Is Barr’s DOJ Targeting Sen Burr To Thwart His TrumpRussia Collusion Findings?

Senator Richard Burr(R-NC) and U.S. Attorney General William Barr (right)

On Thursday’s edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show (TRMS), host Maddow advanced a provocative theory as to the real reason Attorney General Barr’s Department of Justice (DOJ) may be going after senate intelligence committee chairman Richard Burr(R-NC) for possible covid-19 insider trading. According to Maddow, DOJ and by extension AG Barr’s pursuit of senator Burr may have very little to do with the serious covid-19 insider trading allegations, and more to do with the fact that senator Burr was getting ready to release the final installment of his committee’s findings on whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.

Host Rachel Maddow said, “As bad as the insider trading allegations are against Senator Burr, we also simultaneously have to worry whether the U.S. justice department under Attorney General William Barr might be targeting Senator Burr for reasons that are less about insider trading and more about convenience to the Trump administration. Sen Burr you will recall, has led the only functional bipartisan congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His committee’s findings have supported the intelligence community’s conclusions that for example, Russia interfered in the 2016 election to support Donald Trump’s candidacy. That is something President Trump continues to deny as recently as an interview that aired this morning. More to the point though, Senator Burr’s committee is set to release it’s final report on the Russia issue in the coming months and that last installment we are expecting is on ‘possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.’ That’s what Burr is working on right now, but he’s had to step down as chair of the committee.”

As Maddow correctly points out, given AG Barr’s demonstrable pattern of acting as president Trump’s personal defense attorney, it is not entirely implausible for one to conclude that the AG’s pursuit of senator Burr is also about defending Trump from a potentially damning senate intelligence committee finding that the Trump campaign did indeed collude with Russia in 2016. Maddow also correctly points out that an investigation into a sitting U.S. senator, especially one who chairs the powerful senate intelligence committee, must have been approved at the very highest levels of DOJ meaning AG Barr’s footprints are all over this.

Bottom line folks, AG Barr has so tarnished DOJ’s reputation that even when it undertakes a valid high profile criminal prosecution like senator Burr’s, the general perception among members of the public is that it must have something to do with helping president Trump politically. The very same thing happened during Jeffrey Epstein’s high profile criminal prosecution. I will say again what I have repeatedly stated before and that is, the only way DOJ can cure its tarnished reputation is for career officials within the DOJ to pressure AG Barr to step aside. Because it is highly unlikely that Trump will ever push aside his trusted defender, the onus is on career DOJ officers to begin demanding that AG Barr step down for the good of the department. Simply put, continued silence by career DOJ officials regarding AG Barr’s conduct at this juncture is tantamount to complicity.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out.

You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

AG Barr, FBI’s Wray Sued Over Terrorist Watchlists

An interesting terrorist watch list lawsuit is currently playing out at the United States District Court for the District of Colorado (USDC-Colorado). The lawsuit, Coker v Barr (1:19-cv-02486, filed 08/30/19), names U.S. Attorney General William Barr, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Charles H. Kable, Director of the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) as defendants. The plaintiff James A. Coker, a military veteran and former law enforcement officer believes, as do many other innocent Americans, that he has been wrongfully placed on a terrorist watch list and is fighting to be accorded a court hearing where he can challenge the basis of his inclusion in the watch list(s). Below is a copy of the very well done complaint filed by the plaintiff’s attorney Patricia S. Bangert.

Terror Watch List Lawsuit by Emolclause on Scribd

According to the complaint, James Coker (plaintiff) who is a military veteran and decorated law enforcement officer(Georgia), began experiencing problems at airports on his air travels in 2016. He raised this issue with the Department of Homeland Security(DHS) using the procedure the department has set up for people who suspect they have been wrongfully placed on the no-fly list. DHS never took him off the no-fly list. In 2018 he applied for, and was offered a job by Veterans Affairs(VA) as a police officer. As a condition of the job, he was required to attend training at a VA police officers training center in Arkansas. Two weeks into his training, armed guards informed him that he was on a terrorist watch list and escorted him out of the training center–a totally humiliating experience. With this lawsuit, Coker seeks to find out among other things, how the hell he ended up on a terrorist watch list.

Coker’s lawsuit is very important in that it yet again reinforces one of the strongest arguments made against the terrorist watch list system and that is, it is very possible for innocent Americans to get caught up in these terrorist watch lists for reasons that have nothing to do with terrorism either through errors but also, quite commonly, through malice. In an unrelated terrorist watch list lawsuit for example, the plaintiff claimed that the FBI placed him in a watch list simply because he refused to be an informant against his fellow Muslim friends, a clear cut case of retaliation. This Just Security piece provides other examples of grave abuses of these terrorist watch lists but more importantly, the disastrous effects of the said abuses on the innocent targets’ lives.

The plaintiff in the instant case James Coker, doesn’t fit the profile of someone many Americans would expect to land on the terrorist watch list–a military veteran with a law enforcement background and zero criminal record. The fact that someone like James Coker can also get ensnared in the terrorist watch list dragnet should be reason enough for members of congress to finally crack down on this grotesquely unjust program.

Think about that folks. With all the hue and cry in the mainstream media about FISA surveillance abuses against Carter Page, it is shocking how since 2003, we have seemingly tolerated this grotesquely unjust terrorist watch list system where on any given day and for whatever reason, someone can arbitrarily decide that you pose a threat to national security, throw your name into some watch list turning your life upside down, without you ever getting a chance to challenge the basis of your inclusion in the said watch list. Anyone who claims to be concerned about surveillance abuses regarding Carter Page but is okay with this abuse-prone terrorist watch list system cannot be taken seriously. Simply put, any serious debate about surveillance reforms has to include these terrorist watch lists.

Why is Coker v Barr very important and potentially the ground zero for much anticipated push back against the surveillance state? The simple answer is timing. It is impossible to ignore the backdrop against which this lawsuit is playing out. A reasonable argument can be made that ever since the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001, it is in 2020 that the anti-surveillance sentiment has finally reached fever pitch, and a lot of this has to do with the FISA surveillance abuses revealed in the Carter Page case. An investigation conducted by the Department of Justice Inspector General into 29 other FISA surveillance applications after the Carter Page revelations, found errors in all the 29 applications. Coker v Barr is therefore playing out at a time when there is tremendous appetite for surveillance reform and I suspect the USDC-Colorado district judge is fully aware of that.

It also bears pointing out that when a key surveillance law recently came up for reauthorization, it was “law and order” Republican Senators who temporarily held up its automatic renewal. Folks, if “law and order” Republican Senators holding up automatic renewal of a crucial surveillance law is not the ultimate signal that time has finally come for some serious surveillance reform, I don’t know what is.

Bottom line, Coker v Barr comes at a time when there is a great national appetite for a serious overhaul of the surveillance regime. There is a very good chance that USDC-Colorado may finally force the government (AG Barr and Co.) to explain how secretly throwing an individual in some list that upends their life and livelihood, without ever according them a chance to challenge such a placement does not on its face, grossly violate the 5th amendment’s due process requirements. Prior to the Carter Page and DOJ-IG findings of surveillance abuses, courts were reluctant to address the glaring due process concerns raised by the terrorist watch list program. I suspect with Coker v Barr, USDC-Colorado will be very eager to get an explanation from AG Barr and Co. as to how the secretive terrorist watch lists satisfy the 5th amendment’s due process requirements. Major kudos to attorney Patricia Bangert for this forceful legal challenge to the surveillance regime.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out.

You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

Laura Ingraham Spills The Beans On AG Barr

A few days after Attorney General William Barr did an interview on ABC News that many in the mainstream media and the general public interpreted as a rare pushback against President Trump for meddling in Roger Stone’s ongoing criminal case, a Trump super surrogate Laura Ingraham of Fox News says the media and the public totally misinterpreted AG Barr’s remarks.

According to FoxNews’ Laura Ingraham, AG Barr did not rebuke Trump at the interview. He was simply reassuring the President, “don’t worry I got this”.

Laura Ingraham specifically said, “The media sees this sexy story of Trump versus Barr but they miss the fact that Barr was basically telling Trump ‘don’t worry, I got this.'”

In other words, according to Laura Ingraham, AG Barr did the interview not because he was troubled by Trump meddling in DOJ affairs, but rather because Trump was doing so publicly–a troubling state of affairs indeed.

It also bears pointing out that FoxNews’ Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity are so close to Trump and his administration that pronouncements by the two can be reasonably interpreted to be the actual positions of the Trump administration. In other words if Laura Ingraham says AG Barr was reassuring Trump that he “got this” regarding Roger Stone, then one can reasonably infer that given Ingraham’s closeness to Trump, this was indeed what AG Barr was doing.

Following Trump’s overt meddling in Roger Stone’s ongoing criminal case, there have been loud calls for AG Barr to resign in an effort to restore the independence of the Department of Justice. Laura Ingraham’s comments, which essentially spilled the beans on AG Barr, ought to be the final nail on the coffin.

There is no question at this juncture that as long as Barr remains the U.S. Attorney General, the public will always perceive the Department of Justice as playing to President Trump’s political whims–going after his perceived enemies and doing favors for his cronies like Roger Stone.

Bottom line folks, the independence of the Justice Department is of paramount importance and must be guarded at all costs. Where, as here, AG Barr has proven that he cannot keep political pressure from Trump away from DOJ affairs, the simple solution is for him to resign.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out.

You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

Barr Must Resign Over Epstein Suicide

The recent alleged suicide by child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, which was arguably the highest profile criminal case in the country, has shaken the U.S. Justice Department to its core–so much so that Yours Truly believes it must be grounds for U.S. Attorney General Barr’s resignation.

By all accounts, including Barr’s, the events leading to Epstein’s alleged suicide represent a colossal failure in protocol at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons which falls under Barr’s docket.

The Epstein debacle comes roughly 4 months after the release of the Mueller report to the public. It is now widely accepted that AG Barr seriously mischaracterized Mueller’s findings in order to cast President Trump in a more positive light. When AG Barr was called to testify before Congress about his glaring mischaracterization of the Mueller Report, he refused to appear–a situation that has now led to a contempt of congress citation. A sitting U.S. Attorney General cited for contempt of congress, essentially lawlessness, puts a big stain on the justice department. Simply put, AG Bsrr’s handling of the Mueller report has seriously sullied the reputation of the justice department, and has even ellicited calls for his impeachment.

Therefore when Epstein’s case came along, another high profile case with huge political connotations, a lot of people including Yours Truly expected the justice department to “make right” or amend their ways after AG Barr’s mischaracterization of the Mueller report. Yours Truly hoped the justice department would go out of its way to dispell this widely held notion that we have a two tier system of justice–one for the rich and powerful and the other for the poor. As it turns out, the justice department has miserably failed this test.

It cannot be left unsaid that Epstein was not just any other criminal defendant caught in the crosshairs of Barr’s justice department. Epstein was tied to the Barr’s father. Barr even initially recused himself from Epstein’s case only to reverse himself days later. Because Epstein’s case involved AG Barr personally, the massive failure in protocol regarding his handling in jail creates an unavoidable appearance of impropriety regarding AG Barr–one that cannot just be excused by failures in protocol at Epstein’s jail facility.

It is also known that Epstein and Trump were acquaintances years ago and Epstein’s criminal prosecution had the potential to expose very damaging information about Trump. Barr is referred to in many circles as “Trump’s Roy Cohn” for the strange way he has used his position as AG to “shield” Trump from any legal implications of the Mueller report. Reasonable people will therefore agree that given Barr’s ties to Epstein plus his reputation for shielding Trump from potential legal troubles, Epstein’s suicide necessitates Barr’s exit from Main Justice.

Bottom line, we can already see the trajectory the Epstein suicide investigation is taking and that is, the possible criminal prosecution of the guards involved. The public should resist efforts to go after the “little guys” and instead insist that there be accountability at the very top of the U.S. Justice Department. That accountability begins with the immediate resignation of Attorney General Barr. Simply put folks, as along as Barr is AG, nobody will believe the findings of the Epstein Suicide investigation, a situation that will only further erode the public’s confidence in the justice system. Trump is not going to fire AG Barr and AG Barr is not going to voluntarily resign. It is therefore incumbent upon career Department of Justice officials to stand up and call for Barr’s exit if the justice department expects the public to continue taking it seriously.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out.

You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

Kamala Harris Says Barr’s Conduct Undermines Justice System

Appearing on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show Dem Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris pointed out a serious consequence of Attorney General Barr’s conduct that receives very little media attention. AG Barr is often criticized for his overt political bias, but as Senator Kamala Harris aptly pointed out, his troubling conduct is having a real devastating effect on the integrity of the overall justice system. The full Maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below.

Sen Harris told Maddow, “Everyday in America there are people walking into courthouses around our country, state courthouses, federal courthouses. And they’re going to walk into those courthouses skeptical of whether justice actually occurs in those places. And that is real, that is a real consequence when we see the kinds of behavior we’ve been seeing under this administration which is that it is undermining people’s confidence in our democracy. And that is not an overstatement.”

Senator Harris later added, “One of our greatest strengths as a nation is that we have a system of democracy that we will fight for, that we will die for, and one of the most significant pillars in that system is our justice system. Now we know it is imperfect and we know it is deeply flawed in many ways. But when the highest official in the land[Barr] presents himself to the world the way we just witnessed, I think it calls into question the integrity of the system overall.”

This was such a profound statement by Senator Kamala Harris especially as it relates to communities of color who as we know are disproportionately targeted by the U.S. criminal justice system. Senator Harris’ forceful argument is that if the head of DOJ(AG Barr) displays such callous disregard for the rule of law (willfully lying to Congress, ignoring Congressional requests for testimony), then his DOJ in the eyes of the public, has lost all moral authority to hunt down other lawbreakers–the thieves, bank robbers, rapists etc.

In essence, Sen Harris’ argument is that AG Barr’s gravest “sin” is not necessarily that he is a partisan political hack, but that his unfortunate actions are seriously detrimental to a key pillar of our democracy–the justice system. Both Democrats and Republicans benefit from a sound justice system meaning Barr is sacrificing a key pillar of our democracy for the benefit of only one person–President Trump.

Bottom line, even though AGs are political appointees, it has always been expected of them to project an image of independence from the executive branch so as to instill confidence among the public that they are not being unduly influenced by external forces when making prosecutorial decisions. With the current state of affairs, no reasonable person can make the argument that AG Barr is not acting under the direction of/in concert with the Trump administration. Trump and Barr echo each other, sometimes even using the same phrases in their public utterances. For this and many other reasons, the only recourse is for AG Barr to resign so that efforts can begin to restore the integrity of the justice system which he has severely shattered.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out.

You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

Paxtons Are A Symbol Of Texas GOP’s Corruption

Texas Attorney-General and his wife State Senator Angela Paxton

A lot has been made about the corruption of the Trump administration and Republicans generally at the national level, and deservedly so. Very little however is said about the entrenched corruption among Republicans at the state level, especially in so-called “Red States” like Texas that have a GOP trifecta–control of the Judiciary, Legislature and Executive Branch.

Hopefully this bombshell piece by Texas Tribune will open the door to more coverage of the entrenched GOP Corruption in the Lone Star State and other “Red States”

The Texas Tribune piece above goes into great detail about how State Senator Angela Paxton’s new bill opens her up to charges of corruption. So in order to avoid redundancy, Yours Truly will do what he does best–cut to the chase and tell grassroots Democrats what is corrupt/swampy about Senator Paxton’s bill.

You will remember that in 2015, Texas Attorney-General was indicted and charged for violating a Texas securities law–essentially giving investment advice that he was not authorized to give. In Texas, as in many other states, one is required to register with the state board before giving investment advice. Giving investment advice without registering with the state board is a third degree felony in Texas (2-10 years jail). There are many reasons for the state board registration requirement, key among them curbing corruption/self dealing. If I am a major shareholder at a large Texas company, and I am advising someone/ a corporation to make a major investment in the same company, the folks at the Texas state board can easily sniff out the self dealing because they will have records of all my financial entanglements. Simply put, it is a very important anti-corruption measure to have investment advisers register with the Texas state board.

Angela Paxton the wife of Texas AG Ken Paxton ran for office in 2018 and was elected Texas State Senator for Senate District 8(SD 8). One of her first actions as a Texas legislator was introducing Senate Bill 860 (SB860) which among other things, seeks to make it legal for someone to give investment advice without registering with the Texas state board–the same thing her husband is currently in trouble for. It’s not hard to see why the naked self-dealing/corruption that is inherent in Sen Paxton’s SB860 has sparked outrage in Texas. Sadly however, this is just a sample of the kind of entrenched corruption that is commonplace in “Red States” like Texas that never get the mainstream media attention they deserve. Hopefully from here on out the Texas Tribune and other major Texas publications will expose instances of public corruption like the one exhibited by the Paxtons. Yours Truly will certainly make #TexasSwamp a major topic of debate especially as we approach the 2020 elections.

Bottom line if Democrats hope to turn Texas blue, they have to make the entrenched GOP Corruption a key campaign issue in 2020 and beyond. Maybe just maybe this may be the key to Democrats capturing the coveted US Senate seat currently held by John Cornyn in 2020.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out. 

[ninja_forms id=1]

You may also reach the author directly via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

TrumpSwamp–NY AG Sues Trump Family Over Trump Foundation Corruption

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has slapped the Trump family with a $2.8 million lawsuit claiming among other things that the Trumps used the Trump Foundation, a non-profit organization, to conduct “unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign” and “repeated and willful self-dealing transactions” in violation of both state and federal law.

Interestingly the NY AG in addition to filing the lawsuit also sent referral letters to the Internal Revenue Service(IRS) and Federal Election Commission(FEC) for “further investigation and legal action”

There is nothing in the NY AG’s lawsuit that is particularly shocking, or a “bombshell” as the mainstream media calls it because by now the public is very aware of the corrupt business dealings of the Trump family. To this day the public is still longing to see the elusive Trump tax returns, mostly because people are convinced there are a lot of corrupt business dealings hidden there.

There is however an interesting detail in the NY AG's lawsuit that caught Yours Truly's attention--a handwritten note by Donald Trump directing Trump Foundation staff to settle a legal dispute involving his Mar-a-lago Hotel--a clear cut violation of the law

Straightforward/clear cut violations of the law like these have traditionally provided the mainstream media with an easy opportunity to question politicians and inform the public. In the age of Trump however, even slam dunk media opportunities like these seem to go by the wayside, with the mainstream media either afraid or unwilling to confront Trump. Democrats however have no choice but to confront Trump not only on this clear cut violation of the law but also on the other troubling issues raised by the NY AG lawsuit.

Bottom line TrumpSwamp/Corruption by Trump Admin and Trump family is an issue Dems must push hard during this midterm 2018 campaign season. As you can see from the lawsuit, the state and federal violations are so numerous and flagrant that they are impossible to justify. As Yours Truly has repeatedly stated, there are a lot of Independents and even Republicans out there who are also fed up with TrumpSwamp/Corruption and are shopping for alternative candidates in Midterm 2018. Dems need to be those alternative candidates

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out