Yet again, Bill Barr proves that he is the perfect Attorney General and personal attorney for Donald Trump, this time trying to make taxpayers foot the bill for Trump's defense against defamation allegations filed by author and advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who alleges that Trump raped her two decades ago. Bloomberg is reporting that the DOJ, which is supposed to be an unbiased, non-politicized justice seeking department, is trying to take over Trump's defense, effectively pitting itself against an American citizen. And the taxpayers would be paying for this defense.
This latest move would effectively delay the suit, potentially until after the election in 8 short weeks. Trump was due to give a deposition and provide a DNA sample to compare to DNA left on a dress Carroll was wearing at the time of the attack. Obviously, Trump wants to avoid doing either of those things, as all innocent men do.
Bloomberg reports that in the court filing, the DOJ said that - are you ready for this - that Trump was "acting within the scope of his job as President" when he allegedly defamed Carroll. They also asked to move the court to Manhattan *federal court* from New York State Court. So they want the case to be Federal (where Barr can oversee it and, most likely, kill it) versus State Court, where Barr has no jurisdiction and Trump could be indicted while in office.
Carroll said in a statement:
“Today’s actions demonstrate that Trump will do everything possible, including using the full powers of the federal government, to block discovery from going forward in my case before the upcoming election to try to prevent a jury from ever deciding which one of us is lying."
It is pretty clear why the DOJ wants to take over the case now. To catch and kill it before any damning evidence is collected - DNA or testimony in the form of a deposition.
Carroll's lawyer also put out a blunt statement:
“Trump’s effort to wield the power of the U.S. government to evade responsibility for his private misconduct is without precedent, and shows even more starkly how far he is willing to go to prevent the truth from coming out."
The full statement:
Here is Robbie Kaplan's reply. She is the greatest attorney in America! pic.twitter.com/tgLBPK5vf2
— E. Jean Carroll (@ejeancarroll) September 8, 2020
This is, putting it mildly, an insane position for DOJ. They are doing everything they can to appear to be Trump’s personal law firm. Its the opposite of the way the Department of Justice is supposed to behave. https://t.co/4Ma3ZhmDLe
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) September 8, 2020
So now Barr has decided (1) that Trump somehow was acting *in his official capacity as president* when he called E. Jean Carroll a liar for accusing him of sexual assault, and (2) taxpayers should foot the bill for Trump’s defense.
Another utter debasement of DOJ by Barr.
— Elie Honig (@eliehonig) September 8, 2020
👀 Wut? He really does not want to handover that DNA sample
“In a court filing Tuesday, the Justice Department said Trump was acting ‘within the scope’ of his job as president when he said Carroll lied about the incident, prompting her lawsuit.”https://t.co/EsBFmS9pwg
— Jennifer Taub (@jentaub) September 8, 2020
Rather than offer to vindicate himself through the science of DNA, President Trump has instead sought DOJ intervention to defend him in E. Jean Carroll’s New York State Defamation Law Suit. https://t.co/Tehqb42mpn
— Joseph A. Bondy (@josephabondy) September 9, 2020
Why won’t Trump submit his DNA in a rape investigation? Why is the DOJ acting as his defense? Guilty.
— Tim Hannan (@TimHannan) September 9, 2020
The DOJ's argument in the Carroll case is that Trump is absolutely immune b/c he was acting within the scope of his employment when he called Caroll a liar and therefore the US is the real defendant.Looking forward to discussing this outlandish argument on @chrislhayes at 8:20 PM
— Harry Litman (@harrylitman) September 8, 2020
So to summarize, Donald Trump (and Bill Barr) are effectively saying that Donald Trump's defamation of a woman who credibly accused him of rape is part of his job and therefore the taxpayers need to pay his legal defense bills to defend himself against these allegations made by an American citizen in order to prevent him from being deposed or providing DNA that could exonerate him.