Attorney General William Barr admitted on Thursday that he was aware that Steve Bannon was under investigation for fraud when he fired U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, the top federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York.
Following Bannon’s arrest this week, Barr told the Associated Press that he knew of the investigation into President Donald Trump’s former campaign chief when he ousted Berman. The case is expected to be handled by SDNY prosecutors.
“Attorney General Bill Barr tells @AP he was first made aware of the Bannon investigation several months ago but has not received regular briefings on the case,” AP Justice Department correspondent Mike Balsamo revealed on Twitter. “He emphasized the president had opposed the work of ‘We Build The Wall’ and Bannon is a former Trump aide.”
Attorney General Bill Barr tells @AP he was first made aware of the Bannon investigation several months ago but has not received regular briefings on the case. He emphasized the president had opposed the work of “We Build The Wall” and Bannon is a former Trump aide.
— Mike Balsamo (@MikeBalsamo1) August 20, 2020
Barr fired Berman in June after the prosecutor refused to resign.
“Because you have declared that you have no intention of resigning, I have asked the President to remove you as of today, and he has done so,” Barr wrote in a letter to Berman at the time.
It was not immediately clear how Berman’s firing has impacted the Southern District’s case against Bannon.
NEW: A senior Justice Department official tells NBC News that AG William Barr was briefed on the Steve Bannon case and was aware that his arrest was coming today, Mike Kosnar reports.
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) August 20, 2020
Trump takes his COVID-spreader show to Omaha — in search of a key electoral vote
Donald Trump’s super-spreader campaign rallies generally don’t matter in the big picture of things. But there’s one happening this evening that’s a little different.
Trump will be taking over a ramp at 7:30 p.m. at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield. It is being billed as an outdoor event with “strong precautions” in place to prevent the spread of a pandemic disease that the main speaker will be telling his audience is fake news. And they’re hoping to draw 10,000 potential pandemic patients.
The reason Trump is in Omaha is the same one that President Barack Obama was there in 2008: a recognition that the Nebraska 2nd congressional district’s one electoral vote could literally decide the fate of the free world. Nebraska and Maine are the only two states that portion delegates in part by congressional districts.
Militia leader denies that flying a Confederate flag is racist in NBC News exposé
On MSNBC's Deadline White House Tuesday, correspondent Cal Perry spoke with a militia leader in Kentucky who denied that carrying a Confederate flag was a form of racism.
"There are photos of you carrying Confederate flags," Perry said.
"Some people don't. People in my group are Puerto Rico, Blacks, Cubans, I've got a mixture," said Tara Brandau of the National Patriotic Defense Team militia.
Trump says militia that sought to kidnap and kill Michigan’s Gov. Whitmer was ‘maybe a problem, maybe it wasn’t’
In a startling moment during his Michigan rally Tuesday, President Donald Trump implied that the militia that attempted to kidnap and kill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) was maybe or maybe not all that big of a problem.
“People are entitled to say maybe it was a problem, maybe it wasn’t," Trump told his rally.
It's a commonly used tactic by Trump to say things like "people say" or "some say" or raise hypotheticals so that it gives him the ability to say "I don't think that, people do." But he has never been able to cite the actual person that said that to him.
In this case, one would assume all political leaders would oppose kidnapping and killing a political leader regardless of the party to which he or she belongs. In Ohio they've opted for a gentler approach, merely trying to recall Republican Gov. Mike DeWine for his mask mandate.