Rudy Giuliani on Monday demanded an investigation into former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch — who had spent the day testifying before Congress.
Giuliani made the statement while retweeting a conspiracy theory by Tom Fitton of the far-right group Judicial Watch:
“No wonder [Trump] and President Zelensky of Ukraine agreed Ambassador Yonacovitch (sic) was a real problem,” Giuliani said, while misspelling Yovanovitch’s name.
“I wonder if Shiftless asked her about this? Will there be an investigation or is she another ‘Protected Person’ like Biden & Hillary,” Giuliani tweeted.
Despite being implicated in the scandal, Giuliani has continued to speak out in attempts to defend the work he did with Trump to solicit foreign election assistance.
No wonder both @realDonaldTrump and President Zelensky of Ukraine agreed Ambassador Yonacovitch was a real problem. I wonder if Shiftless asked her about this? Will there be an investigation or is she another “Protected Person” like Biden & Hillary. https://t.co/qpQDJbc29I
— Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) October 14, 2019
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Barr Blasted for Wrongly Suggesting Obama and Biden Abused Their Power, Had ‘Level of Involvement’ in Russia Probe
Attorney General Bill Barr is under fire for wrongly suggesting former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden abused their power and had some “level of involvement” in the FBI’s investigation of now-President Donald Trump.
On Monday Barr announced that he does not “expect” the federal prosecutor he appointed to lead that investigation “will lead to a criminal prosecution of either man.”
But Barr also suggested both men had engaged in an abuse of power, without offering any proof, in what some see as a clear attempt to disparage them.
“We have to bear in mind what the Supreme Court recently reminded us of in the ‘Bridgegate’ case. As the court said there, there’s a difference between an abuse of power and a federal crime. Not every abuse of power, no matter how outrageous, is necessarily a federal crime,” Barr declared.
“Now, as to President Obama and Vice President Biden – whatever their level of involvement – based on the information I have today, I don’t expect Mr. Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man.”
Barr says he does not “expect” that the ongoing review of the Trump-Russia probe will lead to a criminal investigation of Barack Obama or Joe Biden: “Our concern over potential criminality is focused on others” https://t.co/HcJ4ge7ZNj pic.twitter.com/N7F0WvaeFE
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 18, 2020
Barr is known to choose his words very carefully, to paint the picture he wants Americans to see. A federal judge has already chastised him for his four-page Mueller investigation letter, calling it “distorted” and “misleading.”
And by declaring there won’t be a “criminal investigation,” he gets the words “criminal” and “investigation” or “prosecution” tied to both Democrats in the press.
His remarks immediately led to headlines like these:
“Barr says he does not expect criminal investigation of Obama or Biden as result of Durham probe”
“Barr Says Probe Won’t Likely Lead to Prosecution of Obama, Biden”
“Barr Says He Doesn’t Expect Criminal Probe Into Obama or Biden”
On social media many saw through Barr’s tactics:
OMG Barr is the most corrupt and biased politician ever to hold the office of AG. Obama and Biden did nothing wrong, but Barr is attempting to imply that they did. Putin would be proud (and I’m sure he is). #GOPCorruptionOverCountry
— Andrea Nikischer (@AndreaNikischer) May 18, 2020
Goalposts: it should be laughable to suggest a criminal investigation.
They did NOTHING to even warrant the discussion.
This is how Barr/Trump work w the media accomplices.
Now it’s out there that Obama/Biden won’t be investigated, not that there is nothing to investigate
— Henry (@Fdr1942) May 18, 2020
And the whatever their involvement mentioned line is complete underhanded bullshit. Joe Biden is running g for President and the AG is insinuating he’s some kind of criminal Biden’s record over 40 years speaks for itself. Barr is a scumbag, his record speaks for itself https://t.co/k9sYQZAHZw
— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) May 18, 2020
Barr leaves miles of room to do one or more of the following:
(a) accuse Biden/Obama of “abuse of power”
(b) suggest that Biden/Obama would have been charged with crimes had they not been VP/POTUS;
(c) uncover new “evidence” that leads to criminally charging one or both men.
— Bill Barr Baggins (@LogicHobbit) May 18, 2020
Yes…just leaving that “whatever their level of involvement” nugget floating out there.
What a scummy corrupt SOB!
— Ava Hunch 🤞🏻🙏🏻🤞🏻 (@Annie1But) May 18, 2020
Barr implying that Obama and Biden’s actions were outrageous but not rising to the level of a crime, after the exact same people said DOJ shouldn’t make derogatory statements about people’s actions, and in particular, candidates during an election, without charging them like 🤔
— Pwn All The Things (@pwnallthethings) May 18, 2020
Bill Barr says he won’t investigate Obama or Biden or Trump (Ha!), but let’s get something clear. What he should have said was, “there is nothing there to investigate because Trump is making stuff up.”
— Karen 🇺🇸🧶❤🐑🐄🍒🚜🌽🌊 (@karenknitssocks) May 18, 2020
What an odd statement from an AG, making statements about investigations that don’t exist https://t.co/mpfeOUV8TH
— Carrie Cordero (@carriecordero) May 18, 2020
‘Good to Be a Criminal Who Is Friends With the President’: Manafort Early Prison Release Draws Outrage – ‘Doesn’t Qualify’
“Released to home confinement amid growing outbreak of white privilege”
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) on Wednesday released convicted felon Paul Manafort to home confinement, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. But many online quickly expressed outrage upon learning the President’s former campaign chairman who has ties to Russia is housed in a prison that has no coronavirus cases.
Under Attorney General Bill Barr federal prisons have slowly been releasing prisoners from jail to reduce the spread of coronavirus, but certain conditions must be met. Prisoners have to have served at least half their sentence, or served at least one-quarter of their sentence and have less than 18 months remaining.
Manafort meets none of those requirements.
“Manafort, 71, has been serving out his more than seven-year sentence for charges related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in a federal correctional institution in central Pennsylvania,” ABC News reports. “He was found guilty of tax fraud and conspiracy and was sentenced by a federal judge in March 2019. He was slated to be released from prison November 4, 2024. The charges stemmed from his work related to Ukraine between 2006 and 2015.”
Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, now an MSNBC contributor and a University of Alabama law professor, says Manafort simply doesn’t qualify.
“This raises real fairness concerns. Manafort doesn’t qualify for compassionate release,” Vance says on Twitter. “Did he get special treatment ahead of others who do? People in facilities with outbreaks or closer to the end of their sentence? Did Trump’s friend get preferential treatment under the guise of appropriate releases to protect BOP inmates?
She notes that former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen, “much closer to the end of his sentence, was denied release after news he would be was made public.”
Some are suggesting Manafort’s release proves Trump intervened in keeping Cohen in jail.
Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty while showing something approaching genuine recognizance, remains in jail. Manafort and Flynn, who stuck by Trump and actively worked to sabotage law enforcement, are being openly rewarded by the administration. https://t.co/r0FNROVLEq
— Will Stancil (@whstancil) May 13, 2020
Last year CNN reported “Special counsel Robert Mueller believes that Paul Manafort was sharing polling data and discussing Russian-Ukrainian policy with his close Russian-intelligence-linked associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, while he led the Trump presidential campaign, according to parts of a court filing that were meant to be redacted by Manafort’s legal team Tuesday but were released publicly.”
Outrage over what many see as unwarranted preferential treatment was widespread.
Some, perhaps mockingly, wondered if Manafort might get his old job back, working for the Trump campaign, given the President is reportedly considering re-hiring his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Here’s what some others are saying:
It’s good to be a criminal who is friends with the President. Congrats, Paul Manafort.
Poor white, black and brown prisoners? Sorry. Stay in jail and get #coronavirus.
The Trump Administration is so openly corrupt. No shame.
— Wajahat “Social Distance Yourself” Ali (@WajahatAli) May 13, 2020
Recently, Andrea Circle Bear died of COVID-19, after giving birth via c-section on a ventilator in a federal prison, where she was serving 2 years on a minor drug charge.
Today, Paul Manafort was released to serve his 7 year sentence on serious tax and fraud charges at home.
— Rebecca Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) May 13, 2020
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort released to home confinement amid growing outbreak of white privilege https://t.co/LJO7mbKW1d
— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) May 13, 2020
What message does it send that the president’s campaign chairman can cheat to win an election, go to prison for fraud, and be released because of a crisis caused by the same president he helped elect, even though that president says it’s all under control? https://t.co/r9QvKqZuyt
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) May 13, 2020
Reality Winner was denied. Michael Cohen’s release (along with many others) was cancelled. But Manafort, who has multiple jurisdictions of trouble and hasn’t completed half his sentence, is released.
It’s as if this isn’t about the pandemic at all. https://t.co/WMr6ldZz2T
— Alison Grinter Allen (@alisongrinter) May 13, 2020
Manafort released. But Yusef still locked up. He’s served 25 years. Been in since he was 16. He’s 41 now. Should have been resentenced 5 years ago. Lost 4 friends already to COVID, now running rampant in Michigan prisons. Highest death toll in country. Why is he still in prison? https://t.co/lMPXtVughJ
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) May 13, 2020
Paul Manafort—who committed some of the most egregious crimes against our nation—gets to go home today to spare him from COVID19.
But Suran Farrell, a woman who killed her abuser & served 30+ years, died in prison from COVID19.
Reprehensible injustice. https://t.co/5eYoL9Xrny
— Qasim Rashid for Congress (@QasimRashid) May 13, 2020
Nearly 2000 Former DOJ Officials Sign Letter Calling on Barr to Resign Over His ‘Assaults on the Rule of Law’
Call for Resignation and Censure
Nearly 2000 former Dept. of Justice officials have signed on to a letter calling on Attorney General Bill Barr to resign over his “political interference” in the Mike Flynn case, as ABC News reports. The DOJ dropped the charges against President Trump’s former National Security Advisor, who had already pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI. He was also accused of acting as a paid, unregistered foreign agent to Turkey while serving on the Trump transition team.
“We continue to believe that it would be best for the integrity of the Justice Department and for our democracy for Attorney General Barr to step aside,” the letter reads. “In the meantime, we call on Congress to hold the Attorney General accountable.”
The former officials also are urging the House Judiciary Committee to “demand that [Barr] answer for his abuses of power. We also call upon Congress to formally censure Attorney General Barr for his repeated assaults on the rule of law in doing the President’s personal bidding rather than acting in the public interest. Our democracy depends on a Department of Justice that acts as an independent arbiter of equal justice, not as an arm of the president’s political apparatus.”
In the Flynn case the officials say “Attorney General Barr has once again assaulted the rule of law,” and urge the judge to deny the DOJ’s request to drop the charges.
“Attorney General Barr’s repeated actions to use the Department as a tool to further President Trump’s personal and political interests have undermined any claim to the deference that courts usually apply to the Department’s decisions about whether or not to prosecute a case.”
The list, currently at 1956 names and growing, includes former U.S. Attorneys and trial attorneys, the Chief of the Criminal Division at SDNY, Inspector Generals, Section Chiefs, and Special Counsels, and others.
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