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Bill Barr directs top DOJ official to defy subpoena from House Oversight Committee

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AG William Barr testifies before Congress. (Image via AFP/Nicholas Kamm.)

Attorney General Bill Barr has directed the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division chief to not appear this week for a scheduled deposition at the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

The Daily Beast reports that Stephen Boyd, the department’s top Hill liaison, sent a letter to the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday outlining his objections to House Democrats’ insistence that DOJ official John Gore not have an attorney present during his deposition.

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“We are disappointed that the Committee remains unwilling to permit Department counsel to represent the interests of the Executive Branch in the deposition of a senior Department official,” Boyd wrote. “Accordingly, Attorney General Barr’s determination that Mr. Gore will not appear at the Committee’s deposition unless a Department attorney may accompany him remains in effect.”

The Oversight Committee had been set to question Gore about his role in adding a question about citizenship status to the 2020 census, which Democrats have argued is designed to lower the population counts of more heavily populated urban areas, thus giving a boost to rural districts represented by Republicans.

In refusing to comply with the subpoena, Gore runs the risk of being held in contempt of Congress.


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Joy Reid: What’s the point of having laws if the president’s friends can break them without consequence?

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The recent pardon of ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn exasperated MSNBC's Joy Reid, who welcomed former federal prosecutors on her show Wednesday. She explained that President Donald Trump's opposition to "law and order" when it comes to his friends is just more example of Republican hypocrisy to which Americans have become accustomed.

"You know, and Congressman Lieu, you've got The Wall Street Journal going sort of deeper into some of the other things that he did," Reid said of Flynn. "This is not the guy we remember just chanting 'lock her up' at the 2016 Republican National Convention, which is what probably people know him for. Michael Flynn planned to forcibly kidnap a Muslim cleric living in the United States and deliver him to Turkey under the alleged proposal. Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr. were to be paid as much as $15 million to deliver him to the Turkish government, basically renditioning him for cash. Yet you have Lindsey Graham still Lindsey Grahaming calling it 'a great use of the pardon.' A-OK. Great job, Donald. I wonder what you make of this. I'm old enough to remember when Bill Clinton did a pardon for which Republicans would love to see him clacked in leg irons at the end of his presidency!"

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‘Last chapter in The Godfather’: Watergate prosecutor tears into Trump’s ‘continuing coverup’ of his associates’ Russia misdeeds

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On CNN Wednesday, former Watergate assistant special prosecutor Nick Akerman tore into outgoing President Donald Trump for his pardon of ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — and warned that a larger coverup is looming.

"I think you have to look at the big picture here," said Akerman. "The big picture is that this is part of the continuing coverup of Donald Trump's efforts to conceal what happened between his campaign in 2016 with the Russian government. It started with Jim Comey, his firing because he refused to basically give an oath of loyalty to Donald Trump. It continued when Robert Mueller was appointed, the continuing threats of firing Mueller and his staff. It continued with Roger Stone, who was — his sentence was commuted."

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Conservative Charlie Sykes tells Trump if he wants a pardon — he’ll have to admit he’s guilty first

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Editor and creator of The Bulwark, Charlie Sykes, told MSNBC's Joy Reid that the most "Trumpy" of things President Donald Trump could do is pardon himself ahead of leaving office in January.

After the president pardoned ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, it sparked new anticipation on how Trump will protect himself from prosecution after leaving office. Trump was alleged to have committed at least ten acts of obstruction of justice by special counsel Robert Mueller. In that case, the Justice Department followed the internal rule that sitting presidents could not be indicted. Then, it stands to reason that the Justice Department would also follow a 1974 memo from the same Office of Legal Counsel that said a president could not pardon himself.

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