As the nation is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, Attorney General Bill Barr thought it would be the perfect time to stealthily drop the case former Special Council Robert Mueller built against the Russians.
Mueller slapped indictments against a Russian company known as Concord, which allegedly led the misinformation campaign on social media to interfere with the 2016 Election. The case had been set to go to trial later this year, but Barr dropped it unexpectedly on Monday and the reason why is supposedly classified.
According to the Washington Post:
The U.S. Justice Department moved Monday to drop its two-year-long prosecution of a Russian company charged with orchestrating a social media campaign to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The stunning reversal came weeks before the case — a spin off of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe — was to go to trial.”
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The Justice Department issued a statement announcing the decision earlier in the day.
“Upon careful consideration of all the circumstances, and particularly in light of recent events and a change in the balance of the government’s proof due to a classification determination, as well as other facts described in more detail in a classified addendum to this motion, the government has concluded that further proceedings as to Concord, a Russian company with no presence in the United States and no exposure to meaningful punishment in the event of a conviction, promotes neither the interests of justice nor the nation’s security,” the DOJ said. “The government has therefore decided…to cease litigation as to the Concord defendants.”
Newsflash: Bill Barr plans to do things while we are distracted https://t.co/nszOo8PYJU
— Molly McKew (@MollyMcKew) March 16, 2020
The timing of the drop is also suspicious since it appears Barr was trying to use the coronavirus pandemic as cover since most Americans are currently preoccupied with their health and safety. But that didn’t work. And now former federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials want more information.
— Frank Figliuzzi (@FrankFigliuzzi1) March 16, 2020
Typically, prosecutors make the decision that trial would expose sensitive information that should remain secret before indictment, not afterwards. Given the context & the defendant’s close relationship to Putin, it’s hard to view this as benign. https://t.co/4tLbAQSV14
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) March 16, 2020
These issues are vetted before cases are indicted. Only obvious change is AG. https://t.co/fdubzkAVVx
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) March 16, 2020
This is highly irregular. These decisions are made before indictment. https://t.co/oE5ESZ63Nb
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) March 17, 2020
As the 2020 Election approaches, the Justice Department had a chance to send a message to Russia that further meddling with our democratic process won’t be tolerated. Instead, Barr sent the opposite message: That Russia can totally get away with helping Trump win in November and he won’t lift a finger to stop them or punish them.
Featured image via screen capture
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