues, "is the hallmark of regimes that are democracies in name but not in fact."

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