President Trump and his advisers have repeatedly discussed whether to fire FBI Director Christopher A. Wray after Election Day — a scenario that also could imperil the tenure of Attorney General William P. Barr as the president grows increasingly frustrated that federal law enforcement has not delivered his campaign the kind of last-minute boost that the FBI provided in 2016, according to people familiar with the matter.
The conversations among the president and senior aides stem in part from their disappointment that Wray in particular but Barr as well have not done what Trump had hoped — indicate that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, or other Biden associates are under investigation, these people say. Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose internal discussions. […]
People familiar with the discussions say that Trump wants official action similar to the announcement made 11 days before the last presidential election by then-FBI Director James B. Comey, who informed Congress he had reopened an investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state after potential new evidence had been discovered.
October 21, 2020
New York Times
The Justice Department said on Monday that President Trump should not be sued personally for having denied a rape allegation because he made the statement while acting in his official capacity as president.
Lawyers for the government made the argument as they defended Attorney General William P. Barr’s decision to intervene in a defamation lawsuit filed in a New York court against President Trump by E. Jean Carroll, the writer.
Ms. Carroll has said that Mr. Trump raped her in a department store two decades ago and then falsely denied the attack while in office, branding her a liar and harming her reputation.
But Justice Department lawyers say that even though the allegation concerns an incident that occurred decades before Mr. Trump became president, his denial was still an official act because he “addressed matters relating to his fitness for office as part of an official White House response to press inquiries.”
“Given the president’s position in our constitutional structure, his role in communicating with the public is especially significant,” the Justice Department wrote, adding, “The president’s statements fall within the scope of his employment for multiple reasons.”
October 19, 2020
New York Times
Attorney General William P. Barr told federal prosecutors in a call last week that they should consider charging rioters and others who had committed violent crimes at protests in recent months with sedition, according to two people familiar with the call.
The highly unusual suggestion to charge people with insurrection against lawful authority alarmed some on the call, which included U.S. attorneys around the country, said the people, who described Mr. Barr’s comments on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.
The attorney general has also asked prosecutors in the Justice Department’s civil rights division to explore whether they could bring criminal charges against Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle for allowing some residents to establish a police-free protest zone near the city’s downtown for weeks this summer, according to two people briefed on those discussions. Late Wednesday, a department spokesman said that Mr. Barr did not direct the civil rights division to explore this idea.
September 16, 2020
Federal prosecutor Nora Dannehy, a top aide to U.S. Attorney John H. Durham in his Russia investigation, has quietly resigned from the U.S. Justice Department probe – at least partly out of concern that the investigative team is being pressed for political reasons to produce a report before its work is done, colleagues said. […]
Colleagues said Dannehy is not a supporter of President Donald J. Trump and has been concerned in recent weeks by what she believed was pressure from Barr – who appointed Durham – to produce results before the election. They said she has been considering resignation for weeks, conflicted by loyalty to Durham and concern about politics.
Durham is notoriously circumspect and neither he nor members of his team have revealed anything about the direction of their work. But Durham associates, none of whom have specific knowledge of the investigation, have said recently that it is their belief he is under pressure to produce something – perhaps some sort of report – before the presidential election in November.
September 11, 2020