Attorney General William Barr, Donald Trump’s de facto personal lawyer, is using his status at the head of the Department of Justice and the nation’s law enforcement community to trash the rule of law, and particularly due process for certain kinds of alleged and convicted criminals. You can guess which ones.
Barr spoke to the National Conference of the Fraternal Order of Police in New Orleans on Monday, telling the cops that district attorneys—prosecutors—in cities such as Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago are “demoralizing to us in law enforcement and dangerous to public safety.” That’s because the DAs in these and other cities are committed to criminal justice reform and efforts to reduce the prison population. Barr told the cops that these “district attorneys that style themselves as ‘social justice reformers'” are “anti-law-enforcement DAs” who “spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook, and refusing to enforce the laws.”
Reducing sentences and not prosecuting low-level, nonviolent crimes, Barr said, is “pathetically lenient,” and the cities that these prosecutors are serving “are heading back to the days of revolving door justice, and the results are going to be predictable: more crime and more victims.” Which is historically and factually incorrect. Multiple studies have demonstrated that not imposing bail on nonviolent offenders and letting them out didn’t increase crime or the failure of these people to appear in court. Nor did locking every offender up throughout the previous two decades do anything to reduce crime.
Lest you have any questions about who Barr wants to see locked up, he zeroed in on the “anti-police narrative” that’s the result of high-profile cases of cops shooting unarmed men of color. That narrative is “fanning disrespect for the law. […] In recent years we have witnessed increasing toleration of the notion that it is somehow okay to resist the police. This is completely unacceptable.” Barr promised he’d be pushing for potentially unconstitutional legislation to impose the death penalty quickly on people who kill cops or commit mass shootings. “Punishment must be swift,” he said, following up on Trump’s statement last week that he was “directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation to ensure that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty and that this capital punishment be delivered quickly and decisively without years of needless delay.”
“Years of needless delay” is also known as due process. Apparently Barr agrees with Trump that that’s not necessary under the rule of law. That should make the head of the Department of Justice impeachable, even without all of his shenanigans trying to hold back and mischaracterize special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s report.