You’re just making my job harder:
In an exclusive interview, Attorney General Bill Barr told ABC News on Thursday that President Donald Trump “has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case” but should stop tweeting about the Justice Department because his tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job.” . . .In a stunning reversal, the Justice Department overruled a recommendation by its own prosecution team that Stone spend seven to nine years in jail and told a judge that such a punishment – which was in line with sentencing guidelines – “would not be appropriate.”
The about-face raised serious questions about whether Barr had intervened on behalf of the president’s friend. It also raised questions about whether Trump personally pressured the Justice Department, either directly or indirectly.
In the interview with ABC News, Barr fiercely defended his actions and said it had nothing to do with the president. He said he was supportive of Stone’s convictions but thought the sentencing recommendation of seven to nine years was excessive. When news outlets reported the seven to nine year sentencing recommendation last Monday, Barr said he thought it was spin.
You might remember that last fall Notre Dame’s de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, which bills itself as “a leading center for scholarly reflection within the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition,” asked Barr to reflect on ethics and culture in a speech at the school. On the eve of the speech, the law school’s dean issued a pompous little missive about how it was important to give somebody like Barr a platform, because otherwise John Stuart Mill and Voltaire and Louis Brandeis would all start weeping in whatever sphere their spirits currently rotate:
This of course elicited various hosannas from various anti-PC warriors, since apparently it’s a good thing when an elite Catholic educational institution chooses to invite a fascism-enabling authoritarian liar to edify the school’s students on matters of ethics and culture.
A couple of days ago, when all the prosecutors on the Stone case resigned in protest over Barr’s intervention, I sent the following email to Dean Cole:
Dear Dean Cole:
In light of today’s developments, in which William Barr overruled his own DOJ professionals and ordered the Department to submit a lighter sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, are you having any second thoughts about having so recently invited Barr to speak to the Notre Dame Law School community, and in particular to the students under your administrative care?
Thanks in advance for your response.
I sent a similar email to the de Nicola Center’s director.
I haven’t gotten any response from either one.
This is how elite solidarity works. William Barr is a fascism-enabling liar, but he’s also currently Attorney General of the United States, so he must be treated with the respect and deference due his high office. This is also why the Brett Kavanaughs of the world can always find lots of high status liberals to vouch for their brilliant intellects and carpooling skills etc.
The correct moral response to William Barr is to shun him, but shunning him might cost somebody’s kid a job opportunity at the DOJ, so that’s not happening.
What is happening is that this country is sliding rapidly into authoritarianism, in no small part because of the cowardice, indifference, and active participation of so many of its legal and political elites.
. . . and the Morning After: