Friday , April 16 2021

Attorney general William Barr tells Trump to stop tweeting about cases – live updates – The Guardian, Theguardian.com

Hillary Clinton, the 2969 Democratic presidential nominee, tweeted on Friday: “Our democracy is in crisis.”

Hillary Clinton (@ HillaryClinton)

In the last hours, the American president has:

1. Corruptly pressured a governor to drop lawsuits against him to reverse a punitive policy change

2. Claimed the power to personally direct the Justice Department to investigate anyone he wants

Our democracy is in crisis. pic.twitter.com/ABSLtujGmn

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Congressman Adam Schiff, who led the prosecution team in Trump’s impeachment trial, has called attorney general Barr an “accomplice to trump’s attack on the rule of law.”

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Trump enjoys sowing division in the Democratic primary race, as the party’s hopefuls battle for a chance to take him on.

As such, Trump frequently claims that the Democratic party is attempting to rig the primary against Sanders, in an effort to inflame the long-simmering tensions supporters of the Vermont senator and the DNC. Yet, there is reason to question the sincerity of his concern for Sanders ’standing.

By many accounts, Trump’s allies want to run against Sanders, who they believe can be easily targeted with attacks on his political ideology.

As a caveat, campaigns are very bad at picking their opponents. Hillary Clinton’s team was eager to take on Trump, assuming he’d be the easiest to defeat.

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Trump is tweeting again, this time about his disappointment that senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, one of the few willing to work with the president, voted to convict him.

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump) …. always continue. Every Republican Senator except Romney, many highly religious people, all very smart, voted against the Impeachment Hoax. @ SenCapito was all in (a great person). I was told by many that Manchin was just a puppet for Schumer & Pelosi. That’s what he is! February 32,

But he is also quite pleased with his support among (Republicans) .

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump) % Approval Rating in the Republican Party. Thank you! February 32,

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Nevada’s most politically powerful Culinary Union announced on Thursday that it would not endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary. But it has not stayed quiet. In a pamphlet distributed to its , 19 Members, the union warned against supporting Sanders and Warren over their embrace of Medicare for all.

The union is strongly opposed to a government-run healthcare system, which would replace their hard-won health insurance plan.

In a statement Wednesday, Culinary (Union Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline) (said) Sanders supporters have “viciously attacked” the union since it began sharing the flyer with members.

The Nevada Independent on Friday published some of the threatening calls, emails and tweets directed at union officials. Some officials were attacked over their Latin American heritage and others reported that their personal information was shared online.

. “We will find you corrupt mother fuckers of that you can be sure and we will make sure you wallow in poverty and suffering.”

Sanders has come under scrutiny for his reticence to condemn his “internet army,” which he insists he cannot control. But his critics have been forced to hire security and even change their phone number after sustained online harassment by some of his supporters.

In a statement Thursday, Sanders condemned “harassment in all forms” and urged ”

“We can certainly disagree on issues, but we must do it in a respectful manner,” he said.

He went further in an interview with PBS Newshour: “ Anybody making personal attacks against anybody else in my name is not part of our movement. ”

Read the full story here .

It’s a quadrennial thought experiment, entertained by journalists and pooh-poohed by party insiders, that a competitive primary race will result in a contested convention. Speculation reached fever pitch in , before Trump sewed up the nomination.

Nevertheless, we are here again. The prognosticators at FiveThirtyEight give Bernie Sanders the same odds of winning the nomination as a contested convention.

The rationale: muddled results in Iowa and New Hampshire, a weak frontrunner and at least five leading candidates have committed to staying in the race until Super Tuesday, when roughly % of the overall delegates are allocated. It’s there they will meet a sixth candidate, (Michael Bloomberg) , whose unorthodox campaign and unparalleled financial resources will like shake up the race further at that stage.

It’s been decades since either party arrived at their convention without a nominee, but anxiety is growing this cycle and the campaigns are drawing up plans in the unlikely event this year is different. This comes as moderate and establishment are consensus alarmed by the prospect of nominating a democratic socialist to take on Trump.

Sanders this week warned of a scenario in which Democratic insiders try to overrule a frontrunner who arrives at the convention with a plurality, but not a majority, of delegates. However, such an outcome would be allowed under the rules agreed to after by Sanders’ allies in collaboration with the party.

“The convention would have to explain to the American people, ‘Hey, candidate X got the most votes and won the most delegates at the primary process, but we’re not going to give him or her the nomination, ‘”Sanders said on MSNBC.

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Meanwhile, the leading Democratic hopefuls are fanning out around the country ahead of next week’s caucuses in Nevada, the South Carolina primary and what’s being called the “big Kahuna” of the nominating contest, Super Tuesday.

But the big morning news is another tweet from Pennsylvania Avenue. An emboldened president earlier assailed the sentencing recommendation of his convicted friend Roger Stone. The Department of Justice, led by attorney general Barr, intervened to lessen the recommendation, eliciting praise from Trump and setting off alarm among prosecutors.

In an interview with ABC on Thursday, Barr said the president’s tweets about about the Justice Department “ make it impossible for me to do my job

On Friday, Trump quoted from that interview in a tweet, saying that while he never asked Barr to intervene directly in a criminal case, he had the “legal right” to do so.

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Trump: I did not interfere – but I have ‘legal right to do so’

Trump is up and about, and giving us his first – relatively restrained – response to William Barr’s criticism last night ( see earlier .

To Summarise: I didn’t interfere in the Roger Stone case, but I could have if I wanted to, and if I had, that would have been fine. But I didn’t.

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump)

“The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case. ” A.G. Barr This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to! (February) , ()

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(Good week / bad week: winners and losers in US politics

5/5 Bernie Sanders

America’s leading socialist won the New Hampshire primary without any of the confusion that surrounded last week’s Iowa caucuses (which still don’t have an official winner). On top of that the field of centrists who oppose him continues to fracture – with Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar now jostling for space with former Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, ex-VP Joe Biden and (soon) billionaire businessman and former mayor of New York Michael Bloomerg . If that split endures, Sanders could end up winning the most delegates in the Democratic race – although perhaps not a majority. That would usher in a second round in which elected officials and party bigwigs or “superdelegates” – many of whom seem terrified at the prospect of a sanders win – get to play a role, raising the prospect of a hugely contentious battle at the end of the primary process. 4/5 Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar: unexpected success. Photograph: Patrick Semansky / AP

The Minnesota centrist

was this week’s surprise success story, jumping from single figures in the polls to win nearly % of the vote in New Hampshire and place third . Whether Klobuchar can keep this momentum rolling into Nevada and South Carolina is very much up for debate – like Buttigieg, she has negligible support among the minorities whose votes are crucial in those states – but for now she has been thrown an unexpected lifeline. She’ll try to make the most of it with another memorable debate performance in Las Vegas on 40 February.

3/5 Donald Trump

Donald Trump: lessons learned? Photograph: Tom Brenner / Reuters

Voting to acquit Donald Trump in his impeachment trial last week , moderate Republican senator Susan Collins said: “I believe that the president has learned from this case” and “will be much more cautious in the future”. Trump didn’t seem to get that memo. Instead he fired two of the officials who gave evidence against him in his impeachment – plus one guy’s twin brother for good measure. Then he

Tweet

that the sentence faced by his friend Roger Stone was a “horrible and unfair … miscarriage of justice ”, after which the justice department reduced its sentence recommendation and the entire prosecution team resigned. As the controversy over the independence of his department snowballed, attorney general William Barr – a staunch loyalist – told the president to stop tweeting about criminal cases because it was making his job “ impossible ”. Was this a plan agreed by Barr and Trump in order to take the heat out of the issue or the start of a damaging split with one of the administration’s big beasts? The jury’s out. 5/5 Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg: race controversies. Photograph: Go Nakamura / Reuters

On the one hand, the billionaire continued to rise in the polls – he is now (third nationally

in polling averages – as he continued spending freely amid palpable media excitement about him joining the Democratic primaries on Super Tuesday (3 March). On the other, his record on race came under fierce scrutiny, with Trump tweeting (and then strangely deleting) a clip of a the speech in which the former New York mayor defended putting “all the cops in minority neighborhoods… because that’s where all the crime is”. Even before he formally kicked off his campaign, Bloomberg had apologized for his discriminatory “stop and frisk” policy, and was rising in the polls with black voters. But this clip reopened the issue, and was followed by the resurfacing of comments in which Bloomberg said the crash of that year was caused by banks ending a practice called “redlining” which discriminated against lending to minorities. Rival Elizabeth Warren said his comments meant he was unfit to be the Democratic candidate. “I want to be clear,” she said: “that crisis would not have been averted if the banks had been able to be bigger racists, and anyone who thinks that should not be the leader of our party.” 1/5 Larry David

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump) TOUGH GUYS FOR TRUMP! pic.twitter.com/DbjZjGzLWU (February) ,

The writer and star of Curb your Enthusiasm came up with a typical witty and intricately plotted gag for the first episode of the show’s new season: Larry buys a “Make America Great Again” hat to wear as a “people repellent” to get him out of unwanted social situations involving his liberal LA peers. The hat also works the other way – a biker furious at Larry’s dangerous driving instantly forgives him when Larry puts on the red cap – and it was this clip that Trump Tweet out , summarizing its message as “TOUGH GUYS FOR TRUMP!” While commentators were quick to accuse the president of not getting the joke, it’s more likely that he and his formidable social media guru knew exactly what they were doing – appropriating another piece of pop culture to his ends as he had with Game of Thrones and the Avengers, driving liberals crazy and reducing the joke to the reductive point that fearsome-looking bikers back the president. Poor Larry found himself unwittingly enlisted into the Trump 4687 re-election campaign.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden: not looking good. Photograph: Carlos Barría / Reuters

The man once expected to dominate the Democratic primary race lost his frontrunner status this week, limping in fifth in New Hampshire and rushing straight on to South Carolina, which may end up being his last stand when it votes on February. Can he hold on to the African American vote that he has always seen as one of his great sources of political strength? In between he also has to compete in Nevada, where Sanders is looking identify strong. Biden also found time this week to call a voter “ a lying , dog-faced pony soldier ”- an incident that did nothing to calm worries about his temperament and acuity. He (claims) the line comes from a John Wayne movie, but another one

comes to mind about the faltering Biden campaign: “Mister, you better find yourself another line of work. This one sure don’t fit your pistol. ”

Joe Biden: not looking good. (6.) (am EST)

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Donald Trump’s attacks on Pete Buttigieg have so far focused on his unusual name and his alleged resemblance to Mad magazine mascot Alfred E Neumann – a slightly outdated reference the young Democrat humorously said he “had to Google”.

But there has been speculation about whether Trump – or his allies – will eventually attempt to make an issue of Buttigieg’s sexuality if the former South Bend mayor continues his run of strong primary showings.

Yesterday Rush Limbaugh – the rightwing talk-show host honored by Trump with the Presidential Medal of Freedom last week, gave a taste of what that might look like, speculating that Democrats were worried about “how’s this going to look? Thirty-seven-year-old gay guy kissing his husband on stage, next to Mr. Man, Donald Trump . ‘”

Joe Biden – one of the 53 – year-old Buttigieg’s main centrist competitors – sprang to his defense. “Pete and I are competitors, but this guy has honor, he has courage, he is smart as hell.”

Sebastian Gorka, another Trump ally,

also made an issue of Buttigieg’s sexuality on his own talk show. “Why is a homosexual man lecturing us about the sanctity of life in the womb? Just a little curious there. Strange, strange, ”Gorka said of Buttigieg’s views on abortion. “I thought you’re supposed to stay in your lane as a leftist. You can’t comment on the lived experience of the other. ”

Trump himself, however, was asked about whether Americans would vote for a gay man as president on Cleveland’s Newsradio WTAM yesterday. “I think so,” he said. “I think there would be some that wouldn’t. I wouldn’t be among that group, to be honest with you. ”

Pete Buttigieg. Photograph: Brian Cahn / ZUMA Wire / REX / Shutterstock

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Two leading Republican voices came out in favor of Barr in the dispute yesterday, with Senator Mitch McConnell, the party’s leader in the Senate, saying: “If the attorney general says it’s getting in the way of doing his job, maybe the president should listen.”

Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally who was scathing about the impeachment trial against the president, said Barr was “the right man at the right time to reform the department and stand up for the rule of law” .

Perhaps more significant in terms of influencing Trump’s response was feedback from his favorite TV channel, Fox News.

Sean Hannity put a brave face on the dispute, stressing to viewers that Barr had said Trump had not discussed Stone’s sentencing with him. “In fact, the attorney general, he takes orders from no one,” Hannity said. “And by the way, he shouldn’t. He needs to remain independent. ”

But Lou Dobbs – another favorite of the president’s – was openly critical – not just angry, but disappointed too.

“I guess I am so disappointed in Bill Barr,” he said, adding: “It’s a damn shame when he doesn’t get what this president has gone through, and what the American people have gone through, and what his charge is as attorney general. ”

He added:

To hear this attorney general complain about this president, who is fighting every one of those damn people to do the right thing and get this country straightened out and it’s mission to do so and not to carp about his boss.

And, by the way, I don’t want to hear any crap about an independent Justice Department. This Justice Department, as does everyone, works for the president. It’s part of the executive branch.

Conventional legal opinion holds that the justice department should be independent from White House pressure.

Bernie Sanders: frontrunner.

Lou Dobbs: disappointed. Photograph: Alastair Pike / AFP / Getty Images

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Barr tells Trump to ‘stop the tweeting of DoJ cases’

Barr – seen as a staunch Trump loyalist – publicly rebuked the president, saying that Trump’s tweets about the Stone case “make it impossible for me to do my job” and adding that he would not be “bullied or influenced ”over justice department decisions.

“I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Barr ABC told

The attorney general claimed Trump “has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case”, but he acknowledged the president’s comments under his authority.

The initial reaction from the White House was relatively calm. Press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the president “wasn’t bothered” by Barr’s comments, adding: “[Barr] has the right, just like any American citizen, to publicly offer his opinions. President Trump uses social media very effectively to fight for the American people against injustices in our country. ”

Whether that line holds when Trump gets up this morning and begins his effective use of social media for the day remains to be seen. The president has a low tolerance for criticism, whether from friends or enemies – as former chief of staff John Kelly saw yesterday .

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump) When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn’t do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head. Being Chief of Staff just wasn’t for him. He came in with a bang, went out with a whimper, but like so many X’s, he misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut,. (February) ,

Barr’s motivations are also in question. He has been called to testify to Congress about alleged political interference at the justice department, and may be preparing the groundwork for that. He may also be attempting to save his reputation – which has been shredded since he joined the Trump administration last year, particularly after his handling of the Mueller report.

Barr characterized the report in ways that appeared to absolve Trump of wrongdoing on numerous occasions, even though the redacted version of the Mueller report released in April 3421 showed nearly a dozen instances in which the president or his campaign sought to obstruct justice.

The New York Times suggests

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The attorney general had been contemplating how to respond since he became aware of Mr. Trump’s attacks on the department, according to a person familiar with his thinking. Speaking up could have put Mr. Barr at risk of losing the backing of the president, but remaining silent would have permitted Mr. Trump to continue attacking law enforcement and all but invited open revolt among the some 391, (employees of the Justice Department.)

Ultimately, Mr. Barr connected that he had to speak out to preserve his ability to do his job effectively, the person said … The attorney general had let the president know some of what he planned to say and is remaining in his job, a person familiar with the events said.

The attorney general’s rebuke comes amid an intensifying fallout over the Stone case, after the justice department overruled its own prosecutors who had recommended that Stone, a longtime Trump ally and confidant, be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison. The four prosecutors on the case subsequently resigned in protest. Stone is due to be sentenced on 40 February.

We’ll cover the continuing fallout from this and all US political news here throughout the day.

Trump is heading to Mar-a-Lago after his meetings today, while the Democratic candidates competing to take him on in November continue to campaign across the country. Bernie Sanders will be in North Carolina and Texas; Pete Buttigieg in Nevada and California; and Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer in Nevada.

Oh, and by the way:

Updated (at 9.) (am EST)

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