By now it’s clear that Donald Trump’s handpicked Attorney General William Barr has no interest in complying with any subpoenas, laws, or anything. He’s quickly become a one-man criminal regime when it comes to trying to protect Donald Trump from his crimes. But just now, Barr may have poked the wrong bear when he decided to give the proverbial finger to a federal judge.
William Barr and his DOJ had until the end of today to publicly release all of the Mueller report redactions that relate to Michael Flynn, along with the phone calls which Flynn had with the Russian Ambassador during the transition period. In response, today’s DOJ filing claims that there are no redacted segments of the Mueller report that relate to Flynn. The DOJ is also asserting, depending on how one parses its words, that it either doesn’t have the Flynn-Russia phone calls or doesn’t feel like turning them over.
We’re still waiting for Judge Emmet Sullivan to respond to this giant middle finger from Barr and the DOJ, but we expect imminent fireworks. Sullivan has already used this process to ask if Michael Flynn committed treason, and to demand answers as to why Flynn got such a light sentence. We won’t be surprised if Sullivan orders that the entire Mueller report be turned over, so he can personally find the Flynn redactions and publicly release them. And we won’t be entirely shocked if the judge has certain DOJ people arrested and held in contempt until they turn over the Flynn-Russia phone calls.
William Barr is already facing contempt of Congress proceedings, but that’s a vaguely defined and lumbering process that has yet to produce any punishment that would keep Barr up at night. In contrast, federal judges have much more flexibility in doling out consequences for contempt of court. We expect Judge Emmet Sullivan to make an example out of someone any minute now.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report