It’s been no mystery that President Trump’s Attorney General nominee, William Barr, was chosen because of his opposition to the special counsel investigation combined with a robust hostility toward human and civil rights. Now, just before his committee vote, we learn he’s even discussed the investigation directly with Vice President Pence, who of course has his own important stake in the investigation.
This morning, the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee delayed Barr’s confirmation vote until next week.
- Democrats have plenty of reasons to oppose Barr. He has been an opponent of the Mueller investigation (which he would be overseeing as AG).
- During his Judiciary Committee hearing, Barr refused to agree to make Mueller’s final report public: “Under the current regulations, the special counsel report is confidential. The report that goes public would be a report by the Attorney General.” AKA written by Barr himself.
- Barr would not commit to recusal from overseeing the investigation if it is the recommendation of ethics officials.
- Barr also has a disturbing record on criminal justice, mass incarceration policies, and several other human and civil rights issues.
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker suggested yesterday that the Mueller investigation is near completion. He also ignored ethics advice and refused to recuse himself from overseeing the probe.
Yesterday, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the Senate which would require any Special Counsel to complete a report detailing their findings and evidence—and to disclose that report directly to the American public and Congress. It will be interesting to hear what excuse Mitch McConnell comes up with for why he and the rest of Congress should not be allowed to see it.
THE CULTURE OF CORRUPTION STRIKES BACK.
Corruption and discord have thrived during the Trump presidency. The U.S. no longer rates as one of the top 20 “cleanest” countries in the world in regards to corruption, according to the watchdog group Transparency International.
That’s why House Democrats introduced H.R. 1—a sweeping package of anti-corruption reforms—right out of the gate.
H.R. 1 (also known as the For The People Act) will tackle the GOP culture of corruption, crack down on money in politics, overhaul campaign finance, expand voting rights, and hold this administration and its cronies accountable. Republicans are, in a word, scared.
A memo released via the always-reputable Breitbart News gives a snapshot of who is leading the GOP effort to defeat H.R.1.:
- Roy Moore. Remember Moore? He was removed from his seat as Alabama Chief Justice over ethics violations, ran for Senate in Alabama and is a known bigot. He also allegedly sexually assaulted a teenager.
- Tom DeLay. Former GOP Majority Leader Tom DeLay was an early 2000s leader of the GOP’s culture of corruption, until he was forced to resign in disgrace amidst a series of legal and ethics scandals.
- Grover Norquist. The founder of Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist’s political life has been about opposing all tax increases.
Together with a battalion of lobbyists, this may be the greatest army of the corrupt that’s been assembled. Their goal? Defend the culture of corruption at all costs.