Well, nobody can accuse Bill Barr of not being a wartime consigliere:
In a highly unusual legal maneuver, the Department of Justice moved on Tuesday to replace President Trump’s private lawyers and defend him against a defamation lawsuit brought in a New York state court by the author E. Jean Carroll, who has accused him of raping her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s.
Lawyers for the Justice Department said in court papers that Mr. Trump was acting in his official capacity as president when he denied ever knowing Ms. Carroll and thus could be defended in court by government lawyers — in effect underwritten by taxpayer money.
Citing a law called the Federal Tort Claims Act, the department lawyers asserted the right to take the case from Mr. Trump’s private lawyers and move the matter from state court to federal court. The law gives employees of the federal government immunity from lawsuits, though legal experts said that it has rarely, if ever, been used before to protect a president.
Ms. Carroll’s lawyer said in a statement issued Tuesday evening that the Justice Department’s move to intervene in the case was a “shocking” attempt to bring the resources of the United States government to bear on a private legal matter.
As Leah Litman explains, this is not only a transparent attempt to deny Carroll a remedy, it seems to rely on an argument that misogyny is a core function of Trump’s job:
Oh, and of course the FTCA doesn’t ALLOW you to sue the United States for defamation, so if Trump’s DOJ succeeds in convincing a court to substitute the United States for him as defendant, then that will be the end of the suit — and E. Jean Carroll will have no remedy at all.— Leah Litman (@LeahLitman) September 8, 2020
As Dan observed earlier, Barr is both as establishment as they come and every bit the lawless authoritarian Trump is, in case you were wondering if Trump losing will fundamentally change the Republican Party.
…UPDATE: Carroll’s lawyer responds: