Trump's order giving Barr carte blanche came just hours after he literally called prosecutors who worked on the Mueller investigation "killers," and accused FBI, DOJ, and possibly President Barack Obama of "treason" immediately after a reporter reminded him that the punishment for that crime is the death penalty.
Trump is insisting, as he has done for over two years, that President Barack Obama had then-candidate Trump's "wires tapped," an accusation the Dept. of Justice actually investigated and reported it could find no evidence to support President Trump's claim.
Trump expanded that claim to say that the FBI spied on his campaign, despite having no evidence. Attorney General Bill Barr during an open and live-televised congressional hearing told lawmakers, “I think spying did occur.”
The deliberate use of the word "spying" rankled the intel community and many lawmakers.
This via Maddow tonight:
NEWS: David Laufman, former chief of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section at the DOJ calls Trump's new directive "a grotesque abuse of the intelligence community." pic.twitter.com/iTVpl4DnKD
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) May 24, 2019
Here's how some experts are responding to the President's order and accusations.
Former U.S. Attorney, now a law professor and MSNBC contributor:
National security takes a back seat to Trump demands that Barr gin up an investigation into public servants at DOJ & FBI. Also today, Trump called prosecutors killers & accused people by name of treason after a reminder the punishment is execution. There’s no way this ends well. https://t.co/6cGLtPzbXq
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) May 24, 2019
Former Chief of Counterintelligence and Export Control Section at Justice Dept.:
When the Dept. of Justice becomes a handmaiden to a political purge, it betrays both its core ideals and the countless prosecutors and agents dedicated to carrying out the rule of law without fear or favor.https://t.co/K9Vfxq0sXS
— David Laufman (@DavidLaufmanLaw) April 10, 2019
Former Director of the Office of Government Ethics:
Barr is the most dangerous member of Trump’s team in terms of the threat he poses to democracy and national security, which is really saying something when Bolton is a member of that team.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) May 24, 2019
Former CIA officer and former National Security Council spokesperson, currently an NBC News contributor:
Needless to say, Trump hasn’t made any effort to declassify anything related to Russia’s assault on our democracy. Everything we know, we learned from the intelligence assessment Obama ordered, the speaking indictments / report Mueller filed, and investigative reporting. https://t.co/EiVO0fDjxl
— Ned Price (@nedprice) May 24, 2019
Former Director of the Office of Public Affairs for the Department of Justice, and a current MSNBC Justice & Security Analyst:
Whoa. So Barr has the sole authority to declassify info related to the Trump investigation over the objections of the original classifying authority - CIA, NSA, etc. A huge accumulation of power and discretion to the AG that I believe is unprecedented. https://t.co/xDTiurMyff
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) May 24, 2019
Professor at the U.S. Naval War College and academic specialist on international affairs:
This is just crazy. https://t.co/eKtc4HSIvx
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) May 24, 2019
New York Times editorial board writer on law and justice issues (and yes, he is being sarcastic):
Totally normal thing to include in a presidential memorandum: This thing expires “upon a vacancy in the office of the Attorney General.” https://t.co/pvl3fNoClg
— Cristian Farias (@cristianafarias) May 24, 2019
Vox co-founder and editor:
Some cool things about this:
1) Selectively declassifying things can be very misleading
2) Barr likes to deliberately mislead the public to help Trump
3) Reporters are aware of (2)
4) When (1) happens then despite (3) Barr’s deceptions will generate credulous headlines. https://t.co/UDJnrpfcSs
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) May 24, 2019
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