Yesterday was a darkly historic day in American politics and Justice. Here’s what you need to know going into the weekend.
In a major blow to the rule of law, and a confirmation of the corruption of the Trump presidency, already-tainted Attorney General William Barr’s Department of Justice announced yesterday it would abandon the prosecution of admitted felon and disgraced former Trump official Michael Flynn. The decision came just days after the lead prosecutor mysteriously withdrew from the case, a move we now know was made in protest. Flynn plead guilty to lying to FBI agents–a felony–and only recently reaffirmed his guilty plea to a judge, so this may be the first-ever instance where an Attorney General, almost certainly at the behest of the president, has vacated a prosecution that had already guaranteed a felony conviction. Former prosecutors and court observers erupted in outrage on social media and on TV to lament the open and blatant corruption. No other defendant in America would receive such preferential treatment from a prosecutor, and this unjust meddling was purely a function of Flynn’s ties to Trump. This is exactly what happens in banana republics and third-world dictatorships. The chief “law enforcement” officer abuses the law for political gain, not for blind justice. Speaker Pelosi said this:
Attorney General Barr’s politicization of justice knows no bounds. Overruling the Special Counsel is without precedent and without respect for the rule of law.
Former DOJ Inspector General Michael Bromwich tweeted this:
I have been in and around DOJ since 1983. I have never seen a case dropped after someone has pled guilty and the underlying facts demonstrate beyond any shadow of a doubt he is guilty. This is simply a pardon by another name. A black day in DOJ history.
Former chess champion Garry Kasparov tweeted this:
Corrupt regimes don’t fight crime, they legalize it. They don’t chase the crooks, they hire them. They don’t stop lying, they tell you the truth is whatever they say.
And Republican analyst Steve Schmidt tweeted this:
It is a staggering act of corruption. It is an assault on the rule of law. It is dangerous.
Not that it will make any difference, but I called Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand and left a message with each office urging them to call for the resignation or impeachment of William Barr. When the rule of law becomes a tool of political power, our Democracy is skating on very thin and treacherous ice, especially when the person wielding that tool is a vain, vengeful, divisive, sleazy, corrupt, lying scumbag like Trump.
We also learned yesterday that the woman who recently made an allegation of sexual assault against Doctor Anthony Fauci was paid to fabricate the story by Republican operatives. Diana Andrade allegedly accepted a large check from Republicans Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman but became increasingly uncomfortable after Wohl asked her to find a second woman to bribe, so she decided to make a recording of the pair and turn it over to the media. Here’s a article in Raw Story detailing the despicable smear project against Fauci:
Dirty tricks like these have become standard conservative tactics (this isn’t first time Wohl has been linked to a scheme like this) and call into question similarly timed allegations like those made by Tara Reade, and ultimately make it harder for women who are the legitimate victims of sexual assault to be heard and taken seriously.
According to Andrade, Burkman was upset that Fauci had caused millions to become unemployed just to save a few hundred thousand old people from dying: “So what if you lose 400,000 people?” And this sentiment is a perfect encapsulation of the conservative mindset. They are pro greed and anti life–an attitude that flows from the very top. Trump has basically surrendered, abandoning any semblance of a national response to the coronavirus. His new plan is bully states into re-opening while calling every American a “warrior” and letting us fight the virus on our own. There will be mass casualties, but Trump doesn’t care as long as the economy starts to recover before the November election. As I wrote in yesterday’s blog, Trump and GOP governors can reopen every business but it doesn’t guarantee consumers will cooperate. As David Graham wrote in the Atlantic, “What if government reopened the country, and no one came?”
…even if restrictions are loosened, it’s unclear that this would have the positive economic effect that Trump hopes for. It’s not just that people support the restrictions; it’s that they don’t feel comfortable going out. In the Post poll, eight in 10 respondents said they would not feel comfortable dining in at a restaurant, and two-thirds wouldn’t want to shop in a clothing store. Business owners in some places have also warned that operating at full staff but with severely reduced traffic won’t allow them to make enough money to run. Just as you can lead a horse to water but can’t make it drink, you can allow Americans to go to stores, but you can’t make them shop.
Weekly jobless claims added another 3.17 million to the unemployment rolls yesterday, pushing the seven-week total to a staggering 33-million. The latest monthly unemployment number will be out this morning and it’s guaranteed to be historically ugly. Estimates range from 11% to 24% which takes us near Great Depression territory. All on Trump’s incompetent watch.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”
Have a safe and restful weekend.