Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson used the sentencing of a former campaign aide to President Donald Trump, Rick Gates, as a platform to rebut Attorney General Bill Barr's attacks on the Russia investigation.
Following the release of a report by the Justice Department inspector general finding that the investigation was properly predicated and showed no evidence of inappropriate motivation, Barr offered his contrasting opinion. Contrary to the report, he said, the predicate for the Russia investigation was based on "the thinnest of suspicions." In an interview, he said the investigation created a "completely bogus narrative.
As I argued recently, Barr's comments make clear that rather than being focused on enforcing the law, the attorney general is obsessed with policing media perceptions.
While sentencing Gates, who pleaded guilty to crimes uncovered as part of the Russia probe and testified in trials of multiple Trump allies, Judge Jackson offered a starkly different view of the case, though she didn't mention Barr directly.
She said there was "an ample basis" for the investigation into Trump's campaign associates, Politico reported.
"Gates’ information alone warranted, indeed demanded, further investigation from the standpoint of our national security, the integrity of our elections and the enforcement of our criminal laws," she said. She also rattled off a list of the crimes Gates and Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort had been charged with.
“Those are facts,” she said pointedly. “Those are not alleged facts. Those are not alternative facts.”