Georginalee McDougal | William Barr and the Executive Office

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

In recent months there has been media coverage as to the role of Attorney General William Barr, which appears to be that of a personal attorney to the president of the United States. The allegations listed against Barr have been numerous.  

Starting as recently as February 2019, when he first took office, Barr refused to recuse himself from the Russia/Mueller investigation. In June 2018 Barr sent a 20-page legal memorandum to the Department of Justice, warning Mueller he had no authority to investigate President Donald Trump in this matter. In April 2018, fact-checkers and news outlets stated Barr had knowingly and deliberately mischaracterized the Mueller report and its conclusions. 

As recent as May 2020, in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking full disclosure of the Mueller Report, Judge Reggie B. Wilson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found that Barr had advanced a “distorted” and “misleading” account of the report’s findings, and that lacked credibility. In February 2020, Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security advisor, was fired, and subsequently had to plead guilty to charges of lying to the FBI. Barr immediately stepped in to dismiss the charges against Flynn. The retired federal judge, John Gleeson, was brought in to investigate Barr’s motion for dismissal. Gleeson immediately filed a 73-page brief, stating Barr’s attempt to “deep-six” the prosecution of Flynn was a “gross abuse of prosecutorial power,” stating the attorney general was giving special treatment to a presidential ally. On June 24, a divided panel ordered Sullivan to dismiss the case, but the panel’s decision is likely headed for en banc (French term for “in bench”) and then on to Supreme Court review. 

A direct quote from AG William Barr (2020): “I am also proud to serve as the attorney general under President Trump, who has taken up that torch in his judicial appointments. That is true of his two outstanding appointments to the Supreme Court, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh; of the many superb court of appeals and district court judges he has appointed, many of whom are here this week; and of the many outstanding judicial nominees to come, many of whom are also here this week.” This quote was taken directly from an event Barr attended on Nov. 15, 2019. The speech goes on to describe Barr’s version of what the framers of the Constitution meant. He proceeds to defame Congress, and how they oppose Trump. He speaks of steps Trump has taken as “a bit tame” when compared to President Barack Obama, such as the DACA program, Obamacare, etc. Barr then turns against the judicial branch of the government. Barr states that conservatives (Republicans) do not seek an earthly paradise. While speaking of DACA and bashing Obama, Barr claimed that the DACA case would not even be heard until 2021 probably — however, he stated that “President Trump will have spent almost his entire first term enforcing President Obama’s signature immigration policy.” 

The transcript of Barr’s speech went on for 28 pages. I noticed a big section where Barr discussed the history of the Revolution and Articles of Confederation, he spoke of the framers coming to appreciate a republican government. Barr seem to gush over the American presidency, and was so proud to serve under President Trump. Barr goes on to speak of how the executive branch is being stacked against. Barr concluded that the framers’ vision of a strong, independent executive branch needs to be restored and preserved with full vigor of the founding principles.

It is clear that there is a discrepancy of the executive office and the roles of each employee in that upper branch. In all my years I have never seen such a separation of power, and a division among people in the United States. As a scholar, I again state, as with any organization, it begins at the top. There needs to be a clear and concise outline of the qualifications for president of the United States. As of this time there are three for the most powerful and highest position in the United States. First, to be a natural-born citizen of the U.S., second, be at least 35 years old, and thirdly be a resident of the U.S. for 14 years. This is very problematic. There needs to be a definite qualification and job description of each of the positions in the executive branch. Such qualifications should include time serving in the U.S. military as well as years served in government positions, whether as a senator, governor or other higher-ranked position. They must be free from debt as well as unlawful convictions. Having the highest branch of office in the U.S. not have this in place seems not only reckless but also careless. Every job, every position whether voted, elected, or hired, should have a clear and concise description of what the duties are and the ramifications if they are not followed. This is a recipe for disaster, no matter how many advisers one has. If these positions of power have no experience in their position we are headed for disaster. 

I have been a Democrat my entire life. However, as I became a scholar, I have looked deeper into the candidates up for office. I have voted Democrat and I have also voted Republican; I chose to do my duty to research and select the candidate I felt was more qualified for the job at the time the selection needed to be made.  

The United States is in a very critical time where I have never seen such anger, such discourse, such contempt for anyone whose ideologies are different from theirs. I have always been in awe of the framers of the Constitution and their insight over a vast land and infinite amount of time. The wisest of men in a world that was so much smaller than today’s. Their visions and their insight during that time were so unique, so clear, so concise in their writings. I have for over 10 years now kept a copy of the Constitution in my purse and carry it wherever I go. These are the people I trust with no wavering. This is where I look for insight and truths. For centuries they have protected the people with their guidance and wisdom as we, the American people are the stakeholders.  

My thoughts are that we need to follow the lead of the framers meticulously, as they did write out the qualifications and job descriptions of the most powerful office in the United States and no longer go by unqualified, non-experienced individuals. We need to make guidelines, rules and laws if those rules are broken. Remember, the framers also protected us from dictatorship, and the protection of checks and balances that will prevent tyranny. The U.S. Constitution also provides a mechanism to restore constitutional order. This is the time that we need to change the executive branch of the U.S. government. 

To be clear, we are the stakeholders of this organization. We need to incite change. Through our vote we hold the power to make change.     

Georginalee McDougal 

 Canyon Country

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