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CORRUPTION

Head of Office Managing Security Clearances ‘Abruptly Resigns’ After Trump Rehires Fired Body Man as Top WH Official: Report

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The director of the U.S. Government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which is in charge of human resources policy and the management of security clearances, resigned abruptly on Tuesday after just six months on the job.

Dale Cabaniss quit because of “poor treatment from the 29-year-old head of the Presidential Personnel Office, John McEntee (photo), and a powerful appointee at OPM, Paul Dans, the new White House liaison and senior adviser to the director of OPM,” Politico reports.

McEntee had been President Donald Trump’s body man. He was fired by then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly after a reported gambling issue made his security clearance untenable.

Business Insider reported last month that McEntee “was fired in 2018 amid an investigation into allegations of financial crimes,” and “was also the focus of a financial-crimes investigation by the Department of Homeland Security.”

Politico adds that “McEntee’s return to the White House has roiled the administration with some officials criticizing the former Trump campaign staffer for what they see as an effort to stock the administration with his friends, including at least three college seniors.”

After Kelly’s ouster President Trump rehired McEntee during a recent wave of loyalty hiring that included members of his original team who Trump feels most comfortable around. Among those rehires was Hope Hicks, who resigned the day after she admitted to Special Counsel Robert Mueller that she has lied for Trump.

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CORRUPTION

Barr Blasted for Wrongly Suggesting Obama and Biden Abused Their Power, Had ‘Level of Involvement’ in Russia Probe

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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 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:

 

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CORRUPTION

‘Good to Be a Criminal Who Is Friends With the President’: Manafort Early Prison Release Draws Outrage – ‘Doesn’t Qualify’

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“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.

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:

 

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CORRUPTION

Nearly 2000 Former DOJ Officials Sign Letter Calling on Barr to Resign Over His ‘Assaults on the Rule of Law’

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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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