A group of over 1,100 former federal prosecutors and DOJ officials published an open letter yesterday calling for AG William Barr to resign. The scathing letter was clear and to the point:
Although there are times when political leadership appropriately weighs in on individual prosecutions, it is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case. It is even more outrageous for the Attorney General to intervene as he did here — after the President publicly condemned the sentencing recommendation that line prosecutors had already filed in court. Such behavior is a grave threat to the fair administration of justice. In this nation, we are all equal before the law. A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the President. Governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics; they are autocracies.
Barr is scheduled to testify before Congress in March and, assuming nothing happens to his job status before then, he’s likely to face harsh questions from Democrats on a range of topics relevant to Trump’s abuse of power and Barr’s misuse of his office. It was rumored over the weekend that Trump was truly angry at Barr for chastising Trump’s use of Twitter, but this could have been yet another tactic to distract from the underlying fact that Trump and the DOJ are working together to re-frame the prosecutions that emerged from the Mueller probe, like Stone and Flynn. Barr can spew lies all over cable news, but his biased actions speak louder than words.
Say what you will about Mike Bloomberg’s fitness to be the Democratic nominee, but I admire his all-out offensive against Donald Trump. Our government is being gutted and co-opted by an authoritarian kleptocrat and his white-nationalist minions in a process disarmingly similar to the rise of the Third Reich. This isn’t hyperbolic melodrama, it’s a cold hard fact. Trump’s use of The Big Lie, his demonizing of political opposition and the press, his demonizing and otherizing of immigrants and people of color, his improper and unAmerican meddling in the missions of the Departments of State and Justice, and his admiration for dictators–including our most determined adversaries–are just a few of the many similarities.
If Trump isn’t beaten decisively in November, it’s easy to imagine the disintegration and death of our Democracy as we know it. We can never stoop to violence, and we shouldn’t stoop to anything unethical or underhanded, but we can still play hardball. We can dispense with tact and measured argument, which haven’t worked for us in the recent past. When liberals appeal the the mind and conservatives appeal to the heart, liberals usually lose. And that’s what happened in the Impeachment trial. The facts came from the Democrats but the fury came from the Republicans–and the fury was enough to fuel the Fox lie machine that kept a third of our nation in the dark about what Trump really did. How many of us yearn for more people in the liberal political sphere like Russ Feingold and Al Fraken and Barbara Boxer to take Trump and his enablers to task in a fiery and emotional way? Few have successfully embraced that role recently until Mike Bloomberg. We’ve seen moments of it from all of the candidates, but they still adhere to a decorum that Bloomberg has never valued, which is why he can go toe-to-toe with Trump on Twitter and Facebook and best him. My favorite from the weekend was a Bloomberg meme with the silhouettes of a tall fat Trump back to back with a short slim Bloomberg that read: “Less Height, Less Weight, Less Bullshit, More Mike”. I was considering including it here but I didn’t want anyone to mistakenly think I was pushing a candidate.
I don’t like that any wealthy American can have such an outsized influence on our election, but conservatives have had this over liberals for decades and the playing field has become so uneven, it’s almost impossible to beat them. While liberal billionaires spent their money curing disease, promoting literacy, and helping the environment, conservative billionaires spent their money buying propaganda conglomerates. These outlets have already spent billions, along with billions more from giant industries (oil, finance, insurance, agriculture, defense, pharma, guns, etc.), to warp our politics and plant the seeds of fear and division in the minds of their audience. And they’ve spent billions on projects to buy state legislatures, write laws, enact voter suppression, deepen gerrymandering, foster conspiracy theories, and prop up hundreds of bogus institutes and think-tanks and societies that spread lies and disinformation. None of this can be attacked or reversed until Trump is voted out of office, and I’m glad on a daily basis that someone has stepped into the fray with far greater wealth than Trump and Murdoch combined–someone with smarter and more savvy media minds who know how to hit Trump where it hurts. Someone on our side has finally brought a gun to the gun fight. I still think it’s highly unlikely that Bloomberg can win the nomination, though anything is possible. But I’m confident he will continue to bash Trump and put his considerable resources to work to help whoever the Democratic nominee turns out to be. That’s a very valuable counterbalance to Fox and Limbaugh and Savage and Beck and Breitbart and Sinclair and Daily Stormer.
I certainly have my favorites for the Democratic nomination, and of course I have my not-so-favorites. But any one of them would be astronomically better than corrupt Trump and I will vote for him or her. At this point, with our institutions in ruins and the rule of law in the hands of traitorous scoundrels, I don’t give a rat’s ass who the nominee is as long as he or she can win. To argue incessantly about Medicare For All versus Medicare For Those Who Want It is a monumental waste of time and energy, as is arguing about most of the policy nuances between the candidates. Those laws will be determined by Congress, not the President. Candidates should be attacking Trump and we should be deciding which candidate is the most effective at attacking Trump. They should be making a case for who can energize and motivate the largest coalition of voters to get to the polls to beat Trump. The rest is just noise and filler.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”