There's a lot of buzz around AG Bill Barr's "spying" comments, but his remarks about the ACA lawsuit and how he came to the decision not to defend a law which was passed by Congress, signed into law, implemented, and tested before the Supreme Court was what really revealed him as little more than a tool for Trump.
Senator Dianne Feinstein grilled Barr on his previous answers to Senator Brian Schatz on DOJ's decision not to defend the ACA. She reminded him that the law had been tested in the Supreme Court and had been upheld, to which he explained the absurd challenge now before the 5 Circuit Court of Appeals.
In a nutshell, it comes to this: The Supreme Court upheld the mandate as a tax, so Congress, as part of the 2017 tax scam, changed the mandate penalty to zero.
Barr explains further: "The mandate in my opinion, the mandate was unconstitutional because it can no longer be upheld as a tax." Because it is zero. Because a Republican Congress did that to set the table for this particular and deeply specious challenge, which the Attorney General apparently agrees with.
The ensuing dialogue between Senator Feinstein and Barr reveals who is really giving the orders at DOJ:
Feinstein: "It's -- so -- you're saying that despite the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States upheld what has been a major law duly passed and signed by the president, that you're just not going to defend it?"
Barr: "That does happen. it happens occasionally in our system. i think the position at the Department of Justice is to defend statutes. even if we think it is a weak argument. The last time I was in the Justice Department, I thought the flag statute was unconstitutional but we defended it, we lost, because justice --"
Feinstein: "Why wouldn't you defend this?"
WAIT FOR IT, because here we go.
Barr: "Occasionally the administration determines that another position should be taken.
Feinstein, surprised: "Is this determined by the White House?"
Barr, backtracking: "It's determined by the process in the executive branch. There are a number of agencies, a number of different players in the White House that get involved in these things."
Feinstein: "I assume you would not take this position unless it is what the president wanted."
Barr: That would be a safe assumption.
That is NOT how any of this is supposed to work. The Department of Justice has, for decades, been separate and apart from the White House in order to maintain its integrity and duty to the rule of law.
But now, Trump has a useful tool as Attorney General who takes his orders from on high instead of doing his sworn duty. More corruption, more evidence that the Republican Party is beyond all repair.
The corruption is so deep and wide that whoever succeeds Trump will have to disinfect every corner of every branch of government, after exposing the entire Republican Party as nothing more than a crime syndicate.
As for media, they would do well to look away from the shiny "spying" rhetoric and pay more attention to this exchange, which quite clearly highlights the deeply corrupt process behind efforts to kill the ACA through the judiciary.