Quantcast
Connect with us

Legal expert warns: Barr’s firing of SDNY prosecutor illustrates the frightening ‘Orbánification of the American system of governance’

Published

on

Attorney General William Barr is being inundated with criticism over the firing of federal prosecutor Geoffrey Berman from the Southern District of New York, which has been conducting investigations of President Donald Trump and his allies. One of those critics is attorney Paul Rosenzweig, who served as a senior counsel during the investigation of President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s. And in an article for The Atlantic, Rosenzweig warns that the firing of Berman is the type of thing one would expect from far-right Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The real question is: why? Why replace Berman now, just five months before the election?,” Rosenzweig writes. “The answer lies in the firing earlier this year of Jessie Liu, the former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.”

Rosenzweig continues, “By firing Liu, Barr and his team took control of the Washington, D.C. U.S. attorney’s office. Until they did that, the office was following up on various indictments and charges that had been brought against Trump’s associates. Once they seized control, Barr’s team intervened to short-circuit that process. They interceded in the sentencing of Roger Stone, and more recently, they have made an effort to dismiss the case against Michael Flynn.”

Rosenzweig goes on to warn that undermining a country’s checks and balances and encouraging a president’s cronies to believe they are above the law is characteristic of authoritarians.

“This is how an authoritarian works to subvert justice,” Rosenzweig asserts. “He purports to uphold the forms of justice — in this case, the formal rule that the attorney general and the president exercise hierarchical control over the U.S. attorneys — while undermining the substance of justice. In the Flynn case, for example, Barr has asserted an absolute, unreviewable authority to bring and dismiss cases at will — a power that, even if legally well founded, is a subversion of justice when misused.”

According to Rosenzweig, it is no coincidence that Barr fired a federal prosecutor who was investigating Trump and his cronies.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Barr may want Berman out so that he can use his newly enhanced control to dismiss or short-circuit all of the pending cases in Manhattan that implicate Trump or his associates,” Rosenzweig writes. “We know those are many. We know that Trump’s various organizations, including his inauguration committee, are under investigation. We know that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is under investigation. We know that Trump’s bank, Deutsche Bank, is under investigation.”

Rosenzweig warns that Barr is leading the “Orbánification of the American system of governance” — a reference to Viktor Orbán. Following the fall of communism in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Hungary emerged as one of the new post-Soviet Union democracies in that part of the world. But Orbán, since becoming prime minster, has done everything he can to undermine democracy in Hungary — not unlike Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines or Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey.

“The attorney general’s apparent goal is to turn the Department of Justice into an arm of the president’s personal interests,” Rosenzweig explains. “He seems to have no regard for the Department’s independence and is doing long-term damage to the fabric of American justice…. Like strongmen everywhere, Barr and Trump seek to exalt their interests over those of the nation. And this latest effort — seemingly to short-circuit the ongoing criminal investigation of Trump’s affiliates and associates — is only the most recent evidence.”

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Here is how the 99% can force the 1% to defeat COVID-19

Published

on

By

The government's response to the pandemic has further enriched the wealthy, while everyday people, especially Black and Brown workers, face sickness, death, and destitution. Government handouts to the rich are unsurprising, since they repeat the century-old pattern of "rescue packages", but another pattern is more perplexing: why have business leaders not stepped up to demand a robust public health response, which would ultimately be in their own self-interest? The titans of industry have mostly stood by in the face of Trump's criminal negligence, which has devastated much of the 99% but also endangers the wealthy.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump Organization planning ‘high-end’ retirement community — with 225 properties — on foreign soil: report

Published

on

The Trump Organization is planning a massive real estate development, according to a new report by Martyn McLaughlin in The Scotsman.

"In what would be one of the most ambitious and expensive foreign projects undertaken by Donald Trump’s family business since he assumed the presidency, his company has commissioned a detailed masterplan to develop as many as 225 properties, as well as leisure facilities and shops, on an expanse of rolling farmland adjacent to Turnberry’s lauded Ailsa course, a four-time host of golf’s Open Championship," the Scottish newspaper reported.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

WATCH: Video shows how Trump makes his caddie hang on to the back of the golf cart

Published

on

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and economic catastrophe, the leader of the free world spent the weekend golfing at his private, for-profit golf course in Virginia.

For the second day in a row, Donald Trump's presidential motorcade traveled to Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia.

"Today marks the president’s 86th day trip to Sterling," reported HuffPost correspondent S.V. Dáte, who was the White House pool reporter for print covering the day's events.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image