Tuesday, federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued a scathing order about Attorney General Bill Barr falsifying documents to cover up why the Justice Department refused to prosecute former President Donald Trump for obstruction of the Mueller investigation.
In her analysis, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow walked through the shocking decision and the extent to which it will not only open the door to reexamine the obstruction cases, but it also essentially calls Barr a bad-faith liar in federal court.
“I was having a little bit of deja vu, a little bit like being back to the battle days, with whole big sections of the judge’s ruling redacted,” said Maddow referring to Jackson’s decision. “That’s because those redacted parts of her ruling actually show what’s in this document that she just ordered the Justice Department to release. She redacted those portions of her rule, and she didn’t just go ahead and release the document today because she’s allowing a couple of weeks to allow for the possibility that the Justice Department, under new management, may appeal her ruling and still try to keep this thing under wraps.”
Calling it “a heck of a thing,” Maddow explained that the new White House has made it clear that they want to look forward, not back. At the same time, the new White House has also said that they have no intention of meddling with the Justice Department’s decisions or cases.
“Merrick Garland is the attorney general now, all new leadership at the Justice Department, all new priorities, moving forward with a million things at once, and here’s a judge saying, you know, your immediate predecessor in this job lied to me, lied to the court and lied to the American public about something as freaking serious as why the former president was not charged with crimes,” Maddow continued. “You cool with the evidence of all of that being released to the public? Because it’s coming out in two weeks unless you want to appeal my ruling.”
The question then becomes, since the former attorney general lied and falsified a paper trail to a decision not to prosecute Trump, will the new Justice Department review that case for another decision.
See Maddow’s explainer below:
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Legal Jeopardy Is Far From Over for Kyle Rittenhouse – Here’s Why
Appearing on MSNBC on Saturday morning, less than 24 hours after a jury in Wisconsin found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty after shooting and killing two Black Lives Matter protesters, a former New York prosecutor suggested that families of the victims could file civil suits with an expectation of success.
Speaking with host Kendis Gibson, Charles Coleman said it would be up to the families if they want to pursue Rittenhouse further.
“Charles, the criminal case is over, but could Rittenhouse still face anything civilly, any civil penalties?” host Gibson asked.
“He could,” the attorney conceded. “I don’t know how likely it is, but it is very possible. I think that the outcome of this criminal case certainly gives the chance of a civil case some degree of difficulty in terms of being able to get a liability verdict in civil court but it’s important that viewers understand that the standard for a civil case is much lower in terms of the standard of proof than it is for a criminal case.”
“A criminal case requires that it is beyond a reasonable doubt,” he elaborated. “Whereas a civil case requires that it is beyond a preponderance of the evidence, which is basically 50.0001% of being able to prove or establish liability. With a lower bar perhaps it may be that plaintiffs decide that they want to try to sue for wrongful death, or some other sort of injury, and make Kyle Rittenhouse responsible — that remains to be seen at this point.”
‘This Is the Rule of Law Striking Back’: Legal Experts Cheer DOJ’s Bannon Indictment
Steve Bannon’s Friday afternoon indictment by a grand jury is being heralded by legal experts. The former Trump advisor faces two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before the Select Committee on the January 6 Attack and for refusing to hand over documents to House investigators.
“Good news for the rule of law, and the institution of Congress,” NYU Law professor Ryan Goodman, a former Defense Dept. Special Counsel tweeted.
This is the first time in nearly four decades anyone has been indicted for criminal contempt of Congress. Bannon faces up to two years in jail should a jury convict him.
“This is the rule of law striking back,” U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) said on MSNBC in response to the news. “Mark Meadows: Call your office.”
Tristan Snell, who successfully prosecuted the State of New York’s case against Trump University, warns Bannon is a flight risk:
Steve Bannon should NOT be allowed bail. He has clients all over the world and is plainly a flight risk.
— Tristan Snell (@TristanSnell) November 12, 2021
“The wheels of justice grind slowly,” the old saying goes.
But the rest of the saying is often forgotten.
“The wheels of justice grind slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.”
Steve Bannon, Mark Meadows, and Trump himself are ultimately going to find out what that means.
— Tristan Snell (@TristanSnell) November 12, 2021
Top national security lawyer Bradley Moss had a three-pronged response to the news.
First, he scolded those who complained Attorney General Merrick Garland and DOJ were not moving fast enough: “What did I say? I said give Garland time. I said stop whining like little children. All of you can get on your knees and apologize now for weeks of incessant juvenile antics.”
Then he also took a swipe at Bannon and other Trump acolytes: “Who else wants to go to jail for Donald Trump?”
And finally, he mocked Bannon’s infamous wardrobe, asking if the Federal Bureau of Prisons will issue “five layered clothing.”
Does @OfficialFBOP issue five layered clothing?
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) November 12, 2021
Vox senior correspondent Ian Millhiser, author of books on the Supreme Court:
My unpopular take is that sometimes it takes prosecutors at the Department of Justice some time to pull together an indictment of someone who should be charged with a crime, and that's okay.
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) November 12, 2021
LA Times Legal Affairs Columnist Harry Litman, a former U.S. Attorney:
We are likely to find out that over the last few weeks, Bannon was given a chance to comply and arrogantly turned it down. Now it's too late.
— Harry Litman (@harrylitman) November 12, 2021
Trump’s Admission About Pence Hanging Should Be the Basis for a ‘Criminal’ Charge: CNN Analyst
Reacting to an audio clip recorded by ABCs Jonathan Karl, where Donald Trump dismissed the chants by some of his followers to “hang Mike Pence” as they stormed the Capitol on Jan 6th, CNN legal analyst Elie Honig said the case could be made for a “criminal” charge against the former president.
Speaking with hosts John Berman and John Avlon, the former federal prosecutor seemed incensed by what he heard.
“I think, in hearing this, there is a whole legal can of worms that has been opened here, maybe on several fronts,” host Berman suggested. “First and foremost, the very first part of what Donald Trump said was that he was being updated on the vice president’s condition. And we had some reporting that Donald Trump was watching the insurrection on TV and [the New York Times’] Maggie Haberman and others are saying he liked what he saw, this is the former president saying he was being updated as to what was going on there. How significant is that?”
“That’s a crucial fact,” Honig immediately replied. “Big picture: first of all, this is a constitutional nightmare. This is a constitutional worst-case scenario. The utter madness of a president, as John [Avlon] just said, who is endorsing, supporting these people who are attacking his vice president.”
“Now, to the specific point, what it goes to is the president’s intent and this is what investigators in Congress need to be thinking about and in the Justice Department,” he continued. “People who are defending the president and said when he stood in front of that rally, when he said ‘be there, January 6th, we’ll be wild. we’ll go down to Congress, and we’re going to fight like hell,’ defenders of the president said, well, what he meant is go down there and picket and carry signs and exercise political speech. However, this shows that they were doing — when they were in there breaking windows and attacking the vice president, they were doing exactly what Donald Trump wanted, and hoped and intended and that issue of intent should be at the heart of any Congressional inquiry, or any prosecutorial inquiry.”
He then added, “It is an absolute reminder of the vital importance of what Congress is doing today, right now, at this hour. This is why it is so important that we, the public, hear testimony from the inner circle. I don’t care how loyal they are to Donald Trump, [Mark] Meadows, [Dan] Scavino, [Steve] Bannon — all the people physically with him on January 6th — they need to come forward and be compelled if necessary and if not willing they need to be prosecuted.”
“It is vital we know what Donald Trump was doing during the attack on January 6th,” he told the CNN host. “That will tell the story. All the spin in the world doesn’t matter; if he was there cheering them on, plus supporting them, like we heard in that tape, that’s a violation of his Constitutional duty and I argue that’s criminal as well.”
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