A federal judge called Donald Trump and his designated lackey, Attorney General William Barr, utterly lacking of integrity and compared their actions regarding the investigation of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to something one would find in a “banana republic.”
HuffPost reports that the remarks from U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton came from court transcripts obtained by a watchdog group which filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ):
“The chilling statements were disclosed in records obtained by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington in a lawsuit. The attack by U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton on White House pressure emerged amid mounting controversy over Attorney General William Barr’s manipulation of criminal cases involving allies of President Donald Trump or those he perceives as enemies.”
Judge Walton, who was appointed to the bench by George W. Bush, is widely seen as a conservative jurist who often sides with the government. He serves in the District of Columbia, and he took prosecutors with the DOJ to task for their repeated delays in deciding whether or not they would file criminal charges against McCabe for allegedly misleading investigators about a leak to the media dealing with an FBI probe into the Clinton Foundation.
Specifically, Walton cited what he suggested was retaliation by President Trump against McCabe for having been an FBI official when the agency began an investigation into possibly illegal collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia, telling prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s office:
“I don’t think people like the fact that you got somebody at the top basically trying to dictate whether somebody should be prosecuted. I just think it’s a banana republic when we go down that road and we have those type of statements being made that are conceivably … influencing the ultimate decision. I think there are a lot of people on the outside who perceive that there is undue, inappropriate pressure being brought to bear.”
Judge Walton went on to add:
“(The) integrity of the process is being unduly undermined by inappropriate comments and actions on the part of people at the top of our government … As a government and as a society we’re going to pay a price at some point for this.”
What is being done by the attorney general and president is not going unnoticed by judges and or those who have worked in the criminal justice system. Trump and Barr have turned the Justice Department into a politicized agency that has the sole intent of catering to the whims of an unstable, vindictive head of state.
When he ran for president, Trump repeatedly said he was going to “make America great again.” But with his every action and reaction, he only succeeds in making us less safe, less secure, and more reminiscent of the banana republic Judge Walton is warning about.