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Former Mueller chief of staff says the DOJ was just ‘dealt a significant blow’

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Lisa Monaco has a long resumé when it comes to national security and law enforcement. In addition to serving as chief of staff to Robert Mueller when he was director of the FBI, the 51-year-old Monaco was a counterterrorism adviser during President Barack Obama’s second term. And Monaco, in an article for Just Security, addresses some of her reasons for worrying about the state of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) under President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr.

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“The Justice Department is unique in wearing two hats in our system: independent investigator and prosecutor, and an executive branch agency bound to facilitate the president’s legitimate policy objectives,” Monaco explains. “That’s policy objectives, not political objectives. Department lawyers under both Republican and Democratic administrations have, at times, struggled to provide their best legal advice while also seeking where possible to facilitate the president’s legitimate policy choices.”

But what she is observing in the Trump era, Monaco warns, is a troubling departure from previous presidential administrations.

“Today, we are witnessing a very different strain, a dangerous fraying of the perception of the Department’s independence,” Monaco asserts. “The latest controversy does not involve criminal justice priorities, but rather — in its best light — the appearance of direct and self-interested intervention in a law enforcement matter.”

The “latest controversy” that Monaco is referring to is the Roger Stone sentencing scandal. Last year, Stone was convicted in federal court on charges ranging from lying to Congress to witness tampering — and on February 10, a DOJ memo recommended seven to nine years in prison for the veteran GOP operative. But the following day, the DOJ recommended a much more lenient sentence after Trump angrily lambasted that memo on Twitter. Four DOJ prosecutors resigned from Stone’s case in protest.

“The reputation and credibility of the Justice Department has been dealt a significant blow,” Monaco laments. “The job of prosecutors and DOJ attorneys is both to do fair and impartial justice and to appear to have done so.”

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Monaco goes on say, “The fact that four prosecutors have now withdrawn from a case after — at the very least, the appearance of political influence in the matter — has done incalculable harm to the credibility of the Justice Department. The line attorneys who resigned this week earned their name as public servants because they stood on the front lines and honored their oath. But they shouldn’t stand alone as the conscience of the department.”


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Jared Kushner slammed for buzzwording his way through coronavirus press conference

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At Thursday's coronavirus task force briefing, President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner took the stand to discuss his own role in combating the outbreak.

Commenters on social media, however, did not care for what he had to say — and roundly criticized his appearance.

I didn't see it so let me just get this straight: Jared Kushner -- who has exactly about as many qualifications for dealing with a pandemic as he did for concocting Mideast peace -- was on hand to brief the American people about the #COVID19Pandemic but Dr. Fauci wasn't? Ok then. https://t.co/I94u3dYCAB

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Trump blasted as ‘commander of confusion’ in Washington Post review of his coronavirus failures

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President Donald Trump's response to the COVID-19 coronavirus was detailed in a new Washington Post story.

"In the three weeks since declaring the novel coronavirus outbreak a national emergency, President Trump has delivered a dizzying array of rhetorical contortions, sowed confusion and repeatedly sought to cast blame on others," the newspaper reported.

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How the pandemic pulled back the curtain on the flawed global economic system

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When the wealthiest country in the world is unable to produce basic medical gear to cope with a rampaging pandemic, it is dealing with a strategic vulnerability by depending on multinational supply chains to produce manufactured goods. Absent sufficient redundancies and physical reserves of resources, “just-in-time” lean supply systems can’t cope with sudden disruptions. The global pandemic of 2020 is a case in point.

This pandemic continues to unfold, but it will serve as the D-Day equivalent of a new predominating economic model for the world, and which in many ways was beginning to take shape before COVID-19. At its core, developed and mixed market economies will factor in the health risk and growing military cost of sustaining international supply chains against investing in high-tech production closer to their markets, and increasingly export their goods to the rest of the world.

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