Attorney General (AG) William Barr auditioned for his job with a 19-page memo and on Fox News. That letter just happened to drop in a line that argued a president should never be charged with obstruction of justice. The man filling Donald Trump’s lackey, disbarred attorney Roy Cohn’s shoes had arrived.
Barr has not diverted from that rare viewpoint. Over and over, he has been getting his boss off of the hook, even traveling the globe to do so. Other attorneys general have recognized that they worked for the people of this great country. Not this man.
It should not have come as any surprise that the Department of Justice (DOJ) took that argument all the way to the Supreme Court to keep POTUS’ financial statements out of the hands of the people. The DOJ argued against the Manhattan District Attorney’s subpoena in its filing submitted Monday, according to the Supreme Court filings:
‘State grand-jury subpoenas for a sitting President’s personal records pose serious risks to the independent functioning of the Office of the President. State prosecutors could use such subpoenas to harass the President in retaliation for the President’s official policies. Such subpoenas could also subject the President to significant burdens, threatening to divert the President’s time and energy from his singularly important public duties.’
The DOJ continued, saying that the Constitution forbids law enforcement from even investigating the president. That argument was so far to the right of legal opinions, it fell off of the cliff of possibility.
Then, the DOJ claimed that Congress should have exceedingly high barriers to cross before they could get Trump’s financial records. Barr’s department referred to congressional committees demanding the president’s personal records:
‘That use of their limited and implied investigatory powers poses a serious risk of harassing the President and distracting him from his constitutional duties.’
The House Oversight and Reform Committees sent out legal subpoenas requesting Trump’s personal financial records from his accounting firm, Mazars USA. Secondly, and the House Intelligence and House Financial Services Committees issued broader subpoenas for personal and business records from the Deutsche Bank and Capital One.
The committees referred to former Special Counselor Robert Muller III investigation into Russia’s cyber-attack on America’s elections and into money laundering specifically. At approximately the same time, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance sent out a subpoena to Mazars for Trump’s tax returns and financial records.
The DOJ attorneys continued arguing against subpoenas that would “permit the committees to reconstruct” his financial records from a financial institution. Those would include “fund transfers, deposits, withdrawals,” among other records:
‘Together, those documents encompass a constellation of transactions that would permit the committees to reconstruct in detail the President’s financial history with those institutions—including fund transfers, deposits, withdrawals, investments, loans, mortgages, and lines of credits.’
The DOJ continued arguing that “money laundering” was just a “far-reaching public problem,” according to the Supreme Court:
‘To be sure, congressional committees ordinarily have considerable latitude about which private transactions and events to examine,” the department’s filing added. “But committees investigating far-reaching public problems, such as money laundering, do not properly exercise that discretion by making the President the primary target of their inquiries.’
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.