Rule of Law Under Siege

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 22: U.S. President Donald Trump (L) stands with Attorney General William Barr before the presentation of the Public Safety Officer Medals of Valor in the East Room of the White House May 22, 2019... WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 22: U.S. President Donald Trump (L) stands with Attorney General William Barr before the presentation of the Public Safety Officer Medals of Valor in the East Room of the White House May 22, 2019 in Washington, DC. Comparable to the military's Medal of Honor, the Medal of Valor was established in 2000 by President Bill Clinton. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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August 7, 2019 12:22 a.m.

This gets a bit deep in the weeds. But it’s worth going there. Because it’s important. The President has been going into court in his personal capacity – i.e., with his own private lawyers – trying to knock down various House efforts to subpoena documents relative to his personal and business finances. His lawyers, particularly a guy named William Consovoy, have made a raft out of outlandish legal claims which, if taken at face value, mean the Congress has very little oversight or investigative powers at all.

Those are the President’s personal attorneys. They work directly for him as an individual. They have no responsibilities to the office of the President or the US government in general. So making maximal claims isn’t terribly surprising and of course it’s Trump. Of course, he’s going to do that.

But now the Department of Justice is entering these cases and to a great degree mimicking these arguments. And of course the Department of Justice represents the people and the constitution. (The White House Counsel’s Office represents the President in his official capacity.) What all of this amounts to is that the Department of Justice is now more or less openly operating as the President’s personal defender. That’s Bill Barr talking, the guy who Trump insider Matt Schlapp lauded back in February as Trump’s first “fully operational confirmed Attorney General.”

From perspective this isn’t terribly surprising. We’ve seen Barr’s corrupt management of the DOJ in his handling of the Mueller probe, his efforts to fan various “Deep State” conspiracy theories ginned up by the President’s supporters. But this is another major example of it.

Josh Kovensky has the story here.

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