Been thinking about the recent, very weird goings-on at the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, in which office Jessie Liu had been the US Attorney; until she was “promised” a really plum position as The Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the Treasury Department and from all appearances she was supposed to step down from her job as the US Attorney while vetting and nominating processes were ongoing. But only two days before her Senate confirmation hearing was set to be held, February 11th, 2020, Trump, ahem, withdrew her name. Which meant she had lost her US Attorney position a month or so earlier; and as a consequence, William Barr was able to slip Tim Shea, a Barr acolyte and Trump loyalist, into her former job. This game of musical chairs ended when Liu resigned from the Federal Government on 2/12/20, which in Trumpian time feels like years ago now.  Oh, and Shea has already left this job too (May 2020); he is now Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency–nice reward for a few months’ work. 

Coincidentally, but we weren’t supposed to “see” this, the Roger Stone prosecutors, all four of them, all with the DC office, stepped down and away from the case, the same day as the Liu confirmation hearing had been scheduled, but cancelled. Which means Shea was a very fast worker—he’d only had Liu’s job for about a month when the four prosecutors, having been pressured by him, said enough already and walked. And now, today, July 4th, 2020, Roger Stone has only 10 more days of freedom before he reports to federal prison to begin serving his sentence. So much for all the tinkering with the DC Office getting Trump what he wanted. But wait, there’s more: Shea also was the guy who pressured prosecutors to dismiss all charges against Michael Flynn. And as we know, this one isn’t going according to Barr’s plan either–crusty judges like Emmet Sullivan have a way of throwing judicial monkey wrenches into the machinery. 

And then, late June 2020, another US Attorney, this time Geoffrey Berman, head of the hugely powerful Southern District of New York (SDNY), was fired after openly taking on William Barr, but not before Berman extracted the guarantee that Audrey Strauss, his deputy, would get his job and the office’s cases would continue forward without missing a beat. Which means yet again all this open warfare netted William Barr nothing. Because just two days ago, Thursday, July 2nd, Ms. Strauss issued a warrant for Ghislaine Maxwell’s arrest, oh she of Jeffrey Epstein notoriety, and accused of being among other things, his procurer of underage girls. And what she knows? Has to be very dangerous to a lot of powerful men, and possibly among them, Donald Trump. Aha. Stick a pin in this.

It’s not over yet: the musical chairs game continues on–this time it is the turn of the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) and its head, Richard Donoghue who, according to the Friday, July 3 news, is headed to a plum job in DC at the Department of Justice. Nice promotion for him. However, only a few shovels’ full of BS and you get this: Donoghue was only the acting US Attorney at EDNY, where he’d been tasked with the oversight of all things Ukraine. Bears repeating, all things Ukraine. From several different District offices. And now Donoghue is being rewarded for his oversight work? Maybe? Who knows as of today, only one day since the announcement of his big new job, but this one smells like three-day-old fish already. Some very big and smelly fish too: Rudy Giuliani and his multifarious dealings with Ukraine; Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman and what they know about Ukraine and many “things” Trump; Hunter Biden “stuff” perhaps? Even Joe Biden, perhaps? Again, redundancy is called for: stick a very big pin in this one.

Right now it’s a Saturday and a national holiday so there are no further rumblings at the DOJ but one doesn’t have to be prescient to conclude that these three attempts to change the arc of injustice to bend in Trump’s way aren’t going to be the only ones. This is the weirdest game of musical chairs and it likely isn’t over—let’s see which US Attorneys and which offices are next shall we? Any more of this and it will look like Barr is herding cats:

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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