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Top Democrats Urge Justice Dept Inspector General To Probe Barr

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Two top Democrats are urging the Justice Department's internal watchdogs to investigate slanderous remarks made by Attorney General William Barr about the intelligence community official who elevated the whistleblower complaint regarding Donald Trump.

Appearing on Fox News on April 9, Barr said Trump had done "the right thing" when he fired former intelligence investigator general Michael Atkinson, suggesting that Atkinson had exceeded his mandate as IG by exploring "anything" and then reporting it back to Congress. But in a letter to two Justice Department officials, the Democratic chairs of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees said Barr had "blatantly mischaracterized" Atkinson's conduct.

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Trump Blames Schiff For Disclosure Of 2020 Russian Meddling

Donald Trump is apparently still mad about the recent congressional briefing from intelligence officials who warned that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help him win — even after he ousted his top intelligence official and replacing him with an inexperienced loyalist.

On Sunday, he launched a baseless attack on House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff.

“Somebody please tell incompetent (thanks for my high poll numbers) & corrupt politician Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff to stop leaking Classified information or, even worse, made up information, to the Fake News Media,” Trump said, despite having no evidence that Schiff (D-CA) leaked anything. “Someday he will be caught, & that will be a very unpleasant experience!”

Earlier this month, the intelligence community’s top election official, Shelby Pierson, told the House Intelligence Committee repeatedly that Russia had “developed a preference” for Donald Trump and wants to see him reelected in November, according to the Washington Post.

After learning of the briefing, Trump fired his acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, and replaced him with Twitter troll Richard Grenell.

Trump reportedly incorrectly believed that only Schiff had been briefed — when it was indeed the bipartisan House Intelligence Committee — and worried that Schiff would “weaponize” this information against him.

Since the start of the House impeachment inquiry in September, Trump has made Schiff a constant target, mocking him with insulting nicknames, claims of corruption, and accusations of “criminal” behavior.”

He even went to so far as to demand the congressman be arrested for treason for paraphrasing Trump’s July 2019 phone call with the Ukrainian president.

Schiff said Thursday that Trump appeared to be “again jeopardizing our efforts to stop foreign meddling. Exactly as we warned he would do.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

#EndorseThis: Sardonic Schiff Scorches Barr, Nunes, And Trump

Aside from his keen investigative sense and patriotic passion, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) evidently possesses a decent sense of humor.

On Jimmy Kimmel Live, the House Intelligence Committee chairman spoke of spending “half my day inside Trump’s head” — and how scary it is in there. He burned Attorney General Barr as the president’s “hand-picked hack,” and dismissed the new acting director of national intelligence, Ric Grenell, as “a lackey of the president.”

Schiff has a few choice words for Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), his Intelligence Committee colleague, too – whom Schiff describes poignantly as someone who used to be normal and went nuts by flying too close to Trump.

Calm but cutting, Schiff knows why this president is so dangerous, and he wants every American to get it.

Kimmel deserves credit for hosting him. Just click.

Just The Facts, Madam Speaker

President Donald Trump didn’t wait long to humiliate the Republican senators who voted to acquit him with wan assurances that impeachment might check his worst impulses. Far from learning that he should not have extorted the Ukrainian authorities to interfere in our politics — as Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, says she hoped he would — the president instead found out that he can abuse power without fear.

That is why Democrats in Congress must continue peeling away the layers of concealment to expose the truth about Trump, not only in the Ukraine affair but in all of the scandals under investigation by House committees. That is their constitutional responsibility, made all the more urgent by the abdication of the Senate Republicans who covered up Trump’s offenses. Having sworn an oath to act impartially, Republicans colluded in his stonewalling defense.

Some Democrats may prefer not to continue the investigation of Ukraine, fearing that they will be tarred as sore losers or some such juvenile nonsense. But if they believe what they told the nation about Trump’s misconduct — that he endangered national security and attempted to fix the 2020 election — the Senate’s tainted verdict cannot stand as the final word.

Although some Republicans have now conceded that Trump actually did what the articles of impeachment charged, much more remains to be discovered about the Ukraine plot. And many Democrats agree, as Republicans complained, that the case against Trump ought to have included firsthand witness testimony.

With the impeachment trial concluded, there are no longer any time constraints to keep Democrats from going to court to compel testimony and production of documents. They should subpoena former national security adviser John Bolton, who has tantalized the nation with a strange striptease, sometimes promising and sometimes withholding his potential testimony. News accounts indicate that his forthcoming memoir, The Room Where It Happened, includes fresh information about the origins of the plot.

Bolton is a prime target for congressional investigators not only because of the information he can provide but because Trump is still trying to intimidate him. In recent days, the White House has leaked threats that the president intends to prosecute his former adviser and prevent the publication of Bolton’s book. If Trump and his minions silence Bolton with such authoritarian tactics, then the country will be on a very dark path indeed.

But there is more to this than John Bolton. When Americans expressed an overwhelming demand to hear from witnesses at trial, that meant they wanted to know the entire story and the roles played by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence, White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and all the other clownish figures who are already implicated.

We need the fullest possible accounting of their actions, from Mulvaney’s complicity in withholding military aid to Giuliani’s scheming against a U.S. ambassador. Lev Parnas, Giuliani’s indicted associate and accomplice in the plot against former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, has turned over thousands of pages of documents and vowed to testify if called. There are a lot of questions Parnas should answer in public, under oath.

So far, both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who ran the impeachment prosecution with skill and eloquence, appear equivocal about continuing the investigation. But the duty to complete the investigation is unavoidable — and walking away from that duty now would be a political mistake as well as a dereliction.

The Republicans aren’t letting go of impeachment, Trump or his stooges in the Senate. While the president menaces Bolton like a mob boss going after a snitch, Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., are threatening to expose the National Security Council whistleblower who first reported the conspiracy. In fact, Graham and others have said they plan a full investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee on the origins of the impeachment probe. Among their key targets, of course, is Schiff — recently the subject of death threats by a heavily armed maniac who became agitated while watching Fox News.

Like a tough cop, Pelosi knows there is only one effective response to the lying and bullying of the Trump Republicans: Just the facts, ma’am.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.