‘Our Institutions Are Sounding Alarms’: Federal Judges Call Emergency Meeting Over Trump Interference With DOJ

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The head of the 1,100-member Federal Judges Association on Monday called an emergency meeting amid concerns over President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr’s use of the power of the Justice Department for political purposes, such as protecting a long-time friend and confidant of the president.

The emergency meeting—announced Monday by Philadelphia-based U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe, the head of the group—was described by legal analysts as an unusual and “extraordinary” step.

“This is mind-blowing. I’ve never heard of anything like it,” tweeted former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman. “We are in full-on crisis mode.”

Ian Bassin, founder and executive director of the advocacy group Protect Democracy, said the decision by the judges’ association to call an emergency meeting shows “our institutions are sounding alarms” over Trump and Barr’s conduct.

Describing the move as unprecedented, the Washington Post reported late Monday that “a search of news articles since the group’s creation [in 1982] revealed nothing like a meeting to deal with the conduct of a president or attorney general.”

Rufe told USA Today that the group “could not wait” until its annual spring conference to discuss Trump and Barr’s behavior, which has included overruling federal prosecutors to reduce Trump confidant Roger Stone’s recommended prison sentence and installing an outside prosecutor to scrutinize the criminal case against Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser.

As Common Dreams reported, Trump last week denied instructing Barr to intervene in the Stone case but insisted he has the “absolute right” to order the Department of Justice to do his bidding.

“There are plenty of issues that we are concerned about,” Rufe said. “We’ll talk all of this through.”

The association’s decision comes after more than 2,000 former Justice Department officials called on Barr to resign over his decision to reduce the recommended prison sentence for Stone, who was convicted last November of witness tampering and lying to Congress.

“A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the president,” the former officials wrote in an open letter released Sunday. “Governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics; they are autocracies.”

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5 Comments on "‘Our Institutions Are Sounding Alarms’: Federal Judges Call Emergency Meeting Over Trump Interference With DOJ"

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William J Stefens
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William J Stefens

That is all well and good. Yet it means nothing unless it brings about AG Barr being removed from the office and position he should never had held in the first place.

Rutokin
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Rutokin

Maybe they can work with the house and impeach the ewok

David Bishop
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David Bishop

It’s all well and good that some people think our fascist government is alarming. The fact remains there is not one thing they can do about it. This democratic experiment failed way back in 2016 and the noise since is much ado about nothing. Until people take to the streets, we need to accept we are a banana republic.

Bruce Sharp
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Bruce Sharp

I agree.

Bruce Sharp
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Bruce Sharp

Trump, Barr, and the Republicans in Congress have proven that we have never lived in a Democracy. Only the illusions of one. Not when one or two men and their cronies can take down an entire government with ease. This so-called invincible bedrock of Democracy is just as fragile as it is in the most fragile democracy in the world. America has been exposed.