May 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

House Dems call for DOJ watchdog to investigate Bill Barr

Attorney General William Barr at a White house coronavirus briefing on March 23. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee on Friday accused Attorney General Bill Barr of doing President Trump's "political bidding" by interfering in ongoing criminal cases, and called on the Justice Department's inspector general to investigate.

Driving the news: The DOJ moved Thursday to drop its prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in the Mueller investigation in 2017 to lying to FBI agents about his conversations with the former Russian ambassador.

What they're saying: "By itself, the decision to dismiss charges against Mr. Flynn would smack of corruption and unacceptable political influence in an ongoing criminal matter:  President Trump tweeted in defense of his former advisor, and one week later Mr. Flynn is poised to walk free," the Friday letter from House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats reads.

  • "But this is hardly the first time that Attorney General Barr has appeared to reach into an ongoing criminal case to do the President’s political bidding," they write.
  • House Democrats cited Barr's summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which did not include a single full sentence from the report, and the DOJ's argument in favor of a lighter sentence for Roger Stone in February as examples of what they describe as Barr doing Trump's "political bidding."

Go deeper: Nadler seeks hearing with Barr after DOJ drops prosecution of Michael Flynn

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 5,731,837 — Total deaths: 356,606 — Total recoveries — 2,376,542Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 1,703,989 — Total deaths: 100,651 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  4. Business: U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter — 2.1 million Americans filed for unemployment last week.
  5. States: New York to allow private businesses to deny entry to customers without masks.
  6. ⚽️ Sports: English Premier League set to return June 17.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Mark Zuckerberg: Social networks should not be "the arbiter of truth"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Thursday that social media platforms should not police political speech, and that "people should be able to see what politicians say.”

Why it matters: Zuckerberg was responding to Twitter's decision this week to fact-check a pair of President Trump's tweets that claimed that mail-in ballots are "substantially fraudulent." Twitter's label, which directs users to "get the facts" about mail-in voting, does not censor Trump's tweets.

House Democrats pull FISA reauthorization bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats pulled legislation Thursday that would have renewed expired domestic surveillance laws and strengthened transparency and privacy protections amid broad opposition from President Trump, House GOP leadership and progressive Democrats.

Why it matters: The failure to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) comes as Trump continues to attack the intelligence community, which he claims abused the law to surveil his 2016 campaign and Trump administration officials.