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POINT: William Barr’s outburst means little if he does not actually stand up to Trump | COUNTERPOINT: Why AG Bill Barr's Trump 'Rebuke' Is So Hard To Take Seriously? D5FRa
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POINT: William Barr’s outburst means little if he does not actually stand up to Trump | COUNTERPOINT: Why AG Bill Barr's Trump 'Rebuke' Is So Hard To Take Seriously? D5FRa
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    POINT: William Barr’s outburst means little if he does not actually stand up to Trump | COUNTERPOINT: Why AG Bill Barr's Trump 'Rebuke' Is So Hard To Take Seriously?

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    The Last Outlaw
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    PostThe Last Outlaw Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:37 pm

    POINT: William Barr’s outburst means little if he does not actually stand up to Trump | COUNTERPOINT: Why AG Bill Barr's Trump 'Rebuke' Is So Hard To Take Seriously? IUbQr

    Welcome to this all-new edition of POINT -- COUNTERPOINT.  In another first, I am posting an edition of POINT -- COUNTERPOINT that actually agrees with each other! As you know, Attorney General William Barr rebuked the President for tweeting about DOJ decisions, especially recently involving the sentencing of Roger Stone. On Point, Jennifer Rubin submits to The Washington Post that Mr. Barr's Outburst Means Little If He Doesn't Actually Stand Up To Trump. On the Counterpoint, Steven Benen of NBC News begs the question Why is Barr's "Rebuke" of Trump So Hard To Take Seriously?  As always, I have but one question for YOU on this site:  Are you siding with the POINT or the COUNTERPOINT?  Let's get started.

    NOTE: The opinions in these articles are the authors, as published by the source, and do not necessarily represent the views of Bethea's Byte.



    POINT


    From The Washington Post

    Jennifer Rubin to The Washington Post wrote:The Post Reports:

    Attorney General William P. Barr pushed back hard Thursday against President Trump’s attacks on the Justice Department, saying “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody,” a remarkable public rebuke that could jeopardize his tenure as the nation’s top law enforcement official.

    “I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Barr said in an interview with ABC News, adding that such statements “about the department, about people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending here, and about judges before whom we have cases, make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors and the department that we’re doing our work with integrity.”


    It is far from clear what this means, since the Justice Department apparently did knuckle under to President Trump by reducing the sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone and showing no sign it will revert to the original sentencing memo.

    Former prosecutor Mimi Rocah is unimpressed. “[William] Barr is covering. He’s saying that Trump tweeting explicitly is making it hard for him to do his job and clearly, based on his actions, he views his job as giving favorable treatment to someone who Trump wants to protect both because he’s his friend and because he could provide more damaging information about the Trump-Russia connection if he were truthful.” Rocah continues, “At the end of the day, Barr overruled career prosecutors within 24 hours on a sentence that they recommended within the U.S. sentencing guidelines. There was no non-political reason to do that.”

    Ian Bassin, executive director of the nonpartisan group Protect Democracy, observes: “The DOJ doesn’t run around the country asking courts to issue sentences far less than the guidelines. And they certainly don’t do it in cases where not only didn’t the defendant cooperate, but he was obstructive and threatened witnesses.” Nevertheless, Bassin notes that “Barr wants us to believe he did that here and the fact that Stone was the president’s top adviser had nothing to do with it? He must think we’re all stupid.” He concludes, “The truth is in Trump’s world, the hit man doesn’t need to be told explicitly what to do by the Don, but he always understands the order.”

    POINT: William Barr’s outburst means little if he does not actually stand up to Trump | COUNTERPOINT: Why AG Bill Barr's Trump 'Rebuke' Is So Hard To Take Seriously? BB100gWB

    Most likely, Barr did not like the public beating he was getting, the suggestions of impeachment, the howls of protest from within the Justice Department and the scorn of his profession. (The good news is that, unlike his boss, he can be shamed.) However, if he complains but continues to do Trump’s bidding and puts up with Trump’s assault on the rule of law, his protests are just hot air. Former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller observes, “It doesn’t mean anything. He is still pushing for lighter sentences for Stone and [former national security adviser Michael] Flynn than career prosecutors wanted, and still pushing for investigations of the president’s perceived political enemies — James Comey, James Clapper and John Brennan. He just doesn’t want Trump to tweet about it and give the game away to the world.”

    Let’s take stock. The president has now assailed the judge, the juror forewoman and his own prosecutors in the Stone case, praising his flunky attorney general for having swept in to lighten Stone’s sentence recommendation in contravention of the filings of four prosecutors — who, unlike Barr, resigned from the case rather than knuckle under to an unleashed and corrupt president.

    Like a mafia boss in a shakedown operation, Trump also seemed to threaten the state of New York by continuing to deny Global Entry applicants if the state does not stop suing the administration:

    The House impeachment managers (and many of us outside the trial) warned that if Trump could strong-arm an ally for personal favors, he could lean on a state or locality if they did not jump when he barked. That hypothetical has now come to pass.

    Trump is seeking to intimidate, to bully the administration of justice in blatantly abusing his power. He is seeking to strip states of their legal rights. He is vividly acting out his critics’ portrayal of him as a budding autocrat, now unrestrained and ready to stock the government with previously disgraced cronies. And Republicans remain silent.

    It is not as though the Republican-controlled Senate is powerless. On the same day Trump was torching the courts and the Constitution, the Senate voted to restrain Trump’s use of military force except in cases of self-defense against Iran. The Post reports:

    Eight Republicans joined all Democrats in voting 55 to 45 for the measure, despite sharp warnings from Trump that challenging his war powers would “show weakness” and “sends a very bad signal” to Tehran. Trump will almost certainly veto the measure once it passes the House, and neither chamber of Congress has the votes to override that veto, lawmakers say.

    It is extraordinary when eight members of Trump’s own party do not trust him to act within his constitutional limits and in the best interest of the country when it comes to foreign affairs (where the executive branch’s powers are strongest). Imagine if such a bipartisan vote — not enough to remove him, but enough to smack him decisively — had been administered during impeachment. Do we really think he would now be playing the part of Mad King George issuing his imperial decrees? Do we really think he would have felt emboldened to attack a federal court judge and a juror forewoman had a significant group of Republicans stood up to him?

    Perhaps even then he would not have been deterred, but in failing to show any spine, Republicans (save Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah) certainly gave him the green light to do anything he pleases — and what pleases him is to seek revenge.

    During her weekly news conference, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blasted Barr. “AG Barr has deeply damaged the rule of law by withdrawing the DOJ’s sentencing recommendation, the act of interference in Trump’s retribution against [the] lead attorney in the Stone case,” she said. Although she said Barr was a "sad disappointment to our country,” she nevertheless defended not attempting to impeach Barr, arguing that Congress should not "spend all of our time going after every lie the administration henchmen make to the Congress of the United States.”

    Barr’s conduct since impeachment, in facilitating Trump’s reign of revenge, is far more serious than “just” lying to Congress. He threatens — at his boss’s behest — to undermine the rule of law, to spare the guilty and indict the innocent. Impeachment is not an option that should be taken off the table.



    COUNTERPOINT


    From NBC News

    Steve Benen to NBC News wrote:
    POINT: William Barr’s outburst means little if he does not actually stand up to Trump | COUNTERPOINT: Why AG Bill Barr's Trump 'Rebuke' Is So Hard To Take Seriously? BBZXZem

    Throughout Donald Trump's presidency, the rule of law has struggled through some challenging weeks, but the last five days have been especially rough. After federal prosecutors filed a routine sentencing recommendation in the case of Republican operative Roger Stone, the felon's longtime associate, Donald Trump, denounced the filing in a tweet.

    Immediately thereafter, Attorney General Bill Barr's Justice Department intervened in the case, rejected its own prosecutors' sentencing recommendation, and demanded a far more lenient punishment for the president's friend. Four prosecutors resigned in protest, and federal law enforcement confronted a highly unusual crisis in which the line blurred between Trump's political interests and the Justice Department's agenda.

    Even some of the White House's Republican allies found it a difficult dynamic to defend.

    It was against this backdrop that the attorney general himself spoke out yesterday with comments that appeared to be a rebuke of the president, saying Trump's tweets about his department make Barr's job vastly more difficult.

    "Public statements and tweets made about the department, about people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department and about judges before whom we have cases make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the department that we're doing our work with integrity," Barr said.

    Barr went on to claim that he and his team had already decided to intervene in the Stone case before the presidential tweet, which created a political mess when Trump publicly aired his demands.

    "Do you go forward with what you think is the right decision, or do you pull back because of the tweet? And that just sort of illustrates how disruptive these tweets can be," Barr said, adding that Trump's online commentary "undercuts" him.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), after days of silence on the controversy, quickly endorsed the attorney general's comments, apparently hoping -- once again -- that Trump would scale back his misguided social-media habits.

    For some observers, Barr's interview was seen as a landmark rebuke of an out-of-control president. Trump is under the mistaken impression that the Justice Department exists as an extension of his political agenda, the argument goes, and the attorney general sat down with ABC News in order to distance himself from the president's radical antics, establish some independence, and let Trump know it's time to back off.

    Let's call this the credulous interpretation of yesterday's developments.

    On the flipside, there's also the incredulous interpretation, which suggests Barr's apparent rebuke wasn't a sincere effort to restore propriety to the federal justice system, but rather, was the attorney general's way of telling the White House that Trump is making it more difficult for Barr to corrupt the federal justice system.

    Even stripped of all context, taking the attorney general's words at face value is difficult given his strained credibility and unfortunate track record of saying things that tend to fall apart under scrutiny.

    But the closer one looks, the more difficult it is to take the attorney general's apparent concerns seriously. Barr said yesterday that he's finding it difficult to do his "job," which necessarily raises the question of exactly what he considers his job to be. Because if the attorney general believes he has a responsibility to use the levers of power to advance Trump's political interests, the president's tweets are only inconvenient insofar as they help expose possible corruption at Main Justice.

    Barr appears to have intervened in multiple cases in order to help the president and his associates. The more Trump brags about this, the bigger the controversy, and the harder it is for the attorney general to keep helping the president and his associates.

    By this reasoning, Barr wants Trump to stop tweeting about the Justice Department and ongoing criminal proceedings because he prefers less scrutiny of his misuse of federal law enforcement. The attorney general wants his actions to unfold in the shadows, and the tweets make the entire scheme obvious.

    For Barr, Trump's tweets are not themselves the problem. It's the effects of the tweets that are the problem.

    As Asha Rangappa, a lawyer and former FBI special agent, put it yesterday, "It definitely makes it harder to crime for the President when the President keeps making it obvious that you are criming for him."
    Now the opinions are left to you.  Which way do you see this.  Do you side with the Point or Counterpoint.  Vote and drop in your commentary.  I look forward to reading and responding to you.

    POINT: William Barr’s outburst means little if he does not actually stand up to Trump | COUNTERPOINT: Why AG Bill Barr's Trump 'Rebuke' Is So Hard To Take Seriously? I6goy

    _________________
    POINT: William Barr’s outburst means little if he does not actually stand up to Trump | COUNTERPOINT: Why AG Bill Barr's Trump 'Rebuke' Is So Hard To Take Seriously? FBCTRPOINT: William Barr’s outburst means little if he does not actually stand up to Trump | COUNTERPOINT: Why AG Bill Barr's Trump 'Rebuke' Is So Hard To Take Seriously? D5SsG
    POINT: William Barr’s outburst means little if he does not actually stand up to Trump | COUNTERPOINT: Why AG Bill Barr's Trump 'Rebuke' Is So Hard To Take Seriously? Nexads420

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