1/ More than 2,000 former federal prosecutors and Justice Department officials called on Attorney General William Barr to resign, claiming that his handling of Roger Stone’s case “openly and repeatedly flouted” the principle of equal justice when he intervened in Stone’s sentencing recommendation. A national association of federal judges also called an emergency meeting to address the intervention in politically sensitive cases by Trump and Barr after more than 1,100 life-term federal judges said the issue “could not wait.” (USA Today / Washington Post / New York Times / Axios)

  • Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Kevin McCarthy issued a statement in support of Barr, saying “Suggestions from outside groups that the Attorney General has fallen short of the responsibilities of his office are unfounded. The Attorney General has shown that he is committed without qualification to securing equal justice under law for all Americans.” Separately, Trump said he had total confidence in Barr. (Axios / Reuters)

  • [Editorial] Bill Barr Must Resign. (The Atlantic)

  • [Editorial] William Barr must go. (Boston Globe)

  • 😳 Barr’s internal reviews and re-investigations feed resentment, suspicion inside Justice Dept. (Washington Post)

  • 😳 Fearful of Trump’s Attacks, Justice Dept. Lawyers Worry Barr Will Leave Them Exposed. (New York Times)

  • 😳 Attorney general’s actions spark outrage and unease among US prosecutors. (CNN)

2/ Trump threatened to file retaliatory lawsuits “all over the place” for damages he claims to have incurred as a result of Robert Mueller’s investigation. In a series of tweets, Trump criticized the 22-month-long probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying “Everything having to do with this fraudulent investigation is badly tainted and, in my opinion, should be thrown out.” Trump also accused Mueller of lying to Congress while invoking U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is scheduled to sentence Roger Stone on Thursday. (Politico)

  • 📌Day 1119: Trump defended Roger Stone in a series of tweets while attacking the federal judge and prosecutors involved in the case. Trump also “congratulated” Attorney General William Barr for “taking charge of the case” – confirming that Barr intervened in Stone’s sentencing recommendation. Trump claimed that Stone was treated “very badly” and suggested that prosecutors “ought to apologize to him.” Trump also implied that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is presiding over the case, was biased because of her role in the sentencing of Paul Manafort and dismissal of a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton. Stone is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 20. When asked if he would pardon Stone, Trump replied: “I don’t want to say that yet, but I tell you what, people were hurt viciously and badly by these corrupt people.” (Washington Post / New York Times)

  • 📌 Day 1120: Attorney General Bill Barr said Trump’s “constant background commentary” about the Justice Department “make it impossible for me to do my job” and that “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.” Barr’s comments came in response to Trump congratulating Barr for “taking charge” and personally intervening to overruling career prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone. Barr added, that “I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.” (ABC News / New York Times / Axios / NPR)

  • 📌 Day 1121: Trump declared that he has the “legal right” to ask Attorney General William Barr to intervene in federal criminal cases a day after Barr publicly asked Trump to stop tweeting about the Justice Department, because it “make[s] it impossible for me to do my job.” Trump tweeted Barr’s quote that Trump had never asked him to do anything related to a criminal case and said that “This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!” (New York Times / Washington Post / The Guardian / NBC News / USA Today)

  • 😳 ‘Something has to be done’: Trump’s quest to rewrite history of the Russia probe. (Washington Post)

3/ The federal judge overseeing Roger Stone’s criminal trial refused delay his sentencing despite Trump’s tweet that Stone’s conviction “should be thrown out.” Stone’s defense team also requested a new trial and lobbied to delay the sentencing. Prosecutors originally recommended a seven to nine year sentence in federal prison, but Attorney General William Barr reversed that decision and recommended a reduced sentence, which prompted the entire prosecution team to resign from the case in protest. Judge Amy Berman Jackson also ordered both sides to participate in a hearing after the prosecutors in charge of the case resigned. Trump later told reporters that he thought Stone had been “treated unfairly” but that he had not given any thought to issuing him a pardon. Asked if Stone deserves any prison time, Trump replied: “You’re going to see what happens. You’ll see what happens.” (Associated Press / Washington Post / NBC News / New York Times / CNBC / Politico / The Guardian)

4/ Federal prosecutors are considering additional charges against Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas. The U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York — which Giuliani led in the 1980s — is considering new charges against Parnas and at least one of his business partners for misleading of investors in their company, Fraud Guarantee. Giuliani was paid $500,000 by Fraud Guarantee in 2018 to advise the company – around the same time that Parnas and Igor Fruman began helping arrange meetings in Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden. (CNN / Washington Post)

5/ Trump’s top trade adviser has been conducting his own investigation to uncover the identity of the person known as “Anonymous” – the senior Trump administration official who declared that there was a “resistance” within the administration in 2018 and recently published the bestselling book titled A Warning. Peter Navarro has reportedly been compiling a “profile” of the language and phrases used in Anonymous’ book in order to cross-reference them with a list of potential suspects. Separately, Trump administration officials have discussed reassigning deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates from the National Security Council to the Department of Energy after officials in the White House suggested to reporters in recent weeks that Coates was Anonymous. (Daily Beast / Axios / Politico)

  • 📌 Day 595: The White House is in a state of “total meltdown” with Trump “absolutely livid” and reacting to the anonymous op-ed with “volcanic” anger. The op-ed by “a senior official in the Trump administration” who claims to be part of a “resistance” protecting the U.S. from its president, has set off finger-pointing within the West Wing at the highest levels of the administration. Aides and outside allies say “the sleeper cells have awoken” and that “it’s like the horror movies when everyone realizes the call is coming from inside the house.” (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Talking Points Memo)

  • 📌 Day 1022: A forthcoming book by an anonymous senior Trump administration claims that high-level White House aides were certain that Mike Pence would support using the 25th Amendment to have Trump removed from office. The author of “A Warning” – the same official behind the 2018 op-ed that declared there was a “resistance” within the administration – claimed that White House officials put together a list of Cabinet secretaries who were open to the idea of removing Trump because of mental incapacity and that “there was no doubt in the minds of these senior officials that Pence would support invoking the 25th Amendment if the majority of the Cabinet signed off on it.” Pence, meanwhile, said he never heard about any discussion of using the 25th amendment in the White House. (HuffPost / Politico)

  • Former national security adviser John Bolton suggested that his forthcoming book contains revelations about Trump’s misconduct that go beyond his pressure campaign in Ukraine. Bolton claimed that the Ukraine revelations were “like the sprinkles on the ice cream sundae in terms of what’s in the book.” He also said the White House was trying to use its powers of classification to prevent the book, The Room Where It Happened, from coming out. “I say things in the manuscript about what he (Trump) said to me,” Bolton added. “I hope they become public someday.” (CNN / New York Times)

  • 📚 The WTF Just Happened Today? Recommended Book List


Notables.

  1. The White House memo justifying the assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani doesn’t mention an imminent threat, despite it being the Trump administration’s primary rationale for the attack. Instead, the two-page memo justifies the drone strike based on previous attacks and the need to deter Iran from carrying out attacks in the future. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel said the memo “directly contradicts the president’s false assertion that he attacked Iran to prevent an imminent attack against United States personnel and embassies.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Haaretz / CNN / CNBC / Slate)

  2. The Department of Homeland Security waived 10 federal contracting laws to speed up construction of Trump’s border wall, including requirements regarding open competition, justifying selections, and receiving all bonding from a contractor before any work can begin. DHS said waiving the laws would speed up the construction of 177 miles of border wall at sites in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. (Associated Press)

  3. Native American burial sites have been destroyed by construction crews building the U.S.-Mexico border wall. “Controlled blasting” has taken place at Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a Unesco-recognized natural reserve, without first consulting the Tohono O’odham Nation. (BBC)

  4. The top intelligence office lawyer who initially blocked the whistleblower complaint about Trump and Ukraine from reaching Congress is resigning. Jason Klitenic, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, will depart early next month. (Politico)

  5. Trump attended Stephen Miller’s wedding, which took place at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. (Politico)

  6. Trump’s campaign manager shared a photo of Air Force One at the Daytona 500 from 2004 and claimed that it was from Trump’s visit on Sunday. Brad Parscale deleted the photo from George W. Bush’s visit to the NASCAR race after users pointed out that the photo was from 2004. (CNN)

  7. Trump pardoned or commuted the sentences of 11 people, including Rod Blagojevich, Bernard Kerik, Michael Milken, and former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. Blagojevich was convicted of trying to essentially sell Obama’s vacated Senate seat for personal gain. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, was convicted of tax fraud and lying to the government. Milken, an investment banker, was known in the 1980s as the “junk bond king” and the face of the insider trading scandals of the 1980s. (New York Times / CNBC / Politico / CNN)


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