According to a report at the New York Times, career Justice Department officials are bracing for more chaos and disarray caused by President Donald Trump despite what many think was Attorney General Bill Barr’s insincere rebuke of the president for tweeting about pending cases.
According to the report, many within the Justice Department fear the president and his associates will either come after them or try to interfere with their work and believe that Barr will look the other way.
“In more than three dozen interviews in recent days, lawyers across the federal government’s legal establishment wondered aloud whether Mr. Trump was undermining the Justice Department’s treasured reputation for upholding the law without favor or political bias — and whether Attorney General William P. Barr was able or willing to protect it,” the report states. “Mr. Trump elicited those fears by denouncing federal prosecutors who had recommended a prison sentence of up to nine years for his longtime friend and political adviser Roger J. Stone Jr. Mr. Barr fanned them by scrapping the recommendation in favor of a far more lenient one, leading the prosecutors to quit the case in protest.”
According to the report, there was already a belief within the department that Barr was appointed by Trump to protect him and there has been little that has happened since that has convinced them otherwise.
“As many of the department lawyers and some recently departed colleagues see it, Mr. Barr has devoted much of his authority and stature to bolster the president since he took office a year ago,” the Times reports, before adding that there was some relief when Barr publically complained that the preside was making his job harder.
“Others questioned Mr. Barr’s sincerity, saying he was already too closely aligned with Mr. Trump’s political priorities to accept his words at face value,” the report continued. “One described Mr. Barr’s timing as self-serving, saying that the president had attacked the department before but Mr. Barr spoke up only when he felt his own credibility was on the line. Another suggested that the best way for Mr. Barr to demonstrate his integrity would be to resign.”
The Times reports that some officials now believe that judges will survey their cases with a jaundiced eye after so much attention has been paid to Barr’s interference to date.
“I’m sure that some D.O.J. attorneys feel that judges are not going to look at them in the same way,” explained Mary McCord, a former assistant attorney general. “And I’m sure there are judges who are going to wonder, ‘Can we credit what you say, or is D.O.J. going to come back tomorrow and say something different?’”
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