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.”
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. America is on the brink of total destruction. https://t.co/w0GiZ4WS9A
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) June 23, 2020
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.
More on the Stone prosecution. This is a disgrace. Barr must go. He is not acting as the Attorney General of the United States. He is Trump’s Roy Cohn. https://t.co/G2Mz7Fis1h
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) June 23, 2020
Matthew Miller, a former DOJ chief spokesperson now an MSNBC justice and security analyst:
Reading Zelinsky’s testimony in full just leaves me extraordinarily sad. Sad that this could even happen, sad that no R will care, sad that Barr can stay in office even a single additional day in the face of it. It is an outrage what they’ve done to DOJ. https://t.co/LBAWb1UDYH
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) June 23, 2020
Mimi Rocah, a former SDNY prosecutor, Pace Law School professor, legal commentator:
Thank goodness for professionals at DOJ who are standing up and calling out these flagrant abuses by Bill Barr & others. https://t.co/aDCs9ahjKI
— Mimi Rocah (@Mimirocah1) June 23, 2020
Joyce Vance, a former US Attorney, now a University of Alabama Law Professor and MSNBC contributor:
Barr must resign immediately. trump should, but won’t, be impeached. And any Republican who doesn’t call this out & demand both resignations has no further standing to complain about anything a future AG does because they’ve abdicated all responsibility. https://t.co/Yp0YgsIWpM
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) June 23, 2020
Rachel Barkow, an NYU Law Professor and Faculty Director of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law:
Next time you see Trump or Barr speak of law and order or respect for the rule of law, remember this. This is naked political favoritism that is an affront to equal treatment under the law and what our country is supposed to stand for. Truly disgusting. https://t.co/cyz4tSZh1D
— Rachel Barkow (@RachelBarkow) June 23, 2020
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Ethics Experts: Ivanka’s Endorsement of Goya Foods – Days After CEO Praises President – Is a ‘Serious Offense’
“Clearly a Violation”
Government ethics experts across the nation are denouncing Ivanka Trump’s late-night endorsement of Goya Foods as a violation of law – and ethics – especially as it comes just days after the company’s CEO appeared on national television in the Rose Garden of the White House to praise President Donald Trump.
“If it’s Goya, it has to be good,” the First Daughter and Senior Advisor to the President tweeted Tuesday night, with the statement repeated in Spanish. In her tweet Ivanka Trump is displaying a can of Goya black beans by holding it with her right hand and suggestively motioning to it with her left, as many do when endorsing a product.
If it’s Goya, it has to be good.
Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno. pic.twitter.com/9tjVrfmo9z
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) July 15, 2020
Walter Shaub, who has become America’s most prominent government ethics expert, weighed in Wednesday morning on Trump’s tweet with a lengthy thread on Twitter. He says her endorsement is “clearly a violation” of federal law.
“Ms. Trump’s Goya tweet is clearly a violation of the government’s misuse of position regulation, 5 C.F.R. § 2635.702. Ms. Trump has had ethics training. She knows better. But she did it anyway because no one in this administration cares about government ethics,” Shaub says.
He supports his call with several facts.
If you tout the company’s product in an obvious response to the backlash the company is facing for the CEO’s remarks about your father-president, you knowingly link your account in people’s minds to your official activities; you create the appearance of official sanction. /4
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 15, 2020
“There’s a particularly unseemly aspect to this violation,” Shaub adds, noting that “it creates the appearance that the government’s endorsement is for sale. Endorse the president and the administration will endorse your product.”
Shaub, who was the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics for four and a half years, under President Barack Obama and until July of 2017, under President Trump, is far from the only government ethics expert speaking out.
NBC News Correspondent covering politics and government ethics:
Office of Govt Ethics:
“An employee shall not use his public
office for his own private gain, for the
endorsement of any product, service or
enterprise, or for the private gain of
friends, relatives, or persons with
whom the employee is affiliated”https://t.co/iA6HYvzOOy https://t.co/zpdjFDh6xz
— Heidi Przybyla (@HeidiNBC) July 15, 2020
Political scientist at the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver:
A West Wing employee is advertising a commercial product in return for that company’s CEO having endorsed the President.
People used to get fired for this shit. https://t.co/NbMhl29fXL
— Seth Masket (@smotus) July 15, 2020
Former Senior Adviser to Hillary Clinton and the DNC, former Harry Reid Communications Director:
Yeah…so this is illegal. https://t.co/wXYKdxjwrT
— Zac Petkanas (@Zac_Petkanas) July 15, 2020
Former White House Special Counsel for Ethics and Government Reform, now a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution:
5 CFR § 2635.702(c): An employee shall not use…his government position… to endorse any product, service or enterprise.
Her Twitter bio claims account is personal but notes: “Advisor to POTUS.”
This would have been a serious offense in the Obama White House, or any other. https://t.co/SXV6vzuIeC
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) July 15, 2020
Swampy Trump Aide Quits After Allegation of ‘Collecting Intelligence’ for Lobbyists via National Security Officials: Report
A mere four months to the day he was announced as the new top Trump White House legislative liaison, Chris Cox is exiting the West Wing. Cox is a veteran GOP lobbyist who had suggested he was, as Politico reported, “collecting intelligence.”
Just one day earlier, in an article titled, “The swamp is coming from inside the (White) House!” Politico reported “Cox told colleagues in the White House that he was seeking information on the executive orders that President Donald Trump was readying to issue so he could brief people downtown — in other words, suggesting he wanted to give lobbyists a sneak peek.”
Politico adds that “Cox suggested while working in the White House that he was collecting intelligence or doing work after speaking to representatives and lobbyists from corporate interests.”
Also among Cox’s alleged actions: “COX emailed with fellow White House aides and officials on the National Security Council, seeking to push along an exemption for Gulfstream to deliver private jets overseas after he had a conversation with General Dynamics’ lobbyist.”
Politico called it “notable to many people at all levels of the White House that he was openly collecting political intelligence for corporate special interests and lobbyists on K Street from deep inside the sanctum of the White House.”
The White House defended Cox’s actions.
“I’m not seeing anything nefarious here,” spokesperson Judd Deere said.
Later, the White House refused to comment. 15 hours later Cox had announced he was leaving.
Politico does not reveal which National Security Council officials Cox was allegedly emailing, nor what their responses were.
Also in question is why Cox (who is not the Chris Cox formerly associated with the NRA,) would be allowed to resign instead of being fired, if the allegations are true.
On March 10 Politico reported on Cox’s hiring, noting his predecessor had left the White House for a job at a lobbying firm.
On January 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order banning any executive branch employee from becoming a lobbyist for five years.
‘Real Debasement’: White House Press Secretary Slammed for Message Supporting Mike Flynn
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.
Today’s decision by an appeals court to dismiss the case against Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn is a VICTORY for justice and truth.
All Americans are entitled to equal justice under the law and due process. No American should ever be unjustly targeted by their government.
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) June 24, 2020
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.
Putting the America flag next to the criminal Michael Flynn is the real debasement of our flag. https://t.co/ob10OgliSK
— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) June 24, 2020
Lockhart wasn’t finished:
This is the latest example of how far we’ve fallen as a nation. Someone who plead guilty and acknowledged and admitting committing felonies is a “victory for justice and truth.” I,for one, is damned tired of this shit happening. https://t.co/ob10OgliSK
— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) June 24, 2020
Many others responded to McEnany:
He admitted to lying to the FBI, Kayleigh.
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) June 24, 2020
Flynn pleaded guilty twice. This decision will probably be heard en banc. We’ll see what happens then.
— Andrew C Laufer, Esq (@lauferlaw) June 24, 2020
Why did Donald Trump fire him?
He lied to the FBI, and either he lied to the rest of the Trump Administration, or the rest of the Trump Administration is lying about that.
Corruption has never been so corrupt.
— JRehling (@JRehling) June 24, 2020
If you plead guilty to a crime twice under oath before a judge, why does that make you innocent? Is that what they taught you at @Harvard_Law ? Flynn betrayed America and you’re cheering. What is wrong with you? #FlynnIsATraitor #GOPComplicitTraitors #GOPCorruptionOverCountry
— James (@JamesSNYC) June 24, 2020
FLYNN PLEAD GUILTY…… FUCKING TWICE
You lie to the American people on an hourly basis
— Holden Mirror (@HoldenMirror) June 24, 2020
Nonsense. It’s a sham written by a Trump appointee, and a debasement of the notion of an independent judiciary, and you, as a Harvard Law grad, should understand this, but you know, hypocrisy.
— Rogue Ivanka (Parody Account) (@MarALagoPoolBoy) June 24, 2020
Trump world is pushing an exceptionally bizarre and dishonest misreading of the DC Cir. opinion. The issue is about a federal court’s ability to get answers regarding politicization and irregularity in DOJ decision making. It is in no way a substantive vindication of Flynn. https://t.co/fBxuAmsxsK
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) June 24, 2020
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