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Trump Raged and Swore at Aides Because His Enemies Aren’t Being Prosecuted: Report

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There are two key ways a president can abuse the Justice Department and federal prosecutorial powers: he can protect his friends, and he can go after his enemies.

In recent days and months, especially with developments around the Michael Flynn and Roger Stone cases, observers have been deeply concerned that President Donald Trump is engaging in the first kind of abuse. But according to a new report from the Washington Post, what Trump really cares about — and what he is really furious hasn’t happened yet — is the prosecution of his enemies.

The report explained:

Behind that public fight, according to people familiar with the discussions, is a deeper tension between Trump and Barr’s Justice Department over the lack of criminal charges against former FBI director James B. Comey and those close to him.

The flare-up over the Stone case comes against a backdrop of growing behind-the-scenes anger from the president toward the Justice Department — more about whom the department has not charged with crimes than about whom it has charged, according to people familiar with the discussions

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz referred Comey’s handling of the memos to prosecutors for possible criminal prosecution, but lawyers quickly determined it was not a close call and did not seek to build a case.

That sent Trump into a rage, according to people briefed on his comments. He complained so loudly and swore so frequently in the Oval Office that some of his aides discussed it for days, these people said. Trump repeatedly said that Comey deserved to be charged, according to their account.

 

“Can you [expletive] believe they didn’t charge him?” Trump said on the night of the decision, these people said.

It’s not just Comey. The report noted that Trump has also been eager to see charges against Comey’s former deputy, Andrew McCabe. And Trump also reportedly became enraged when the Washington Post reported in January that U.S. Attorney John Huber’s investigation into vague allegations about Hillary Clinton came up dry. (Trump had asked former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to look into Clinton, according to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.)

The Post continued:

Separately, Barr has tapped U.S. Attorney John Durham in Connecticut to investigate whether any crimes were committed by FBI and CIA officials in the pursuit of allegations in 2016 that Russia interfered in the election to benefit Trump’s campaign.

 

After learning that the Huber investigation is not likely to produce charges, Trump has become more insistent that Durham finish his work soon, according to people familiar with the discussions. Trump, these people said, wants to be able to use whatever Durham finds as a cudgel in his reelection campaign.

 

All of that frustration has fed into the public fight over the Stone case.

What’s not clear from the report is how much Trump has directly expressed this anger and desire for prosecutions to Barr himself. On Thursday, Barr claimed in an interview with ABC News that Trump hasn’t asked him to do anything in a criminal case. It’s not clear if that’s true — but even if Trump hasn’t made his demands explicit to Barr, there’s no doubt the attorney general knows what’s expected of him.

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‘Real Debasement’: White House Press Secretary Slammed for Message Supporting Mike Flynn

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It took President Donald Trump less than five minutes to applaud the 2-1 decision of the DC Court of Appeals, ordering a federal judge to grant the Dept. of Justice its motion to dismiss all charges against admitted liar Mike Flynn.

Less than an hour later, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted a message supporting Flynn.

That message is causing a great deal of upset and anger, especially as McEnany chose to include a U.S. flag icon next to the disgraced retired general’s name.

Former White House press secretary Joe Lockhart, now a CNN political analyst, took particular exception to the move, calling it a “real debasement” of the American flag.

Lockhart wasn’t finished:

Many others responded to McEnany:

 

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Ethics Expert Warns ‘America Is on the Brink of Total Destruction’ Over DOJ-Roger Stone ‘Corruption’ Bombshell

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Walter Shaub, the former head of the Office of Government Ethics, issued a dire warning Tuesday on the allegation that officials at the “highest levels” of the Dept. of Justice pressured prosecutors to ask for an extremely light sentence for Roger Stone, a good friend and former associate of President Donald Trump.

“America is on the brink of total destruction,” Shaub warned on Twitter.

And he put his warning in context.

“Short of assassinating opponents or using the military to quell public protests, I can’t think of a form of corruption worse than a nation’s leader influencing the administration of justice to protect friends and prosecute enemies.”

Shaub was responding to a tweet from attorney, commentator, and writer for Yahoo News and Just Security, Luppe Luppen, who posted a copy of Assistant United States Attorney Aaron Zelinsky’s opening statement. Zelinsky was a prosecutor for former Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He is set to testify before Congress Wednesday as a whistleblower, presumably against the DOJ and Attorney General Bill Barr.

Zelinsky was one of four prosecutors on the Roger Stone case who abruptly withdrew just before the sentencing recommendation was to be made.

“What I heard – repeatedly – was that Roger Stone was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the President,” Zelinsky’s statement reads.

Shaub is far from the only expert to sound the alarm bell.

Former US Attorney Barb McQuade, now an MSNBC and NBC News legal analyst and University of Michigan Law professor calls for Barr to go.

Matthew Miller, a former DOJ chief spokesperson now an MSNBC justice and security analyst:

Mimi Rocah, a former SDNY prosecutor, Pace Law School professor, legal commentator:

Joyce Vance, a former US Attorney, now a University of Alabama Law Professor and MSNBC contributor:

Rachel Barkow, an NYU Law Professor and Faculty Director of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law:

 

 

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‘Bombshell’: Mueller Deputy Tells Congress Fear of Trump to Blame for Infamous Roger Stone Sentencing Memo

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Aaron Zelinsky, a lawyer prosecuting President Trump’s longtime associate Roger Stone who later resigned from the case in protest after being forced to seek a lesser prison sentence, submitted a statement to Congress this Tuesday and dropped a “bombshell” revelation about the “wrongful political pressure” that he endured.

“What I saw was the Department of Justice exerting significant pressure on the line prosecutors in the case to obscure the correct Sentencing Guidelines calculation to which Roger Stone was subject – and to water down and in some cases outright distort the events that transpired in his trial and the criminal conduct that gave rise to his conviction,” a portion of his statement read. “Such pressure resulted in the virtually unprecedented decision to override the original sentencing recommendation in his case and to file a new sentencing memorandum that included statements and assertions at odds with the record and contrary to Department of Justice policy.”

“What I heard – repeatedly – was that Roger Stone was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the President,” his statement continued. “I was told that the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Timothy Shea, was receiving heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice to cut Stone a break, and that the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing instructions to us were based on political considerations. I was also told that the acting U.S. Attorney was giving Stone such unprecedentedly favorable treatment because he was ‘afraid of the president.’”

Zelinsky is set to testify before Congress this Wednesday. According to Business Insider, he’ll tell lawmakers that a supervisor on Stone’s case told him that there were “political reasons” to seek a lighter sentence for Stone, even though the supervisor acknowledged that a lighter sentence would be “unethical and wrong.”

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