I find it despicable that Wal-Mart refused to allow her to pay for the items. If one of those employees stepped in and noticed her diminished mental condition, and then allowed her to pay, then this confrontation would not have happened.“I was going to pay for it” “but you didn’t” BECAUSE THE EMPLOYEES REFUSED TO LET HER! My god this officer is not only a monster thinking he’s some big shot for taking down a mentally unwell, little old lady and thinking he freaking knows what happened when clearly he didn’t. I’m glad she filed a lawsuit against them and both no longer work for the police dept as well as charges against them. I hope they get found GUILTY for this behavior because they KNEW they were in the wrong, and proceeded to try to cover their tracks. I feel so bad for Karen, she didn’t deserve that.
As a caregiver in a memory care facility, this brought me to tears. Absolutely sickeningThis victim reminds me of my Mom who died just over a year ago from dementia. It’s hard to believe anyone (especially law enforcement officers) being so cruel to her and lacking basic humanity. Kudos to those who came to her aid in her time of need.“She started running”Liar.Absolutely disgusting.I started tearing up seeing him dislocate her shoulder.Wow what a hero for hurting an 80lb elderly woman with dementia.It’s ironic the cop tells a stranger to get all the facts before rushing to judgment.Officer: “this is what you get when you mess with the police” Also Officer: goes to jail, gets public outrage, humiliation, and makes taxpayers pay 3 million dollarsI’m crying for this poor woman. I’ve a hidden disability that causes me to behave this way from time to time. It’s TERRIFYING.He seriously celebrated that arrest? What’s to be proud of,the way he just had to prove what a “boss” he was, right! By throwing a tiny, little, old woman to the ground because she “resisted arrest”! Bollox! She made you feel small when she didn’t stop and you had to show her the full power of your authority!! Pathetic!! Now the guy in the white car, the one who stood up to the officer and told him he saw the whole arrest and she didn’t try to run away once.. he’s a boss! Edit note – actually he’s a dam hero!! He risked getting wrongfully arrested to help her! We need more people like him in our world!This’s so heartbreaking. As a nurse, I worked with dementia patients for over a decade and the thought of any of them being treated this way makes me sick. When the officer first approached her, she was pleasantly confused and smiled at him. I’m sure she had no idea why this “nice young man” was talking to her. You can see it in her expression. With that in mind and understanding that a police officer’s roll in society is “to protect and serve”, it makes this one of the worst videos to watch. In that way, it reminds me of the video showing a man sweetly call a kitten over to him in a park, and when the kitten came running over to him calling, he kicked it through the air. The innocence in the world is too often crushed by the evil people in society. We have to stand up to those who crush that innocence. Can you imagine the pain and confusion Ms Garner was experiencing?… and then shackled to a bench with lacerations and fractures for hours without medical treatment. 😢 Anyone trying to say “He didn’t know”, watch his reaction to her after she’s in his vehicle and back at the station! He talked to her like a child because he knew her mental state was that of a child.
You forgot the young man who confronted the police officers when he saw conduct that clearly disturbed him and struck him as wrong…. I’d give that young man an A.I like how the dude stands his ground when the cop lies and says she was running “I seen her the whole time, she wasn’t running”.Whats really horrifying is that the sergeant, and pretty sure everyone else in the dept, approved of the behavior and didnt reprimand the officers until they were sued“No action was taken against the officers until a lawsuit was filed…” The fact that a lawsuit was required in order to get the bad apples removed, speaks volumes.A law needs to be passed that prohibits fired cops from being hired by other departments
It’s satisfying to finally see officers held accountable for their conduct. This used to be completely acceptable conduct for police, and now they not only get fired for it, but they get charged as well (as they should).The absolute balls on that guy to confront two random cops in what obviously isn’t his first language or his native country is amazing. What a hero, hats off to himI wish one of these networks would give you a nationally syndicated show. I thank you for your channel. I really think your videos would help inform the public as to what is wrong with the way police do their job and could help bring police reform. I really appreciate what you do. THANK YOUThe fact he easily and quickly deescalated the bystander situation but couldn’t do the same for an elderly woman with dementia is just sadOddly, I’m upset with the Walmart employees for calling the police and escalating the situation. I’m not advocating for stealing, but it was only $13 worth of product. Walmart isn’t going to suffer over such a petty loss. Just let her take it—it was not worth the broken shoulder or trauma she suffered.As someone who’s grandmother is in a similar state, I have nothing but loathing for the officers involved and the Wal-Mart management that all failed to help this woman. Just a couple of simple questions could have sorted out that she was having trouble, but no, they all had to treat her so terribly.“You’re resisting, which isn’t going to fly with me” shows what a pathetic man he is when he feels the need to assert his dominance over a little old lady.Where I came from, people would line up in the store to offer paying for what the old lady took. As we where raised to respect older people No matter what and this is what Im passing through to my kids. Seeing that lady go through pain not knowing what’s going on really hurts me. I hope she’s doing fine now.“Dont judge the scene before you get all the facts.” Sometimes, irony just writes itselfAs a caregiver who have seen many of these patients, this broke my heart.As a former officer this made me sick to my stomach. I love old people and we much protect them at all costs that’s level of force was completely unnecessary. I was literally pissed watching this video. I’m glad she sued the s*** out of them! And shout out to that citizen who stood up against these wolves dressed as sheepdogs! He need a award as well.I’m so glad that the police in my country get at least a 2 year training and in those 2 years and constantly after as well are being trained on how to deal with mentally unstable or ill people, development issues, physical ailments, confused people etc and even with aggression and stubbornness. You rarely see stuff like this or anything on this channel for that matter happening here.I am getting sick and tired of departments allowing officers to resign in order to to not be held accountable for their actions, and not being put on the list.Isn’t it funny how police can immediately charge a citizen for resisting arrest all while carrying around “qualified immunity” where it takes months to years to prove their unprofessionalism? I’m an advocate for getting rid of qualified immunity and letting officers carry their own insurance similar to malpractice insurance that doctors and nurses carry.This could have been my mother who suffers from similar conditions. I cried throughout this video – disgraceful conduct..“I’m going home. I’m going home.” This poor woman. My mom suffered from Alzheimer’s. It’s horrible. I’m shocked these officers didn’t recognize there was a mental issue here. Just horribly sad.I didn’t even make it 2mins into the video and I’m already furious! The sheer level of ignorance. The amount of fear and confusion that woman must have felt is unimaginable. I lost one of my Grandparents to Alzheimer’s disease and it was heart breaking to watch her mental decline and how it affected her. Some days were almost like she was blissfully unaware but other times it was like she suddenly realised what was happening to her and what she was losing. The dread, fear and confusion in those moments were devastating. So watching this poor woman be mistreated because people don’t have time to consider or due to their ignorance figure out that there is an explanation for her behaviour is so hard to watch.Edit: 7:56 oh freaking awesome, so it’s even in their own policies which means they WILL have been trained in this stuff?! So it’s not just ignorance. It’s WILLFUL ignorance!I live in Loveland CO and cant beleive this happened. To think a $13 that she never even took was treated like this is so disrespectful and sickening.Man, I have never seen anyone so proud of oppressing a weaker person. The cop seems so proud oh his actionA reasonable person knows how fragile elderly people are. Knowing this, this is an assault in my opinion.It really angers me in the beginning how overly righteous and condescending he sounds when he speaks to this poor woman, who clearly is suffering from some kind of mass confusion/mental health episode. They can’t approach suspects like this like they’re pure evil, it isn’t black and white, you have to at least try to communicate properly before using force and immediate judgement. Edit: The citizen stopping and catching the officer in lies and asking for his Sargent was AMAZING.This one breaks my heart. My mom & aunt are at the age where they are becoming frail like this. If I saw an officer man handle one of them like this I would probably wind up in jail. Pick on someone your own size! He could have literally pinched her sweatshirt sleeve & that would have been enough to overpower this tiny old woman. She is clearly not a threat to society at large. Stealing is wrong regardless, but this is a tricky situation. The officers had no way of initially knowing that she was mentally disabled. I can agree with that. But they could absolutely see that she is a frail old woman & made better decision about use of force. & btw calling them “peace officers” makes me sick.I wonder these days if there is a truly honest well trained and following the ‘To Protect and Serve’ cop anywhere in this country?? I was in law enforcement in the 70s and was proud to serve, but these days even I have a whole different look when I see an officer, wondering if they are corrupt or not. That is so sad!Nobody would have ever known about this if it wasn’t filmed. This is what has been going on for years. It’s hard to watch, but there’s unprofessional cops in every state.It’s absolutely amazing how the cops can all convince themselves and each other that they have done nothing wrong. Doesn’t matter what they’ve done – they all group-think themselves into believing that they acted within the law. It’s laughable. The only hope is that they watch the video in private and see what everyone else sees. Why couldn’t the cop see that something wasn’t right – does he not have a mother? Does he not recognise when someone is behaving oddly? He could have given her a lift home and made sure she was safe – it wasn’t like she was public enemy number 1.the arrest itself was very difficult for me to watch.. she’s visibly confused and the officer immediately resorts to using physical force.. i hope she’s doing okay this must have been physically and mentally traumatizing for the poor ladyI know exactly when the shoulder injury happened. That was when he was controlling her arm causing her pain on purpose to teach a lesson or for self pleasure because she was not complying with him.Update to this is that their Sargent Metzler- who participated in dropping her on the ground while loading her into a police car and signed off on this abuse as acceptable was allowed to work until he retired with full pay. The police chief Ticer who hired the miscreants, and also approved the beating they administered to this grandmother, now works in a retirement community in Arizona. Please pray for the unsuspecting seniors he will be “helping”………She’s 73. He tells her if she kicks him “things will be bad”. Clearly this man was itching to beat up someone in cuffs. He had no intention of using just the amount of force necessary to stop the threat.always nice to hear a officer say ‘i don’t care’ during an arrest especially when they don’t know all the details.This video makes me furious every time I watch it And then how they laugh and joke later at the jail is some of the most egregious shit towards an elderly person I’ve ever seen12:56 I refuse to believe that the cops were celebrating injuring an elderly woman. What is this world coming toAn update: Officer Hopp has been sentenced to 5 years in prison and 3 years probation. Accountability is getting better, next step is to stop the entire concept of internal investigationYou can tell how disconnected this cop is with everything. He treated this whole situation like it was a game.>> The cop sounded like he was getting happy in the beginning of the stop. Like he was happy about finally being able to use some action.>> Hey the cop was just playing GTA5 role play as a admin so it perfectly fine
>> Sounds like an 11 year old chattering with his gaming buddies
>> @sergantawesom I bet in his childhood he was the kid that would beat up a smaller kid and take his lunch money.
>> Is it just me or are these officers huffing and puffing over a 73 year old lady.I’m a retail manager. This is appalling. If the “customer” offers to pay for the stuff, that’s acceptable. My first issue is with the employees who should have accepted payment and then simply told her she’s not welcome there anymore. (NOTE: That’s regardless of knowledge of mental capacity). My second issue is then with the police where it became obvious that she does have some mental disadvantages. Either way, the police were wrong in their approach. They didn’t bother to talk amicably with her. It was immediate detention.This is so sad that this lady went through this. I am thankful she did file the lawsuit and won however, the pain had to be so excruciating. Elderly don’t heal fast. I will be waiting to see or hear their trials. Thank you for sharing these audits.The fact that concerned man wasn’t even fluent in English and had the bravery to confront that aggressive cop was amazing!!! He must of been prepared to go to jail.Cops should have NO means to delete footage, EVER. There’s no reason for someone with so much power to have more access than a retail employee has with cctv cameras.Right from start, in the first 30 seconds, even I could see the lady was not 100% – 5′ tall and 80lb with dementia does not pose a threat. The whole thing could have been avoided if he just stopped for a second and reassessed the situation. He could have explained it to her, given her a ride home, talked to the caregiver who would have probably gone and paid the bill at WalMart. And good on that dude rolling up and challenging the cops treatment of that lady.You can hear the joy in this man’s voice while he’s man handling this frail old womanI remember a time we’re old ladies and ladies in general we’re treaded with respect. Today police in America seem to see in humans only criminals and non criminals. No nuance’s whatsoever. Sad.The fact that there was an “internal review” and they found this use of force “reasonable” shows just how corrupt most internal reviews actually are. “We investigated ourselves and have found nothing wrong”.Cops so many times just spew out lies without hesitation so often on these videos it’s ridiculousWhat kills me is that she tried to pay and they just confused the crap out of her instead. I don’t think I have ever seen such a aggressive Wal-Mart employee.Aw what a sweet young lady! I feel so bad for her. I really hope she is getting the care she desperately needs after such a traumatic encounter 🙁Just once it’d be nice to see the cop say to the concerned onlooker, “Here are the things you need to file a complaint. Thank you for looking out for this community and keeping us honest.”That pos officer’s tone of voice is infuriating. He was talking to her like a small child but physically manhandled her like she was an NFL linebacker. The fact that their bosses tried to sweep it under the rug until they had no choice but to break the blue wall is why people hate the police.Friendly reminder that the prosecutor who dropped the charges reviewed the body cam footage and only dropped charges to protect the officers involved in hopes that this body cam wouldn’t be released to the public.When the lady just kept saying she was going home in a confused tone they should have suspected something wasn’t mentally right with her and they should have been more accommodating.It’s amazing how this officer just had no clue. It’s obvious this lady had an issue from first contact. You could see how clueless she was when she turned around. She had a confused look on her face and that was very clear.There is just one major problem here. When the woman was stopped at the store by a store employee she offered the store employee her credit card to pay for the items she was walking out with. She offered to pay and instead the store employee said no and took the items back from her. Thus no crime was committed.This is why I teach my children to respect the law and authority, but always keep your guard up around the police.I disagree. They showed just enough force to restrain the perpetrator at the time of confrontationThank God we have officers out there protecting Walmart from losing $13 what would our world be like without them complete chaosThe way the cop physically, without speaking, threatened to destroy her shoulder when he was saying don’t kick at her terrifies me. He could have ruined her rotator cuff just with how he was pressing her arm.The cop’s tone of voice genuinely upsets me. It’s so condescending I’m disgusted and if I met him in a bar or something I don’t think I could hold a conversation longer than 20 seconds with him.That’s why these cameras are so important. Cops like these need to be held accountable. The fact that they tried covering their tracks makes this far worse. We need to normalize disciplining officers who abuse their power more.I used to do undercover loss prevention and it was a district supervisor where I live. Why in the hell didn’t the Walmart employees let her to pay for the items and leave. I hope they got fired and get sued as well.The manner in which she said “I’m going home” should have been an immediate indication that she is confused and not a threat.>> Exactly. It shows the officers not only lack a brain, they also lack a heart.>> @utubepunk having people skills is frowned upon within most police departments
>> The fact she was 80 pounds should have made it clear she wasn’t a threat.
>> They should know signs of dementia. They know every side effect of drug use, they should know mental health as well. I’m going home is something I heard my grandpa say many many times.
>> Repetitive and disjointed speach, no sense of surroundings , inability to ascertain a situation. Clear signs of mental illness. Maybe drug abuse. But that’s a grandma who lost her marbles and is in need of help, not policing.
>> Attempting to delete body cam footage? That’s corruption at its core. Punching down and chest bumping during and after the incident infuriates me. Glad justice was served on the police for misconduct.The most disgusting thing is their happy tone the entire time. They became police to harm people without fear of reprisal and accountability. Think how many more of them there are.I didnt know that trying to pay for items you forgot to pay for and having the items taken back and then leaving counted as stealing, attempting to steal or warranted being tackled.Scary how much fun he was having and how condescending he was to the citizen that confronted himThis situation boils my blood as former LEO. I was giving the officers the benefit of the doubt at the beginning. No way they could know she had dementia and she wasn’t a habitual shop lifter. But the way treated her without any medical attention and she laid on that bench in pain while they watched the body cam footage and celebrated the arrest of a 5 foot 80 lbs grandma, is disgusting. The reason they watch the footage was because of that concerned person witnessing the excessive force so they could come up with an excuse if he filed a complaint.Something similar happened in my town. They arrested her and then released her in the middle of the night with no phone or care. She was found wandering the streets by her family a day later
This is literally how he got started auditing. Then they wonder why there’s so many auditors
Man: “Get out of my car!” Lady cop: “Don’t tell me what to do!” What a child, sheesh. I wonder what she would’ve done if he had been more verbally aggressive.Let’s be honest, they were going to find a reason to search the car no matter what. They weren’t traffic cops trying to give out seat belt tickets.His last comments said it all. “They are narc cops, they don’t pull people over for seatbelts.” “The pulled me over because I am a white man in a black neighborhood.” This is EXACTLY what these fishing expeditions are all about. To quote my cop friends “We are like sharks, constantly circling, lokking for a reason to pull people over.”If an officer accuses you of something and then doesn’t show up in court, you better not be liable for any lost revenue / court costs. I would be pissed.The police really need more accountability. They shouldn’t have any type of immunity. They should be held to a higher standard, not lowerThe officer says “relax” to the man surrounded by several people with (I assume loaded) guns and other weapons. I can only wonder how relaxed the officer would have been if the situation were reversed.The “word” of cops has been taken for truth far too long! It is outrageous that the officer searched his vehicle without his consent and “after” he repeatedly said “NOT” to.Cops telling people to “stay calm” after or while stripping them of their rights always gets me on this channel lol… The audacity!They should get a F, for not turning over all footage when requested. To use their logic… Why not just comply with the request “if you have nothing to hide.”Quote from a cop who wishes to remain anonymous, “every traffic stop is a fishing expedition“. Educating us & protecting us is NOT what cops do!“Officer safety”. The magic words that allow the cops to order, detain, search, escalate, abuse, assault, humiliate and retaliate.I think you missed another point about officer safety justifying the search: once they removed him from his car, whatever might have been there was no longer a factor as he couldn’t reach it. By taking him out, maybe even closing the door, they assured their safety from anything that could have been there. Thus, the search, while perhaps legal by the letter of the law, exposes their likely intent to find more “dirt” on him and NOT about officer safety. The search reveals the stop to be almost certainly pretextual to try to find more serious crimes. Legal, yes, but not community-endearing.The Courts allowing officers to search because they “believe” something, is in direct contradiction to the 4th Amendment. “You need a warrant, unless you decide for yourself that you don’t…then, no problem.” Makes zero sense.Why were there so many officers present for a “seatbelt” violation? This was a pretextual stop for being in the “wrong neighborhood”Police Departments MUST be overseen by citizen review boards. Additionally, all body cam videos need to be uploaded within 24-hours and archived by such boards in addition to the departments’ evidence database so they cannot go “missing” or be tampered with. I find it highly “suspicious” (one of cops’ favorite words) that the female cop’s body cam footage is one of the two missing from the FOIA request.I love the inherent conflict between “people leaning over to the passenger side of their car” being a valid excuse for cops to suspect someone is hiding something and the fact that the glovebox, where most people keep their cars information, requires you to lean over to the passenger seat.Should have received all 4 body cams, such bullshit to have a system to retrieve information and information can be denied when it contains the victim and may contain information that would put liability against officers or a department. We seriously need further protections and extensions to laws and systems to gain access to information, especially when it directly contains information relating to ourselves and interactions with law enforcement.A lot of the time, it seems like ATA gives the police “outs” all the time. The idea that the female officer could use some obscure rule, when I’m almost certain she wasn’t thinking of it, gives off the idea to me that these officers can use videos similar to their cases to find loopholes and whatnot.The supreme court really screwed us with this rule of cops being able to order citizens out of their vehicles for no reason!So let me get this straight, when you are pulled over, if you act like a helpful, normal member of society and try to get your insurance out of your glove department while waiting for the cop, YOU CAN BE SHOT OR SEARCHED because of something far less likely going through the cops heads? … WHAT?!?“Why are you acting like this? Why are you using the law to defend your rights?” This is really what they want to say.Pisses me off how these officers are telling him to relax while they blatantly violate his rights.She was already searching the car when he said he didn’t consent to it. True, he did eventually admit to getting his phone, but I believe he would still have a very strong case against the search.Auditor: “Do you know the 4th amendment” Cop: “Yeah I do” Auditor: “What is it” Cop who clearly doesn’t know: “I don’t have to explain myself to you”Ah yes search the vehicle for “police safety” whilst he’s not in the vehicle and has already been searched and has 4 police officers surrounding him. Yes he lent over but he told them he was putting his phone up“Just stay calm” sheesh they are so calm and borderline respectful towards him. Yet, I understand where he’s coming from. Hell, if you walk up to a cop car you’ll have 3 or 5 cops wondering why you’re around their vehicles. They were illegally in his vehicle and they wonder why he was irate. I swear it obviously doesn’t take much intelligence to become a cop.When he said “leaned over” he was quoting what the cop previously said.Your rights are neutered when you’re in a car. It’s crazy how much leeway courts have given law enforcement over the years.Every one of those cops are corrupt. They gaslit him and they told him to remain calm. And how did that one cop not know how to read an expiration date?Officer: “I’m going to search this vehicle whether or not I get permission.”4th amendment: “you can’t do that.”Supreme Court: “you CAN do that if you don’t feel safe (hint hint)”Officer” “I don’t feel safe so I’m going to search this vehicle without permission.” 4th amendment: “WTF?”I love how cops will say “we are recording too” and then when you try and get the footage they some how only give you half the footage.The problem here is that he lost his cool and never got it back. You make a lot of mistakes when you’re controlled by emotion. He was not thinking clearly.Mr. Disorderly- “I don’t talk to cops” Cop- “Cool, get out of the car” Mr. Disorderly then talks for literally the entire stop.Who trained these officers to tell an irritated person to calm down? When in the history of man has that ever worked? All that has ever achieved is to further irritate the person. Well, it’s Chicago and you’re not exactly dealing with the best and brightest.Police have been taught that it usually has the opposite effect when someone is being violated. They say “calm down” because They want their victim to give them a reason to be violent.@A Bike and Its Boy telling people what to do, when they didn’t ask you for it. Just like Karen. Bye FeliciaBeing that the individual was outside the vehicle when the search of his vehicle began, he would not have been in a position to obtain the weapon if he had one. This rendering the officers claim invalid as to officer safety. Have a great day 😊.I love how they kept distracting him with the same questions repeatedly to draw attention away from the officer who they were not going to interfere with while she was going through his stuff. If I learned anything from this, it’s to keep a stash of uncapped hypodermic needles on hand just to toss under the seat as a deterrent for any such actions. Let them learn on their own… 🤷🏾♂️ One thing he did wrong, which I do anytime I get stopped, roll up all the windows and lock the doors. She’s never should have been able to open that door to begin with.One of the most offensive things is that cop who keeps saying “Just relax” and “Relax. Relax”. If I were a judge, I’d lock him up with a Lexis/Nexis computer and would not let him out until he printed out for me the statues that say “failure to relax” is a cri’me. That cop wasn’t issuing lawful orders. That cop was just on an ego-trip. There’s no law against not relaxing. He was clearly way out of his rights and just trying to make the subject kow-tow by issuing UNlawful commands. (And after the cop gives up and says “I had no right under law to tell him to relax” then I’d give him a trial for abusing his authority and throw him in jail for the rest of his life. And that’s because I don’t believe in the death-penalty. There’s just no excuse for bossing people around gratuitously just because it makes someone feel superior.These guys tried soooooo hard to implicate him in admitting to “furtive movements 🙄” so that they can justify an unconstitutional search. DisgustingAudit the Audit gets an F on this one. A furtive movement is one that “attempts to avoid notice or attention”. Leaning isnt furtive, its obvious and everyone pulled over leans to retrieve their wallet or ID. If anything Audit the Audit suggested were in fact lawful, every single movement in a vehicle could be considered furtive and warrantless searches would be common place as the 4th would be moot. The problem with taking a sentence out of case law is that each case is decided on a totality of the circumstances. In this case the police only had “leaning over”. They couldnt cite a violent criminal history or history of gun possession. They couldnt claim location was a hot spot of criminal activity. They couldn’t claim there was a high risk to the nature of the stop. They had nothing and likely the two body cameras they didnt send footage for showed the police intended to pull the car over to conduct a search, just like the guy asserted.SO CORUPT! If a cop doesn’t show up for court they should never be allowed to be a cop because it shows they will use there power for bad and then simply not show up for accountability... One of the main reasons why the Supreme Court has shredded the 4th Amendment is to help cops and prosecutors wage their failed drug war against Americans. The war against drugs is actually a war waged by the government against its own citizens.In essence, a cop can just make up anything they want to make your life hard and they are covered by qualified immunityGet that incompetent “officer” out of his car. She falsely accused him of having expired car insurance 😵💫 She is clearly not capable of muchThe cops were trying to get him to say exactly where the insurance was so they could say he gave them implied consent to get in his car.If you’ve got nothing to hide, then why didn’t you show up to testify, officer?>> Same thing happened to me in Illinois. 44 in a 30 as I’m crossing the sign that says 45 mph. Cited for 44 in a 30 and they no showed after trying to get in the car. I yelled way worse than he did 😂>> You’re suggesting that the officer didn’t show up because he/she has something to hide? I guess that’s possible, but I’m thinking that this is a minor seat-belt citation, and it is not uncommon for law enforcement not to show up for such minor violations when there might be other priorities. Therefore, if you have the time and it’s not too inconvenient you should always contest a minor infraction – there’s a good likelihood the officer will not show up.@Captain Ron I totally agree with you. Always contest the ticket to the magistrate and if you lose there appeal to see the judge. Most cops would rather be getting private overtime work for more pay, They can’t pass up the easy money and I don’t blame them one bit.Captain Ron. If it’s not important enough to show up to testify, then it’s not important enough to write the ticket! This was a pretextual stop, because, as he stated,he drove through a known drug trafficking area! She was searching for drugs, not a gun!i love how the cop hands the insurance to the lady bc she’s the one dealing with the power trip. so funny how they support each other. he couldn’t just check?If I were this guy, I’d have said two things (among others): 1. STOP CALLING ME BRO! 2. STOP TELLING ME TO RELAX!It’s funny how the vehicle paint states “we serve and protect” when the highest court of the land ruled they have no obligation to our safety.From what i have seen in my lifetime is most officers know the loop holes of the law way better then the actual law they are to followIt’s hard to stay calm when you think you are being violated I feel for the dudeWhen I’ve been pulled over I’ve HAD to reach over to get my license and registration, as I assume most people do. Who has all that stuff in a spot where they can just grab it without reaching?“I don’t answer questions…I don’t answer questions…Now let me go ahead and answer all your questions.” ….. There is NEVER a benefit to say ANYTHING to the police in ANY circumstance other than “Am I being detained”, “Am I free to go” or “I want my lawyer”. Anything else can ONLY hurt you.The guy is out of his vehicle, the windows are down and it’s broad daylight but yet she’s searching his car without good reason or his permission. It’s like they’re trying to distract him with questions but they wouldn’t stop what they were doing.>> I just couldn’t imagine being a police officer and then apparently being so dang scared of every single encounter they initiate.>> @Ash Williams they’re not scared, it’s their excuse for acting illegally and controlling people.>> “He leaned over therefore it’s reasonable to believe the cops life may be in danger” -the justice system We need to break the back of the justice system on these issues.I’m pretty convinced at this point, having had similar things happen to me (getting pulled over and searched for drugs when there were not drugs or even suspicion of any), that cops just do this to piss you off/get back at you for something you said/inconvenience you. They know you won’t be busted for anything, but they know how to ring you through the system to make your life at least miserable and inconvenienced. And then there is a record that you had an encounter with them, which makes you look more suspect each time you run into a cop. I’m not sure if there is a name for this phenomenon. I just call it ringing you through the system. This is how they attack you without actually attacking you.
.. I always love to listen to police calmly tell citizens to “relax bro” – AFTER they have stopped, harassed, illegally searched, belittled, frisked, and made the citizen leave the vehicle and put their hands on the top of the car. In what universe does this silly expression, “relax bro” not serve to further anger a justifiably outraged citizen?Reminds me of when I got charged with fleeing the scene of an accident, plus another half a dozen of bs charges and when I showed up to court. The state trooper never showed up and everything got dismissed.IMO this is fascism in America full stop. These cops operate without any regard for the law
>> It is Authoritarianism, not Fascism but all Fascism is Authoritarianism.
Isn’t that contempt of court when they don’t show up for court? I thought if you don’t show up a bench warrant goes out for your arrest? That would have been awesome to see those cops get arrestedThe “protective search” of the car is straight bs and should not be allowed or justified. Being allowed to remove the occupants of a vehicle for officer safety and doing a terry pat down should be sufficient. In that case any police officer can use the argument, as what you used in this video, that the person(s) leaned over to justify any search of a vehicle where other items (“evidence”) other than illegal weapons are found.I also believe they wrote the citation to jam him up and screw with him just for arguing. That citation is a straight up contempt of cop citation. Im sure like the driver in this video pointed out, those officers are not worried about seatbelt violations, though using any be traffic violation to create a legal reason for the stop.It seems like the police could just say “I saw you reach for something” and use that as articulable suspicion to be able to search the vehicle, regardless of whether the suspicion has any factual basis.He was out of the car when the search occurred. No way was this for officer protection. He could not reach for anything on the passenger side when he is outside and on the drivers side and controlled by two officers. They were looking for drugs or another reason to arrest him.We’ve given government so much power that there’s almost no way to know if you’re in the right or wrong. There’s the 4th amendment but all kinds of exceptions to it. The fact that he can lean over in his own car and that’s apparently suspicious, is insane.I do appreciate that the officers tried to calm him down and de-escalate after realizing they were completely in the wrong regarding the initial search. Though they SHOULD have apologized.Here’s a thought, maybe police should stop doing “hazardous roadside encounters” if they are soooooo afraid of everyone that moves, and clearly violates the 4th amendment. That why it protect the police and keeps our 4th amendments intact. Just a thought.So, all a cop has to do is “Claim” they saw someone lean or reach over and they can do a warrantless search. Nice to know we are safe from accusations. Even if the claim had been true, they could have asked him to step out for their safety. Confirmed he was unarmed and then proceeded with stop as normal. Instead you have 4 cops for a random for a traffic stop? Four? And one immediately opens the car and starts searching rather than a cursory visual inspection from outside that would be more than enough to verify if a weapon was present. This was intentional instigation. On top of that the woman couldn’t even read the insurance right, or was lying in order to enter and search the car again.Ugh, so much ambiguity built into the law to protect police corruption. “I smell weed” “You leaned over” All subjective, requires no evidence, and leaves the door wide open for them to do what they want, regardless of actual observable facts.This is what everyone is overlooking, he was stopped in a black neighborhood . that means those cops are doing the same thing every day all day to that community. Every black person that interacts with these cops are not criminals….and just imagine is this was at night.Never in the history of “calm down/relax” has anyone ever calmed down nor relaxed 😂When I first saw this and saw plain clothes officers all ready to go I knew it was a prejudged stop. They knew what they were trying to do.Got to love it when officers assert their Authority and dominance to scare people into conforming. She could have easily said sorry and backed away but instead she wanted to justify her actions and fight with the person to assert dominance. What happened to the good old days when they told officers not to argue with people and just do their job???I bet the “stay calm, relax” guy knew what they were doing was wrong, but wasn’t brave enough to stop itLet’s get this straight as I hear this a lot from people being harassed by cops. They’ll say ‘In a hard working American with a job/ business. I pay my taxes’ etc. It does not matter if you are. It does not give your Rights any more juice than a unemployed homeless person.I get what you’re doing by clearly breaking down the letter of the law, and it is often helpful. But It would really lend your channel a lot more credibility and popularity if you would point out how some case law and even supreme court rulings clearly fly in the face of the spirit of the constitution and are outright tyrannical in nature. Any excuse to search a person’s vehicle without a warrant are plain examples of this. The idea that officers safety outweighs the safety of the citizenry is itself a crime. Do better man.Seems like the courts rule to give the impression of freedom’s while leaving enough loopholes so the police can act with impunity. You act like the police know the law, whereas I feel they know that they can do whatever and will find a law/create a reason to back them up later.The female officer searched his vehicle not on direct suspicion of a crime having been committed but instead trying to see if a crime has been committed. Shame on these cops and I hope the lawsuit is fat.All those exceptions… The biggest danger for the constritution is the supreme courtWhen he said “You want to see what I was leaning over to get… it was my phone!” he was only repeating the words the cop used, not admitting it himself. He follows it up with “it’s on me.” Meaning it was in his pocket and not on the passenger side, where they claim “he may be trying to hide something.”
“Because I’m white in a black neighborhood” this actually happened to me and the cop pretty much admitted to it outright during the stop. In 2016, my aunt was working for a company called Niantic and she convinced me and my mom to check out Pokemon Go. I kind of got into playing it for awhile😂 there was this website that showed where rare Pokemon spawns were and a rare Pokemon was spawning a few miles from my house in a city called Inkster. So I drove to the area and was trying to find the Pokemon. I was driving slowly down a rough street, where the stupid Pokemon should have been but it didn’t spawn so I drove around the block
As I was driving, I got pulled over. It was daytime, but the cop claimed he pulled me over because the license plate light on my SUV was out(which, it was my mom’s car and I didn’t even know she had one, my car didn’t. It isn’t a requirement to have) He asked me to step out of my vehicle and offered to show me what he was talking about and then asked if I minded if his partner “took a look around in the car”
I was naive, dumb and terrified. I thought if I said no they would suspect I was doing something wrong or hiding something so I said sure. We got to the back of the car by the license plate and I remembered the car was off so he couldn’t show me the light. He began asking me who I knew in this area, which house I was going to, I said I did know someone who lived like a half mile down but I wasn’t going to anyone’s house and explained that I was looking for a Pokemon and he said “Oh that explains why you were looking at your phone when you stopped on the street back there” He told me this was a bad neighborhood, that I didn’t “exactly look” like I “should be here” and he made it very clear that they thought I was here to buy drugs. As if that is the only reason I would possibly be in a predominantly black neighborhood 😤
Once they finished casually poking around in my car, they told me to start the car and they go “oh look at that, your license plate light is working again, you don’t need to worry about getting it fixed”. I was baffled. They lied to pull me over. When I was a teenager my boyfriend’s cars brake lights were shorting out apparently, we got pulled over and the cop just let us know that our brake light was out but when we went over the railroad tracks, it turned back on and that it was probably a wiring issue and gave us a fix it ticket. These cops were telling me I didn’t need to worry about the fact that the light was magically working again. It was all very weirdLove how AFTER violating this guys rights they keep saying ‘relax’ and ‘calm down’…99% off drivers have their insurance and registration in their glove box. So anyone who reaches for that stuff before the cop walks to the car gives the cops reasonable suspicion to search the car I guess>> Good point. It’s probably better to wait until the cop asks for the documents before reaching for them. Except that Philando Castile was shot and killed because he reached into his back pocket to get his wallet. And the cop who killed him was found not guilty by a jury.>> @Jon Stone ANNNND he only reached because the officer told him to give him ID… as a PASSENGER… who previously VOLUNTEERED that he was legally carrying a concealed weapon! If someone takes the initiative to tell you they’re carrying, and afterwards you request ID, it was 100% YOUR responsibility to instruct them how to provide it in such a manner to allay your fears of them drawing their weapon.
>> That’s why I keep my registration and insurance in my driver side visor
>> Truth is if your black than almost anything you do puts fear in the cops minds. And the most dangerous thing you can do is challenge a cop and hurt their ego.Not really sure how an “officer safety” search can be valid…ever. Once they removed him from the car and patted him down, any weapon he had in the vehicle is no longer accessible.Regardless of if they had reason to be suspicious of him, they still continue to blame him for the incident and tell him to calm down, rather than just admit their suspicions were wrong.People gotta remember that there is a law called deprivation of rights on the color of law. It is a federal crime for any person who can utilize the law to deprive you of your rights while under that color of law. A violation of your rises also a deprivation of your rights. This is punishd between one and 10 years and a federal prison. If a life is lost during the deprivation of rights then the death penalty can automatically be on the table at the federal level. You have to file these charge with the feder yourself. It is time we start filed these charges with every single deprivation of your rights. Also when I please have some breaks the law starting system the weapons related charges are also included. Because the more they broke the law there in Alanna protected by the law or at least should not be which means, their possession of firearms while committing crimes! It’s time we start holding them to a higher level. Nobody’s expecting them to be perfect and above reprieve. But knowledgeable of the law respectful and professional, hell yes!
However when the officer asked him to get out and he willingly complied, they lost all right to enter the vehicle. Since he’s now outside the vehicle, there’s no reasonable assumption for him to be able to reach the supposed weapon they thought he was hiding. Therefore they have mitigated officer safety by removing him from the vehicle instead.I believe the fact that not even one of the four officers showed up for the court date says about all we need to know about their case and how well it would stand up against questions in court.My lawyer is filling a motion to suppress as I type. I was never charged with the reason for the stop (Invalid plate). Because they were valid. The DMV even sent me a certified document agreeing with me. Pulled over in 2018 Document received in 2020 Motion filled in 2022 30 court dates 1 public defender quit because he didn’t want to file the motion! If I had money for a real lawyer this would be history. If you’re still reading this ..my charges are driving without a license and possession of paraphernalia (pot pipe) In my defense….you can’t get fruit from the poisonous tree. In the last 4 years I’ve learned a lot from videos and if I could do it again I’d ask for a supervisor and have them run my plates, then I could have caught the officer lying on the spot! I was on probation and a registered co-owner of the car. Yet the cop said no name was associated to the plates. And yet here I am 4 years later with the DMV ( a State entity) saying the plates were legal, trying to defend myself from the State. Morale of the story….if you want things done and you have a public defender…you must do them yourself. They won’t defend you, all they will do is represent you.Did u know that it even turned out that their reason for the stop “the seatbelt” wasn’t even valid and this was based on where the cop was at the junction as dpn passed him because there was no way he would have been able to see his seatbelt from the passenger side window as he passed the crossroad where the cop was stopped at the traffic lights to his right! THATS probably the reason they didn’t turn up in court, because they knew the stop was bullshit in the first place! 🤬🤬🤬🤬.. He’d been a black man he’d already be in handcuffs.. They really thought they could mess with him until he said Terry v Ohio. Their whole demeanor changed after that most holy of prayers>> Sad that you need to be a lawyer to keep cops off your rights. But still the best way should be to just remain silent and file a complaint/go to court later instead of resisting in any way beyond expressing your disagreement.@Shawn Moses Oh ok, but how is it exactly in the US? Where I live, if you win in court you get back all your expenses. Plus you can have an insurrance for legal expenses too, which covers all possible costs. But I figured thats not popular in the US…“Officer safety”, that is the most obscene excuses used to justify illegal searches and detainments by LEOs.Clearly an extremely controversial search of that man’s vehicle, over an alleged seatbelt violation. I’m a retired police officer and before I search someone’s vehicle, certain parameters need to have been met. What these officers did was uncalled for, unprofessional and likely illegal. The officers, based on the number of them and how they were dressed, seemed to have been on a fishing expedition that went horribly wrong for them.I guess all vehicles can be searched when drivers lean over to get their documents out of the glovebox.I didn’t know that driving while white was a thing. I guarantee this guy was not pulled over for a seatbelt violation. I also guarantee that the cops wish in retrospect that theyhad taken a pass on playing with this guy. He was a handful for sure.Almost all the cops I have come across, have that air of entitlement. As if, we are cattle and they are the royalty, and has in good graces, let us “work” there… It’s not like it’s the other way around. No wonder, why a few just loose their marbles and end up blasting these people sometimes. I just hope, when that thing happens, none of the good ones get caught in that sh!t storm!I love how they say that they are recording… yet their recordings go missing or they are muted or they are not uploaded. When will these stupid ass LEOs start behaving smarter than a 5th grader???I have to disagree with the finding of the PD. They get an F for all the reasons stated in the video, but for also failing to ensure the capture or protection of the two officers’ worn bodycamera footage. These cameras are there for the purpose of keeping an honest, unbiased record of the events, so when 50% of those responding fail to produce/protect said video evidence, it is a clear dereliction of their duty, OR a gross indication of their department, one willing to do what it takes to avoid public scrutiny. Any organization whose success record is tied directly to the collection of evidence that also has such flagrant disregard for video footage collection which may in fact exonerate their behaviour, for the simple reason that it MAY catch them acting poorly, should more than likely have the entire leadership removed, the officers retrained, and the staff sacked or transferred.It always amazes me when out of control cops tell people to relax.How TF did you give the cops a C, after they purposely hid Incriminating evidence? There was a reason he only got 2 bodycam videos. There is always a reason… they always suppress the videos that makes cops look bad. Often it’s conversations between each other as they conspire to create a crime that didn’t exist. It is what they believe their job is.
In the first Monday in May, the Department of Justice headquarters in Washington was on coronavirus lockdown — or at least it appeared to be from the outside. Signs posted on the outer doors facing Independence Avenue admonished visitors to keep out if they had symptoms of Covid-19 or had been “exposed to any person diagnosed” with it. Inside, the guards operating the X-ray machines wore masks and gloves. Across the lobby, a free-standing pump of hand sanitizer cast a cautionary shadow down empty marble halls.
But as you drew closer to the fifth floor, where Attorney General William Pelham Barr works out of a suite of offices, things started to loosen up. One assistant outside his conference room wore a mask, but the other did not. In the middle of the room, with its oil paintings and vaulted ceiling, the long central table had fewer chairs than you might expect, and an appropriate distance between them. But past the next door, inside the attorney general’s smaller personal office, Barr himself was also mask-free. Turning around to greet his visitors, he moved into the middle of a wide circle of four chairs arranged in front of his desk.
Now nearing the end of his career, Barr did not take his current job for the glory. He had already been attorney general once, in President George H.W. Bush’s administration, winning him a reputation as a wise old man — a reputation that, in the eyes of some, his tenure in the Trump administration has tarnished. Nor is he doing it for the money. His time in corporate America earned him tens of millions of dollars in compensation and stock options, and his bearing is still that of a Fortune 500 counsel, cozy manners wrapped around a harder core.
“I’m not going to insist that you have a mask,” Barr said, though I had been asked to bring one. His tone was jokingly conspiratorial, as though he were making an exception for an old friend. Barr is sometimes described as “rumpled,” an adjective that also captures his professorial manner. His speaking voice is very soft, just loud enough to be consistently perceptible; his accent is patrician, with a trace of old New York. His personality breaks through mostly in frequent moments of humor, which range from clubby chuckles to tension-breaking eruptions.
“If you want to take it off … ,” an aide added. Barr crossed the circle of chairs, grinning away any awkwardness. We bumped elbows. “I’m not going to infect you,” he said in the same joshing tone. The greater risk, of course, was that I might infect him, given his cabinet-level access to regular coronavirus testing, the difference in our ages, Barr’s regular meetings with the president and the mostly one-way prophylactic value of masks in general.
“Go ahead and take it off,” his aide suggested again. I took it off.
That Monday, the whole country was doing the same dance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recommended that all Americans wear masks at meetings like this one. President Trump was doing something else, and so, for the time being, was the White House staff. Vice President Mike Pence, having been wrong-footed after taking the no-mask custom to the Mayo Clinic, now seemed to be making it up as he went along. Eight weeks into the global pandemic, a charitable observer might still have described the administration’s response as improvisational or misguided, as opposed to willfully cavalier. But things were about to get worse. That day, Trump’s projection of the total U.S. death toll (75,000 to 100,000), which was given the previous evening at the Lincoln Memorial, would be challenged by an internal Trump-administration document predicting that the number of daily deaths would rise into June. The reckless faith of the president’s inner circle would be challenged when two members of the White House staff tested positive for the coronavirus. Barr and I did not know it then, but we were enjoying the tail end of the Trump administration’s libertine phase. On May 27, the official death toll would surpass 100,000, the upper bound of what Trump predicted on May 3.
One has to assume that Trump is keeping a close eye on the 70-year-old Barr right now. The powers of the attorney general, as the executive branch’s rule interpreter and law enforcer, peak during moments of social unrest. Barr knows these powers well: He led the Justice Department through the Los Angeles riots of 1992, when Bush invoked the Insurrection Act and deployed thousands of soldiers and Marines. (Later, Barr said the L.A. riots were “opportunistic” gang activity and not “the product of some festering injustice.”) Like Trump, Barr is a stalwart believer in the righteousness of the police; those communities that fail to give the police “respect and support,” he said in a December speech, “might find themselves without the police protection they need.” Last summer, Barr dropped the department’s federal case against the New York police officer who killed Eric Garner during an arrest in 2014.
Barr’s role also gives him influence over three major political fronts heading into November.
- First, there is Trump’s fight to open the nation’s economy, which could depend in no small part on Barr’s interpretation of federal authority and willingness to twist governors’ arms. Then there are
- the mechanics of the vote itself, a topic of great partisan controversy about which the Justice Department has shown a growing willingness to weigh in. Finally, there is
- the ongoing investigation led by John Durham, the United States attorney in Connecticut, into the origins of the F.B.I.’s Russia probe in the run-up to the 2016 election, the findings of which are widely expected to be announced before November.
With the election now on the horizon, Barr defended his record in two recent interviews. His critics charge that, since becoming attorney general, he has repeatedly steered the Justice Department toward decisions that serve Trump’s interests — particularly around the investigations, carried out by the F.B.I. and Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian influence over the 2016 election. Barr insists that he acts independently, even as the president often undermines that claim by tweeting out apparent instructions for what his attorney general ought to do.
By the time of our first meeting in his office, Barr had already started looking at how the federal government might intervene in state-ordered coronavirus shutdowns. As Trump accused Democratic governors of denying citizens their “freedom” and encouraged residents to “liberate” Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia, Barr zeroed in on the nuts and bolts of the legal case for “liberation”: When two small churches filed lawsuits, seeking to hold live services despite state or local regulations, the Justice Department made filings in support of their First Amendment rights. In a signed memorandum sent to the department’s 93 United States attorneys, Barr suggested that the federal government’s interest went beyond protecting live worship. It included “disfavored speech and undue interference with the national economy.”
Three weeks before our interview, Trump bragged that he held “total” authority over the states. This went against the prevailing view that the federal government, while free to enforce a variety of measures during its own emergencies, is more constrained in its authority to compel state or local governments to lift theirs. When I asked Barr what Trump meant, he responded by laying out a general view of the president’s pandemic-related powers: “I think the federal government does have the power to step in where a state is impairing interstate commerce,” he said, “where they’re intruding on civil liberties, or where Congress under the commerce clause — or some other power Congress has — has given the president under emergency authorities that essentially pre-empt the states in a particular area, if he chooses to use them.” The answer sounded so dry and routine that I failed to ask what he meant by “other power.” Construed broadly enough, Barr’s interpretation could sanitize and legalize Trump’s claim to “total” authority.
Mail-in ballots are another domain where Trump had been staking out turf. He called the distribution of ballot applications in Michigan “illegal” and warned that voting by mail “doesn’t work out well for Republicans.” In a second interview on May 20, when I asked who was going to referee the 2020 election, Barr replied, “The voters.” He said his department’s role would be limited, as the power belongs to the states and their electors. But when I brought up Trump’s tweet about Michigan, which he posted that same morning, Barr quickly seized the opportunity to float a new theory: that foreign governments might conspire to mail in fake ballots.
“I haven’t looked into that,” he cautioned, offering no evidence to substantiate that this was a real possibility. But he called it “one of the issues that I’m real worried about,” and added: “We’ve been talking about how, in terms of foreign influence, there are a number of foreign countries that could easily make counterfeit ballots, put names on them, send them in. And it’d be very hard to sort out what’s happening.”
On many election-related issues, the Department of Justice has to defer to the states. But in the case of Durham’s investigation of the 2016 investigators, or the “witch hunt,” as Trump has so often called it, Barr has a greater degree of control. For years, Trump has been saying that he was treated unfairly in 2016, particularly at the hands of James Comey, then the F.B.I. director. Barr, who is open about his agreement with this premise, is now in the process of nailing down the details. He won’t rule out the possibility that Durham’s findings could undermine a key consensus about 2016, the well-established conclusion that Russian interference sought to favor Trump — a finding of the Intelligence Community Assessment of 2017 that was later underscored by Mueller, the special counsel, and verified by the Republican-controlled Senate intelligence committee.
Durham, Barr told me, was looking for “who should be held accountable for this, and … .” He paused, glanced down and fidgeted for a moment with his necktie before going on. “As I’ve said publicly, I think Comey has cast himself as being seven layers above the decision-making. I don’t think that holds water. The record will be clear that that’s not the case.”
Barr seems aware at times that he is gambling with his reputation. “Everyone dies,” he said with a matter-of-fact sigh in a TV interview last year. “I don’t believe in the Homeric idea that, you know, immortality comes by, you know, having odes sung about you over the centuries.” When we spoke in his office, he was critical of what he called Comey’s tendency to “wrap the institution” around himself. “I don’t say, ‘Gee, if you criticize me, you’re attacking the men and women of the department.’” he said. “B.S.,” he added. “I’ll live or die by my decisions.”
Barr’s willingness to weather controversy on the president’s behalf has not only caused consternation among some former friends and allies; it has given rise to considerable speculation about his motives. Why would a grandfather in semiretirement, who had already reached the pinnacle of his profession, sign up for this? Some wonder if Barr might still be hungry for influence, having been attorney general for only 17 months the first time. Others wonder whether he spent too much time watching Fox News during the Obama years and came out the other side an ideologue. And there are others who look at Barr’s support for Trump and see more consistency than contradiction. Barr, they say, hasn’t changed his values. Rather, he has found in Trump the perfect vehicle with which to move them forward.
“Those who think he’s a tool of Donald Trump are missing the point,” says Stuart Gerson, who led the Justice Department’s civil division during Barr’s first tour and then succeeded him, serving as acting attorney general during the first three months of Bill Clinton’s presidency. “If anything, it’s the other way around. Barr is vastly more intelligent than Donald Trump. What Trump gives Bill Barr is a canvas upon which to paint. Bill has longstanding views about how society should be organized, which can now be manifested and acted upon to a degree that they never could have before.”
As far as what Barr is hoping to do with his canvas, Gerson says he is committed to the “hierarchical” and “authoritarian” premise that “a top-down ordering of society will produce a more moral society.” That isn’t too far away from what Barr himself articulated in a 2019 speech at the University of Notre Dame. In Barr’s view, piety lay at the heart of the founders’ model of self-government, which depended on religious values to restrain human passions. “The founding generation were Christians,” Barr said. Goodness flows from “a transcendent Supreme Being” through “individual morality” to form “the social order.” Reason and experience merely serve to confirm the infallible divine law. That law, he said, is under threat from “militant secularists,” including “so-called progressives,” who call on the state “to mitigate the social costs of personal misconduct and irresponsibility.” At their feet, Barr places mental illness, drug overdoses, violence and suicide. All these things, he said, are getting worse. All are “the bitter results of the new secular age.”
Barr started his career in the C.I.A. as an analyst, working on China and other matters. When I asked about the origin of his interest in the intelligence service, he responded indirectly, with an anecdote about telling his high school guidance counselor that he wanted to be C.I.A. director. It was tempting to link Barr’s career and conservatism with his father, Donald Barr, who served in the Office of Strategic Services, the C.I.A.’s forerunner, during World War II. In 1940, as an undergraduate at Columbia, Donald wrote a controversial editorial for The Columbia Review, defending a speech by the university president that called upon the faculty to support the American war effort. “Most liberals,” he wrote, “do not think precisely.” As tempting as it was to see the son as part of some epigenetic chain of old-line conservatism, Barr cautioned me not to make such assumptions. “My father was like: ‘Do what you want to do. Do what you enjoy. Do something that you’re really interested in, because that’s what you’ll do best in.’”
Barr’s parents met at the University of Missouri in the early 1940s. Donald, who already spoke three languages, had been sent there by the Army to learn Italian. He spotted Mary Ahern, a young Irish-Catholic woman who had a master’s degree in English from Yale, through an open doorway, teaching Shakespeare to undergraduates, and was smitten. Ahern took some courting. She thought Donald was a “New York wolf,” Barr told me, and his background was also an issue; he was raised without much religion, but his father, William’s grandfather, was born a secular Jew. Upon joining the Army, Donald gave his religion as Dutch Reformed. He converted to Catholicism after he and Mary wed.
Donald Barr’s 26-page O.S.S. file, obtained from the National Archives, gives a detailed account of his transition from the military to intelligence work. In 1944, he shipped off to Europe. He suffered from hay fever and 20/200 vision; much of his time overseas was spent hospitalized with allergies. The next year, he was assigned to the O.S.S. His interviewer found him to be “a quiet, unassuming person … matured beyond his age.” In late 1945, he moved to Washington to begin work at the Interim Research and Intelligence Service, which would become the State Department’s in-house intelligence bureau.
William, the couple’s second son, was born in 1950. By age 8, he had taken up the bagpipes, which would become a lifelong hobby. He attended the Horace Mann School in New York, where his classmates remembered his conservatism, the delight he took in making an argument and his sense of humor. The yearbook praised him as an “incomparable master of facial contortions.”
Barr’s involvement with campus politics continued at Columbia. He joined the Majority Coalition, which organized against student occupiers who had taken over the campus to protest the Vietnam War. Columbia was known as a feeder school for the C.I.A. An average of 14 seniors went to the agency each year from 1960 through 1966, according to a 1967 article from the student newspaper, The Daily Spectator, which reported that a majority came in not through the college’s Office of Career Planning and Placement but “through interviews with various affiliated groups” — perhaps a reference to the private foundations and student organizations that were receiving C.I.A. funding at that time.
In the late 1960s, this recruiting drew campus protests, which eventually broadened to take on other issues beyond the war. On the morning of April 24, 1968, student demonstrators, many of them affiliated with Students for a Democratic Society, stormed Low Memorial Library and took over the offices of Columbia’s president. The protesters were angry that Columbia was building a gymnasium nearby that would have two separate entrances — one for the school community and one for neighborhood residents — and also about the university’s connection with a think tank that did research for the Pentagon.
Barr was on the other side, standing shoulder to shoulder with conservatives and athletes to form a blockade around the library. “We interposed ourselves around them,” he told me. “There was a group of S.D.S. students and younger people from Harlem that assembled and tried to break through. And so there was a huge fistfight. Over a dozen people went to the hospital, between the two groups, when they tried to rush through.” He smiled to himself. “They didn’t get through.”
I asked if he was in the fistfight. He adjusted the bridge of his glasses and glanced down. “I was in the fistfight,” he said, letting out a big laugh. “I was lucky. I had big guys around me. I had the football team around me!” He later added, “I picked my opponents carefully.”
Barr interned at the C.I.A. in the summers of 1971 and 1972. In 1973, after completing his graduate degree in government and Chinese studies, he married Christine Moynihan, whom he met at a fraternity party. The next day, the couple drove to Washington, and Barr began a permanent job at the C.I.A. the day after that. His mother’s memories of the Great Depression, he said, had instilled in him a desire for career stability, so he began taking law courses at night. By then, he had transferred to the C.I.A.’s Office of Legislative Counsel. “He was the ultimate straight arrow,” says John Rizzo, who worked down the hall from Barr in the general counsel’s office, where Rizzo would eventually rise to become the acting head. “Very serious. He was a nose-to-the-grindstone guy.”
The new job put Barr on the C.I.A.’s seventh floor, not far from the director’s office and near the center of what was shaping up to be a historic fight with Congress. In the aftermath of World War II, the presidency was endowed with vast new powers — mass surveillance, covert operations, proxy wars and nuclear weapons. The young C.I.A., spurred on by the imperative to win the Cold War, abused its own new powers to an astonishing degree. Despite a statutory ban on its involvement in either “police” or “internal-security functions,” the C.I.A. surveilled and surreptitiously engaged with countless American citizens. The agency reported to the president and often took action based on informal conversations, without ever committing much to paper. Secrecy around the agency’s transgressions held until the 1970s, when antiwar sentiment began to peak. The scandals around the Pentagon Papers (1971) and the Watergate break-in (1972), culminating in the long-anticipated Vietnam defeat, convinced much of the public that the federal government should no longer be given the benefit of the doubt. In 1973, Richard Helms, the longtime C.I.A. director, ordered the destruction of internal C.I.A. documents regarding MK-Ultra, an experimental mind-control program. “The program was over,” Helms later recalled. “We thought we would just get rid of the files as well, so anybody who had assisted us in the past would not be subject to follow-up, or questions, embarrassment, if you will. … We kept faith with the people who had helped us, and I see nothing wrong with that.”
In 1974, the journalist Seymour Hersh, who had already broken the story of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, revealed that the C.I.A. had developed a sprawling domestic-spying operation, keeping dossiers on thousands of American citizens. Congress created two special committees — a Senate committee, led by Senator Frank Church, and a House committee that would eventually be led by Representative Otis Pike — to investigate. For years, the C.I.A. would be consumed with negotiations over the limits of what Congress could oversee.
“We had, like, seven different committees investigating, and the Pike commission,” Barr told me in his office. “This was for excesses during the Cold War.”
I asked if there had indeed been excesses. Barr’s poker face came to life. He grinned, turned his palms out and shrugged. “Some,” he said. He burst out laughing. Then he pulled back to give the matter some more thought, adjusting his glasses as he settled back into seriousness.
“I don’t want to be quoted as saying they were not excessive,” he said. “There were some that clearly were excessive.”
The battle between conservative hard-liners and a Democratic-led Congress would continue through the late Cold War. Inside the C.I.A., there was a sense of victimization. “The Church Committee period was a horror for the agency,” Frederick Hitz, the agency’s first presidentially appointed inspector general, told me. “We got batted around.”
In 1976, the job of defending the agency in public passed to the new director, George H.W. Bush, who had served as a special U.S. envoy to China. On at least one occasion, Barr sat behind Bush during a congressional hearing, giving him legal advice. Congress wound up making oversight a permanent thorn in the C.I.A.’s side by establishing two intelligence oversight committees. That May, Barr drafted two letters, each signed by Bush, asking Congress if the C.I.A. could resume the routine destruction of documents. The request was denied.
“The culture of the agency was passive resistance,” says Michael Glennon, now a law professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, who dealt with the C.I.A. as legal counsel of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “You’re never talking to the right person. You never had exactly the right document. They had a dozen different bureaucratic obstacles in their arsenal, and they used every one of them.”
Rather than accept post-Watergate congressional limitations, the hard-liners decamped from the C.I.A. and became floaters, bureaucratic nomads who sought out underused and low-visibility pockets of the federal government from which to wage their war over executive power. The largest battle was fought around the Iran-contra affair. A covert group operating out of the Reagan White House had used money gained by selling arms to Iran to fund anti-Communist rebels in Central America, flouting a congressional prohibition. Much of the operation was organized by Lt. Col. Oliver North of the National Security Council. Many of the Iran-contra plotters were dragged into the public eye and indicted by a special prosecutor, another post-Watergate innovation. Evidence pointing to the involvement of President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush was inconclusive. The hard-liners felt that foreign policy and covert operations were an exclusively presidential domain. “The business of Congress is to stay the [expletive] out of my business” is how Reagan’s first C.I.A. director, William Casey, put it in an interview with the political scientist Loch K. Johnson.
Around this time, conservative thinkers of Barr’s generation began to coalesce around an idea they called “the unitary executive.” The president’s right to his powers under Article II of the Constitution, they argued, was undivided and absolute. Post-Watergate reforms — independent prosecutors to investigate high-level wrongdoing, requirements to get warrants for national-security wiretaps, and more — were unconstitutional incursions into the president’s rightful powers.
In June 1977, Barr left the C.I.A. upon his graduation from George Washington University Law School, eventually landing as a policy lawyer in the Reagan White House. Bush, running for president, took Barr to the 1988 Republican National Convention to help vet potential running mates and, after winning the election, appointed him to lead the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, where his duties included determining the legal limits of C.I.A. activities. Rizzo, who was still at the C.I.A., recalls that Barr kept his independence from the Oval Office. Two of Barr’s opinions on classified C.I.A. operations “didn’t give the White House and C.I.A. everything that they wanted,” while a third operation, Rizzo says, was rejected entirely. One of Barr’s public opinions, though, effectively authorized the invasion of Panama. Later, as acting attorney general, he impressed Bush further by defusing a delicate prison-hostage crisis. As attorney general in 1992, Barr signed off on a mass-surveillance program that collected billions of call records for the Drug Enforcement Administration. At the end of Bush’s presidency, he successfully pushed for a pardon of six Iran-contra defendants.
Gen. Michael V. Hayden, a former C.I.A. director, says Barr reminds him of David Addington — the former C.I.A. lawyer who became Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff and played a major role in pushing the limits of conduct, including torture, that the White House and the C.I.A. determined to be legal in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. Barr “wants the president to be in charge,” Hayden says. “People who believe that if the president wants it, most times he gets it and it’s legal — those people usually go far in the White House.”
Barr’s intellect and experience made him appealing to the private sector. For eight years, he served as general counsel at Verizon, at a time when the company was working out secret arrangements with the National Security Agency to turn over its customers’ data. In September 2001, a legal trade publication noted Barr’s $1.5 million salary and compared him to a “powerful amphibious vehicle” for the depth of his connections in both political Washington and corporate New York. At that time, he said, he had no interest in returning to officialdom. “The opportunity to pick up the phone and talk to policymakers, to kibitz — without worrying about what the newspaper is going to say the next day about you — is a great luxury,” he said. “I have the best of all worlds.”
By the 2016 presidential election, Barr was a player in Republican politics and active in conservative Catholic causes. He gave nearly $50,000 to a PAC affiliated with Jeb Bush. His annual holiday parties, traditional Scottish cèilidhs with music and singers, drew hundreds whose friendships he had maintained over the years. He wrote and sold a screenplay about World War II. He spent time traveling abroad and hunting birds. His three daughters all became accomplished lawyers, working on Capitol Hill or as federal prosecutors. The eldest, Mary, moved to the Treasury Department’s financial-crimes unit after Barr’s nomination as attorney general; one of Barr’s sons-in-law left the Justice Department for the White House Counsel’s Office.
Last year, shortly after his Notre Dame speech, Barr gave a second major address at the annual convention of the Federalist Society, an organization of conservative lawyers founded during the Reagan administration. The subject was executive power. Again Barr criticized progressives, this time for making politics “their religion.” The presidency, in his view, handled “sovereign functions … which by their very nature cannot be directed by a pre-existing legal regime but rather demand speed, secrecy, unity of purpose and prudent judgment to meet contingent circumstances.” Part of the core function of the presidency was the ability to act swiftly and without constraint, but this capability had been diminished by the other branches since Watergate. Congress had burdened the president with oversight, while the courts were interfering with Trump’s travel ban on certain countries and his termination of President Barack Obama’s DACA program for young immigrants. Barr seemed to suggest that when it comes to foreign policy, the only legitimate check on presidential behavior is the next election. Months later, this argument would become the foundation of Trump’s impeachment defense.
On Dec. 5, 2018, Barr attended George H.W. Bush’s funeral. While waiting in line for the shuttle bus that would take him to Washington National Cathedral, he and his wife ran into a friend, C. Boyden Gray, who was Bush’s White House counsel during the Reagan years. The two men spent most of the day together. Barr sounded out Gray about the attorney-general job. Gray knew from following the news that Barr was under consideration, but Barr never tipped his hand about how close he was to being tapped, and Gray never asked. Later that week, when Trump announced Barr’s nomination, Gray was not surprised. “I don’t think he felt totally fulfilled by the limited time he had” under Bush, Gray says. “I think he felt he had another round left in him.”
At the time of his nomination, Barr’s supporters presented him as a trustworthy and sensible conservative, a known quantity within the Washington establishment who would restrain Trump’s worst impulses. James Comey called him “an institutionalist who cares deeply about the integrity of the Justice Department.” Benjamin Wittes, a legal commentator who is now one of Barr’s harshest critics, tweeted at the time that he had been “a very fine A.G.” under Bush and that his confirmation would be “a very decent outcome.”
During the confirmation hearing, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, questioned Barr at length about a memorandum he wrote to the administration the previous summer, outlining why he believed that Mueller had no legal right to investigate Trump for obstruction of justice. The president, Barr argued, has “complete authority to start or stop” investigations and can “give direction” on individual cases, including those that touch on his political or financial interests. “The Constitution itself places no limit on the president’s authority to act on matters which concern him or his own conduct,” Barr wrote. Law enforcement, he argued, was a power exclusively held by the president, because “he alone is the executive branch.”
In the hearing, Barr seemed to say that he did not believe the unitary executive’s powers to be infinite. When Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, asked if it would be lawful for a president to trade a pardon for a promise not to incriminate him, Barr answered that such an exchange would be a crime. He also mentioned his long friendship with Mueller. Barr’s wife attends the same Bible study as Mueller’s wife; Mueller attended the weddings of two of Barr’s daughters.
Barr was confirmed by a vote of 54 to 45. He had barely served one month as attorney general when his friendship with Mueller was tested by the special prosecutor’s delivery of his report, on the afternoon of Friday, March 22. Trump’s Twitter account then went dark for nearly 40 hours. That Sunday, Barr sent a letter to Congress that he would later describe as giving Mueller’s “bottom line,” and Trump’s feed came back to life. “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION,” he tweeted. In his first public comments that same day, Trump said the words “no collusion with Russia” three times. “Hopefully someone is going to be looking at the other side,” he added.
Trump’s tweet, Barr’s letter and Mueller’s report said three different things. Neither Barr nor Mueller exonerated Trump. Barr quoted Mueller’s own words that his complicated finding on obstruction “does not exonerate” the president. But Barr omitted Mueller’s conclusions that Russian interference sought to favor Trump; that Trump and his campaign welcomed the interference and believed they would benefit from it; and that the “links” and “contacts” between Russians and the campaign were substantial, even though the evidence Mueller was able to gather fell short of a criminal conspiracy.
Mueller fired off two letters complaining that Barr had misrepresented his work. In the second letter, dated March 27, he asked Barr to immediately release the report’s introductions and executive summaries. But the public would not get to read Mueller’s work until April 18, when Barr released a redacted version of the full report. Before doing so, Barr gave a news conference in which he tilted further toward declaring Trump innocent, something Mueller bent over backward not to do. “As he said from the beginning,” Barr said of Trump, “there was in fact no collusion.”
Barr’s distortions drew wide criticism. Democrats were also frustrated by the report’s content. It lacked the thunderous revelations about Russia that had long been promised by Trump’s opponents, and it suffered from legalistic inconclusiveness on the most fundamental questions. Mueller, having been given a chance to put the 2016 election to bed for good, had carefully avoided doing so.
Democrats’ hopes for the promised collusion bombshell now turned to the unredacted version of the Mueller report, which Barr refused to give them. In an echo of his C.I.A. work during the Church Commission years, the Barr-led Justice Department has taken a very hard line regarding what information Congress and the courts are entitled to get from the White House. It has fought in court against the release of Trump’s tax returns; argued that Congress did not need to see the Ukraine whistle-blower’s complaint, because it was not a matter of “urgent concern”; and has challenged congressional requests for Mueller’s secret grand-jury materials.
After Barr refused to turn over the fully unredacted Mueller report to the House Judiciary Committee, citing executive privilege, the committee voted to hold him in contempt. The Democratic chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, claimed that this was the beginning of a “constitutional crisis.” Barr seemed untroubled. “Madam Speaker, did you bring your handcuffs?” he reportedly quipped to Nancy Pelosi at an event a few days later. But concerns about Barr’s handling of Mueller’s investigation have not been confined to Democrats. Judge Reggie B. Walton of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, a George W. Bush appointee, recently criticized Barr’s “lack of candor” and questioned whether “Barr’s intent was to create a one-sided narrative.”
At his first meeting with President Trump in 2017, Barr later recalled in his confirmation hearing, he told Trump that “the Barrs and Muellers were good friends and would be good friends when this was all over.” In the end, he was half right. “I haven’t talked to him since March 5, when he came over to talk about his report,” Barr said in one of our interviews. That would have been March 2019 — more than a year ago.
“My wife and his wife still talk, and they’re friends,” Barr continued. I asked if they still saw each other at Bible study. “Yup,” Barr replied.
Attorneys general are chosen by the president; no law prohibits them from doing the president’s bidding. Many presidents have occasionally asked the attorney general to intervene in individual prosecutions. John Mitchell, President Richard M. Nixon’s attorney general, went much further, helping to plan the Watergate burglary and then working to cover it up. But the Justice Department’s guidelines do enjoin prosecutors not to comment about ongoing investigations, something Barr does regularly. They also caution that legal judgments “must be impartial and insulated from political influence” and that the department must respect Congress’s “legitimate investigatory and oversight functions.”
None of this has stopped Barr from overruling his subordinates to the benefit of Trump’s friends and associates — most notably Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime political mentor, and Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser. In both cases, Trump has tweeted about what he sees as the unfairness of their legal troubles, and the Justice Department has subsequently pushed for leniency.
Barr has repeatedly said that Trump has never asked him to do anything in a criminal case: “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody,” he said in an interview with ABC News. But the department’s interventions on behalf of Stone and Flynn have raised questions about the supposed Trump-Barr firewall. “Even assuming that Bill Barr is acting with integrity, it is impossible for people to believe that, because the president is making him look like his political lap dog,” Jack Goldsmith, who led the Office of Legal Counsel under George W. Bush, told The Times in February. Barr has said he doesn’t pay attention to Trump’s tweets and doesn’t take seriously the ones he is made aware of. “The president says a lot of things which he doesn’t follow through on, and doesn’t actually mean, probably,” says Gray, Barr’s friend and former colleague.
Vanita Gupta, the former head of Obama’s civil rights division at the department, articulated a prevailing view of Barr among Democrats, telling me that the attorney general has “since Day 1 operated as the president’s defense lawyer.” Gupta says Barr’s interventions on behalf of Trump associates have far-reaching consequences. “Barr is overturning decisions made by career prosecutors to placate the president,” she says. “It’s insulting to federal prosecutors who have given their time to build cases with honor and integrity. It has a destructive impact on morale.”
In February, prosecutors recommended that Stone be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison for witness tampering and other crimes. The following day, the Justice Department filed a second, revised sentencing memo asking that Stone’s sentence be reduced. Eighty-seven to 108 months, the memo argued, “could be considered excessive” given Stone’s “advanced age, health, personal circumstances and lack of criminal history.”
On the same day the department revised its sentencing recommendation, all four of the prosecutors responsible for the case announced their withdrawal. One, Jonathan Kravis, left the department entirely. “I am convinced that the department’s conduct in the Stone and Flynn cases will do lasting damage to the institution,” Kravis wrote later in an op-ed in The Washington Post.
On Twitter, Trump said the Stone prosecutors “cut and ran after being exposed.” He tweeted out congratulations to Barr for “taking charge of a case that was totally out of control.” Barr pushed back in the ABC interview, insisting that he reached the Stone decision independently. “To have public statements and tweets made about the department, about our people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department and about judges before whom we have cases make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors that we’re doing our work with integrity,” he said, adding, “I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.”
The post-Mueller case that has arguably received the most attention among Trump’s supporters is that of Flynn, the lieutenant general who briefly served as Trump’s national security adviser. The dueling narratives around the Obama-to-Trump transition crystallize around Flynn, and the question of whether he or those who investigated him were in the wrong. In addition to drawing scrutiny for his Russian contacts, Flynn initially failed to report, as legally required, that his company was effectively on the payroll of the Turkish government during the 2016 campaign. Obama himself tried and failed to talk Trump into dropping him. Many of Trump’s own problems hinged on his asking Comey if he could “see your way clear” to dropping the Flynn investigation. Trump’s adversaries consider Flynn to be a loose cannon and possible Russian pawn who needed to be rooted out. His supporters depict him as the second coming of Oliver North — a good soldier who was martyred in public for his loyalty to the executive.
On May 4, the day of my first interview with Barr, Flynn was still awaiting sentencing, having pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. From time to time, Trump had been tweeting about the Flynn case in ways that seemed to cross the line that Barr had drawn about public comments from the White House about matters pending before the Justice Department. Trump said Flynn had been victimized by the “same scammers” as Stone.
I asked Barr, in light of his statement on ABC News, whether these were the kind of tweets that made his job “impossible.”
“I’ve already made my position on the tweets clear,” Barr said. “I don’t have anything further to say about it.”
Trump had recently been tweeting about Flynn, I said. “I haven’t seen any of his tweets about Flynn, so I’m not sure what he’s saying,” Barr replied.
I asked if he would like to see them. “Not particularly,” Barr said. “I don’t pay any attention. I don’t even know what he tweets.”
I handed Barr a printout of an April 29 Trump tweet. It read:
@CNN doesn’t want to speak about their persecution of General Michael Flynn & why they got the story so wrong. They, along with others, should pay a big price for what they have purposely done to this man & his family. They won’t even cover the big breaking news about this scam!
“Take it for what you will,” Barr said with cool indifference. “The thing that I reacted to with Stone, was him [Trump] saying what the department should do.”
I asked how it was that Flynn’s supposed antagonists could be punished — “pay a big price” — without involvement from the department.
“That doesn’t have to do with the Flynn matter, does it?” Barr asked, referring to the particular case that was now before Judge Emmet Sullivan. He had found the right hair to split, and he split it so cleanly and decisively that I couldn’t say this wasn’t his position from the beginning.
The tweet, Barr said, was nothing new. Trump, he said, “has been calling for justice and for holding people to account since the very beginning.”
Three days later, on the afternoon of May 7, the Justice Department filed a motion to dismiss its own prosecution of Flynn. The government argued that Flynn’s false statements were not “material” to the investigation of Flynn, because the investigation was itself unjustified. The argument relied in part on the contents of handwritten F.B.I. notes that had been turned over to Flynn’s attorneys by the department and released to the public by mutual agreement. One of the prosecutors assigned to the case immediately withdrew.
A few days later, Sullivan decided he wouldn’t rule on whether to accept the department’s motion until he had heard from friends of the court and a special counsel. Flynn’s lawyers appealed, asking a higher court to force the judge’s hand. Again, the department took Flynn’s side. Trump took to Twitter, celebrating “a BIG day for Justice in the USA. … I do believe there is MUCH more to come!”
The definitive Sept. 11 Commission-style history of the 2016 election remains unwritten, though not for lack of trying. In addition to the Mueller report and voluminous criminal indictments, we have the Intelligence Community Assessment, the Horowitz report (by the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz) and four volumes of the Senate intelligence committee’s report, a fifth volume of which is on the way.
The major episodes of the story may now seem like familiar terrain to those who have kept up, and a hopeless mess to everyone else. But zoom out a bit, and the stakes could not be higher. Many of Trump’s critics, like Representative Adam Schiff of California, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, go further than saying that the Russians put a thumb on the scale for Trump. They have suggested that the extra boost was decisive — that Trump would not have been elected in 2016 but for Russian interference. The crucial legacy of 2016 is that the question of Trump’s legitimacy was never settled. And without any consensus on what happened in 2016, the rules of the road for 2020 are up in the air.
But first, armed with the powers of law enforcement and presidential access to classified material, Trump is getting ready to roll out his account of 2016. When Trump promises “much more to come,” he most likely has in mind the ongoing investigation by John Durham and its long-expected report — although it is also possible that Durham’s public work product will take the form of indictments, or perhaps nothing at all. Barr, who assigned Durham the task of investigating the Russia probe in May last year and met with him several times immediately after the conclusion of Mueller’s investigation, is overseeing Durham’s work and briefs Trump on his findings regularly. Based on Barr’s public statements, we can see the rough contours of Durham’s findings beginning to take shape. The government’s conduct during the Obama-to-Trump transition, Barr has said, was “abhorrent.” Surveillance of Trump’s campaign amounted to “spying.” Then there was the all-important question of whether the F.B.I. was justified in opening the initial Crossfire Hurricane investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties.
Under ordinary circumstances, Justice Department prosecutors do not comment on anything connected to an ongoing investigation, but on the day that Horowitz released his report, both Barr and Durham decided to do just that. The F.B.I.’s interest in Trump, Barr said, was based “on the thinnest of suspicions” and “insufficient to justify the steps taken.” “We do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication,” Durham said in his own statement. Horowitz had found that the investigation was justified, so these sounded like sweeping words of dissent. But over the coming months, as attention drifted elsewhere, they shrank. By the time I sat down with Barr, the only dispute with Horowitz he’d voiced was whether the F.B.I. had enough evidence to open a full investigation. (Barr and Durham believe that there was only enough to open a preliminary investigation, not a full one.)
In our first interview, Barr mentioned the dossier of salacious anti-Trump claims that had been gathered and circulated by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent who was working indirectly for the Clinton campaign. The possibility that the Russian government intentionally seeded the dossier with misinformation was one of the issues Mueller ignored and Durham was looking at, Barr said. Nor had Mueller gone back and looked at the investigative steps taken as Crossfire Hurricane accelerated, he continued. Horowitz had done that, but unlike Barr and Durham, he had no access to the C.I.A., the N.S.A. and the foreign governments that were involved.
To facilitate what later became a criminal investigation, Trump ordered the heads of the intelligence agencies to cooperate with Barr. He delegated to Barr the power to order the declassification of secret documents. Barr has spoken with intelligence officials from Italy, Australia and Britain to reportedly solicit information that could help Durham. In the case of Italy, where Barr and Durham met with political leaders and intelligence chiefs in person, his visit provoked concern among U.S. diplomats, who told The Times that Barr circumvented protocols in setting up the trip. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, who is the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee and helped write its five-volume report, said there were “concerns” about Barr’s trips. “There is queasiness among our allies about the kind of activities Barr is engaged in,” he said.
Timothy Flanigan, a former colleague of Barr’s from the George H.W. Bush years, said he thought Durham could come back with something more. Mueller’s investigation “was limited to the president and the campaign,” he told me. “No one has looked at the whole intelligence community and asked, ‘Was there something amiss here?’”
Durham’s investigation is not the only means through which Barr’s decisions could affect the election. If the F.B.I. wants to open a criminal investigation into either campaign, it will first need Barr’s personal approval. Barr has established a special “intake process” to deal with materials that Rudolph W. Giuliani says he has obtained from Ukrainian sources, which, Giuliani has claimed, implicate Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. In the interview, Barr did not dispute the notion that the Russian government had interfered in 2016, but he made it sound as though the assumption that it favored Trump would be coming under some pressure.
One also would expect Barr to play a role in deterring and punishing foreign interference in the 2020 election, but that could get complicated. Trump’s camp continues to deny the intelligence community’s consensus view, one strongly reiterated by Mueller and the Senate intelligence committee, that the Russians favored Trump over Hillary Clinton. Some, including Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, claim to have unreleased evidence that points the other way. Based on what Barr told me, Russian intentions will most likely emerge as the key retrospective battlegrounds as Durham’s work continues and the election draws closer.
“There was definitely Russian, uh, interference,” Barr said. “I think Durham is looking at the intelligence community’s I.C.A. — the report that they did in December. And he’s sort of examining all the information that was based on, the basis for their conclusions. So to that extent, I still have an open mind, depending on what he finds.”
But what Barr did not address directly was the fourth volume of the report from the Senate intelligence committee. That report reviewed much of the same intelligence underlying the Intelligence Community Assessment. It affirmed that Russia’s pro-Trump position and President Vladimir V. Putin’s direct involvement were supported by “specific intelligence.” The N.S.A.’s disagreement was “reasonable, transparent and openly debated.” Unlike the committee’s groundbreaking 2012 Torture Report, the fourth volume was unanimously approved by a bipartisan vote of the Republican-led committee. “The committee found no reason to dispute the intelligence community’s conclusions,” said Senator Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina and the chairman of the committee.
Warner, for his part, dismissed Durham’s investigation as “a fishing expedition,” he told me. “I will be very surprised if Durham finds anything new.”
I brought up the Durham investigation again in my last interview with Barr, on May 20. The fifth floor of Justice Department headquarters now felt different; some older, lawyerly looking men walking around wore masks. Two younger men in suits with lapel pins, who were most likely security, did not. Barr himself still wore no mask, but there were no more polite entreaties for visitors to take theirs off. One could see two crumpled blue surgical masks lying amid the papers on Barr’s desk. With disarming familiarity, Barr sat down on a sofa and offered me my “usual place” in a tufted leather chair.
By then, Trump had seized on the “Obamagate” meme, accusing the former president and Biden of “the biggest political crime in American history.” When asked what crime he thought they were guilty of, Trump declined to answer. In a news conference two days before I went to see him, Barr was asked indirectly if Durham’s investigation might lead to criminal charges being filed against Obama or Biden. “I have a general idea of how Mr. Durham’s investigation is going,” he said. “Based on the information I have today, I don’t expect Mr. Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man. Our concern about potential criminality was focused on others.”
Later that same day, Trump, asked about Barr’s statement, replied, “I’m a little surprised.” He went on: “I don’t think he said it quite the way you said it. I think he said ‘as of this moment,’ I guess. But if it was me, I guarantee that they’d be going after me.” Trump then said he had “no doubt” that Obama and Biden were “involved” in what he now called a “scandal.” As to whether or not it was criminal, he said, “I would think it would be very serious — very, very serious. It was a takedown … and in my opinion, it was an illegal takedown.”
In Barr’s office two days later, I brought up how Trump seemed to have heard only what he wanted to hear, that Barr’s prediction about not prosecuting the former president was only valid “as of this moment.”
Barr said I shouldn’t read too much into those words.
“I was just qualifying it simply as any lawyer would qualify an absolute statement,” he said. “I have nothing in mind like that.”
Whether he realized it or not, the line Barr had drawn at the news conference was getting blurrier with every word, just as Trump had hoped.
“You never say never,” Barr went on. “Things could pop up that change the world.” He pulled back from the conversation and thought for a moment. “But I have a pretty good grasp of what went down and what was happening, and I don’t expect that.”
After keeping tabs on Durham’s investigation for more than a year, Barr did not think it was likely that he would have to prosecute a former president. But neither, at that moment, was he willing to rule it out. He made this position sound reasonable, even as it served to support the unsupported “Obamagate” theory that the president was floating at the time.
In the end, the substance of Durham’s findings might not matter. Whatever he turns up will become a major theme of Trump’s 2020 campaign; the less time there is before an election, the greater political impact of even the smallest apparent revelation. All Trump needed from Barr was the glimmer of a possibility, a slight shadow of official uncertainty in which his wild theories could flourish. And for now, Barr was giving him that. How much more he would give the president before November, it was hard to say.
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Mueller’s team says in the court papers that Corsi scrubbed his computer between Jan. 13, 2017, and March 1, 2017, deleting all email correspondence that predated Oct. 11, 2016, including the messages from Stone about WikiLeaks and Corsi’s email to Malloch.
.. Corsi remained in contact with Stone in 2017 when the former Trump adviser’s connections to WikiLeaks came under investigation by the FBI and congressional committees, according to the draft court papers.
On Nov. 30, 2017, Stone emailed Corsi asking him to write about a person whom Stone had told congressional investigators was his “source” or “intermediary” to WikiLeaks, according to the draft court papers.
Corsi and Stone have identified that person as Randy Credico, a radio host and one-time friend of Stone.
“Are you sure you want to make something out of this now?” Corsi responded, according to the draft court papers. “Why not wait to see what (Credico) does? You may be defending yourself too much — raising new questions that will fuel new inquiries. This may be a time to say less, not more.”.. Corsi, the former Washington bureau chief of the conspiracy theory outlet InfoWars, has told NBC News that he had no direct or indirect contact with WikiLeaks. Corsi claims to have anticipated WikiLeaks’ release of the hacked emails by “connecting the dots” between public statements from Assange and other available materials... But in a letter drafted by Gray and addressed to Mueller’s team, Corsi’s lawyer argued that he should not be charged with a crime based on a faulty memory.
“I understand that this plea to making a false claim is predicated on the fact that Dr. Corsi had emails and phone calls wherein he was in fact interested in WikiLeaks,” Gray wrote... Gray also noted that if Corsi were to plead guilty, he would have to give up his securities license and cease his online chats until sentencing, depriving him of crucial sources of income.
Daniel Goldman, a former federal prosecutor who is now a legal analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, said the documents suggest that Mueller has more on Corsi than is laid out in the draft court papers.
.. “Based on reviewing these documents, I believe that the office of the special counsel may have more evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Corsi beyond the false statements, and that is why they engaged in plea negotiations,” Goldman said.
“He is a clear target of the investigation,” Goldman added.
.. “Since when did gossip become a criminal offense? Where is the WikiLeaks collaboration? Where is the evidence that I received anything whatsoever from WikiLeaks and passed it on to Donald Trump? These emails prove nothing other than the fact that Jerry Corsi is an aggressive investigative reporter.”
Since Mojeb arrived in Turkey on Monday, “Saudi officials seemed primarily interested in finding out what evidence the Turkish authorities had against the perpetrators,”
.. Fidan said Khashoggi was “strangled as soon as he entered the consulate” in line with “premeditated plans.” The body, “after being strangled, was subsequently destroyed by being dismembered, once again confirming the planning of the murder,” Fidan said.
The Turkish statement used the word “bogulmak,” which can also mean suffocation.
.. The Turkish government says it has an audio recording of what transpired inside the mission. Although Turkish officials have played the audio for CIA officials, including Director Gina Haspel, Turkish officials have not released the audio to the public.
.. Saudi Arabia has provided shifting explanations about what happened to Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen, contributing columnist to The Washington Post and critic of the Saudi leadership, including the de facto Saudi ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. For more than two weeks, Saudi authorities repeatedly denied any knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts, then abruptly changed their account, blaming the killing on agents acting outside the Saudi government’s authority.
Turkish investigators initially focused their search for Khashoggi’s body in two wooded areas outside Istanbul, guided in part by surveillance footage that Turkish authorities said showed Saudi diplomatic vehicles apparently scouting Belgrad Forest the night before the journalist was killed.
.. Last week, investigators suspended the search, focusing instead on the consulate’s grounds and the consul general’s residence. The search focused in particular on a well on consular property, where the assailants could have disposed of Khashoggi’s dissolved remains, the first senior Turkish official said.
.. Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have repeatedly complained that Saudi Arabia is hampering the investigation by refusing to provide critical pieces of information, including the location of Khashoggi’s body.
.. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Wednesday that his government would take “necessary measures” against those responsible for the journalist’s death.
“So long as those who are responsible and the circumstances around the killing are not made public, released and evaluated, we will go on demanding the truth,” he said.
Shortly before the election, the president endorsed Mr. Kemp, and the political tide turned. He has a skill set that Mr. Trump desperately needed but was curiously silent about in his endorsement: He is a master of voter suppression.
Hackable polling machines, voter roll purges, refusing to register voters until after an election, the use of investigations to intimidate groups registering minorities to vote — Mr. Kemp knows it all.
.. Voter suppression keeps Georgia a red state. Since 2005, Republicans have controlled the State Legislature as well as the governor’s office. Now most of the congressional districts are Republican. So are nearly 64 percent of the state representatives and 66 percent of the state senators... Whites make up less than 60 percent of the state’s population but more than 90 percent of people who voted Republican in the primary. The state’s gerrymandered districts, drawn and redrawn by the Republican-dominated Legislature, mirror the inordinate and disproportionate power of this constituency... He has begun investigations into organizations that registered nearly 200,000 new Asian-American and African-American voters — efforts that resulted in the first majority-black school board in a small town.His investigations yielded no charges, no indictments, no convictions, despite years of probing, suspects’ losing their jobs and Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents knocking on doors. Yet the intimidation had an impact. An attorney from a targeted organization told a reporter: “I’m not going to lie; I was shocked. I was scared.”.. While Mr. Kemp insisted that these investigations were about preventing in-person voter fraud (which basically doesn’t exist), he was more candid when talking with fellow Republicans: “Democrats are working hard,” he warned in a recording released by a progressive group “registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines.”
“If they can do that, they can win these elections in November,” Mr. Kemp said. Therefore, even after the multiple investigations yielded no indication of fraud, thousands of people registered during these drives were not on the voter registration rolls, and a court ruling kept it that way.
Mr. Kemp also used Exact Match, a version of the infamous Crosscheck database, to put tens of thousands of citizens in electoral limbo, refusing to place them on the rolls if an errant hyphen, a stray letter or a typographical error on someone’s voter registration card didn’t match the records of the state’s driver’s license bureau or the Social Security office
Using this method, Mr. Kemp blocked nearly 35,000 people from the voter rolls. Equally important, African-Americans, who made up a third of the registrants, accounted for almost 66 percent of the rejected applicants. And Asian-Americans and Latino voters were more than six times as likely as whites to have been stymied from registering.
.. But as diligent as he has been about purging eligible citizens from the voter rolls, Mr. Kemp has been just as lax about the cybersecurity of the state’s 27,000 electronic voting machines. Although there were a series of warnings about the ease with which they could be hacked, Mr. Kemp did not respond. Georgia’s electronic voting machines, which run on Windows 2000, leave no paper trail; as a result, there is no way to verify whether the counts are accurate or whether the vote has been hacked.
.. Mr. Kemp finally accepted federal dollars, which he had refused for years, to update some of the machines. But his efforts were too little, too late.
.. officials at Kennesaw State University, which provides logistical support for the state’s election machinery, “destroyed the server that housed statewide election data.”
.. That series of events, including an April visit to the small campus by Ambassador Sergey Kislyak of Russia, raised warning flags to many observers. But not to Mr. Kemp, who said that there was nothing untoward in any of it; the erasure was “in accordance with standard IT procedures.”
.. Mr. Trump’s endorsement, therefore, was no surprise. Mr. Kemp had pulled off an incredible feat: Georgia’s population increased, but since 2012, the number of registered voters has decreased.
A Kemp victory in November is, therefore, transactional but essential for Mr. Trump. It means that there will be a governor, in a state that demographically should be blue, who is practiced and steeped in the nuances of disfranchisement. Mr. Kemp can rubber-stamp the Legislature’s voter-suppression bills that privilege the Republican Party, artificially increase the Republican representation in Congress and in the end protect a president facing mounting evidence of graft, corruption, conspiracy and the threat of impeachment.