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Attorney General William Barr and President Trump (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
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DOJ pushes back at reports Barr considered quitting over Trump tweets
The Justice Department pushed back Tuesday night at multiple reports claiming Attorney General William Barr told people close to him he’s considering stepping down over President Trump’s tweets, days after Barr admitted that Trump’s tweeting made it “impossible for me to do my job.”
“Addressing Beltway rumors: The Attorney General has no plans to resign,” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec tweeted.
Barr “has his limits,” one person familiar with Barr’s thinking told The Washington Post. Its report suggested Barr wanted Trump to “get the message” to stop weighing in publicly in ongoing criminal cases. An administration official gave a similar admission on Barr to The Associated Press.
In an interview with ABC News last week, Barr also denied ever acting on improper influence from Trump or the White House. Administration officials told the Post that the president had no plans to stop tweeting about Justice Department cases. Trump has insisted he has a “legal right” to make his voice heard on criminal cases. Click here for more on our top story.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – FEBRUARY 19: Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich arrives home from prison after his sentence was commuted by President Donald Trump. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Illinois governor blasts Trump for commuting sentence of Blagojevich: President has ‘abused his pardon power’
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat who was convicted of attempting to sell Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat after Obama was elected president, walked out of the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Englewood in Colorado on Tuesday night and returned home a free man after President Trump commuted Blagojevich’s 14-year prison sentence.
Blagojevich’s family and legal team were amazed and overjoyed, but some politicians back in Illinois – Democrats and Republicans alike – were outraged.
Trump “has abused his pardon power in inexplicable ways to reward his friends and condone corruption, and I deeply believe this pardon sends the wrong message at the wrong time,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, said in a written statement.
“In a state where corrupt, machine-style politics is still all too common, it’s important that those found guilty serve their prison sentence in its entirety,” said Tim Schneider, chairman of the Illinois GOP.
Blagojevich, who had served eight years in prison, was among a spree of clemency decisions Trump issued for high-profile figures Tuesday.
The president also pardoned financier Michael Milken, who pleaded guilty for violating U.S. securities laws; former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who was sentenced on tax fraud charges in 2010; and former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who was convicted of failing to report a bribe to the former governor of Louisiana when he pleaded guilty in 1998, among others. Click here for the full list of Tuesday’s pardons and commutations.
Bloomberg could be the big target at Nevada debate
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg could get the front-runner treatment and be the main target of his 2020 rivals when the former New York City mayor makes his debut on the Democratic presidential debate stage in Nevada on Wednesday.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has already started the attacks, calling Bloomberg an “egomaniac billionaire” who bought “his way into the debate” in a tweet Tuesday. In addition to Warren, Bloomberg will join former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the closely watched contest, which precedes Saturday’s Nevada caucuses. Bloomberg qualified for his first debate after a last-minute poll released Tuesday morning gave him the edge.
Sanders and Warren have run on a message of taking power away from the nation’s wealthiest 1 percent and changing the political system to work for the working class. They’ve prioritized funding from small-dollar donors and accused Bloomberg of using his vast wealth to “buy” the election. Click here for more.
Democracy 2020: Other developments from the campaign trail:
– Hillary Clinton denies she could be Bloomberg’s running mate
– Democracy 2020 Digest: Bloomberg’s poll numbers soar with spending surge
– ICYMI: A look at Bloomberg’s ‘mercenaries’ inside state attorney general offices
– Buttigieg touted ‘partnerships’ with black-owned businesses they denied having: report
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