The former US Attorney for Washington, D.C. has resigned her position after Attorney General Bill Barr interfered in the sentencing she oversaw for the last Special Counsel investigation prosecutions of Trump confidants.
Jessie Liu walked away in an apparent protest after the President publicly bragged that his Attorney General had interfered directly in the politically sensitive prosecution she oversaw by asking for a gentler sentence for campaign advisor Roger Stone.
She led the D.C. US Attorney’s office—the largest federal prosecutors office in America—from her appointment by Trump in early 2017 until the Attorney General personally asked her to step aside for an acting official so she could start her promotion to Undersecretary of the Treasury Department, according to NBC News:
A source told NBC News earlier this week that after Liu was nominated, she told the lawyers in her office that she would stay put until she was confirmed.
However, Attorney General William Barr asked her to leave around Feb. 1 to ensure continuity in the office, and she agreed.
On the very day Jessica Liu left her job as US Attorney, her office suddenly pulled a major about-face on the sentencing memo for disgraced Gen. Michael Flynn to the judge. The prosecutors, who had convicted the disgraced ex-Trump NSA in the first place, revised their request downward to probation after previously having asked for 6-months jail time for blowing his cooperation agreement.
On the heels of that debacle came the resignations of four DC assistant US Attorneys, who all quit the Roger Stone case in protest after their sentencing recommendation of 7-9 years for the convicted felon.
The fact that Barr’s intervention began shortly after Liu’s departure, which has suddenly halted her career in government service, shows that he isn’t afraid to play games with people’s careers in order to turn the Justice Department into a place with only political results and not the enforcement of laws.
Bill Barr has been taking control of politically charged cases from career officials for some time now, including taking retribution against the line prosecutor who found that former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe did nothing illegal and wouldn’t press a case. A former high-ranking prosecutor told NBC:
“This signals to me that there has been a political infestation,” NBC News legal analyst Chuck Rosenberg, a former U.S. attorney in Virginia, said on MSNBC. “And that is the single most dangerous thing that you can do to the Department of Justice.”
Trump’s lawless Attorney General isn’t just offending the norms of impartiality in legal matters or in matters where a Congressional prerogative—the right to the truth in sworn testimony—is at play.
Now, he’s ignoring actual court orders to the point where a deeply conservative federal judge in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals literally called him out in a ruling for blatant insubordination entire the judicial branch of government.
America was already facing a crisis in confidence in the rule of law in the wake of the complicit Republican-controlled Senate acquitting an obviously guilty President during the very public spectacle of his impeachment and subsequent trial.
But having an Attorney General who boldly directs political motives into legal prosecutions to foul the impartial workings of the law threatens to tear the very foundations of our entire system of law and government apart and to replace it with something resembling a crude autocracy.
What do you think?
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.