U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr does not plan to recuse himself from the current investigation into multi-millionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to sources who spoke to CNN and Fox News.
A Department of Justice official told CNN on Tuesday that “Bill Barr has consulted with career ethics officials at DOJ and he will not recuse from current Epstein case.”
Barr, however, has recused himself “from any review of the earlier case in Florida,” in which Epstein received a controversial plea deal.
A DOJ official says Bill Barr has consulted with career ethics officials at DOJ and he will not recuse from current Epstein case in NY, per @evanperez
But he will remain recused from any review of the earlier case in Florida bc of his ties with firm Kirkland and Ellis
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 9, 2019
NEW: DOJ official says that AG Barr will remain recused from any review of the 2008 #Epstein case due to past legal work, but after consulting with ethics officials, he will NOT recuse from the current #Epstein case led at #SDNY
— Brooke Singman (@brookefoxnews) July 9, 2019
On Monday, Barr was quoted as saying: “I’m recused from that matter because one of the law firms that represented Epstein long ago was a firm I subsequently joined for a period of time.”
CNN legal analyst Elie Honig said Barr’s decision not to recuse himself from the current case was “trouble.”
“I have zero confidence Barr will let this case play out in its natural course if it should start to implicate or do collateral damage to powerful, politically-connected people,” he tweeted.
This is trouble. I have zero confidence Barr will let this case play out in its natural course if it should start to implicate or do collateral damage to powerful, politically-connected people. https://t.co/6ZuFfwKNTo
— Elie Honig (@eliehonig) July 9, 2019
Other legal experts were surprised by Barr’s decision as well.
Huh? The two cases are inextricably bound together. The second is by its very nature a repudiation of the first. https://t.co/bN3o6xe3Sq
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) July 9, 2019
Barr cannot be trusted. Looks like he just unrecused. That was Trump’s demand with Sessions, and now Barr seems to have done it for him. Sad, sad, man.
— Jennifer Taub (@jentaub) July 9, 2019
The line being drawn here makes no sense. This is very concerning. https://t.co/sjgLkpvMlM
— Mimi Rocah (@Mimirocah1) July 9, 2019
But Walter Shaub Jr., the former the head of the federal Office of Government Ethics, said that it was not necessary for Barr to recuse himself from the current case.
Barr’s former firm, Kirkland & Ellis, is a representative of a party in the earlier case under review. That necessitates recusal. But Epstein’s represented by Marc Fernich & Martin Weinberg in the current case, and they’re not with K&E. So recusal is not required in the new one.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 9, 2019
I’m only sharing what the rationale of the DOJ ethics officials would have been. I don’t trust Barr further than I can throw his house and would like to see him recused from anything even remotely in Trump’s personal orbit. But such a recuse would be prudential and not mandatory.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 9, 2019
Trump uses Middle East peace plan event to praise Pompeo for berating NPR reporter: ‘Did a good job on her’
During an event at the White House celebrating the unveiling of President Trump's new Middle East peace plan, Trump took a moment to praise Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his recent dust up with an NPR reporter.
Standing alongside Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump pointed to "our great Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo," prompting a standing ovation in the room -- a standing ovation that seemingly impressed Trump.
"Whoa," Trump said, marveling at the applause. "That's impressive -- that was very impressive. That reporter couldn't have done too good a job on you yesterday, huh?"
Sen. Ron Johnson scrambles after accidentally becoming fourth GOP senator to support Bolton testimony
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Wednesday briefly became the fourth Republican senator to say that former National Security Adviser John Bolton should testify -- and then he changed his mind.
Democrats would need four Republican senators to vote with them in order to hear Bolton's testimony. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) are all on record wanting to hear Bolton's testimony.
And on Tuesday, Johnson suggested to reporter Adam Klasfeld that he was ready to hear Bolton's testimony. But the senator quickly walked back his remarks.
This would be a major breakthrough. Adding him to Romney and Collins, only one more Republican vote needed. https://t.co/wsWPdU2xTi
Republicans who are sick of being routinely embarrassed now have the perfect chance to flip on Trump
One of the great mysteries of our time is why so many Republicans who are willing to bet their reputations on relentlessly defending Donald Trump, especially now.
It'd be one thing if he were in rarefied George W. Bush post-9/11 territory with an approval rating hovering in the upper 80s, or if he had delivered an electoral map like Ronald Reagan's 1984 steamrolling of Walter Mondale. But neither of those is remotely true. Trump is a flop-sweating mess, and more of us should be asking why they don't just cut bait and try their luck with conserva-droid Mike Pence.