Barr Reportedly Told DOJ Officials to Try and Undermine Michael Cohen’s Conviction

Leah Millis / Reuters
The same day Attorney General William Barr insisted that there was "no pattern" that he was working to advance President Donald Trump's personal interests, several sources quoted by the New York Times said, one of his first steps after his Taking office in early 2019 tried to find ways to undermine the conviction of longtime Trump fixer Michael Cohen.
Barr has reportedly repeatedly questioned prosecutors over the charges against Cohen, who pleaded guilty to financial crimes in August 2018, including hush money payments to women, who claimed they had affairs with Trump. He went so far as to instruct Department of Justice officials to write a legal memo that, according to the Times, raised doubts about the legality of Cohen's conviction, but they refused to do so.
In a NPR interview released on Thursday, Barr mocked the idea that he had advertised Trump's agenda at the expense of the rule of law, calling it a "media narrative" and saying there was "no such pattern". He went on the defensive several times in the interview.
Barr has carried out several controversial interventions in cases involving President Donald Trump's employees. In early May, he decided to drop the Justice Department case against Trump's former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, a decision that provoked fierce criticism because Flynn had already pleaded guilty. Although Michael Flynn was the President's national security adviser, Barr denied any political pressure to drop the charges against him: "I don't know if I would call him a friend of a government," he said.
And even though Flynn admitted to lying to the FBI, Barr still accused the retired general of being ridiculous: “In the Flynn case, there were a lot of hinky things. Everyone knew that. Everyone was wondering why this case was ever brought. "
When asked last week about the chaotic removal of Geoffrey Berman, the former U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, who was involved in the investigation of many of Trump's allies, Barr dismissed the move as nothing more than a normal personnel decision .
“I was certainly aware that, given the current environment, every time you move staff, conspiracy theorists indicate that it is an ulterior motive. But I felt that this was actually a good time to do it because I wasn't aware of anything that was supposed to lead to it, ”he said. He said Berman "lives from the beginning on borrowed time".
Though he insisted on treating all cases equally, he apparently could not name a single case that was not tied to the President's inner circle, in which he had last-minute intervention similar to that in the Flynn case.
When Barr pressed down on the president's executive powers, he repeated the commander-in-chief's rhetoric and tried to divert the conversation. He scolded the press for not taking a close look at the state governors. To combat the new corona virus, he "detained the entire population and told people that they had to stop making a living and doing business," he said. The president has often said that the measures against the corona virus are worse than the disease itself. Barr repeated another Trump point when he said that an election with a large number of postal ballot papers can take place safely. He said the evidence was "obvious".
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