Barr delivering a broadside to career prosecutors tonight, & making the case that the AG intervening in cases is appropriate and proper. Says letting junior people set agenda "might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it is no way to run a federal agency.”
Of FBI agents, Barr says, "These people are agents of the attorney general ... whose agents do you think you are? I don't say this in a pompous way. But that is the chain of authority and legitimacy in the Department of Justice."
Barr argues that politically appointed leaders (like himself) are accountable to POTUS & Congress. Line prosecutors are not. And they have political views, too. "The Justice Dept. is not a Praetorian guard that watches over society, impervious to the ebbs and flows of politics."
Barr says America is becoming like eastern European country. "Now you have to call your adversary a criminal, and instead of beating them politically, you try to put them in jail...If you’re not in power, you’re in jail -- or you’re a member of the press."
In Q&A, Barr is now on coronavirus response. Asked about suicides amid shutdowns, Barr basically makes the case doctors should not be the final word on society's response. A doc, he said, is not the "grand seer."
Barr says doc might tell you to take certain steps to live 20 years longer, but you might say "I don’t want to pay those costs to live 20 years longer. I'd rather take my chances." He adds, "I understand there are externalities here, & you can’t threaten other people’s lives."
He insists the question is not one of pure science. He says you have to balance benefit of shutdown "against a lot of other factors." Suicides, overdoses are up, he says.
"All this nonsense about how something is dictated by science is nonsense," he says.
Barr also attacks Black Lives Matter. "They’re not interested in black lives," he says. "They’re interested in props, a small number of blacks who are killed by police during conflicts with police ... who they can use as props to achieve a much broader political agenda."

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More from @mattzap

5 Aug
Like Rod Rosenstein, former DAG Sally Yates says she wouldn't have signed Carter Page FISAs if she knew of the errors uncovered by the IG. "If I had known that it contained incorrect information, I certainly wouldn’t have signed it."
Also of note: Yates has been quite critical of Flynn. She said his call with Kislyak "essentially neutered" the Obama administration's attempt to deter Russia from election interference with sanctions.
She said again she was upset with how Comey dispatched agents to interview Flynn w/o coordinating with Justice. Asked if Comey had gone "rogue," she said "You could use that term, yes." But she says law enforcement had legitimate basis to interview Flynn.
Read 13 tweets
28 May
AG spox tells @seanhannity that Bill Barr has appointed another US Attorney to probe issue of interest to POTUS. At Barr request, @USAttyBash will look at “unmasking.” AG spox notes unmasking “inherently isn’t wrong,” but “frequency” & “reasoning behind unmasking” can problematic
In total for Trump admin...
US Atty Huber tapped to investigate Clinton & other GOP concerns
US Atty Durham to investigate Russia investigators
US Attys Donoghue & Brady to handle Ukraine/Giuliani
US Atty Jensen to probe Flynn & other DC cases
US Atty Bash to explore “unmasking”
This doesn’t count, after public Trump request, expansion of Justice Dept. IG investigation of Russia probe washingtonpost.com/politics/justi…
Read 6 tweets
9 Apr
AG Bill Barr, on Fox News, refers to current restrictions as "draconian measures" and says at end of April, he thinks we should "allow people to adapt more than we have, & not just tell people to go home and hide under their bed."
Barr, a major proponent of executive power, adds "I am concerned that we not get into the business of declaring everything an emergency & then using these kinds of sweeping, extraordinary steps. But given where we were back in March, I think the president made the right decision"
Barr also criticizes “snarky, gotcha questions from the White House media pool” and says of Trump & hydroxychloroquine, "As soon as he said something positive about it, the media’s been on a jihad to discredit the drug."
Read 7 tweets
26 Feb
AG Barr, speaking to NRB Christian Media Convention: "Politics is everywhere. It’s omnipresent. Why is that?" He says it results from conflict between 2 views: (1) limited govt that preserves liberty (2) govt that submerges individual in "collectivist agenda"
The speech is pretty broad and philosophical, but the upshot seems to be themes that Barr has hit previously: He supports a small government, and he does not believe a political system can be substituted for religion.
Now Barr is attacking the "progressive movement," for having "broken away from the fold of liberal democrac.y"
He says that has played a "major role" in making politics "less like a disagreement within a family and more like a blood feud between two different clans."
Read 9 tweets
23 Jul 19
At Senate Judiciary hearing, FBI Director Chris Wray says no country poses greater counterintelligence threat than China. Russia, he says, is No. 2. He says FBI has 1000+ open investigations on attempted intellectual property theft "almost all leading back to China."
Wray, on AG Barr's review of the Russia investigation, "I think that’s part of his job -- it’s part of mine -- to get those questions answered."
In response to a question about bias in FBI workforce, Wray notes he has turned over essentially the entire top leadership team, implemented new policies and had a day long training for senior executives stressing importance of objectivity & the "appearance of objectivity"
Read 9 tweets
17 May 19
AG Barr is giving his 1st interviews to @FoxNews & @WSJ while in El Salvador & leaning into the notion of impropriety in Russia probe origins. He tells Fox he’s seeing if officials “put their thumb on the scale” & calls answers he’s gotten “inadequate” foxnews.com/politics/fox-n…
He tells @WSJ “government power was used to spy on American citizens,” &, per Journal’s account, “invoked Vietnam-era intelligence abuses like the surveillance of antiwar activists as a reason to raise these questions.” wsj.com/articles/barr-…
He doesn’t, however, say exactly what wrongdoing, if any, he is focused on. Journal says he “wouldn't specify what pre-election activities he found troubling, nor would he say what information he has reviewed thus far or what it has shown.” When Fox pressed, he stayed vague.
Read 4 tweets

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