AG William Barr Constitution Day Speech – Transcript…

Last night U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr delivered a speech in celebration of constitution day to an audience at Hillsdale College. Here’s the transcript:

[VIA DOJ] –  I am pleased to be at this Hillsdale College celebration of Constitution Day.  Sadly, many colleges these days don’t even teach the Constitution, much less celebrate it.  But at Hillsdale, you recognize that the principles of the Founding are as relevant today as ever—and vital to the success of our free society.  I appreciate your observance of this important day and all you do for civic education in the United States.

When many people think about the virtues of our Constitution, they first mention the Bill of Rights.  That makes sense.  The great guarantees of the Bill of Rights—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms, just to name the first few—are critical safeguards of liberty.  But as President Reagan used to remind people, the Soviet Union had a constitution too, and it even included some lofty-sounding rights.  Ultimately, however, those promises were just empty words, because there was no rule of law to enforce them.

The rule of law is the lynchpin of American freedom.  And the critical guarantee of the rule of law comes from the Constitution’s structure of separated powers.  The Framers recognized that by dividing the legislative, executive, and judicial powers— each significant, but each limited—they would minimize the risk of any form of tyranny.  That is the real genius of the Constitution, and it is ultimately more important to securing liberty than the Bill of Rights.  After all, the Bill of Rights is a set of amendments to the original Constitution, which the Framers did not think needed an express enumeration of rights.

I want to focus today on the power that the Constitution allocates to the Executive, particularly in the area of criminal justice.  The Supreme Court has correctly held that, under Article II of the Constitution, the Executive has virtually unchecked discretion to decide whether to prosecute individuals for suspected federal crimes.  The only significant limitation on that discretion comes from other provisions of the Constitution.  Thus, for example, a United States Attorney could not decide to prosecute only people of a particular race or religion.  But aside from that limitation — which thankfully has remained a true hypothetical at the Department of Justice — the Executive has broad discretion to decide whether to bring criminal prosecutions in particular cases.

The key question, then, is how the Executive should exercise its prosecutorial discretion.  Eighty years ago this spring, one of my predecessors in this job —then-Attorney General Robert Jackson — gave a famous speech to a conference of United States Attorneys in which he described the proper role and qualities of federal prosecutors.  (By the way, Jackson was one of several former Attorneys General who went on become a Supreme Court Justice.  But I am one of only two former Attorneys General who went on to become Attorney General again.)

Much has changed in the eight decades since Justice Jackson’s remarks.  But he was a man of uncommon wisdom, and it is appropriate to consider his views in the modern era.

The criminal process is a juggernaut.  That was true then and it is true today.  Once the criminal process starts rolling, it is very difficult to slow it down or knock it off course.  And that means federal prosecutors possess tremendous power — power that is necessary to enforce our laws and punish wrongdoing, but power that, like any power, carries inherent potential for abuse or misuse.

Justice Jackson recognized this.  As he put it, “The prosecutor has more control over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America.”  Prosecutors have the power to investigate people and interview their friends, and they can do so on the basis of mere suspicion of general wrongdoing.  People facing federal investigations incur ruinous legal costs and often see their lives reduced to rubble before a charge is even filed.  Justice Jackson was not exaggerating when he said that “While the prosecutor at his best is one of the most beneficent forces in our society, when he acts from malice or other base motives, he is one of the worst.”

The power to, as he called it, “strike at citizens, not with mere individual strength, but with all the force of government itself” must be carefully calibrated and closely supervised.  Left unchecked, it has the potential to inflict far more harm than it prevents.

1. Political Supervision

The most basic check on prosecutorial power is politics.  It is counter-intuitive to say that, as we rightly strive to maintain an apolitical system of criminal justice.  But political accountability—politics—is what ultimately ensures our system does its work fairly and with proper recognition of the many interests and values at stake.  Government power completely divorced from politics is tyranny.

Justice Jackson understood this.  As he explained, presidential appointment and senate confirmation of U.S. Attorneys and senior DOJ officials is what legitimizes their exercises of the sovereign’s power.  You are “required to win an expression of confidence in your character by both the legislative and the executive branches of the government before assuming the responsibilities of a federal prosecutor.”

Yet in the decades since Justice Jackson’s remarks, it has become fashionable to argue that prosecutorial decisions are legitimate only when they are made by the lowest-level line prosecutor handling any given case.  Ironically, some of those same critics see no problem in campaigning for highly political, elected District Attorneys to remake state and local prosecutorial offices in their preferred progressive image, which often involves overriding the considered judgment of career prosecutors and police officers.  But aside from hypocrisy, the notion that line prosecutors should make the final decisions within the Department of Justice is completely wrong and it is antithetical to the basic values underlying our system.

The Justice Department is not a praetorian guard that watches over society impervious to the ebbs and flows of politics.  It is an agency within the Executive Branch of a democratic republic — a form of government where the power of the state is ultimately reposed in the people acting through their elected president and elected representatives.

The men and women who have ultimate authority in the Justice Department are thus the ones on whom our elected officials have conferred that responsibility — by presidential appointment and senate confirmation.  That blessing by the two political branches of government gives these officials democratic legitimacy that career officials simply do not possess.

The same process that produces these officials also holds them accountable.  The elected President can fire senior DOJ officials at will and the elected Congress can summon them to explain their decisions to the people’s representatives and to the public.  And because these officials have the imprimatur of both the President and Congress, they also have the stature to resist these political pressures when necessary.  They can take the heat for what the Justice Department does or doesn’t do.

Line prosecutors, by contrast, are generally part of the permanent bureaucracy.  They do not have the political legitimacy to be the public face of tough decisions and they lack the political buy-in necessary to publicly defend those decisions.  Nor can the public and its representatives hold civil servants accountable in the same way as appointed officials.  Indeed, the public’s only tool to hold the government accountable is an election — and the bureaucracy is neither elected nor easily replaced by those who are.

Moreover, because these officials are installed by the democratic process, they are most equipped to make the complex judgment calls concerning how we should wield our prosecutorial power.  As Justice Scalia observed in perhaps his most admired judicial opinion, his dissent in Morrison v. Olson: “Almost all investigative and prosecutorial decisions—including the ultimate decision whether, after a technical violation of the law has been found, prosecution is warranted—involve the balancing of innumerable legal and practical considerations.”

And those considerations do need to be balanced in each and every case.  As Justice Scalia also pointed out, it is nice to say “Fiat justitia, ruat coelum. Let justice be done, though the heavens may fall.”  But it does not comport with reality.  It would do far more harm than good to abandon all perspective and proportion in an attempt to ensure that every technical violation of criminal law by every person is tracked down, investigated, and prosecuted to the Nth degree.

Our system works best when leavened by judgment, discretion, proportionality, and consideration of alternative sanctions — all the things that supervisors provide.  Cases must be supervised by someone who does not have a narrow focus, but who is broad gauged and pursuing a general agenda.  And that person need not be a prosecutor, but someone who can balance the importance of vigorous prosecution with other competing values.

In short, the Attorney General, senior DOJ officials, and U.S. Attorneys are indeed political.  But they are political in a good and necessary sense.

Indeed, aside from the importance of not fully decoupling law enforcement from the constraining and moderating forces of politics, devolving all authority down to the most junior officials does not even make sense as a matter of basic management.  Name one successful organization where the lowest level employees’ decisions are deemed sacrosanct.  There aren’t any.  Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it’s no way to run a federal agency.  Good leaders at the Justice Department—as at any organization—need to trust and support their subordinates.  But that does not mean blindly deferring to whatever those subordinates want to do.

This is what Presidents, the Congress, and the public expect.  When something goes wrong at the Department of Justice, the buck stops at the top.  28 U.S.C. § 509 could not be plainer:  “All functions of other officers of the Department of Justice and all functions of agencies and employees of the Department of Justice are vested in the Attorney General.”

And because I am ultimately accountable for every decision the Department makes, I have an obligation to ensure we make the correct ones.  The Attorney General, the Assistant Attorneys General, and the U.S. Attorneys are not figureheads selected for their good looks and profound eloquence.

They are supervisors.  Their job is to supervise.   Anything less is an abdication.

Active engagement in our cases by senior officials is also essential to the rule of law.  The essence of the rule of law is that whatever rule you apply in one case must be the same rule you would apply to similar cases.  Treating each person equally before the law includes how the Department enforces the law.

We should not prosecute someone for wire fraud in Manhattan using a legal theory we would not equally pursue in Madison or in Montgomery, or allow prosecutors in one division to bring charges using a theory that a group of prosecutors in the division down the hall would not deploy against someone who engaged in indistinguishable conduct.

We must strive for consistency.  And that is yet another reason why centralized senior leadership exists—to harmonize the disparate views of our many prosecutors into a consistent policy for the Department.  As Justice Jackson explained, “we must proceed in all districts with that uniformity of policy which is necessary to the prestige of federal law.”

2. Detachment in Prosecutions

All the supervision in the world will not be enough, though, without a strong culture across the Department of fairness and commitment to even-handed justice.  This is what Justice Jackson described as “the spirit of fair play and decency that should animate the federal prosecutor.”  In his memorable turn of phrase, even when “the government technically loses its case, it has really won if justice has been done.”

We want our prosecutors to be aggressive and tenacious in their pursuit of justice, but we also want to ensure that justice is ultimately administered dispassionately.

We are all human.  Like any person, a prosecutor can become overly invested in a particular goal.  Prosecutors who devote months or years of their lives to investigating a particular target may become deeply invested in their case and assured of the rightness of their cause.

When a prosecution becomes “your prosecution”—particularly if the investigation is highly public, or has been acrimonious, or if you are confident early on that the target committed serious crimes—there is always a temptation to will a prosecution into existence even when the facts, the law, or the fair-handed administration of justice do not support bringing charges.

This risk is inevitable and cannot be avoided simply by — as we certainly strive to do — hiring as prosecutors only moral people with righteous motivations.  I am reminded of a passage by C.S. Lewis:

It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth.

Even the most well-meaning people can do great damage if they lose perspective.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say.

That is yet another reason that having layers of supervision is so important.  Individual prosecutors can sometimes become headhunters, consumed with taking down their target.  Subjecting their decisions to review by detached supervisors ensures the involvement of dispassionate decision-makers in the process.

This was of course the central problem with the independent-counsel statute that Justice Scalia criticized in Morrison v. Olson.  Indeed, creating an unaccountable headhunter was not some unfortunate byproduct of that statute; it was the stated purpose of that statute.  That was what Justice Scalia meant by his famous line, “this wolf comes as a wolf.”  As he went on to explain:  “How frightening it must be to have your own independent counsel and staff appointed, with nothing else to do but to investigate you until investigation is no longer worthwhile—with whether it is worthwhile not depending upon what such judgments usually hinge on, competing responsibilities.  And to have that counsel and staff decide, with no basis for comparison, whether what you have done is bad enough, willful enough, and provable enough, to warrant an indictment.  How admirable the constitutional system that provides the means to avoid such a distortion.  And how unfortunate the judicial decision that has permitted it.”

Justice Jackson understood this too.  As he explained in his speech:  “If the prosecutor is obliged to choose his cases, it follows that he can choose his defendants. Therein is the most dangerous power of the prosecutor: that he will pick people that he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted.”  Any erosion in prosecutorial detachment is extraordinarily perilous.  For, “it is in this realm—in which the prosecutor picks some person whom he dislikes or desires to embarrass, or selects some group of unpopular persons and then looks for an offense, that the greatest danger of abuse of prosecuting power lies. It is here that law enforcement becomes personal, and the real crime becomes that of being unpopular with the predominant or governing group, being attached to the wrong political views, or being personally obnoxious to or in the way of the prosecutor himself.”

  • Advocate Just and Reasonable Legal Positions

In exercising our prosecutorial discretion, one area in which I think the Department of Justice has some work to do is recalibrating how we interpret criminal statutes.

In recent years, the Justice Department has sometimes acted more like a trade association for federal prosecutors than the administrator of a fair system of justice based on clear and sensible legal rules.  In case after case, we have advanced and defended hyper-aggressive extensions of the criminal law.  This is wrong and we must stop doing it.

The rule of law requires that the law be clear, that it be communicated to the public, and that we respect its limits.  We are the Department of Justice, not the Department of Prosecution.

We should want a fair system with clear rules that the people can understand.  It does not serve the ends of justice to advocate for fuzzy and manipulable criminal prohibitions that maximize our options as prosecutors.  Preventing that sort of pro-prosecutor uncertainty is what the ancient rule of lenity is all about.  That rule should likewise inform how we at the Justice Department think about the criminal law.

Advocating for clear and defined prohibitions will sometimes mean we cannot bring charges against someone whom we believe engaged in questionable conduct.  But that is what it means to have a government of laws and not of men.  We cannot let our desire to prosecute “bad” people turn us into the functional equivalent of the mad Emperor Caligula, who inscribed criminal laws in tiny script atop a tall pillar where nobody could see them.

To be clear, what I am describing is not the Al Capone situation — where you have someone who committed countless crimes and you decide to prosecute him for only the clearest violation that carries a sufficient penalty.  I am talking about taking vague statutory language and then applying it to a criminal target in a novel way that is, at a minimum, hardly the clear consequence of the statutory text.

This is inherently unfair because criminal prosecutions are backward-looking.  We charge people with crimes based on past conduct.  If it was unknown or even unclear that the conduct was illegal when the person engaged in it, that raises real questions about whether it is fair to prosecute the person criminally for it.

Examples of the Department defending these sorts of extreme positions are unfortunately numerous, as are rejections of our novel arguments by the Supreme Court.  These include arguments as varied as the Department insisting that a Philadelphia woman violated the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act — which implemented the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction — by putting chemicals on her neighbor’s doorknob as part of an acrimonious love triangle involving the woman’s husband, which the Supreme Court unanimously rejected in Bond v. United States … to arguing that a fisherman violated the “anti-shredding” provision in Sarbanes-Oxley when he threw undersized grouper over the side of his boat, which the Supreme Court rejected in Yates v. United States … to arguing that aides to the Governor of New Jersey fraudulently “obtained property” from the government when they realigned the lanes on the George Washington Bridge to create a traffic jam, which the Supreme Court unanimously rejected earlier this year in Kelly v. United States.   There are other examples, but these illustrate the point.

Taking a capacious approach to criminal law is not only unfair to criminal defendants and bad for the Justice Department’s track record at the Supreme Court, it is corrosive to our political system.  If criminal statutes are endlessly manipulable, then everything becomes a potential crime.  Rather than watch policy experts debate the merits or demerits of a particular policy choice, we are nowadays treated to ad naseum speculation by legal pundits — often former prosecutors themselves — that some action by the President, a senior official, or a member of congress constitutes a federal felony under this or that vague federal criminal statute.

This criminalization of politics is not healthy.  The criminal law is supposed to be reserved for the most egregious misconduct — conduct so bad that our society has decided it requires serious punishment, up to and including being locked away in a cage.  These tools are not built to resolve political disputes and it would be a decidedly bad development for us to go the way of third world nations where new administrations routinely prosecute their predecessors for various ill-defined crimes against the state.  The political winners ritually prosecuting the political losers is not the stuff of a mature democracy.

The Justice Department abets this culture of criminalization when we are not disciplined about what charges we will bring and what legal theories we will bless.  Rather than root out true crimes — while leaving ethically dubious conduct to the voters — our prosecutors have all too often inserted themselves into the political process based on the flimsiest of legal theories.  We have seen this time and again, with prosecutors bringing ill-conceived charges against prominent political figures, or launching debilitating investigations that thrust the Justice Department into the middle of the political process and preempt the ability of the people to decide.

This criminalization of politics will only worsen until we change the culture of concocting new legal theories to criminalize all manner of questionable conduct.  Smart, ambitious lawyers have sought to amass glory by prosecuting prominent public figures since the Roman Republic.  It is utterly unsurprising that prosecutors continue to do so today to the extent the Justice Department’s leaders will permit it.

As long as I am Attorney General, we will not.

Our job is to prosecute people who commit clear crimes.  It is not to use vague criminal statutes to police the mores of politics or general conduct of the citizenry.  Indulging fanciful legal theories may seem right in a particular case under particular circumstances with a particularly unsavory defendant—but the systemic cost to our justice system is too much to bear.

We need to recognize that and must take to heart the Supreme Court’s recent, unanimous admonition that “not every corrupt act by state or local officials is a federal crime.”

If we do not, more lives will be unfairly ruined.  And more unanimous admonitions from the Supreme Court will come.

3. Conclusion

In short, it is important for prosecutors at the Department of Justice to understand that their mission — above all others — is to do justice.  That means following the letter of the law, and the spirit of fairness.  Sometimes that will mean investing months or years in an investigation and then concluding it without criminal charges.  Other times it will mean aggressively prosecuting a person through trial and then recommending a lenient sentence, perhaps even one with no incarceration.

Our job is to be just as dogged in preventing injustice as we are in pursuing wrongdoing.  On this score, as on many, Justice Jackson said it best:

The qualities of a good prosecutor are as elusive and as impossible to define as those which mark a gentleman.  And those who need to be told would not understand it anyway.  A sensitiveness to fair play and sportsmanship is perhaps the best protection against the abuse of power, and the citizen’s safety lies in the prosecutor who tempers zeal with human kindness, who seeks truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes, and who approaches his task with humility.

Thank you.

[LINK]

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126 Responses to AG William Barr Constitution Day Speech – Transcript…

  1. Jeffrey Coley says:

    A speech? I was hoping for a SWAT raid on Brennan, Comey, and Weissman et al. Now THAT would be a Constitution Day Celebration!

    Liked by 18 people

  2. Right Mover says:

    He who talks a good game does not impress me.

    No more speeches. No more interviews. Only action, Mr. Barr.

    Liked by 14 people

    • Lion2017 says:

      Agree 100%.

      Liked by 3 people

    • 4sure says:

      I took this speech as his saying he is not going to prosecute politicians. This is what he said that leads me to believe this:

      “Sometimes that will mean investing months or years in an investigation and then concluding it without criminal charges.”

      ” …that some action by the President, a senior official, or a member of congress constitutes a federal felony under this or that vague federal criminal statute.

      This criminalization of politics is not healthy. The criminal law is supposed to be reserved for the most egregious misconduct — conduct so bad that our society has decided it requires serious punishment, up to and including being locked away in a cage.”

      Liked by 3 people

      • icthematrix says:

        Barr has said where this is going…it’s no mystery. Political actions bad but hard to prosecute so only really BAD obvious smoking gun crimes might be pursued, with light treatment.

        We might get a BS report in a week or so, but don’t hold your breath.

        Barr is an ass…

        Liked by 3 people

      • GB Bari says:

        Yes. Add to those highly transparent statements, this one, spoken earlier in his speech:

        It would do far more harm than good to abandon all perspective and proportion in an attempt to ensure that every technical violation of criminal law by every person is tracked down, investigated, and prosecuted to the Nth degree.

        He surely didn’t give any Trump supporter any reason to feel encouraged that those who attempted to overthrow the elected President via framing otherwise innocent people with false testimonies and falsified or fabricated evidence.

        Liked by 5 people

        • Simple Citizen says:

          Good to see you here. Been in and out of the threads here and there.

          Basically, I agree with you 110%. He provides nor real sense of confidence or even a reason to be supportive that he will execute the duties of his office.

          A while back I had a post on how his daddy hired Epstein to be a math teacher at the Dalton school in New York. When I read that, I fell out of the chair and at the encouragement of other friends here looked into Attorney Barr a little bit more, since I really did not know much about him.

          Swamp city!

          Best…

          Liked by 1 person

        • Paul Woll says:

          Look Roger Stone was tracked down, investigated, and prosecuted to the Nth degree. Need I mention Flynn. Need I mention Kolfage? Manafort solitary confinement. One sided political persecution ignored by Barr with overwhelming use of force and fear tactics.
          Not acceptable.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. sb says:

    Bill has been a lot of talk, but not much action.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Tiffthis says:

    I’m not amused by him.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Ben Dhyani says:

    He talks the talk, now is the time to walk the walk!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. joseywalesandtenbearsbarandgrill says:

    He talks a great game but plays like shit.

    if you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, blind them with bullshit

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Cole says:

    So Adbusters, a Canadian outfit, is interfering with US elections with the Siege of the White House that starts today. Where is the DOJ and FBI, who complained vehemently about Russian interference?

    Liked by 3 people

    • OffCourseNation says:

      As the FBI was deceiving much of the nation, it also continued to trick a good many of its own willfully blind followers. The scapegoat was yet again Bad Vlad. Whenever anything went wrong for the DNC, it became usual for the FBI to attribute it to Bad Vlad. In fact many of their claims begin to sound completely ridiculous to the objective mind. Of course, the DNC’s minions in the Shill Squealer FBI Propaganda Ministry’s mission is to keep everything clouded and misdirected in the minds of their sheeple as they are led to servitude and ruin.

      Liked by 3 people

    • bessie2003 says:

      Was reading on a twitter feed that this has been changed to a “50 days of Jazz protest”. Perhaps it was the million dollar bail caused them to switch gears?

      Like

  8. Henry says:

    Bagga the Bill
    Son of
    ,jabba the hutt

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Deplorable_Vespucciland says:

    Heads up… RSBN is now livestreaming tonight’s Trump Rally in Wisconsin.
    Lady just did a great job singing The National Anthem.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. joseywalesandtenbearsbarandgrill says:

    The Donald has 13 more days to play The Rook. I am hopeful he is already holding it in his hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Nightshade says:

    Barr needs to arrest Christopher Wray for lying under oath to congress today. Wray declared, without citing actual statistics, that white supremacy by far is the biggest source of ideological violence in the USA.

    Liked by 9 people

  12. allin4freedom says:

    Proof is in the pudding: let’s see if he practices what he preaches (except the part about long investigations with no outcome.)

    Like

  13. gunrunner03 says:

    This is important, why?

    Like

    • Right Mover says:

      I think Sundance is actually trolling us by posting this, and about a dozen of us have already taken the bait and lodged essentially the exact same comment in response.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. SJM says:

    The Soros Cover-Up

    Newt Gingrich
    September 17, 2020

    https://americanmind.org/post/the-soros-cover-up/

    Liked by 2 people

  15. OffCourseNation says:

    I met a man, BarrJangles, and he spoke to me
    I was so sad and down and out
    He looked to be the Eliot Ness of the age
    As he spoke right out
    He talked of justice, he talked of change
    But then just played his bagpipes and went back to sleep instead

    Mister BarrJangles
    Mister BarrJangles
    Mister BarrJangles
    Dance!!!

    Liked by 5 people

  16. booger71 says:

    I guess protecting the 1st Amendment is not his top priority.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Bogeyfree says:

    My take on the speech is Barr will not indict any of the senior perpetrators within the DOJ/FIB/CIA as they are considered part of the prior administration and that would be political in his mind but will apply the rule of law for any statue violations such as possibly destruction of evidence, obstruction, lying and leaking done possibly by any mid-level grunts.

    But unfortunately nothing will come from the majors crimes of……

    1) Conspiracy and attempted coup on a President

    2) Framing a National Security Director

    3) Years of Illegal Spying on Americans allowing contractors to access and extract data on Americans.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raquel says:

      I’m thinking the same thing. Seems like this is the whole reason for the wording in this speech. Sounds like he’s making his excuses for not charging certain participants in the coup. Sounds like he’s telling those of us who want justice for what we see as obvious criminal activity, that our desires of no concern to him. Forget the fact that if the common ordinary citizens, like us, did similar things, we’d already be sitting in jail.

      Liked by 3 people

    • jazzbogie says:

      i am likely wrong because you all seem to have read the speech the same way but i did not get the same idea from his words. It seemed to me he was talking to the prosecutors in his own office and he was lecturing them on what they were supposed to be doing and what has been done wrongfully in the past. i think this is what a supervisor does before the hammer falls.

      Like

      • readyandable1 says:

        That interpretation applies to the Flynn, PapaD, Stone situations for sure. I read it that way in those contexts.

        What the rest of stated is also true though. I think it is quite clear he was being transparent that he will not be going after anyone participating in the coup, and that citizens are responsible for policing their own Republic, not the DOJ.

        Of course, if we didn’t have Sundance, one man….how the hell would we ever know about things to police it. That is why Barr is full of it. He is justifying the unmitigated power of the police state, and as one poster pointed out earlier, basically saying your 2nd amendment is your only recourse, but remember, that’s likely to put you in jail so uhhh yeah. Basically “hey idiots, if you fight you better be willing to take it ALL THE WAY, and you better freakin’ win or your life is over and/or your dead.”

        Thanks for nothing Barr. It is suite you want to try to reshape the justice department to be more noble but since we live in a ridiculous country that should in effect be two countries, and that has no “common agreement of base rules” any longer, that doesn’t really work. As soon as a Deep-stater of either party gets back in power, things go right back to totalitarian secret police state. You’re irrelevant.

        Like President Trump said “….or just another guy.” Yep.

        Like

  18. quintrillion says:

    Barr hides behind the word “politics” – We want to see EQAUL JUSTICE – no matter if they were a usurping former president, or a scumbag FBI, or a former IRS, or a corrupt Judge orEvil Lawyer. They may look human but there are those that are possessed of pure political EVIL – so don’t hide behind the word ” political” DOJ, Barr – We want to SEE the LAW applied to those who THINK they are above it. How about some of these scum losing their license to practice law? RICO the bunch of them. NO Mercy.

    Liked by 6 people

  19. Pinot Noir says:

    All hat- no cattle.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Cole says:

    Could Barr be giving us a head fake with his tough talk of late? Does he think President Trump will lose this election and he won’t have to deliver on anything he makes us believe he will do?

    Just a thought…

    Liked by 1 person

  21. no-nonsense-nancy says:

    I was looking for a video of this but can’t find any.

    Like

  22. Ocelot says:

    Liked by 2 people

  23. George S says:

    Considering the PA supreme court ruled that ballots can be counted for three days after the polls close, this may be one of the last speeches he makes as AG.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Richie says:

    Do Nothing POS

    Liked by 2 people

  25. jnr2d2 says:

    Very outstanding speech Mr. Bagpipes — now do your JOB. For justice would truly be to restore the Trump administration four more years, before another election. The clear coup by the deep state demands a “tolling” of the time.
    But that won’t happen. So…
    If Trump loses this election, all your fine words will be buried by dropping cases, pardons, and a doubling of dirty deeds forever – as no repercussions (justice) was meted out. The propaganda press will continue to abdicate it’s intended constitutional duty, lying, and protecting La Costra Nostra (Our thing). It will continue forever and there will never be another Republican President. Our Republic will be lost.
    Maranatha Lord Jesus. Hosanna!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Abster says:

    Barr certainly tells everyone what they want to hear, he knows of all the crimes and corruption within three branches of government and he still does nothing. Our country and future are in his hands. Just do something!

    Liked by 2 people

  27. A Fortified City says:

    Barr just gave us a long nice speech why he didn’t (I used past tense on purpose)prosecute, indict bring to justice all the Obama coalition.
    If anything does gets done Trump will have to do it, and will Trump take time out from nation and world building to set things right.
    Well I’m a hoping he’ll put a real AG in place, a real boots on the ground kind of person as opposed to some kinda ideologue. I don’t care how much he believes in the sanctity of the political process and we don’t need nice pretty speeches about it all.
    What we need is a honey badger for Attorney
    General. And I think Barr should go back home read a book or take a nap.
    Barr is done gone to seed.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. lambgraham says:

    Trump to Barr-zini,
    You don’t understand! You could’a had class. You could’a been a contender for best AG. You could’a been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what you are. Let’s face it .

    Liked by 1 person

  29. A2 says:

    Excellent speech. Thank you AG Barr.

    “ This criminalization of politics is not healthy. The criminal law is supposed to be reserved for the most egregious misconduct — conduct so bad that our society has decided it requires serious punishment, up to and including being locked away in a cage. These tools are not built to resolve political disputes and it would be a decidedly bad development for us to go the way of third world nations where new administrations routinely prosecute their predecessors for various ill-defined crimes against the state. The political winners ritually prosecuting the political losers is not the stuff of a mature democracy.”

    This is exactly what is happening in Hong Kong under the CCP.

    Liked by 2 people

    • evergreen says:

      Well, precedent sets future behavior, so…

      We can expect future administration actors to bend the law and play parallel construction (and worse) against both citizens and political opponents, because it has now been done with apparent immunity.

      The best rule is to hold one’s administration to the highest of ethical standards to prevent the appearance of impropriety. That buffer creates a gap that malicious opponents can’t fill absent a truly corrupt judicial system. In such a robust system, prosecutions would indeed ensue for all sorts of malfeasance, should it occur, and the accusation of politicization would be outweighed by actual evidence of impropriety.

      Like

      • evergreen says:

        I thus refute the above quote by stating that a mature democracy DOES prosecute anyone who sees fit to break the law.

        To do otherwise makes political consideration paramount before the law.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Koot Katmando says:

      I too think Barr is stalled on doing anything. He did stop the SC farce and shut it down. Since then not much. Perhaps, that is the best he can or will do? I think the country is on tipping point and this election will show where the country is.

      Liked by 2 people

  30. Perot Conservative says:

    In the Q & A afterwards, AG Barr admitted they’re looking at the wiping of phones.

    Shipwreckedcrew believes Jeffrey Jensen may have that task.

    https://www.redstate.com/shipwreckedcrew/2020/09/17/attorney-general-barr-confirmed-that-wiping-of-special-counsels-office-phones-is-under-review/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

    Like

    • Winston says:

      “looking at the wiping of phones”

      Yeah, I’m sure there will be proper and timely results from that “investigation.” Things always turn out great when government agencies investigate themselves.

      Liked by 2 people

  31. Winston says:

    Barr announced that the Constitution is now available in 3-ply.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Redhotrugmama says:

    Blow Hard Barr. We got our answer today. He isnt going to do diddly squat. My heart cries for our President and us citizens.😭

    Liked by 1 person

  33. evergreen says:

    Barr is a diplomat. His job is to talk a good game for effect and outcome. His job is to soften the angst, buy time, and sell an unpalatable solution.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Michael Page Morgan says:

    What did you make of this?

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

  35. regitiger says:

    there is a LOT here to deeply consider.

    I’ve read this speech now…8 times…over 12 hours with breaks to contemplate what Barr MAY HE considering.

    one single argument he makes on several instances WITH RESPECTED REFERENCES TO SOME INCREDIBLY TALENTED AND CONSTITUTIONALY SOUND SCOTUS JUDGES is this.

    this is only a guess on my part… but over the course of the day his words (listen to the video…it contains important non verbal gestures and expressions)

    I get a very real instinct that Barr is likely to move prosecutor cases from Durham OUT OF THE DC COURT DISTRICT!!!

    yes i know this is just a wild eyed guess.

    but there is more than a trace of what he is saying to support the theory.

    of course… this assumes there will actually BE CASES AT ALL.

    the other instinct i caught are to bleak to mention…

    at this point…27 wiped phones…(and the very real reality that data can still be gathered). THAT has seriously changed the entire landscape..

    IF BARR DURHAM don’t get after THAT…God help us all.

    i get

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Lanna says:

    Equal justice under the law — what is so freaking difficult to understand?!

    “Our system works best when leavened by judgment, discretion, proportionality, and consideration of alternative sanctions — all the things that supervisors provide. Cases must be supervised by someone who does not have a narrow focus, but who is broad gauged and pursuing a general agenda. And that person need not be a prosecutor, but someone who can balance the importance of vigorous prosecution with other competing values.”

    All this crap is subjective. Know the law, know the consequences. ‘Extenuating circumstances’ = get out of jail free card.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Kentlawrunner says:

    AG Barr’s Constitution Day speech at Hillsdale College makes me proud to be an American. The rule of law is the linchpin of our republic and the pursuit of a fair system of justice allows for no political bias. This speech will undoubtedly inspire many great young minds to pursue a career within the Justice Department.

    Having said that, I am sympathetic to the frustration of many who have seen the normalization of a corrupt, two-tiered justice system and are crying out for indictments of the politicians, prosecutors and investigators that have perpetrated countless injustices. This speech may seem to be signaling a lenient approach toward the perpetrators and certain disappointment for those who demand wide-ranging criminal consequences.

    Time will tell whether anyone other than Clinesmith will face criminal consequences for their role in the Clinton email and Obamagate scandals. The larger question is whether there will be political consequences for the legislators, governors and prosecutors who are aiding and abetting the ongoing revolution that has been foisted upon us by the global elite. The ballot box offers us all a choice and a voice in how the reigns of government power will be used to address this revolution.

    Please vote wisely.

    Liked by 2 people

    • readyandable1 says:

      Yeah I mean except for this one case where a benevolent billionarie, our great President, broke through the wall, the ballot box doesn’t offer us jack crap– as we all here on CTH have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, led by Sundance’s unquestionable research.

      Like

    • newfossor says:

      I heard a lot about the supervisors’ roll in prosecutions. Could this be leading up to high level indictments? I know, I’m disfunctually optimistic, but if you separate what you hear from what you wanted to hear, is he wrong? What he said is correct. I have 18 years as a LEO, and I know there needs to be a balance between what someone did versus what you will arrest/charge them with. We talk to the county attorneys all the time on cases to insure we are clear on our actions. It’s a team effort. And as a team, the supervisors are ultimately responsible for how their teams operates and the choices they make. Yep, disfunctually optimistic!!

      Like

  38. suburbanwoman says:

    “This is what Presidents, the Congress, and the public expect. When something goes wrong at the Department of Justice, the buck stops at the top. 28 U.S.C. § 509 could not be plainer: “All functions of other officers of the Department of Justice and all functions of agencies and employees of the Department of Justice are vested in the Attorney General.”

    Me thinks LL’s got some ‘splainin’ to do.

    Like

  39. mazziflol says:

    The irony as Gen. Flyn rots away with his trampled constitutional rights…

    Liked by 2 people

  40. republicanvet91 says:

    I read an article on this earlier today. The writers appeared aghast that Barr would berate the line prosecutors for headhunting…bypassing the chain of command, ignoring the politics of prosecutions.

    If only he took action against the corruption within his department, he would not be relegated to giving speeches complaining about his staffers acting like pre-schoolers ignoring who is in charge.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Simple Citizen says:

    When I think of the recent Barr and Wray performances, I recall:

    Liked by 1 person

  42. MustangBlues says:

    Comments Record scroll time; 9.5 seconds.

    The AG Barr Bashers are free wheeling spewing their know it all vitriol toxic venom anytime AG Barr is mentioned in any post. Worse than Garlic breath. Noxiousness is not a seductive perfume.

    How about let’s think about The Tortoise and The Hare as a method to accomplish an immortal feat of correcting the communist takeover of the Finest Example of Constitutional Republic ever to have existed.

    Like

  43. Simple Citizen says:

    “Washington — FBI Director Chris Wray told lawmakers Thursday that antifa is an ideology, not an organization, testimony that puts him at odds with President Donald Trump, who has said he would designate it a terror group.

    Wray did not dispute that antifa activists were a serious concern, saying that antifa was a “real thing” and that the FBI had undertaken “any number of properly predicated investigations into what we would describe as violent extremism,” including into individuals who identify with antifa.”

    But, he said, “It’s not a group or an organization. It’s a movement or an ideology.”

    That characterization contradicts the depiction from Trump, who in June singled out antifa — short for “anti-fascists” and an umbrella term for far-left-leaning militant groups — as responsible for the violence that followed George Floyd’s death. Trump tweeted that the U.S. would be designating antifa as a terrorist organization, even though such designations are reserved for foreign groups and antifa lacks the hierarchical structure of formal organizations.”

    https://www.syracuse.com/us-news/2020/09/fbi-director-christopher-wray-says-antifa-is-an-ideology-not-an-organization.html
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    “Asymmetrical warfare, unconventional strategies and tactics adopted by a force when the military capabilities of belligerent powers are not simply unequal but are so significantly different that they cannot make the same sorts of attacks on each other.”

    https://www.britannica.com/topic/asymmetrical-warfare

    ______________________________________________________________________________

    Domestic terrorism: Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.

    https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/terrorism

    ______________________________________________________________________________

    Now I know that I am not the sharpest tool in the shed and I often need things explained to me as if I am 5 years old again, but I do think that Mr. Wray seems to contradict his own agency, and a few other basic definitions here.

    Barr should take action, but it will not happened based on his own speech.

    Thinking we should move CTH to Iceland!

    Liked by 1 person

  44. MVW says:

    Barr says he will not treat the DOJ and FBI as Lawfare political tools. Good.

    What I did not hear him say is that when his predecessors treat the DOJ and FBI as Lawfare political tools AND ostensibly break the LAW to do it, that he WILL prosecute for breaking the LAW.

    To me that is the critical missing link and missing that second side of the coin it troubling to all here, and worse, the lack of results leads to doubt in EQUAL JUSTICE, to belief that this is another political hit job.

    At this point Two Tier Justice seems to be the everlasting ‘Law of DC’ even when we have an election, win the election, and put AG’s in that say they will apply the LAW fairly, equally.

    Spit!

    Liked by 4 people

  45. lieutenantm says:

    AHHHH…S**T. So now Bill is gonna have someone look at the wipings?
    Make sure that nothing “political” was involved there? Like “obstruction” .

    Liked by 1 person

  46. RAC says:

    Barrjangles quit bloviating quit dancing.

    Like

  47. Dana Christianson says:

    I Ran Across This Arcane Piece Of Legislation Last Night, Could Barr Use Some Legal Statute Like This To Go After Some Of These People. Are Republicans Too Scared Of Being Labeled “Mccarthyists”? I Don’t Get It- This Statute Has Never Been Enforced By Any Administration In Over 60-Years.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_Control_Act_of_1954

    Like

  48. Hoss says:

    Wray lies and gaslights Congress …
    Twentytwo (actually way more than that) FBI phones wiped clean …
    Bagpipes Barr, plays another song …
    Business as usual in the swamp …
    https://www.theepochtimes.com/mueller-team-records-failures-extend-far-beyond-wiped-iphones_3504443.html

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Midnite says:

    I must be sitting on a different branch than most of you because Bill Barr continues to impress me with his clear-eyed view of Criminal Justice in this country. He acknowledges the failures of line prosecutors within the DOJ for their abuses (headhunting) and illustrates that with rulings and admonitions from the SCOTUS. He acknowledges that far too many within the DOJ use the law and the power of prosecution to destroy their political opposition and equates that same abuse with actions of a third world country. My impression is that Barr is trying to set a standard of justice and the application of the law within the DOJ that will carry on long after he’s gone.

    To be the standard bearer for those high ideals he MUST hold true to them in any future prosecutions of the Coup plotters and the bad actors he knows worked in the SCO. That means he has to have sufficient evidence to convict those same wrongdoers without twisting the law to bring about a conviction and that a prosecution for the sake of a prosecution is NOT the way to administer justice in this country.

    Look I want Weissmann and his cronies to go to jail as bad as anyone here, but I want it to be done right. I want them to spend the next 20 years in Leavenworth writing their penpals over at Lawfare looking for a way out of an airtight case that will keep them behind bars for the rest of their miserable lives, they deserve nothing less. But to perpetuate the same over jealous and in some cases illegal targeting that took place within the SCO and the DOJ is anathema to the goals he’s set and the rule of law we all want to live by in the country.

    There’s a reason Barr has precluded the introduction of politically motivated evidence, because that’s exactly what brought about the entire Russian Hoax BS in the first place. I have no doubt he knows and understands the politically motivated Steele material was injected into FBI and used at the predicate for an investigation and he wants a firewall to protect the ongoing investigations from that same sort of interference. But think about it my friends, Sundance has made his way into the upper echelons of not only these investigations, but hopefully to the President himself and presented them with his research.

    From then until now Sundance has called off the Dogs of War (us), he has hidden the signal lamp and the tower window is dark, Paul Revere does not ride on this night. I can only surmise that in the course of his travels Sundance has been given some indication that “They got this”, or we would have been let loose on the world in the proposed “Phase Two” that we’ve been promised for so long…. we have not. I for one would like Sundance to explain why that happened.

    As for me I’m going to stock up on more supplies because as I see it the worst is yet to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bogeyfree says:

      If holding those standards were true then the simple act that Barr via Jensenlooking into the Flynn case and unequivocally finding that exculpatory evidence WAS withheld and yet he does nothing to those who withheld this evidence.

      So where are those standards and principles if this obvious abuse and criminality IMO goes unpunished.

      Not even a referral to the Bar Association.

      I’m sorry but Barr has had numerous chances to apply this so called standard to numerous FIB and DOJ people but hasn’t.

      Terminations are wrist slaps and yet he said he was OK with the Stone punishment.

      IMO Barr is using the word political like Comey used the word intent.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Ockham's Phaser says:

      “He acknowledges that far too many within the DOJ use the law and the power of prosecution to destroy their political opposition and equates that same abuse with actions of a third world country.”

      Except that it continues right under his nose with the Kolfage and Bannon arrests by the SDNY. These people work for HIM.

      Like

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