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During House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry in late 2019, Georgetown University law professor Jonathan Turley was the GOP’s star witness and argued against impeaching President Donald Trump. But when Turley spoke to the House Natural Resources Committee this week, he asserted that if the clearing of Lafayette Square by Washington, D.

C. police on June 1 was merely a “photo-op” for Trump, Attorney General William Barr needs to resign.

On June 1, nonviolent protesters were violently removed from Lafayette Square in order for Trump and others to walk from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church — where Trump gave a speech and was photographed holding up a copy of the Holy Bible.

Turley, according to the New York Daily News’ Michael McAuliff, told House Natural Resources that removing the protesters was, in itself, probably legal. But the Georgetown law professor asserted that if Barr did it merely for a “photo-op” and not strictly for security purposes, the U.S. attorney general should resign.

“If Attorney General Barr cleared that area for the purpose of the photo-op, I would immediately call for him to step down, because that would be an outrageous abuse of power,” Turley told House Natural Resources.

However, Turley also testified that clearing Lafayette Square could possibly be justified on security grounds because 50 officers had suffered injuries during the protests and St. John’s had been the target of an arson attack.

Turley told House Natural Resources, “Whether the president’s photo-op played a role in the size of the perimeter — the decision to move people all the way to I Street, for example — those are things that are legitimate questions. If this was done to intimidate people, you know, this would be a serious problem.”

Protesters were not the only ones who suffered injuries when police attacked Lafayette Square with pepper spray, batons and rubber bullets on June 1; some members of the media were injured as well, including Australian reporter Amelia Brace — who told House Natural Resources that a police officer attacked her with a truncheon.

Turley testified, “The attack on the Australian journalists appeared entirely unjustified and unlawful.”

Mariann Budde, Episcopal bishop for St. John’s Church and Washington, D.C., has been vehemently critical of the way in which Lafayette Square was cleared on June 1— and at the House Natural Resources hearing, Budde testified, “When the president held up a Bible outside our church, as if to claim the mantle of spiritual authority over what had just transpired, I knew that I had to speak. Nowhere does the Bible condone the use of violence against the innocent.”

News Source: alternet.org

Tags: religious right

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Attorney General William Barr Is Opposed To Commuting Roger Stones Sentence, Report Says

In a Wednesday report for Vanity Fair, Gabriel Sherman claims that Attorney General William Barr is opposed to commuting Republican operative Roger Stone’s 40-month prison sentence, which is set to begin July 14. According to Sherman’s reporting, Donald Trump has told people he wants to commute Stone’s sentence, while Barr and White House counsel Pat Cipollone are opposed to the plan.

“Barr has told Trump not to do it, and if he does there will be a mutiny at DOJ,” a source briefed on the internal government debates allegedly said.

Despite the pushback, a Republican close to the White House suggested there are fears that Trump won’t listen.

“You can’t underestimate how hard it is to get information through to him. When you talk to him, he just talks at you. He doesn’t like to read memos, so there’s not really a way to get through to him. Everyone agrees.”

According to Bloomberg, Stone texted Trump on Tuesday to beg him to commute his sentence.

“I want the president to know that I have exhausted all my legal remedies and that only an act of clemency will provide justice in my case and save my life!” the text allegedly said.

  Alex Wong / Getty Images

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson previously denied Stone’s request for a September 3 surrender date, which pushed him to file an emergency appeal on Monday. Stone argued that he is in the vulnerable population most susceptible to coronavirus dangers and contrasted his treatment to Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who was recently spotted dining at a New York restaurant — a violation of the furlough from prison he was offered amid the pandemic.

According to Bloomberg, Barr’s Department of Justice (DOJ) did not oppose Stone’s request. Nevertheless, Stone claimed that the DOJ would not likely support his appeal for a delay and believes that action from Trump is the only path forward to prevent his prison sentence.

As The Inquisitr reported, Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, previously pushed back against the possibility of pardoning the GOP operative and said it would constitute significant corruption.

Stone was convicted of witness tampering and lying to investigators. His crimes stem from his time on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, when then-special counsel Robert Mueller was investigating its possible links to Russia. Although Barr is allegedly opposed to commuting Stone’s sentence, the United States Attorney General successfully reduced the sentence from the initial seven to nine years to the current 40 months.

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