Neal Katyal Calls Out Justice Department’s ‘Incredibly Ugly’ Politicization as Election Nears: DOJ Should be Renamed ‘Barr and Trump LLP’
Former Solicitor General Neal Katyal sounded the alarm over the growing politicization of the Justice Department under Bill Barr, accusing the attorney general of turning the DOJ into a President Donald Trump’s de facto law firm.
Katyal appeared on Deadline: White House on Friday, and reacted to the latest controversial move by Barr, who privately briefed Trump about an voter ballot investigation in Pennsylvania, after which the president revealed the probe during a campaign rally — claiming it supported his false claim that Democrats are trying to steal the election.
Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano sharply criticized the DOJ for breaching several department rules in revealing to Trump its ongoing investigation into the discarding of nine, so-called naked ballots in Pennsylvania. “The federal prosecutors should not have revealed that these votes were for President Trump,” Napolitano emphasized. “This just feeds fuel to the fire. When they investigate an election, they don’t say who the votes were for until after the investigation was over, because it may prove that there was no wrongdoing.”
MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace similarly cited DOJ watchdogs pointing out how this latest incident, as well as the “highly unusual” news that John Durham investigation has been probing the Clinton Foundation, blurs the well-established lines separating the Justice Department and the White House.
“A big day for the not normal at DOJ,” Wallace said. “Not normal for evidence to released in the midst of a criminal investigation, Durham. Not normally for investigations to be announced when commenced. Violations of practices, protocols and norms. The DOJ on a political footing not seen since Watergate is where we start.”
“It looks incredibly ugly,” Katyal summarized. “At this point, the Justice Department should be called Barr and Trump LLP. The Justice Department is really the president’s own personal law firm. Not which one, Barr or Trump, is a worse lawyer. The White House and the Justice Department have historically had a no contacts policy.”
“It is really important, the system of prosecution depends on independence. And the president and Barr are running prosecution policy like transportation policy or something like that,” Katyal explained, before recounting the DOJ’s highly irregular decisions to undermine its own prosecutions of Trump confidantes Michael Flynn and Roger Stone.
“The weirdest thing about the Pennsylvania episode is the selective release of information to the public. I mean, not only did they disclose there was this investigation into nine ballots that were somehow discarded, they announced who they were voted for, who were supposedly the ballots were for,” Katyal pointed out. “They said nine votes for Trump. They were incompetent, they couldn’t get that right. Had to issue a new press statement saying it was only seven, but the whole thing is so weird and it’s all designed to basically take the narrative away from Chris Wray, the FBI director, who said ‘Hey’ there’s not really much to this voter fraud story’ and say that there is.”
During Congressional testimony on Thursday, Wray testified that his agency has seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud with mail-in ballots, contradicting Trump’s repeated, baseless claims.
Watch the video above, via MSNBC.
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