America, or at least the American media, is finally taking a moment to shine a spotlight on Attorney General Bill Barr’s existence as a blight on justice in this country. The breaking point occurred when four federal prosecutors withdrew from the Roger Stone case earlier this week after their superiors intervened to overrule their original sentencing recommendations of 7-9 years. One of those four federal prosecutors, Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Zelinsky, also resigned from the Justice Department entirely rather than continue to take part in Barr’s degradation of the agency.
Now a growing number of House Democrats want the four prosecutors to have an opportunity to testify about Barr’s almost unprecedented interference in the case of Trump’s confidant Stone, which included replacing the Senate-approved U.S. attorney handling the case with a loyalist from his own office. According to The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent, “numerous” Democratic members hope to secure to that testimony well in advance of Barr’s appearance before the Judiciary Committee on March 31.
“Time is of the essence, since this scandal gets worse by the hour,” one senior Democratic aide said, adding that it’s important to create “a record of what happened before Barr gets to set the narrative.”
Meanwhile, Barr is rushing to obscure his record of repeatedly using the full weight of the Justice Department to do Trump’s bidding. In a newly released ABC interview, Barr went so far as to complain that Trump was making it “impossible” for him to do his job without being perceived as the partisan hatchet man he is. Barr also claimed he wouldn’t be “bullied or influenced by anybody.” Poor Barr. Trump is making all his efforts to subvert justice so obvious. Indeed, Barr’s malfeasance is so undeniable that the media’s finally giving it enough attention to force Barr into damage-control mode.
So far, the idea of such a hearing is still in a discussion phase, and no concrete steps have been taken. Any such hearing would have to get the blessing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and she apparently hasn’t weighed in yet.
But this should be a no-brainer for Democrats, especially with Barr on defense and Trump continuing to claim his “legal right” to interfere in Justice Department matters. Giving the federal prosecutors an opportunity to explain the unprecedented nature of Barr’s interventions and perhaps offer new details about them is crucial to the American public’s understanding of just how corrosive both Trump’s and Barr’s actions have been to the rule of law in this country.