Criminal Justice Versus a Sitting Attorney General

I have a question; maybe one of you understands how this works.

When the attorney general of the U.S. is a lawbreaker, what part of law enforcement deals with him? Capitol Police? I’m asking because I don’t know the answer.

If the House decides to subpoena Barr or hold him in contempt of Congress, is there someone who could actually arrest him? The Sargeant-in Arms of the House is supposed to be the person to arrest someone in contempt of Congress, but what if Barr decides he doesn’t peacefully want to be arrested? Barr is, after all, the head of all federal law enforcement.  I’m not sure how arresting him would work.

The famous example of John Mitchell doesn’t provide an answer, because Mitchell wasn’t indicted while in the office of attorney general.. Mitchell resigned in 1972 to manage Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign. He wasn’t indicted until 1974, and he began his prison term in 1977.

16 thoughts on “Criminal Justice Versus a Sitting Attorney General

  1. Sometimes criminals have to be “frogmarched” to justice.  In this case, literally.  

  2. I don't know the answer to your question, Maha. But my assumption would be that if the Sergeant at Arms was hindered at fulfilling his duties, than the entire system has broken down. It is also my assumption that House of Representatives is the voice of the American people and that all power ultimately rests within that body.

     What I'm not certain of is if the House chooses to impeach the Attorney General would that process be in the same procedural format where the Senate would determine whether that impeachment would stand? Or can the House go it alone for lesser persons than the president?

     It's scary stuff. Sometimes I think this period we are living through is going to be a refining process where American's will be forced to either reaffirm or establish our values as a nation. And the motto of my mother's clan will come to fruition…Dulcius Ex Asperis

  3. By the looks of John Mitchell in that photograph he looks like he needs to hit the sit-up trail. He could pass for a body double for Alfred Hitchcock.

  4. I don't think Pelosi or Schumer has the nerve to say it out loud – but they should. 

    "If we request your testimony, you can refuse."

    "If we subpoena your testimony, you must appear."

    "If you defy the Congress and hide behind this lawless executive branch, you will be arrested and charged with criminal Contempt of Congress as soon as this administration passes."  

    If you have defied the Constitution and the Congress, we will demand the full penalty of time in jail, and we will recommend that a tough prison, not a cushy camp is appropriate." 

    These are serious crimes against the US Constitution being committed. BEFORE the perps reach the point of no return, they should be warned – clearly, with the exact statute(s) cited and the penalties announced. This isn't like Trump threatening Clinton when there is no crime (according to the DOJ determination). It's throwing down the gauntlet early as the law is being broken when the criminal can still decide not to cross the line.

  5. I've been wondering about this, too.

    Suppose the FBI was investigating Barr for financial fraud or some other crime.  A US Attorney would review the evidence and may conclude Barr should be indicted.  Barr would review a memo prepared by the US Attorney, refuse to recuse himself because he would believe the allegations to be unfounded, and refuse to authorize his own indictment.

    Or, suppose Barr was indicted in a State court proceeding and simply refused to show up for trial.  Who would arrest him and how would they do it?

    Or, suppose our intelligence services can prove that a president of the United States is passing along classified information to hostile foreign powers for his own personal financial benefit.  Given that a president would have the power to unilaterally declassify information, has he even committed a crime?  And, if so, who would indict him, who would arrest him and how would they do it?

    Sad that we've gotten to the point where we have to wonder about these things.


  6. I know one thing:

    Congress, and the House specifically, has "the power of the purse."

     So, 'starve the beast' – the Executive branch!  (And the Judicial, maybe?).

    And then use that purse to hit tRUMP over his empty orange head, and then whack him in his tiny cojones!

  7. This is a no brainer.  Chuck and Nancy know that they have solid and excess power needed for plan A.B, and C.  If it was not in place, they would not be playing the cards they are doing.  They are pros.  They are more worried about how to land this mess with minimal damage.  It might be a surprise but a huge number of Rs are looking for the same outcome.  A lot of Rs are pros too.  

    • "Chuck and Nancy know that they have solid and excess power needed for plan A.B, and C. " They have the constitutional authority but not necessarily the law enforcement instrument to use the authority. 

  8. I always come back to FAUX news. Barr, Trump none of this (to use Ted Cruz's phrase "lawless behavior") could be possible without the wing-nut media empire, specifically FAUX news. The night the Mueller letter was published (admonishing Barr's white-wash) msnbc, FAUX even the bbc was covering that story. Faux never said a word, instead they were talking about how the probe started illegally? What Trump and Barr are doing is as un-American as it gets but it is shrewd political strategy and they will most likely get away with it. Barr's 4-page summary set the narrative, it sat out in the political ether for a few weeks unabated and it took hold. Now they are able to ignore calls to testify as just more Benghazi like hysterics. Didn't the repugs hold Eric Holder in contempt, nothing ever came of that (the IG cleared Holder). So the same thing will happen here, Barr will be held in contempt, the IG will open an investigation (white-wash) and before you know it we'll be voting in 2020, Trump will literally be campaigning for his freedom!

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