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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 57)

Former Justice Dept. Lawyers Press for Barr to Step Down

Westlake Legal Group 16dc-prosecutors1-facebookJumbo Former Justice Dept. Lawyers Press for Barr to Step Down United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Office of Professional Responsibility New York City Bar Assn Mueller, Robert S III Justice Department Barr, William P Appointments and Executive Changes

WASHINGTON — More than 1,100 former federal prosecutors and Justice Department officials called on Attorney General William P. Barr on Sunday to step down after he intervened last week to lower the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr.

They also urged current government employees to report any signs of unethical behavior at the Justice Department to the agency’s inspector general and to Congress.

“Each of us strongly condemns President Trump’s and Attorney General Barr’s interference in the fair administration of justice,” the former Justice Department lawyers, who came from across the political spectrum, wrote in an open letter on Sunday. Those actions, they said, “require Mr. Barr to resign.”

The sharp denunciation of Mr. Barr underlined the extent of the fallout over the case of Mr. Stone, capping a week that strained the attorney general’s relationship with his rank and file, and with the president himself.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

After prosecutors on Monday recommended a prison sentence of up to nine years for Mr. Stone, who was convicted of obstructing a congressional inquiry, Mr. Trump lashed out at federal law enforcement. Senior officials at the department, including Mr. Barr, overrode the recommendation the next day with a more lenient one, immediately prompting accusations of political interference, and the four lawyers on the Stone case abruptly withdrew in protest.

The Justice Department said the case had not been discussed with anyone at the White House, but that Mr. Trump congratulated Mr. Barr on his decision did little to dispel the perception of political influence. And as the president widened his attacks on law enforcement, Mr. Barr publicly reproached the president, saying that Mr. Trump’s statements undermined him, as well the department.

“I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me,” Mr. Barr said during a televised interview on Thursday with ABC News.

In the days after the interview, Mr. Trump has been relatively muted. He said on Twitter that he had not asked Mr. Barr to “do anything in a criminal case.” As president, he added, he had “the legal right to do so” but had “so far chosen not to!”

But lawyers across the Justice Department continue to worry about political interference from the president despite public pushback by Mr. Barr, long considered a close ally of Mr. Trump’s.

Protect Democracy, a nonprofit legal group, gathered the signatures from Justice Department alumni and said it would collect more.

In May, Protect Democracy gathered signatures for a letter that said the Mueller report presented enough evidence to charge Mr. Trump with obstruction of justice were that an option. At the close of his investigation, the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III declined to indicate whether Mr. Trump illegally obstructed justice, citing a decades-old department opinion that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime. That letter was also critical of Mr. Barr.

Even as the lawyers condemned Mr. Barr on Sunday, they said they welcomed his rebuke of Mr. Trump and his assertions that law enforcement must be independent of politics.

But Mr. Barr’s “actions in doing the president’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words,” they said.

The letter comes days after some Democratic senators pressed for Mr. Barr to resign, and after the New York City Bar Association said that it had formally reported the attorney general’s behavior to the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Strikingly, the lawyers called upon current department employees to be on the lookout for future abuses and to be willing to bring oversight to the department.

“Be prepared to report future abuses to the inspector general, the Office of Professional Responsibility, and Congress,” they wrote, and “to refuse to carry out directives that are inconsistent with their oaths of office.”

Prosecutors who currently work at the department should withdraw from cases that involve abuses or political interference, the lawyers said.

As a last resort, they asked Justice Department employees “to resign and report publicly — in a manner consistent with professional ethics — to the American people the reasons for their resignation.”

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Fearful of Trump’s Attacks, Justice Dept. Lawyers Worry Barr Will Leave Them Exposed

Westlake Legal Group 15dc-justice-promo-facebookJumbo Fearful of Trump’s Attacks, Justice Dept. Lawyers Worry Barr Will Leave Them Exposed United States Politics and Government United States Attorneys Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Shea, Timothy J (1960- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mueller, Robert S III Liu, Jessie Kong Legal Profession Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Ethics and Official Misconduct Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — In an email a few days ago to the 270 lawyers he oversees, Nicola T. Hanna, the United States attorney in Los Angeles, offered a message of reassurance: I am proud of the work you do, he wrote.

Other U.S. attorneys in the Justice Department’s far-flung 93 field offices relayed similar messages of encouragement after President Trump’s efforts to influence a politically fraught case provoked the kind of consternation the department has rarely seen since the Watergate era. “All I have to say,” another United States attorney wrote to his staff, “is keep doing the right things for the right reasons.”

But the fact that the department’s 10,000-odd lawyers needed reassurances seemed like cause for worry all by itself.

In more than three dozen interviews in recent days, lawyers across the federal government’s legal establishment wondered aloud whether Mr. Trump was undermining the Justice Department’s treasured reputation for upholding the law without favor or political bias — and whether Attorney General William P. Barr was able or willing to protect it.

Mr. Trump elicited those fears by denouncing federal prosecutors who had recommended a prison sentence of up to nine years for his longtime friend and political adviser Roger J. Stone Jr. Mr. Barr fanned them by scrapping the recommendation in favor of a far more lenient one, leading the prosecutors to quit the case in protest.

Mr. Barr then took to national television to complain that Mr. Trump’s angry tweets were undermining him and his department’s credibility — a sign to some current and former lawyers that the department’s freedom from political influence is in imminent danger. Their worries are compounded by the fact that people in Mr. Trump’s circle have been mired in so many criminal or ethical scandals that practically any legal action on those cases could be seen through a political lens.

As many of the department lawyers and some recently departed colleagues see it, Mr. Barr has devoted much of his authority and stature to bolster the president since he took office a year ago.

In ever stronger terms, he has attacked the F.B.I.’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. He has said it was mounted on “the thinnest of suspicions” and advanced despite a lack of evidence. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, ultimately found insufficient evidence that the president or his advisers engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia but documented their openness to Moscow’s sabotage effort.

While he has pledged that the department will not pursue politically motivated investigations, Mr. Barr said this month that he had created an “intake process” for the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to forward supposed proof of misconduct in Ukraine. Mr. Giuliani has claimed to have evidence damaging to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son.

Meanwhile, Mr. Barr’s expansive view of presidential authority has helped Mr. Trump fight off congressional oversight. It was the Justice Department, for instance, that decided it was unnecessary to give Congress the whistle-blower complaint that ultimately led to the president’s impeachment.

Mr. Barr’s critics say those and other moves have all but invited increasingly aggressive demands from the White House. His supporters in the Justice Department counter that he has used his political capital to protect the department and national security interests. But they sound increasingly worried about whether he will be able to manage the expectations of an ever more volatile president.

Mr. Barr’s effort this week to scale back those expectations, officials said, was born of necessity. He is said to have told the president privately that he will not open politically inspired inquiries on Mr. Trump’s behalf and that the president’s public comments about specific criminal cases are damaging the department’s work.

When the president’s public outburst over the prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation for Mr. Stone made it clear that Mr. Barr’s message had not sunk in, Mr. Barr and a few trusted advisers elected to deliver it again in a way that has repeatedly proved effective in grabbing the president’s attention: on television, this time in a nationally broadcast interview with ABC News.

By the end of the week, many at the Justice Department’s headquarters were uncertain whether that interview would resolve what some called an increasingly untenable situation. Some steeled themselves for a stream of presidential invective or even Mr. Barr’s departure in response.

In the legal trenches where the department’s lawyers handle controversial cases on a daily basis, some expressed relief that Mr. Barr had defended the department and tried to set boundaries for a president seemingly intent on erasing the red line between political motivations and individual criminal cases that has prevailed since Watergate.

“Thank God,” one lawyer said. “I was beginning to be really upset over the sentencing, but I really admire that he told Trump to shut up,” said another. A third wrote in a memo: “Barr was EXACTLY right.”

But others questioned Mr. Barr’s sincerity, saying he was already too closely aligned with Mr. Trump’s political priorities to accept his words at face value.

One described Mr. Barr’s timing as self-serving, saying that the president had attacked the department before but Mr. Barr spoke up only when he felt his own credibility was on the line. Another suggested that the best way for Mr. Barr to demonstrate his integrity would be to resign.

All spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists, or for fear of job repercussions. A spokeswoman for Mr. Barr declined to comment.

The supervisor of one team of prosecutors questioned whether the Stone case portended a presidential crusade to use the department’s legal powers to damage his political enemies and help his friends. Is it “a one-off or a trend?” another supervisor in a different office asked.

Some former senior officials predicted that government lawyers, especially those with politically sensitive cases, would face new skepticism in court about the department’s motivations.

“I’m sure that some D.O.J. attorneys feel that judges are not going to look at them in the same way,” said Mary McCord, a former assistant attorney general for the department’s national security division. “And I’m sure there are judges who are going to wonder, ‘Can we credit what you say, or is D.O.J. going to come back tomorrow and say something different?’”

Generally, lawyers across the department’s vast legal apparatus said they were simply trying to ignore the political drama unfolding in Washington and concentrate on their own work.

In the capital, the Justice Department has been grappling with Mr. Trump’s tweets almost since he took office. Amazon is suing the government over its loss of a $10 billion defense contract, saying Mr. Trump’s tweets prove his animosity toward its owner, Jeff Bezos. A team of Justice Department lawyers moved to withdraw from a case over the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census after Mr. Trump blindsided them by declaring on Twitter that their assertions in court were “fake.”

Until last spring, the impact of Mr. Trump’s outbursts about criminal prosecutions were blunted somewhat by the fact that he largely aimed them at Mr. Mueller, whose stature with Congress and the public made it unlikely he would be fired.

Even then, Mr. Trump or his legal team hinted broadly at the prospect of pardons for some associates who faced criminal charges brought by the Mueller team. And Mr. Trump publicly praised one defendant, his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, even as a federal jury deliberated whether to convict him on financial fraud charges.

But United States attorneys lack the political buffer that Mr. Mueller enjoyed. So Mr. Trump’s attacks on the career prosecutors in Mr. Stone’s case carry different weight.

In his interview with ABC News, Mr. Barr seemed concerned about the possibility of more mass defections. Three prosecutors withdrew from the Stone case while the fourth resigned from the department entirely the week before Judge Amy Berman Jackson of Federal District Court in the District of Columbia was scheduled to sentence Mr. Stone.

“I hope there are no more resignations,” Mr. Barr said. “We, we like our prosecutors and hope they stay.”

As Mr. Trump has pointed out on Twitter, two of those prosecutors — Aaron Zelinsky and Adam C. Jed — helped carry out the special counsel’s investigation, which Mr. Trump detested. Their supervisors reassured them this week that they would suffer no retaliation for withdrawing from the Stone case.

Timothy J. Shea, a close ally of Mr. Barr’s who took over this month as interim U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, sent his staff an email of support this week. “While there are times where reasonable minds may disagree, I respect the work that each of you do, and I will do my best to support our work,” he wrote.

Mr. Shea’s role is especially fraught because the Washington office, the largest in the country with 300 lawyers, often handles politically sensitive cases and inherited several prosecutions begun under Mr. Mueller. At least some in that office privately complained that Mr. Trump and Mr. Barr both treated Mr. Shea’s predecessor, Jessie K. Liu, shabbily.

Ms. Liu, a Trump appointee, was viewed in the office as a leader who helped protect prosecutors from political meddling. But her relationship with other department officials grew strained, especially after she decided there was insufficient evidence to seek an indictment of Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy director of the F.B.I. and a frequent target of the president, according to two people familiar with the situation.

She was nominated for a top job at the Treasury Department and transferred there this month to await her confirmation. Then this week, the president decided to rescind her nomination, even over Mr. Barr’s objections, according to three people familiar with the discussions.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin delivered the news in a meeting, according to one of them. He gave her no reason for the reversal, and Ms. Liu resigned from the government.

Katie Benner and Sharon LaFraniere reported from Washington, and Nicole Hong from New York. Adam Goldman and Charlie Savage contributed reporting from Washington. Susan Beachy contributed research.

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Trump Administration Considering Halting Sales of Aircraft Parts to China

Westlake Legal Group merlin_168031239_f7b598dc-5474-4854-b91f-02d3e81ca9ee-facebookJumbo Trump Administration Considering Halting Sales of Aircraft Parts to China United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J General Electric Company Esper, Mark T Defense Department Defense and Military Forces China

The Trump administration is considering halting to China the sale of an aircraft engine produced in part by General Electric, two people familiar with the discussions said, part of a broader effort to limit the flow of technology there that could one day give Beijing an economic and security edge.

Top Trump administration officials will discuss whether to prevent the sale at a cabinet meeting on Feb. 28, these people said. That meeting will encompass other restrictions on China, including whether to proceed with a rule change that would further curtail the ability of Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant, to have access to American technology.

The aircraft license review was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The Trump administration has been increasingly wary of China’s economic and military ambitions, including a strategy to fuse its defense and commercial economies known as civil-military fusion.

Chinese industrial plans like Made In China 2025 have promoted dual-use technologies like aviation, automation and information technology to benefit both the Chinese economy and its military abilities.

China’s effort to develop airplanes on par with international competitors like Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier have long fallen short.

Instead, CFM, the jet-engine joint venture of General Electric and Safran of France, has been providing engines to China for years as part of that country’s effort to build up its jetliner industry.

The United States licenses for the joint venture to ship engines to China date to 2014. The most recent license was issued in March 2019. The licenses are for engines used in test-flight programs by the Chinese aircraft maker Comac. Each license is for a few engines, a model called the LEAP 1C.

The Commerce Department had been reviewing the joint venture’s license, but the decision on whether to continue allowing the technology to be sold to China has now been kicked up to cabinet members.

The plane that would use the CFM engines is scheduled to go into passenger service in 2021.

China, aviation experts say, has been able to make most of the individual components for advanced jet aircraft. But the bigger challenge is integrating complicated technologies into complex mechanical and digital systems for engines and avionics.

That integration, they say, is more difficult to build or reverse engineer, and copy.

But officials in the Trump administration and elsewhere fear that China might eventually develop the ability to reverse engineer G.E.’s technology.

Concerns have risen among officials in the National Security Council, the Defense Department and the State Department about whether the United States should be supporting China’s efforts to develop indigenous aircraft.

Stopping such licenses, however, would be a big financial hit to companies like G.E.

Officials also plan to discuss at the Feb. 28 policy meeting whether to expand the scope of their restrictions on Huawei.

The administration placed the company on a blacklist last May that prevented products made in America from being shipped to the country. But many of Huawei’s suppliers are global companies, and companies like Micron and Qualcomm instead switched to selling the Chinese company products from their overseas operations.

The rule change would clamp down on shipments of products made overseas with American components, so that only foreign-made products with less than 10 percent of American parts could be shipped to the company, down from 25 percent of specific types of restricted content before.

Some officials in the Defense Department had pushed back against those changes, arguing that they could undermine American technological development by cutting down on a vast source of revenue that the tech industry depends on to fund its research and development. The American military buys much of the technology that goes into military devices from the private sector.

But recently, other Pentagon officials including Mark T. Esper, the defense secretary, and John C. Rood, the under secretary of defense for policy, spoke up to overrule those objections, with the support of some officials in the Commerce Department.

On Friday, Senator Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, introduced legislation that would accomplish the same change.

“We know Huawei is supported and controlled by the communist regime in Beijing, which continues to violate human rights and steal our data, technology and intellectual property,” he said. “Companies in the United States should not be allowed to sell to Huawei, and my legislation will further restrict their ability.”

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.

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A Presidency Increasingly Guided by Suspicion and Distrust

Westlake Legal Group 15dc-trump-facebookJumbo A Presidency Increasingly Guided by Suspicion and Distrust United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Richard Hofstadter Presidents and Presidency (US) Presidential Election of 2020 paranoia impeachment D'Antonio, Michael

WASHINGTON — President Trump suggested in recent days that he had, in fact, learned a lesson from his now-famous telephone call with Ukraine’s president that ultimately led to his impeachment: Too many people are listening to his phone calls.

“When you call a foreign leader, people listen,” he observed on Geraldo Rivera’s radio show. “I may end the practice entirely. I may end it entirely.”

Mr. Trump has always been convinced that he is surrounded by people who cannot be trusted. But in the 10 days since he was acquitted by the Senate, he has grown more vocal about it and turned paranoia into policy, purging his White House of more career officials, bringing back loyalists and tightening the circle around him to a smaller and more faithful coterie of confidants.

The impeachment case against Mr. Trump, built largely on the testimony of officials who actually worked for him, reinforced his view that the government is full of leakers, plotters, whistle-blowers and traitors. Career professionals who worked in government before he arrived are viewed as “Obama holdovers” even if they were there long before President Barack Obama. Testifying under subpoena was, Mr. Trump has made clear, “insubordinate.”

The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., said on Twitter after the acquittal that the investigation was useful, in its own way, because it made it easier “unearthing who all needed to be fired.” The president and his staff have increasingly equated disloyalty to him with disloyalty to the nation. All of which makes for a volatile eight months ahead as Mr. Trump fights a rear-guard battle with his own government while facing off against Democrats on the campaign trail to win a second term.

“I think he feels like the people are out to get him, going overboard. I mean just put yourself in his shoes,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a staunch ally, told reporters this past week as the president railed on Twitter against Justice Department prosecutors. “There’s just a general frustration that the system is — there’s a double standard in the media and actually in the law.”

In the last week and a half, Mr. Trump has pushed out two witnesses who testified in the House inquiry, stripped a nomination from an official he blamed for being insufficiently loyal and assailed prosecutors, a judge and even the jury forewoman in the case of his friend Roger J. Stone Jr.

His national security adviser has just finished transferring more than 50 career professionals out of the White House and back to their home agencies. The president has brought back two of his earliest and most trusted aides, Hope Hicks and Johnny McEntee, as he retreats into a cocoon of his original 2016 campaign team. And more personnel moves are likely in the days to come.

Mr. Trump’s personal loyalty test now extends not to whether someone has worked in his White House since his inauguration, but to whether someone was part of his 2016 campaign and there from the beginning, according to interviews with more than a half-dozen administration officials and advisers to the president. His decision to turn the Office of Presidential Personnel over to Mr. McEntee, a 29-year-old aide who was once ordered marched out of the White House by John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff at the time, was born out of concern about who is surrounding him, people familiar with the move said.

While some officials cited a lack of responsiveness from officials working in the personnel office, others said that Mr. Trump had taken to blaming them for appointments that he made, on the advice of other advisers. That included Gordon D. Sondland, the Republican donor he appointed ambassador to the European Union who became a key witness in the impeachment inquiry and has now been dismissed. It also included John R. Bolton, his former national security adviser, who plans to publish a book next month revealing Mr. Trump’s machinations about Ukraine.

In private conversations, Mr. Trump has complained bitterly that none of his enemies have been criminally charged, citing James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, and his onetime deputy, Andrew G. McCabe. Mr. Bolton in particular has been a source of his anger in several conversations, according to people familiar with what the president has said. He has accused Mr. Bolton of betraying him, and made clear his anger extends to anyone he believes helped Mr. Bolton.

Mr. Trump’s suggestion that he may bar government officials from listening into his phone calls with foreign leaders would reverse decades of practice in the White House. Presidents traditionally have multiple aides from the National Security Council and State Department monitor foreign leader calls to help interpret their meaning, record any agreements and inform relevant parts of government.

Mr. Trump, however, felt burned early on when transcripts of his calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia were leaked to The Washington Post. During subsequent conversations with foreign leaders, he sometimes kicked out aides for more private talks and in the case of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia even demanded that his own interpreter turn over notes of the discussion.

“He knows that anything even reasonably controversial out of his mouth, on the phone or off, will be reported out and construed in the most evil way possible,” Mr. Rivera, a friend of the president’s who interviewed him for his Cleveland radio show, said on Saturday. “As a result, he indicated to me that he’s dramatically scaling back” the number of people “looped into a state call.”

Going back to his days in the real estate business, Mr. Trump has long considered suspicion a key to success. “Be paranoid,” he advised in a motivational seminar in 2000. “Now that sounds terrible. But you have to realize that people, sadly, sadly, are very vicious. You think we’re so different from the lions in the jungle? I don’t know.”

Nor is presidential paranoia a new phenomenon even as Mr. Trump seems to have elevated it to a guiding philosophy of his White House. From Thomas Jefferson to Franklin D. Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy, other presidents turned at times to unseemly and even ruthless methods against their enemies like illegal wiretapping. Probably no previous presidents were as paranoid as Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon and in the latter case it helped bring down his presidency.

“The paranoid style is an old and recurrent phenomenon in our public life which has been frequently linked with movements of suspicious discontent,” as Richard Hofstadter, the famed midcentury American historian, wrote in his landmark 1964 essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” In Mr. Trump’s case, it connects with supporters suspicious of the elite.

John A. Farrell, a Nixon biographer, said most other presidents managed to contain or disguise their paranoid elements, but it drove Johnson and Nixon to extremes that were ultimately self-destructive. Mr. Trump, he said, sees no need to hide it.

“He has responded to criticism, opposition and other curbs on his power with a vulgar energy and the vile Nixonian strategy that making Americans hate each other is a potent way to seize and secure power,” Mr. Farrell said. “It is no accident that a president acting this way comes from a chain of influences that includes Roy Cohn and Roger Stone.”

Mr. Trump’s advisers and defenders turn to the old nostrum — just because he may be paranoid does not mean people are not out to get him. The relentless investigations against him, the Trump-bashing text messages by F.B.I. officials, the excesses of the surveillance warrant on a former campaign adviser, the longtime lawyer-fixer who turned against him, the whistle-blower who took his concerns to House Democrats, all of it, they said, has contributed to an understandable defensiveness.

“Trump came to office with an almost pathological distrust of others and an irresistible impulse to attack any perceived threat,” said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University who testified against impeachment last year before the House Judiciary Committee. “The well-documented bias in the F.B.I. and Justice Department against Trump fuels his suspicions and tendency to counterpunch. Both his perceptions and his responses became more exaggerated.

“However,” Mr. Turley added, “his suspicions were validated to some degree in these investigations — something that many refuse to acknowledge. He came to Washington with an agenda that was highly antagonistic and threatening to the status quo. It was immediately clear that he faced deep opposition to his agenda.”

As with so many aspects of his personality, the seeds of Mr. Trump’s reaction may lie in his biography. Michael D’Antonio, the author of “The Truth About Trump,” recalled that the future president was raised by a father who taught him that all of life is a battle for power and that he should be a “killer.” Mr. Trump, Mr. D’Antonio said, came to see others as useful for his own purposes or obstacles to be crushed.

“In this way, he’s forcing us all to live in the world that once existed only in Trump’s mind and in his close circle,” Mr. D’Antonio said. “Here, in Trump’s America, we’re to believe that all institutions are corrupt. No one is to be trusted. Those who would speak against him hesitate. Words of protest and revelations that might be made by whistle-blowers are stifled by fear. This is the world Trump has always inhabited and he wants us to live there too.”

Peter Baker reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York.

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How Trump’s Relationship With Barr Got So Complicated

Westlake Legal Group 14dc-trump-sub-facebookJumbo How Trump’s Relationship With Barr Got So Complicated United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Justice Department Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — When President Trump learned that the Justice Department was dropping a case against a former F.B.I. official who he considered one of his longtime enemies, his immediate response was anger. As he flipped on the television Friday and watched how the story was being covered, that anger only mounted.

Since taking office, Mr. Trump has searched for an attorney general who would function much as Roy Cohn did for him as his personal lawyer and fixer in the 1970s — a warrior committed to protecting him and going after his foes. The president thought he had found that person in William P. Barr. But now, people close to Mr. Trump say, he is not so sure.

The president was cheered this week when Mr. Barr moved to reduce the sentence of a convicted presidential friend, only to be shocked when the attorney general publicly called on Mr. Trump to stop tweeting about it. And after his livid reaction to the Justice Department’s decision to drop a separate case, which he heard about without any advance notice, he learned that Mr. Barr was intervening more favorably on behalf of another presidential ally.

The whipsaw events of recent days have bewildered much of Washington, including some of the people around the president and his attorney general. Once seen as a lock step partnership, it now may be the most complicated relationship in town. The six blocks between the White House and the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building have become a political buffer zone and no one can be entirely sure what comes next.

Critics assume it is all a Kabuki dance, cynical theater meant to preserve Mr. Barr’s credibility as he executes Mr. Trump’s personal political agenda while pretending to look independent. And it is certainly true that, even now, Mr. Barr continues to demonstrate a willingness to personally take charge of cases with Mr. Trump’s interests at stake.

But insiders insist the tension is real, with potentially profound consequences for an administration that has redrawn the lines at the intersection of politics and law enforcement. Barely a week after being acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial, Mr. Trump is demanding that some of the people whose actions he believes led to his troubles be charged, convicted and sent to prison, and it is not clear that even Mr. Barr is willing or able to go as far as the president wants.

In his only comment on the matter on Friday, Mr. Trump pushed back against Mr. Barr a day after the attorney general told ABC News that the president was making it “impossible for me to do my job” by tweeting about criminal cases and declared that he was “not going to be bullied.”

Mr. Trump cited another comment Mr. Barr made in the same interview affirming that the president had never actually asked for any specific actions in a criminal case. “This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!” Mr. Trump added. The “so far” in there, of course, hung online as a kind of sword of Damocles waiting to fall.

Only in the hours after that tweet did the news emerge that Mr. Barr’s department was dropping a case against Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy F.B.I. director blamed by Mr. Trump for his role in the investigation into Russian election interference. Two people close to the matter said the Justice Department did not give the president a heads up about the decision.

Then came the more welcome news for the Oval Office that Mr. Barr had ordered a re-examination of the case of Michael T. Flynn, the president’s former national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about his contacts with Russia. The new review raised the question of whether Mr. Flynn will actually go to prison.

Mr. Trump has bitterly decried “what Flynn has gone through” while believing that Mr. McCabe has unfairly walked, people close to him said. The president on Friday was angrier about the decision not to prosecute Mr. McCabe than he was at Mr. Barr’s comments in his interview, the people said.

Mr. Trump made no mention of any of those newer developments on Twitter or in several encounters with reporters before flying to Florida for the weekend. But he sometimes waits to publicly respond to such news until after an evening watching Fox News or hearing from friends.

On the fifth floor of the Justice Department, Mr. Barr’s team braced for what they feared would be a stream of critiques and humiliations from the president in what one predicted could be a death by a thousand cuts, not unlike what happened to the last attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who was tormented by the president after recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

Mr. Sessions, like other cabinet members, stoically absorbed Mr. Trump’s invectives, rarely standing up for himself or his employees, even as the president paralyzed, undercut and neutered him. Like other original cabinet members, he left the administration publicly humiliated and vastly diminished.

Mr. Barr faced many risks in speaking out on ABC, according to people close to him. But he knew that no amount of public fealty would stave off a public drubbing or even an abrupt dismissal.

For now, though, there is no expectation at the Justice Department or the White House of an escalation to that level. While Lou Dobbs on Fox Business Network excoriated Mr. Barr for rebuking the president, other Fox hosts who have Mr. Trump’s ear, like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, were generally supportive of the attorney general. Tucker Carlson, another trusted television personality, treated Mr. Barr’s ABC interview like a nonevent on his Fox News show Thursday night.

Ms. Ingraham, who is close to Mr. Barr, said the attorney general was not breaking with the president but, in effect, reassuring him that the Justice Department’s leadership would carry out Mr. Trump’s wishes to clean up what they see as the corruption of his predecessor and that the tweets were neither necessary nor helpful.

“Barr was basically telling Trump, ‘Don’t worry, I got this,’” Ms. Ingraham said on her show.

Some of the attorney general’s critics saw it the same way. Nine Democratic senators, including two presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, sent a letter to Mr. Barr on Friday calling on him to resign.

His protestations of independence were not credible, they wrote, given his department’s behavior. “It demonstrates that you lied to Congress during your confirmation hearing when you stated that you would ‘keep the enforcement process sacrosanct from political influence,’ and it reveals your unwillingness or inability to maintain the integrity of the D.O.J. and to uphold justice and the rule of law,” the senators wrote.

Ms. Warren and three other Democratic senators also unveiled legislation barring an attorney general and other top Justice Department officials appointed by a president from participating in matters related to the president, his family or his campaign associates.

Although Mr. Trump and Mr. Barr both said the president has not directly asked for any specific inquiries, the president has long pressured law enforcement officials both publicly and privately to open investigations into political rivals and to drop inquiries into him or his associates.

Since Watergate, past presidents in both parties have had a tradition in place aimed at preventing political influence from the White House on Justice Department investigations, especially criminal inquiries that involved administration officials or friends of the president.

“It tries to prevent the interference by forcing all White House contact to go through a funnel at the top of the Justice Department,” said John Yoo, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley who served in the Justice Department under President George W. Bush.

Mr. Trump’s first White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, issued similar rules in a Jan. 27, 2017, memo that prohibited White House officials from communicating with most Justice Department officials about “ongoing or contemplated cases.” Only the president, vice president or White House counsel were allowed to initiate such communications, Mr. McGahn wrote, and they must be directed to the attorney general or three other top Justice Department officials.

“In order to ensure that D.O.J. exercises its investigatory and prosecutorial functions free from the fact or appearance of improper political influence, these rules must be strictly followed,” Mr. McGahn wrote.

But scholars said Mr. Trump is right that he has the power to intervene if he chooses. Under Article II of the Constitution, any president has the authority to directly oversee criminal cases carried out by the Justice Department. There are no statutes that limit the contact between the White House and the Justice Department.

“The president can do what he wants,” said Bruce Green, a law professor at Fordham University. “His only restraints are self imposed. There are no legislative restraints.”

The only real recourse, he added, would be impeachment. “If a president attempted to misuse the Justice Department and its criminal justice power for private ends, that’s an abuse of power that is potentially impeachable,” Mr. Green said. “We can guess in 2020 how that would play out.”

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York, and Katie Benner and Michael Crowley from Washington.

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Andrew McCabe Escapes Charges While Barr Tightens Control on Flynn Case

Westlake Legal Group 14dc-justice1-facebookJumbo Andrew McCabe Escapes Charges While Barr Tightens Control on Flynn Case United States Politics and Government United States Attorneys Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mueller, Robert S III McCabe, Andrew G Justice Department Flynn, Michael T Federal Bureau of Investigation Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — While Attorney General William P. Barr asserted his independence from the White House this week, he has also been quietly intervening in a series of politically charged cases, including against Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Mr. Barr installed a phalanx of outside lawyers to re-examine national security cases with the possibility of overruling career prosecutors, a highly unusual move that could prompt more accusations of Justice Department politicization. The case against Mr. Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. in the Russia investigation, is a cause célèbre for Mr. Trump and his supporters, who say the retired general was ensnared in a “deep state” plot against the president.

The disclosures came as Mr. Trump made clear on Friday that he believes he has free rein over the Justice Department and its cases, rejecting Mr. Barr’s public demand of a day earlier that the president stop commenting on such cases.

Citing Mr. Barr’s assertion in an interview on Thursday that Mr. Trump had never asked him to act in a criminal case, the president declared on Twitter: “This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!”

Hours later, the Justice Department told defense lawyers for Andrew G. McCabe, the former acting F.B.I. director whom Mr. Trump has vilified for his role in the Russia case, that Mr. McCabe would not be charged in connection with a leak case, ending a nearly two-year criminal investigation.

“We consider the matter closed,” the department wrote to Mr. McCabe’s lawyers.

Together, the developments send conflicting signals at a time when the Justice Department’s independence from political interference by the White House has come under sharp scrutiny.

Mr. Barr publicly challenged Mr. Trump after the turmoil this week over the case against Roger J. Stone Jr., Mr. Trump’s longtime friend and political adviser, threatened to erupt into a full-blown crisis.

After prosecutors recommended on Monday a seven- to nine-year sentence for Mr. Stone on seven felony convictions, the president criticized the move. Senior law enforcement officials overruled the career prosecutors the next day, immediately prompting accusations of political interference.

Though Mr. Barr said that he had intended to intervene to ask a judge to impose a more lenient sentence, he also said that Mr. Trump had complicated his plans by creating the specter of political tampering and that the president’s commentary was making his job “impossible.”

The four prosecutors involved in the case out of the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington quit it.

Mr. Stone’s lawyers filed a sealed motion on Friday seeking a new trial, which could delay his sentencing scheduled for next week. It came a day after Mr. Trump alleged juror bias in Mr. Stone’s trial.

Mr. Barr installed the outside lawyers at the start of February and put them in a position to second-guess decisions on those cases, people familiar with the office’s workings said. Among the outsiders were Jeff Jensen, whom Mr. Trump appointed as the United States attorney in St. Louis in 2017, and aides to Jeffrey A. Rosen, the deputy attorney general.

Mr. Barr’s intervention was described by multiple people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the delicate internal deliberations. The Justice Department declined to comment.

The attorney general has also recently installed a personal aide, Timothy Shea, as interim U.S. attorney in Washington. Mr. Barr had previously maneuvered to get the former U.S. attorney there, Jessie K. Liu, to leave her position earlier than she had planned, creating a vacancy.

The outside officials have begun grilling line prosecutors in the Washington office about various cases — some of which are publicly known, and some of which are not — including investigative steps, prosecutorial actions and why they took them, according to the people.

Among the most politically charged is the case against Mr. Flynn, which Mr. Jensen is said to now be overseeing. Mr. Flynn’s case had been developed during the Russia investigation by the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and was handed off to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington after Mr. Mueller completed his investigation.

Mr. Flynn’s defense lawyers, led by Sidney Powell, had urged Mr. Barr to intervene in the case, accusing the special counsel’s prosecutors of being corrupt. In June, shortly before she officially became Mr. Flynn’s lawyer, Ms. Powell wrote to Mr. Barr to suggest that new prosecutors review the case, expressing her “fervent hope that you and the Department of Justice will use this case to restore integrity and trust in the department.”

Though the president fired Mr. Flynn, Mr. Trump has long derided the case against him, wishing him luck on Twitter, praising Ms. Powell and calling the case a “disgrace.”

Ms. Powell has hurled waves of unsubstantiated charges of prosecutorial misconduct, hoping to derail the case against her client. The judge in the case, Emmet G. Sullivan, rejected them and refused to hold prosecutors in contempt as Ms. Powell demanded, later prompting Mr. Flynn to seek to withdraw his guilty plea. In the latest salvo, prosecutors again slapped down Ms. Powell’s accusations of government malfeasance.

“The defendant relies on allegations that do not pertain to his case, that the court already rejected, and that have no relevance to his false statements to the F.B.I.,” prosecutors wrote in a filing on Wednesday.

That filing provided no public indication that Mr. Jensen was playing a role behind the scenes in the case, or whether he had reviewed its text and permitted the prosecutors to file it.

Prosecutors had initially sought zero to six months in prison for Mr. Flynn, then softened their tone and said they would not oppose the lowest end of that range — probation instead of prison. That shift came in late January, before the change in the Washington office’s leadership.

Amid the heightened scrutiny of the Justice Department, the timing of officials’ decision to end their long-running investigation into Mr. McCabe without charges was striking.

Prosecutors in the Washington office told Mr. McCabe’s lawyers of their decision on Friday morning, the lawyers, Michael R. Bromwich and David Schertler, said in a statement.

“We said at the outset of the criminal investigation, almost two years ago, that if the facts and the law determined the result, no charges would be brought,” they said. “We are pleased that Andrew McCabe and his family can go on with their lives without this cloud hanging over them.”

Mr. McCabe’s case centered on whether he made a false statement to the department’s inspector general about a disclosure to reporters regarding an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Mr. McCabe, working through the F.B.I. press office, had authorized a spokesman and a bureau lawyer to speak to a reporter to rebut allegations that he had slowed the inquiry, when in fact he had pushed to protect it.

Mr. McCabe’s lawyers had denied that he intentionally lied to the inspector general investigators. In September, Justice Department officials told Mr. McCabe’s lawyers that they had rejected a last-ditch appeal to not charge him. Why the case lingered for months without a decision is unclear.

Also on Friday, Judge Reggie B. Walton of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, who is presiding over a lawsuit seeking F.B.I. documents related to Mr. McCabe’s firing in 2018, unsealed the transcript of a September closed-door meeting with prosecutors.

Noting that prosecutors had said weeks earlier that a decision about charging Mr. McCabe could come “literally within days,” Judge Walton chastised them for stringing along Mr. McCabe and noted Mr. Trump’s comments about Mr. McCabe with disapproval, saying they created the appearance of a “banana republic.”

“I don’t think people like the fact that you got somebody at the top basically trying to dictate whether somebody should be prosecuted,” the judge said, adding that even if Mr. Trump’s moves are “not influencing the ultimate decision, I think there are a lot of people on the outside who perceive that there is undo, inappropriate pressure being brought to bear.”

Reporting was contributed by Katie Benner from Washington, Maggie Haberman from New York and Matt Apuzzo from Brussels.

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Andrew McCabe Escapes Charges While Barr Tightens Control on Flynn Case

Westlake Legal Group 14dc-justice1-facebookJumbo Andrew McCabe Escapes Charges While Barr Tightens Control on Flynn Case United States Politics and Government United States Attorneys Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mueller, Robert S III McCabe, Andrew G Justice Department Flynn, Michael T Federal Bureau of Investigation Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — While Attorney General William P. Barr asserted his independence from the White House this week, he has also been quietly intervening in a series of politically charged cases, including against Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Mr. Barr installed a phalanx of outside lawyers to re-examine national security cases with the possibility of overruling career prosecutors, a highly unusual move that could prompt more accusations of Justice Department politicization. The case against Mr. Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. in the Russia investigation, is a cause célèbre for Mr. Trump and his supporters, who say the retired general was ensnared in a “deep state” plot against the president.

The disclosures came as Mr. Trump made clear on Friday that he believes he has free rein over the Justice Department and its cases, rejecting Mr. Barr’s public demand of a day earlier that the president stop commenting on such cases.

Citing Mr. Barr’s assertion in an interview on Thursday that Mr. Trump had never asked him to act in a criminal case, the president declared on Twitter: “This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!”

Hours later, the Justice Department told defense lawyers for Andrew G. McCabe, the former acting F.B.I. director whom Mr. Trump has vilified for his role in the Russia case, that Mr. McCabe would not be charged in connection with a leak case, ending a nearly two-year criminal investigation.

“We consider the matter closed,” the department wrote to Mr. McCabe’s lawyers.

Together, the developments send conflicting signals at a time when the Justice Department’s independence from political interference by the White House has come under sharp scrutiny.

Mr. Barr publicly challenged Mr. Trump after the turmoil this week over the case against Roger J. Stone Jr., Mr. Trump’s longtime friend and political adviser, threatened to erupt into a full-blown crisis.

After prosecutors recommended on Monday a seven- to nine-year sentence for Mr. Stone on seven felony convictions, the president criticized the move. Senior law enforcement officials overruled the career prosecutors the next day, immediately prompting accusations of political interference.

Though Mr. Barr said that he had intended to intervene to ask a judge to impose a more lenient sentence, he also said that Mr. Trump had complicated his plans by creating the specter of political tampering and that the president’s commentary was making his job “impossible.”

The four prosecutors involved in the case out of the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington quit it.

Mr. Stone’s lawyers filed a sealed motion on Friday seeking a new trial, which could delay his sentencing scheduled for next week. It came a day after Mr. Trump alleged juror bias in Mr. Stone’s trial.

Mr. Barr installed the outside lawyers at the start of February and put them in a position to second-guess decisions on those cases, people familiar with the office’s workings said. Among the outsiders were Jeff Jensen, whom Mr. Trump appointed as the United States attorney in St. Louis in 2017, and aides to Jeffrey A. Rosen, the deputy attorney general.

Mr. Barr’s intervention was described by multiple people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the delicate internal deliberations. The Justice Department declined to comment.

The attorney general has also recently installed a personal aide, Timothy Shea, as interim U.S. attorney in Washington. Mr. Barr had previously maneuvered to get the former U.S. attorney there, Jessie K. Liu, to leave her position earlier than she had planned, creating a vacancy.

The outside officials have begun grilling line prosecutors in the Washington office about various cases — some of which are publicly known, and some of which are not — including investigative steps, prosecutorial actions and why they took them, according to the people.

Among the most politically charged is the case against Mr. Flynn, which Mr. Jensen is said to now be overseeing. Mr. Flynn’s case had been developed during the Russia investigation by the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and was handed off to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington after Mr. Mueller completed his investigation.

Mr. Flynn’s defense lawyers, led by Sidney Powell, had urged Mr. Barr to intervene in the case, accusing the special counsel’s prosecutors of being corrupt. In June, shortly before she officially became Mr. Flynn’s lawyer, Ms. Powell wrote to Mr. Barr to suggest that new prosecutors review the case, expressing her “fervent hope that you and the Department of Justice will use this case to restore integrity and trust in the department.”

Though the president fired Mr. Flynn, Mr. Trump has long derided the case against him, wishing him luck on Twitter, praising Ms. Powell and calling the case a “disgrace.”

Ms. Powell has hurled waves of unsubstantiated charges of prosecutorial misconduct, hoping to derail the case against her client. The judge in the case, Emmet G. Sullivan, rejected them and refused to hold prosecutors in contempt as Ms. Powell demanded, later prompting Mr. Flynn to seek to withdraw his guilty plea. In the latest salvo, prosecutors again slapped down Ms. Powell’s accusations of government malfeasance.

“The defendant relies on allegations that do not pertain to his case, that the court already rejected, and that have no relevance to his false statements to the F.B.I.,” prosecutors wrote in a filing on Wednesday.

That filing provided no public indication that Mr. Jensen was playing a role behind the scenes in the case, or whether he had reviewed its text and permitted the prosecutors to file it.

Prosecutors had initially sought zero to six months in prison for Mr. Flynn, then softened their tone and said they would not oppose the lowest end of that range — probation instead of prison. That shift came in late January, before the change in the Washington office’s leadership.

Amid the heightened scrutiny of the Justice Department, the timing of officials’ decision to end their long-running investigation into Mr. McCabe without charges was striking.

Prosecutors in the Washington office told Mr. McCabe’s lawyers of their decision on Friday morning, the lawyers, Michael R. Bromwich and David Schertler, said in a statement.

“We said at the outset of the criminal investigation, almost two years ago, that if the facts and the law determined the result, no charges would be brought,” they said. “We are pleased that Andrew McCabe and his family can go on with their lives without this cloud hanging over them.”

Mr. McCabe’s case centered on whether he made a false statement to the department’s inspector general about a disclosure to reporters regarding an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Mr. McCabe, working through the F.B.I. press office, had authorized a spokesman and a bureau lawyer to speak to a reporter to rebut allegations that he had slowed the inquiry, when in fact he had pushed to protect it.

Mr. McCabe’s lawyers had denied that he intentionally lied to the inspector general investigators. In September, Justice Department officials told Mr. McCabe’s lawyers that they had rejected a last-ditch appeal to not charge him. Why the case lingered for months without a decision is unclear.

Also on Friday, Judge Reggie B. Walton of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, who is presiding over a lawsuit seeking F.B.I. documents related to Mr. McCabe’s firing in 2018, unsealed the transcript of a September closed-door meeting with prosecutors.

Noting that prosecutors had said weeks earlier that a decision about charging Mr. McCabe could come “literally within days,” Judge Walton chastised them for stringing along Mr. McCabe and noted Mr. Trump’s comments about Mr. McCabe with disapproval, saying they created the appearance of a “banana republic.”

“I don’t think people like the fact that you got somebody at the top basically trying to dictate whether somebody should be prosecuted,” the judge said, adding that even if Mr. Trump’s moves are “not influencing the ultimate decision, I think there are a lot of people on the outside who perceive that there is undo, inappropriate pressure being brought to bear.”

Reporting was contributed by Katie Benner from Washington, Maggie Haberman from New York and Matt Apuzzo from Brussels.

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Andrew McCabe, Ex-F.B.I. Official, Will Not Be Charged in Lying Case

Westlake Legal Group 00dc-mccabe-facebookJumbo-v2 Andrew McCabe, Ex-F.B.I. Official, Will Not Be Charged in Lying Case United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates McCabe, Andrew G Liu, Jessie Kong Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Conflicts of Interest Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy F.B.I. director and a frequent target of President Trump, will not face charges in an investigation into whether he lied to investigators about a media leak, his defense team said on Friday.

The decision by prosecutors in Washington ends a case that had left Mr. McCabe in legal limbo for nearly two years. It also appears to be a sign that Attorney General William P. Barr wants to show that the Justice Department is independent from Mr. Trump: The notification came a day after Mr. Barr publicly challenged the president to stop attacking law enforcement officials on Twitter and said the criticisms were making his job more difficult.

The prosecutors informed Mr. McCabe’s lawyers of their decision by phone on Friday morning, the lawyers, Michael R. Bromwich and David Schertler, said in a statement.

“We said at the outset of the criminal investigation, almost two years ago, that if the facts and the law determined the result, no charges would be brought,” they said. “We are pleased that Andrew McCabe and his family can go on with their lives without this cloud hanging over them.”

The president’s relentless criticism of the Justice Department likely complicated the prosecution of Mr. McCabe. His supporters viewed the investigation as politically motivated and inextricably tainted by Mr. Trump’s relentless attacks.

The lack of charges is likely to anger Mr. Trump, who has long believed he was targeted illegally by Mr. McCabe and other former senior F.B.I. officials who opened the investigation in 2016 into whether his campaign conspired with Russia’s election interference operation.

Mr. Trump has most recently attacked the Justice Department and prosecutors for asking for a stiff prison sentence against Roger J. Stone Jr., the president’s longtime friend and former adviser.

The investigation into Mr. McCabe grew out of findings from the Justice Department inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz. He faulted Mr. McCabe in 2018 for misleading investigators when asked about the disclosure of information in 2016 to a Wall Street Journal reporter about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

Mr. Horowitz referred his findings to prosecutors in Washington, who investigated Mr. McCabe, presenting evidence to a grand jury.

Mr. McCabe’s lawyers have vigorously denied that he intentionally lied to Mr. Horowitz’s investigators. In a bid to convince law enforcement officials that they had no case, Mr. McCabe’s lawyers met in August with the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, and the former United States attorney for the District of Columbia, Jessie K. Liu, whose prosecutors handled the case.

In September, the grand jury was recalled after going months without meeting but left the courthouse without revealing any signs of an impending indictment. The next day, Justice Department officials told Mr. McCabe’s lawyers that they had rejected the last-ditch appeal to not charge him.

Hints of the case’s weakness had emerged. One prosecutor assigned to the case recently left, an unusual step so close to a potential indictment. Another departed for a private law firm and has expressed reservations about how the case was handled.

A key witness testified that Mr. McCabe had no motive to lie because he was authorized as the F.B.I.’s deputy director to speak to the media, so he would not have had to hide any discussions with reporters. Another important witness testified he could not immediately remember how the leak unfolded. Both would have been crucial to any prosecution.

Additionally, people who are charged with lying to the F.B.I. are typically accused of committing the offense in the course of a criminal investigation, not an administrative inquiry. For example, Mr. Horowitz determined last year that a senior Justice Department official committed wrongdoing by viewing pornography on his work computers and then providing false statements to investigators, but prosecutors declined to bring charges.

Mr. McCabe’s lawyers made the case to Mr. Rosen that other former officials were not prosecuted after they were caught lying to the inspector general’s investigators.

Mr. McCabe has been a consistent foil for Mr. Trump, who repeatedly attacked Mr. McCabe’s wife, Jill, over her failed 2015 campaign for the Virginia Senate, which received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from a political committee run by a longtime ally of the Clintons.

Mr. Trump seized on her campaign as proof that Mr. McCabe wanted to take him down while protecting Hillary Clinton, whom the F.B.I. had investigated for her use of a private email server.

When the president dismissed James B. Comey as F.B.I. director in 2017, he said it was in part for his decision to allow Mr. McCabe to be involved in the Clinton investigation, according to excerpts from a draft letter from the president to Mr. Comey that were read to The New York Times.

“Few events have represented a more profound breach of public trust than your decision to allow the Clinton email investigation to be overseen by deputy F.B.I. director Andrew McCabe, whose wife Jill McCabe received approximately $700,000 in campaign donations steered to her by a top Clinton surrogate,” Mr. Trump wrote. “McCabe should not have been allowed to work on this matter.”

Mr. Trump’s aides intervened and sent Mr. Comey a more toned-down letter explaining his dismissal.

But little evidence bears out the president’s view of Mr. McCabe. He oversaw the Clinton investigation as the bureau’s deputy director only after Mrs. McCabe lost her race, and the Wall Street Journal article about Mrs. Clinton late in the presidential campaign was more damaging to her than helpful.

In the months after the inspector general report, the president pushed for the firing of Mr. McCabe. “F.B.I. Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits,” Mr. Trump tweeted in December 2017. “90 days to go?!!!”

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions dismissed Mr. McCabe hours before he was eligible for those benefits, a move many saw as vindictive. It was also a possible conflict of interest because Mr. McCabe had opened an investigation into Mr. Sessions after receiving a criminal referral from Congress suggesting that he had lied to lawmakers about his contacts with a Russian diplomat. The case was later closed.

Mr. McCabe spent 21 years in the F.B.I., beginning his career in New York investigating Russian organized crime. When terrorists struck the twin towers in the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. McCabe deployed as a bureau SWAT team member. He later oversaw major international terrorism investigations and rose to run the bureau’s national security division and its Washington field office. He was promoted to deputy director in January 2016 after the Clinton email investigation was underway.

After Mr. Comey was fired, Mr. McCabe took over the F.B.I. as acting director during a period of intense turmoil at the top of the bureau. The F.B.I. began investigating whether Mr. Comey’s firing constituted obstruction of justice and opened a counterintelligence inquiry to determine whether Mr. Trump was being directed by Russia.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, took over the investigation, concluding that he had insufficient evidence to charge Mr. Trump or any of his associates with secretly conspiring with the Russians. Mr. Mueller also declined to say whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice, citing Justice Department policy against indicting sitting presidents, but laid out evidence of attempts by the president to impede the inquiry.

Rancor between the president and Mr. McCabe only grew after the publication of his book, “The Threat,” in which he accused Mr. Trump of terrorizing his family and punishing him for the Russia investigation.

“He went after me because the F.B.I. opened the Russia case, which led to the appointment of the special counsel,” Mr. McCabe wrote. Mr. Mueller’s investigation raised “questions about the legitimacy of his presence in the White House — questions that prompt fear” in Mr. Trump.

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Barr Installs Outside Prosecutor to Review Case Against Michael Flynn, Ex-Trump Adviser

Westlake Legal Group 14dc-flynn-facebookJumbo Barr Installs Outside Prosecutor to Review Case Against Michael Flynn, Ex-Trump Adviser United States Politics and Government United States Attorneys Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Shea, Timothy J (1960- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Rosen, Jeffrey Adam (1958- ) Mueller, Robert S III Liu, Jessie Kong Justice Department Flynn, Michael T Ethics and Official Misconduct Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William P. Barr has assigned an outside prosecutor to scrutinize the criminal case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, according to people familiar with the matter.

The review is highly unusual and could trigger more accusations of political interference by top Justice Department officials into the work of career prosecutors.

Mr. Barr has also installed a handful of outside prosecutors to broadly review the handling of other politically sensitive national-security cases in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, the people said. The team includes at least one prosecutor from the office of the United States attorney in St. Louis, Jeff Jensen, who is handling the Flynn matter, as well as prosecutors from the office of the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen.

Over the past two weeks, the outside prosecutors have begun grilling line prosecutors in the Washington office about various cases — some public, some not — including investigative steps, prosecutorial actions and why they took them, according to the people. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive internal deliberations.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

The intervention has contributed a turbulent period for the prosecutors’ office that oversees the seat of the federal government and some of the most politically sensitive investigations and cases — some involving President Trump’s friends and allies, and some his critics and adversaries.

This week, four line prosecutors quit the case against Roger Stone Jr., Mr. Trump’s close adviser, after Mr. Barr overruled their recommendation that a judge sentence him within sentencing guidelines. Mr. Barr’s intervention was preceded by criticism of the original sentencing recommendation by Mr. Trump and praised by him afterward, and Mr. Barr on Thursday publicly asked Mr. Trump to stop commenting about the Justice Department.

The moves amounted to imposing a secondary layer of monitoring and control over what career prosecutors have been doing in the Washington office. They are part of a broader turmoil in that office coinciding with Mr. Barr’s recent installation of a close aide, Timothy Shea, as interim United States attorney in the District of Columbia, after Mr. Barr maneuvered out the Senate-confirmed former top prosecutor in the office, Jessie K. Liu.

Mr. Flynn’s case was first brought by the special counsel’s office, who agreed to a plea deal on a charge of lying to investigators in exchange for his cooperation, before the Washington office took over the case when the special counsel shut down after concluding its investigation into Russia’s election interference.

Mr. Flynn’s case has been bogged down in recent months by his lawyers’ unfounded claims of prosecutorial misconduct; a judge has already rejected those accusations. Mr. Flynn then asked to withdraw his guilty plea, which he first entered in December 2017. His case has become a cause célèbre for Mr. Trump’s supporters.

On Tuesday, Mr. Barr and Mr. Rosen overruled career prosecutors’ recommendation that a judge sentence Mr. Trump’s friend Roger Stone Jr. to seven to nine years in prison after a jury found him guilty of witness intimidation and several false statements charges, in accordance with standard sentencing guidelines, and insisted on a lower recommendation.

After Mr. Trump complained that the sentence for Mr. Stone — who had refused to cooperate with prosecutors by telling the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, what he knew about Mr. Trump and WikiLeaks — all four career prosecutors quit the case.

Mr. Barr on Thursday gave an interview in which he publicly called on Mr. Trump to stop commenting on the Justice Department, saying it was making it impossible for him to do his job. But Mr. Trump said on Friday he had every right to tell the Justice Department what to do in criminal cases.

President Trump had nominated Ms. Liu for a top Treasury Department position in December, and she initially told her colleagues that she would stay on until her confirmation. But Mr. Barr then asked her to leave early, and she was given a temporary role at the Treasury Department, clearing the way for him to install Mr. Shea in her place.

Charlie Savage and Adam Goldman reported from Washington, and Matt Apuzzo from Brussels. Katie Benner contributed reporting from Washington.

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Andrew McCabe, Ex-F.B.I. Official, Will Not Be Charged in Lying Case

Westlake Legal Group 00dc-mccabe-facebookJumbo-v2 Andrew McCabe, Ex-F.B.I. Official, Will Not Be Charged in Lying Case United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates McCabe, Andrew G Liu, Jessie Kong Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Conflicts of Interest Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy F.B.I. director and a frequent target of President Trump, will not face charges in an investigation into whether he lied to investigators about a media leak, his defense team said on Friday.

The decision by prosecutors in Washington ends a case that had left Mr. McCabe in legal limbo for nearly two years. It also appears to be a sign that Attorney General William P. Barr wants to show that the Justice Department is independent from Mr. Trump: The notification came a day after Mr. Barr publicly challenged the president to stop attacking law enforcement officials on Twitter and said the criticisms were making his job more difficult.

The prosecutors informed Mr. McCabe’s lawyers of their decision by phone on Friday morning, the lawyers, Michael R. Bromwich and David Schertler, said in a statement.

“We said at the outset of the criminal investigation, almost two years ago, that if the facts and the law determined the result, no charges would be brought,” they said. “We are pleased that Andrew McCabe and his family can go on with their lives without this cloud hanging over them.”

The president’s relentless criticism of the Justice Department likely complicated the prosecution of Mr. McCabe. His supporters viewed the investigation as politically motivated and inextricably tainted by Mr. Trump’s relentless attacks.

The lack of charges is likely to anger Mr. Trump, who has long believed he was targeted illegally by Mr. McCabe and other former senior F.B.I. officials who opened the investigation in 2016 into whether his campaign conspired with Russia’s election interference operation.

Mr. Trump has most recently attacked the Justice Department and prosecutors for asking for a stiff prison sentence against Roger J. Stone Jr., the president’s longtime friend and former adviser.

The investigation into Mr. McCabe grew out of findings from the Justice Department inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz. He faulted Mr. McCabe in 2018 for misleading investigators when asked about the disclosure of information in 2016 to a Wall Street Journal reporter about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

Mr. Horowitz referred his findings to prosecutors in Washington, who investigated Mr. McCabe, presenting evidence to a grand jury.

Mr. McCabe’s lawyers have vigorously denied that he intentionally lied to Mr. Horowitz’s investigators. In a bid to convince law enforcement officials that they had no case, Mr. McCabe’s lawyers met in August with the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, and the former United States attorney for the District of Columbia, Jessie K. Liu, whose prosecutors handled the case.

In September, the grand jury was recalled after going months without meeting but left the courthouse without revealing any signs of an impending indictment. The next day, Justice Department officials told Mr. McCabe’s lawyers that they had rejected the last-ditch appeal to not charge him.

Hints of the case’s weakness had emerged. One prosecutor assigned to the case recently left, an unusual step so close to a potential indictment. Another departed for a private law firm and has expressed reservations about how the case was handled.

A key witness testified that Mr. McCabe had no motive to lie because he was authorized as the F.B.I.’s deputy director to speak to the media, so he would not have had to hide any discussions with reporters. Another important witness testified he could not immediately remember how the leak unfolded. Both would have been crucial to any prosecution.

Additionally, people who are charged with lying to the F.B.I. are typically accused of committing the offense in the course of a criminal investigation, not an administrative inquiry. For example, Mr. Horowitz determined last year that a senior Justice Department official committed wrongdoing by viewing pornography on his work computers and then providing false statements to investigators, but prosecutors declined to bring charges.

Mr. McCabe’s lawyers made the case to Mr. Rosen that other former officials were not prosecuted after they were caught lying to the inspector general’s investigators.

Mr. McCabe has been a consistent foil for Mr. Trump, who repeatedly attacked Mr. McCabe’s wife, Jill, over her failed 2015 campaign for the Virginia Senate, which received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from a political committee run by a longtime ally of the Clintons.

Mr. Trump seized on her campaign as proof that Mr. McCabe wanted to take him down while protecting Hillary Clinton, whom the F.B.I. had investigated for her use of a private email server.

When the president dismissed James B. Comey as F.B.I. director in 2017, he said it was in part for his decision to allow Mr. McCabe to be involved in the Clinton investigation, according to excerpts from a draft letter from the president to Mr. Comey that were read to The New York Times.

“Few events have represented a more profound breach of public trust than your decision to allow the Clinton email investigation to be overseen by deputy F.B.I. director Andrew McCabe, whose wife Jill McCabe received approximately $700,000 in campaign donations steered to her by a top Clinton surrogate,” Mr. Trump wrote. “McCabe should not have been allowed to work on this matter.”

Mr. Trump’s aides intervened and sent Mr. Comey a more toned-down letter explaining his dismissal.

But little evidence bears out the president’s view of Mr. McCabe. He oversaw the Clinton investigation as the bureau’s deputy director only after Mrs. McCabe lost her race, and the Wall Street Journal article about Mrs. Clinton late in the presidential campaign was more damaging to her than helpful.

In the months after the inspector general report, the president pushed for the firing of Mr. McCabe. “F.B.I. Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits,” Mr. Trump tweeted in December 2017. “90 days to go?!!!”

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions dismissed Mr. McCabe hours before he was eligible for those benefits, a move many saw as vindictive. It was also a possible conflict of interest because Mr. McCabe had opened an investigation into Mr. Sessions after receiving a criminal referral from Congress suggesting that he had lied to lawmakers about his contacts with a Russian diplomat. The case was later closed.

Mr. McCabe spent 21 years in the F.B.I., beginning his career in New York investigating Russian organized crime. When terrorists struck the twin towers in the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. McCabe deployed as a bureau SWAT team member. He later oversaw major international terrorism investigations and rose to run the bureau’s national security division and its Washington field office. He was promoted to deputy director in January 2016 after the Clinton email investigation was underway.

After Mr. Comey was fired, Mr. McCabe took over the F.B.I. as acting director during a period of intense turmoil at the top of the bureau. The F.B.I. began investigating whether Mr. Comey’s firing constituted obstruction of justice and opened a counterintelligence inquiry to determine whether Mr. Trump was being directed by Russia.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, took over the investigation, concluding that he had insufficient evidence to charge Mr. Trump or any of his associates with secretly conspiring with the Russians. Mr. Mueller also declined to say whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice, citing Justice Department policy against indicting sitting presidents, but laid out evidence of attempts by the president to impede the inquiry.

Rancor between the president and Mr. McCabe only grew after the publication of his book, “The Threat,” in which he accused Mr. Trump of terrorizing his family and punishing him for the Russia investigation.

“He went after me because the F.B.I. opened the Russia case, which led to the appointment of the special counsel,” Mr. McCabe wrote. Mr. Mueller’s investigation raised “questions about the legitimacy of his presence in the White House — questions that prompt fear” in Mr. Trump.

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