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James Comey obliterates Bill Barr’s reputation in brutal op-ed: ‘Trump has eaten your soul’

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Former FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday published a brutal op-ed in the New York Times dissecting how people such as current Attorney General Bill Barr and former deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein have found themselves corrupted by President Donald Trump.

In his op-ed, Comey explains that being in constant contact with an “amoral leader” such as Trump inevitably tests officials’ ethics — even when those officials see themselves as guardrails against Trump’s worst behavior.

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In the cases of both Rosenstein and Barr, he argues, the two men have shown that they lack the needed “inner strength” to defy the president, which has led to the destruction of their reputations as law enforcement officials.

“Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from,” he writes. “It takes character like [former Defense Secretary James] Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites.”

Comey then says that Trump’s power of corruption starts with his incessant, nonstop lying that mentally bludgeons officials into at least keeping silent and not correcting his falsehoods — even when they are directly contradicted by the public record.

From there, officials feel pressured into publicly praising the president, even though they may privately see him as dishonest and lacking in ethics.

“From the private circle of assent, it moves to public displays of personal fealty at places like cabinet meetings,” he writes. “While the entire world is watching, you do what everyone else around the table does — you talk about how amazing the leader is and what an honor it is to be associated with him.”

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Comey is sympathetic toward leaders who stay aboard based on the rationale that their country needs them to act as a check on the president, but he says doing this will require you to lie to yourself and others about the man you’re really serving.

“Of course, to stay, you must be seen as on his team, so you make further compromises,” he write. “You use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values. And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul.”

Read the whole op-ed here.

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Donald Trump’s lurch toward fascism is backfiring spectacularly

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

During the 2016 campaign, as Donald Trump railed against "Mexican rapists" and other "criminal aliens," pollsters found that the share of Americans who said that immigrants worked hard and made a positive contribution to our society increased significantly, and noticed a similar decline in the share who said they take citizens' jobs and burden our social safety net. After Trump was elected and began pursuing his Muslim ban, the share of respondents who held a positive view of Islam also increased pretty dramatically. I'm not aware of any polling of the general public about transgender troops serving in the military before Trump decided to discharge them, but Gallup found that 71 percent of respondents opposed his position after he did.

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Judge blocking release of Jeffrey Epstein records has ties to officials linked to Epstein: report

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On Saturday, the Miami Herald reported that a judge who blocked the release of grand jury material in the Jeffrey Epstein child sex abuse case has ties to three officials with a vested interest in the outcome of the lawsuits surrounding the scandal.

"Krista Marx, the Palm Beach chief judge who also heads a panel that polices judicial conduct, has potential conflicts of interest involving three prominent players embroiled in the Epstein sex-trafficking saga: State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who has been sued by the Palm Beach Post to release the grand jury records; Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, whose department’s favored treatment of Epstein while he was in the Palm Beach County jail is part of an ongoing state criminal investigation; and ex-State Attorney Barry Krischer, part of the same investigation in connection with his decision not to prosecute Epstein on child-sex charges," wrote Julie Brown, a reporter who has extensively covered the Epstein case.

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WATCH: Buffalo cops and firefighters cheer officers charged with assault as they leave the courthouse

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According to a report from both CNN and MSNBC, the two Buffalo police officers who were charged with second-degree assault after shoving a 75-year-old anti-police brutality protester to the ground where he sustained head injuries were greeted with applause after they were arraigned on Saturday morning.

MSNBC's Alex Witt noted that both officers were released without having to post bail.

According to ABC News, "Officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault during their video arraignments on Saturday and were released on their own recognizance. They both entered no guilty pleas and are expected back in court on July 20."

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