Trump Found His Roy Cohn In Deep State Fixer Bill Barr


In protecting President Trump, Attorney General William Barr is meeting the president’s demand for a loyal legal fixer in the radical right mold of the canny, connected and immoral Roy Cohn.

djt roy cohn tuxedos sundance film sonia moskowtizThat is the not-so-hidden backstory of the radical gutting of American constitutional government now underway to expand and cover up Team Trump's corruption.

The synergy between Barr's ugly past as a CIA-trained strategist implicated in massive drug, arms and financial crime cover-ups decades ago makes his current alliance with Trump far more dangerous for United States democracy than Cohn's long-ago relationships with the big-talking hotelier Trump of the early 1980s or even with Cohn's own 1950s mentor, the red-baiting Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy.

Some see Barr as a conservative "institutionalist" committed to a "rule of law" at the Justice Department. Others increasingly regard him as the president's puppet and defender against other law enforcers. We argue in this column that his track record shows a pattern of cynical manipulation of law and rhetoric to enhance the power of the already powerful.

First, our deep dive into this history introduces the cast of characters. The future president is shown at right (photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Altimeter Films) with Cohn, his one-time mentor, attorney and Manhattan nightlife companion before Cohn's 1986 death from AIDS.

Fast forward to March, where Trump is shown below at left congratulating Barr at the White House upon Barr's joining Team Trump as Attorney General.


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Trump last week gave Barr unprecedented power to declassify, upon his own initiative, U.S. intelligence, as reported by the New York Times and elsewhere in such stories as Trump Gives Attorney General Sweeping Power in Review of 2016 Campaign Inquiry on May 24. "The directive gives Mr. Barr immense leverage," the Times reported, "over the intelligence community and enormous power over what the public learns about the roots of the Russia investigation."

djt william barr doj photo march 2019Congruent with Barr's view on near-unlimited powers for a president under what others might view as a fascist "unitary executive" theory of the Constitution, Trump's delegation of power could be an attempt to mobilize the Justice Department against his political opponents.

Based on Trump's Twitter rants, these opponents could include intelligence analysts and law enforcers who have raised suspicions about corruption in Trump Team's foreign alliances and funding relationships.

Potentially lost in the blizzard of other news is the historical fact that such efforts by the Nixon administration prompted so much public outrage and legal liability as to form one of the building blocks for the impeachment momentum that drove Nixon from office in 1974 before the House could vote to impeach.

Our Justice Integrity Project was founded nearly a decade ago to expose instances of federal political prosecutions. So this looming Constitutional and human rights crisis sits squarely within our charter.

Barr's Rise To Power, Again

With that background, our column today focuses on Barr's disgraceful past as a fixer, cover-up artist  and world-class hypocrite spouting high-minded rhetoric about "rule of law" while abusing his power in service of corrupt goals and masters. The Mueller Report and its revelations provide our news peg, underscoring the importance of this historical inquiry at this point, but are not themselves our focus today. The Justice Integrity Project publishes daily updates of such developments in our sections summarizing general news, Trump Watch and Deep State.

For this more in-depth column, we start by citing Trump's repeated complaints about the Justice Department, as quoted in a documentary film, Where's My Roy Cohn?, which has been described as a "thriller-like exposé," released in January.

A year previous, on Jan. 4, 2018, the specific concept that Trump wanted a fixer in the mold of Roy Cohn to run the nominally independent U.S. Justice Department became prominent also with publication of a New York Times story by Michael S. Schmidt. It began:

“President Trump gave firm instructions in March to the White House’s top lawyer: stop the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, from recusing himself in the Justice Department’s investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s associates had helped a Russian campaign to disrupt the 2016 election.

"Public pressure was building for Mr. Sessions, who had been a senior member of the Trump campaign, to step aside. But the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, carried out the president’s orders and lobbied Mr. Sessions to remain in charge of the inquiry, according to two people with knowledge of the episode.

"Mr. McGahn was unsuccessful, and the president erupted in anger in front of numerous White House officials, saying he needed his attorney general to protect him. Mr. Trump said he had expected his top law enforcement official to safeguard him the way he believed Robert F. Kennedy, as attorney general, had done for his brother John F. Kennedy and Eric H. Holder Jr. had for Barack Obama.

"Mr. Trump then asked, 'Where’s my Roy Cohn?' He was referring to his former personal lawyer and fixer, who had been Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’s top aide during the investigations into communist activity in the 1950s and died in 1986 [emphasis added]."

In the film clip, and as amplified in a Vanity Fair article, Where’s My Roy Cohn? Digs into One of the 20th Century’s Most Evil Men, Trump bemoaned (with his emphasis on the "my"), in effect, not being able to use the the Justice Department as a kind of personal legal team.

A weirdly evocative still photo from the documentary shows Cohn and Trump (at left below, both in headdress) during one of their gala evenings on the town together.

DJT roy cohn sundance film wheres my roy cohnmariette pathy allenrIn the structure of the column unfolding below, we next touch briefly on the kind of criminal undertakings common for Trump and Cohn during the future president's early years in business.

We then move to Barr's concurrent rise as a loyal legal apparatchik for ultra-right-wing politicos during the 1980s.

Barr's work most notably served the Bush family and its allies, who became heavily involved in organized crime during the Iran-Contra scandals of the 1980s, according to multiple sources. These included Republican operative and former Reagan-Bush aide Roger Stone, author of Jeb! and The Bush Crime Family (2016), a remarkably detailed account of the family's corruption and deviance, as recounted by an insider notorious for his own dirty tricks. 

roger stone jeb coverBefore undertaking that history, however, we must note at the outset the shocking failure of society's watchdogs during recent years to refresh public recollection about Iran-Contra.

That's especially harmful when so many of the malefactors are still prominent. These include Barr, the recent National Rifle Association President Oliver North and Presidential Special Envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams.

Barr, who was U.S. attorney general from 1991 to 1993 as he protected President George H.W. Bush from corruption investigations, had sought the Trump post with a unsolicited 19-page memo to the Justice Department last year arguing for expanded presidential immunities.

Not surprisingly, the embattled Trump then chose Barr to replace Trump's first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who had angered the president by failing to protect him from the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller into claims of 2016 Trump presidential campaign wrongdoing and cover up.

Barr went on at news conferences to spin his redacted version of Mueller's 448-page report before anyone in Congress or the public could see it.

Trump's designation of new powers for Barr is an invitation for Team Trump to cherry pick information to argue that Trump is the victim of "spying" and other unfair practices during the 2016 campaign. Scant rebuttal is possible because Team Trump controls much of the classified documentation and has vowed minimal cooperation with Congress or other oversight bodies.

The rest of the public can safely assume -- based on past practices and the indictment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on May 23 on spy charges for releasing classified documents -- that Team Trump will try to use Barr to thwart independent investigations of the classified materials at issue.

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9/11 Press Relations Tool Kit For Hidden Records Suit


Justice Integrity Project Editor's Introduction: Guest columnist Mark Channing Miller shares below his tool kit for everyone who wants to change the blackout of news coverage of the landmark legal filing this spring by family members of 9/11 terror attack victims and by independent researchers who seek to require public disclosure by the U.S. Justice Department of hidden federal government records.

9 11 richard gage robert mcilvaine mick harrison david meiswinkle FBI lawsuit ak photoJust under Miller's introduction is his transcription of remarks by the lawsuit plaintiffs, some shown below at right, during their March 25 news conference near the federal courthouse and Justice Department headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, DC. The event was outside the Newseum, which was charging nearly $25 admission (including to see displays of 9/11 attack debris) but whose management tried to shoo from the public sidewalk the 9/11 lawsuit plaintiffs at right. 


Guest column for the Justice Integrity Project by Mark Channing Miller

What follows introduces a bundle of six documents related to the latest legal action to force a new, thorough, external assessment of any evidence related to September 2001 terrorist attacks that was known to the FBI as of 2013 but not considered by the 9/11 Commission. This action was filed on March 25, 2019. Five documents are linked; the sixth, a news conference transcript, follows this introduction.

The bundle is for the benefit of all citizens, including journalists, journalism students, lawyers and law students. As the news media have not acknowledged the mounting evidence at odds with government accounts of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, all are invited to put together their own "stories" as if you were members of 9 11 lawyers committee logothe Fourth Estate and:

(1) attended the news conference after three plaintiffs sued the FBI in federal court on March 25; or (2) covered the release of the 9/11 Review Commission's report four years ago.

Because most people already spend so much time looking into screens, it may be worth having a print shop print out each of the six documents -- to be able to read each with pen in hand for underlining and writing questions and comments in the margins. Save money and paper by having them printed double-sided.

The bundle includes:

* The 44-page, seven-count complaint filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on March 25 charging that the FBI and the Justice Department ignored a 2014 Congressional mandate to provide Congress all evidence known to the Bureau regarding the September 2001 attacks, along with external assessments of that uevidence. Plaintiffs: Lawyers' Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, and Robert McIlvaine. (Most of it is double-spaced for easier reading.)

* ae 911 truth logo horizontalA 7,000-word rush transcript of the news conference [following this introduction] at which four individuals spoke about the complaint after filing it in federal court and answered questions. They are Attorneys Mick Harrison and David Meiswinkle of the Lawyers' Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, Richard Gage of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, and Robert McIlvaine, father of a man killed in the 9/11 attack. No news organization representative was present. A video of the news conference is

.be" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here.

* The 127-page report of the 9/11 Review Commission, titled "The FBI: Protecting the Homeland in the 21st Century" and released on March 25, 2015. Commissioners and staff are named and briefly profiled on pages 10-14.

* An article on the complaint for Courthouse News Service written by Jennifer Hijazi and carried on the CNS website for one day, March 26, 2019, before disappearing. (It was salvaged by someone at Architects & Engineers.)

* A New York Times article on the 9/11 Review Comission report written by Michael S. Schmidt, published in 2015.

* A Washington Post article on the 9/11 Review Commission report written by Adam Goldman, published in 2015.

The complaint charges that the FBI ignored a 2014 Congressional mandate to provide Congress all evidence known to the agency regarding the September 2001 attacks that was not considered by the original 9/11 Commission, along with an external assessment of that evidence (also mandated), and it asks the court to order the FBI and the Justice Department to belatedly obey the law containing the mandate.