For anyone concerned that President Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr are politicizing the criminal justice system, Friday afternoon has been a real roller coaster.
First, news broke that Justice Department prosecutors had closed one politically controversial case, a lengthy criminal investigation into former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, without bringing any charges. McCabe had been under scrutiny for potentially lying to internal investigators about his role in leaks concerning an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation — though many wondered whether the investigation was truly about pursuing someone President Trump had deemed an enemy.
Then, just around an hour later, the New York Times reported that Barr had appointed an outside prosecutor to review the criminal case against Michael Flynn. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador back in 2017 but has not yet been sentenced and recently sought to withdraw his guilty plea.
Together, this is certainly an interesting pair of headlines coming the week after Barr both intervened to help water down a sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone and urged President Trump to stop tweeting about pending Justice Department criminal cases.
You can read the rest of the Vox article at the link above for more details about the McCabe and Flynn case. Meanwhile, kids, there’s more…
From ABOVE THE LAW (01/12/2020):
Donald Trump famously demands loyalty from “his” employees. But as U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu found out yesterday, that loyalty only goes one direction. He will burn your career to the ground the moment you become an inconvenience, and never give it a second thought.
As head of the largest U.S. Attorney’s Office, Liu loyally carried out the president’s directives. Like investigating James Comey over an unproven leak allegation from 2017. Or doing her darnedest to get a grand jury to indict former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. (Cough, cough NO BILL.)
But Liu also inherited some cases from Special Counsel Robert Mueller that were not to the president’s liking. Her failure to go easy on former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who pled guilty, or his crony Roger Stone, who was found guilty by a jury, put her in the conservative crosshairs.
It’s probably not a coincidence that the Judiciary Committee killed Liu’s nomination last year to fill the number three job at the DOJ, ostensibly over her connection to the pro-choice National Association of Women Lawyers. But in December Liu got another shot when Trump announced his intention to nominate her for Under Secretary of Terrorism and Financial Crimes at the Treasury.
Her name was officially advanced to the Judiciary Committee on January 6, and she handed the reins at the U.S. Attorneys Office in D.C. over to her successor Timothy Shea that very day. Which is very much not normal, since nominees don’t typically quit their day jobs until they’ve actually been confirmed to the new position.
There is speculation that Barr needed Liu out of the way so he could “take control of legal matters of personal interest to President Donald Trump,” as NBC described it. The network reports that Barr himself intervened immediately after Liu’s abrupt departure to get the prosecutors in DC to lessen sentencing recommendations for Flynn and Roger Stone.
The Post reports that Trump pulled her nomination yesterday[…]
CNN confirms that Trump himself withdrew the nomination because he was pissed off that Liu refused to do more to help out his buddies Flynn and Stone.