Donald Ayer, a former deputy attorney general who served under President George H.W. Bush, has issued a startling warning about Attorney General Bill Barr’s goals in pushing for the expansion of powers under the executive branch.
In an interview with The New Yorker, Ayer said that Barr has been all too eager to make the Department of Justice into President Donald Trump’s personal squad of attorneys whose job is to serve him and not the American public.
“[Barr’s] systematic trashing of the department’s traditions of even handedness and independence have helped him make significant progress toward his goal of an autocratic President,” Ayer said. “I think Barr is getting as much out of Trump as Trump is getting out of Barr. All for his own reasons of wanting the President to have complete and unchecked power.”
David Laufman, a former head of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section, tells The New Yorker that the consolidation of power around the president hasn’t just been limited to the DOJ.
“I think we need to be careful not to be too lackadaisical in recognizing the significance of what is happening throughout our government, not just in law enforcement and intelligence but the attempted politicization of our public health system,” he said.
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Experts Gamed Out a Contested 2020 Election — All Scenarios Resulted in ‘Street-Level Violence’ in America
Experts are warning of a dark winter if the 2020 presidential election results are contested.
“On the second Friday in June, a group of political operatives, former government and military officials, and academics quietly convened online for what became a disturbing exercise in the fragility of American democracy,” the Boston Globe reported Saturday. “The group, which included Democrats and Republicans, gathered to game out possible results of the November election, grappling with questions that seem less far-fetched by the day: What if President Trump refuses to concede a loss, as he publicly hinted recently he might do? How far could he go to preserve his power? And what if Democrats refuse to give in?”
While former Vice President Joe Biden currently has large leads in public polling on the race, Trump has refused to say he will accept the results if he loses.
A Georgetown law professor and former Defense Department official who helped organize the Transition Integrity Project explained the situation to the newspaper.
“All of our scenarios ended in both street-level violence and political impasse,” Prof. Rosa Brooks explained. “The law is essentially … it’s almost helpless against a president who’s willing to ignore it.”
The scenarios are dark.
“Using a role-playing game that is a fixture of military and national security planning, the group envisioned a dark 11 weeks between Election Day and Inauguration Day, one in which Trump and his Republican allies used every apparatus of government — the Postal Service, state lawmakers, the Justice Department, federal agents, and the military — to hold onto power, and Democrats took to the courts and the streets to try to stop it,” the Globe explained.
“If it sounds paranoid or outlandish — a war room of seasoned politicos and constitutional experts playing a Washington version of Dungeons and Dragons in which the future of the republic hangs in the balance — they get it,” the newspaper reported. “But, as they finalize a report on what they learned and begin briefing elected officials and others, they insist their warning is serious: A close election this fall is likely to be contested, and there are few guardrails to stop a constitutional crisis, particularly if Trump flexes the considerable tools at his disposal to give himself an advantage.”
Historian Nils Gilman explained the leverage Trump has in a contested election.
“He doesn’t have to win the election,” said Gilman. “He just has to create a plausible narrative that he didn’t lose.”
Read the full report.
Trump’s ‘Nonstop’ Drive for Self-Destruction Is ‘Habitual and Incurable’: Presidential Scholar
The Associated Press has written a lengthy story about how Trump’s chaotic response to the pandemic has led to uncontrolled outbreaks and 130,000 dead Americans in just four months, and it notes that Trump has essentially stopped trying to contain the disease and has instead moved to wage culture wars against monument vandals.
Cal Jillson, a presidential scholar at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, tells the AP that the president’s focus on protecting statues at a time when a deadly pandemic is killing thousands of people every week is an act of self-destruction.
“If he could change, he would,” he said. “It’s not helping him now. It’s just nonstop. It is habitual and incurable. He is who he is.”
Jillson also said that Trump’s habit of making a constant spectacle, which helped his presidential campaign in 2016, has become a massive liability during a time of national crisis.
“People would watch Trump and see the instability… the emergencies of his own making he would then claim to have taken care of, and be mildly entertained or at least not deeply worried,” he said. “A lot of that ‘Am I still amused?’ quickly gets to a ‘No’ answer.”
‘Very Concerned’ Fauci Issues Stern Warning: ‘Would Not Be Surprised if We Go Up to 100,000’ New COVID-19 Cases a Day
Dr. Anthony Fauci made a rare appearance Tuesday, speaking on Capitol Hill to issue a stern warning about the coronavirus crisis.
“We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day,” Fauci, the top infectious diseases expert at the National Institutes of Health, told Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around.”
Right now nearly 2.7 million people in the U.S., at minimum, have been infected with the coronavirus. Deaths are just under 130,000. CDC Chief Dr. Robert Redfield last week said he believes the actual number of cases could be ten times higher.
Watch Dr. Fauci:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 30, 2020
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