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Secret Garland Memo Cites Bill Barr Order to Flag AG if Investigating a Presidential Candidate

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MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow obtained a Feb. 2020 memo authored by then-Attorney General Bill Barr saying that anyone at the Justice Department who is investigating a political candidate has to run it by the Attorney General. That memo, she explained, was renewed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in May 2022.

“The Department of Justice has a strong interest in the prosecution of election-related crimes, such as those involving federal and state campaign finance laws, federal patronage laws, and corruption of the election process. As Department employees, however, we must be particularly sensitive to safeguarding the Department’s reputation for fairness, neutrality, and non-partisanship,” the memo says.

“Simply put,” it continues, “partisan politics must play no role in the decisions of federal investigators or prosecutors regarding any investigations or criminal charges. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of public statements (attributed or not), investigative steps, criminal charges, or any other actions in any matter or case for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party. Such a purpose, or the appearance of such a purpose, is inconsistent with the Department’s mission and with the Principles of Federal Prosecution.”

The new guidance from Barr said that any investigation for a declared candidate for president has to be run by the attorney general personally.

However, the 2022 midterms aren’t elections for presidents, and former President Donald Trump hasn’t declared he’s running in 2024 yet. Even if he had announced or if he announces ahead of 2022, the memo essentially says that any investigator looking into Trump has to run it by Garland. The theory is that if someone at the Justice Department was investigating a former president it likely would include the attorney general. It would have prevented FBI Director James Comey from announcing an investigation into Hillary Clinton in 2016, however.

Former Justice Department official Andrew Weissmann said that under a normal and reputable attorney general something like this would make sense.

“On the other hand, the Bill Barr Justice Department was anything but a Justice Department. The rule of law was so flouted that the idea of re-upping something that he put in place is one that I’m not sure if I were at the department I would look at with anything other than saying, ‘I am not bringing a case against anyone at the White House until such time as I personally approve it’ no matter how much evidence seems to be accumulated in the Jan. 6th committee hearings. So, you know, I think it’s a plus/minus. You know, it probably could have been phrased a lot better and clearer to people at the Justice Department.”

None of the people involved in Jan. 6 are at the White House anymore, however.

Weissmann went on to quote the recent Wall Street Journal report that the Justice Department was getting more funding to address the Jan. 6 cases.

“Is it expanded to include all of the evidence of criminality that was laid out by the Jan. 6th committee? In other words, not just who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6th and not just fake electors, but what was going on at the Department of Justice in terms of beheading Jeffrey Rosenstein to get a lackey? What is going on in other states? The pressuring of the vice president of the United States?” he asked. “All of that seems to me to be appropriate for a criminal investigation.”

Last week, Weissmann penned an op-ed saying that he was concerned by the reports that Justice Department officials were shocked by Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony. It led him to believe that their “shock” meant they didn’t know about her comments to the Jan. 6 committee. That would thus mean that the DOJ isn’t doing investigations into the White House role in Jan. 6, or if they are they hadn’t brought in someone as key as Hutchinson.

Maddow’s opener and Andrew Weissmann’s commentary are below:

 

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Matt Gaetz demands hurricane aid for Florida after voting against it

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Last week, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)  voted against a government funding measure that contained $18.8 billion in federal disaster aid for natural disasters, including Hurricane Ian, which just ravaged his home state. Gaetz was one of 15 Florida lawmakers who voted against it.

On Sunday, Gaetz went to Twitter to ask for government assistance for “my fellow Florida Man in grave need of assistance.” His tweet said, “Just send us like half of what you sent Ukraine,” a reference to the money that the U.S. has donated to help Ukraine fight off Russia’s ongoing invasion.

Various Twitter users called him a hypocrite for his tweet, but his key audience is likely people who don’t know about his vote or those who oppose the United States’ involvement in a foreign conflict, even if checking Russia’s aggression helps aid U.S. interests in Europe.

The continuing resolution that Gaetz voted against made money available from Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund for states dealing with costly natural disasters. It also contained $12 billion to aid Ukraine. Both of Florida’s Republican senators, Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, also didn’t vote in favor of the resolution.

On his podcast last Friday, Gaetz said Democrats had rammed the resolution without going through the committee process, effectively cutting out Republicans from being able to add or remove funding from it.

The hurricane killed about 68 Floridians, caused at least $55 billion in damages, and has left 600,000 homes in Florida without power.

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Florida’s Rubio Challenged Over His Past Opposition to Disaster Relief — and Gets Fact-Checked

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With Florida reeling from the massive amount of damage — estimated in the billions — inflicted by Hurricane Ian, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) was asked by CNN host Dana Bash how to reconcile his request for financial help from the federal government given his opposition to similar requests from other states following a natural disaster.

In a rare appearance on CNN, Rubio tried to explain away his complaints about other funding bills by stating he felt they were larded with pork-barrel projects that he didn’t feel were justified.

“Senator, you wrote a letter Friday to the Senate Appropriations Committee asking for disaster relief dollars for desperately needed resources to rebuild Florida communities,” host Bash began. “After Hurricane Sandy hit northeastern states in 2012, you voted no on the $50 billion relief package.”

“I know you supported a smaller version,” she continued. “But why should other senators vote for relief for your state when you didn’t vote for a package to help theirs?”

RELATED: Florida GOP senator cornered on CNN over delayed evacuation order before Hurricane Ian hit

“Oh, I’ve always voted for hurricane and disaster relief,” the Florida Republican protested. “I’ve even voted for it without pay-fors. What I didn’t vote for in Sandy is because they included a roof for a museum in Washington, d.c., for fisheries in Alaska. It had been loaded up with things that had nothing to do with disaster relief.”

“I would never put out there we should use a disaster relief package for Florida as a way to pay for all kinds of other things people want around the country,” he continued. “So I think that’s that’s the key at moments like this. In Sandy, unfortunately, they loaded it up, they really did, with a bunch of things that had nothing to do with Sandy. I voted for every disaster relief package especially that’s clean and I’ll continue to do so. When it comes to Florida, we’ll do that again and make sure the package is clean and doesn’t have stuff for other people in there.”

“I read the congressional research report and the roof was damaged.” Bash corrected him. “In any event, my question is about the future. Are you telling me that if Hurricane Ian relief contains anything that smells like pork, you’ll vote no?”

“Sure. I’ll fight against it having pork in it– that’s the key,” he responded.

Watch below or at the link:

 

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Republicans suggest defunding Veteran Affairs even though it helps 9 million vets

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Republican legislators are starting to suggest defunding the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), the office founded in 1989 to assist with veteran needs. The VA assists with getting veterans mental and physical healthcare, educational opportunities, community support, and other everyday housing and living needs.

An Arizona legislator, captured on video participating in a mock congressional hearing, said he supported shutting down the department.

“That’s sort of what I’m thinking because … I hear no good stories. I had zero in my district,” the legislator said in a video posted by the far-right watchdog group Patriot Takes. “So I guess it’s a matter of us leading the fight to defund it.”

A second video, posted by the same account, showed Republican Florida Representative Matt Gaetz advocating for defunding the VA while speaking at an event held by FreedomWorks, a conservative and libertarian advocacy group.

“This is my question to the group. Is it savable? Why not abolish the VA, take all of the money that we are otherwise spending and go to an any willing provider system inside of our communities?” Gaetz says in the video. “And then, if people get bad care, they can vote with their feet and you don’t have a two-tier system of healthcare in this country with our veterans and then with everyone else.”

Generally speaking, Republican policies favor the privatization of all government functions, thinking that a “small government,” “free-market,” “for-profit” privatization provided by a corporation can solve any market ill.

In reality, if entire communities are deprived of VA access, U.S. military veterans will be left largely on their own to get their life needs met after military service. Those who lack money or transportation won’t be able to “vote with their feet” and find a local care provider to handle their specific issues… they’ll either have to spend massive amounts to get such essential care or just go without.

In late July, 41 Senate Republicans voted against a bill aimed at protecting veterans exposed to toxic materials during their military service. The legislation would have expanded care to 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxic burn pits. It would have also added 23 toxic and burn pit exposure-related illnesses to the VA database, Newsweek reported.

After massive blowback, Senate Republicans re-voted on the bill and helped it pass.

Patriot Takes posted the video hoping that it would encourage veterans and military members to vote in the upcoming mid-term elections.

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