Barr says Trump's tweets 'make it impossible for me to do my job' – as it happened

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1.08am GMT

Related: Roger Stone case: chief justice urged to step in as Trump’s ‘abuse of power’ condemned

12.50am GMT

Elizabeth Warren is in Virginia, holding her first campaign event since the New Hampshire primaries.

A new chant for @ewarren from the crowd: “I believe that she will win.” pic.twitter.com/i5dBns81ZQ

Related: After a disappointing start, where does Elizabeth Warren go from here?

12.33am GMT


Donald Trump will be the guest of honor at a fundraiser where donors are paying $580,600 per couple to attend. The Washington Post reports that the dinner on Saturday will take place at the Palm Beach estate of billionaire Nelson Peltz:

The dinner, taking place just a few miles from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, shows how enthusiastically Trump has embraced big-dollar fundraising in his bid for a second term — a dramatic about-face from 2016, when he criticized the influence of wealthy donors on the politicians who court them.

It also shows the special access enjoyed by many of Trump’s wealthiest donors, including business executives and lobbyists, who get the chance to air their grievances with the president’s tariffs or promote their pet projects, often while dining on Trump’s favorite foods.

12.05am GMT

A federal judge dismissed Donald Trump’s criticisms of the Roger Stone case. “Public criticism or pressure is not a factor” in the court’s decisions, said Beryl Howell, the chief US district judge of Washington.

Howell issued a rare statement in response to Trump’s criticisms of her colleague Amy Berman Jackson, the sentencing judge in the Roger Stone case.

11.41pm GMT

The DNC was involved throughout the development of the mobile app that was meant to collect and tally results of the Iowa caucuses, according to Yahoo News. Party officials had access to the software – designed by Shadow – for testing before it was used Iowa, according to a contract obtained by Yahoo:

An unaffiliated Democratic operative in Iowa provided Yahoo News with a copy of the contract between Shadow and the Iowa Democratic Party. The contract, which was signed on Oct. 14 and refers to Shadow as the “Consultant,” specified that the company had to work with the DNC and provide the national party with access to its software for testing.

“Consultant agrees to work with the DNC Services Corporation / Democratic National Committee (‘DNC’) on an on-going basis as Consultant develops the software,” the contract reads.

11.24pm GMT

On Fox News, Senate leader Mitch McConnell said the president should listen to attorney general Bill Barr. “I think the president should listen to his advice,” McConnell told Fox News host Bret Baier. “If the attorney general says it’s getting in the way of doing his job, the president should listen to the attorney general.”

11.10pm GMT

Donald Trump “wasn’t bothered” by the attorney general Bill Barr’s comments, according to the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham. “President Trump uses social media very effectively to fight for the American people against injustices in our country.”

NEW: White House press sec. Stephanie Grisham says President Trump “wasn’t bothered” by Attorney General Bill Barr’s comments to @ABC News. https://t.co/crNbWi6YpG pic.twitter.com/eK4dd9BdZ0

10.51pm GMT

Before the president met with the New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, today, he not only insulted Cuomo’s brother – the CNN political analyst Chris Cuomo – he also implied that the administration’s policies toward New York were linked to the state’s ongoing investigations into Trump’s finances.

“New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harassment, start cleaning itself up, and lowering taxes,” he tweeted, before the meeting.

10.24pm GMT

The president claimed that “many of the people in the building started applauding” when Lt Col Alexander Vindman was escorted out after he was fired from his post at the National Security Council. Vindman and his twin brother were abruptly recalled from their positions in a campaign of retribution against officials who cooperated with the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump.

JUST IN: Vindman’s attorney is out with a statement on Trump’s Geraldo interview. He says the president is “encouraging breaking the law” by attempting to intimidate and punish Vindman. pic.twitter.com/VsZXnW1L5J

10.00pm GMT

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands:

9.50pm GMT

The Culinary Union, which represents 60,000 workers in Nevada, declined to endorse a Democratic presidential candidate ahead of the state’s caucuses next Saturday.

“We’ve worked really hard to make sure members know what’s going on with the candidates, and we’re not stopping that,” the union secretary-treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline said during a press conference. “We’re going to endorse our goals, what we’re doing. We’re not going to endorse a political candidate.”

More details: @Culinary226’s spokeswoman tells me they have received “hundreds” of attacks, in the form of mentions, DM’s, calls and emails, including threats to their personal safety. She says she and Geoconda Arguello-Kline have been doxxed, their personal addresses shared.

9.29pm GMT

The White House reportedly received little notice about attorney general Bill Barr’s comments to ABC News.

Senior level White House sources tell @ABC the president and top aides were unaware of the Barr’s intentions in today’s interview with ABC and were only informed of the content just before it aired – w/ @KFaulders

9.27pm GMT

Interestingly, Bill Barr said he hoped Trump would respond to the attorney general’s criticism of the president’s comments on Roger Stone.

“I hope he will react,” Barr told ABC News’ Pierre Thomas.

9.21pm GMT

Despite attorney general Bill Barr insisting he will not be “bullied” by Trump on Justice Department matters, some commentators were skeptical that Barr was actually trying to distance himself from the president.

From an Obama-era Justice Department official:

Don’t be fooled by this one, people. Barr is telling the president that his impulsiveness is making it politically harder for him to deliver the results he wants. If Trump would just shut up, Barr could take care of him much more effectively. https://t.co/6CmHHgxy9u

9.16pm GMT

In his ABC interview, attorney general Bill Barr ackowledged his comments about Trump could leave him open to backlash from the president, who is notoriously intolerant of criticism from his aides.

But Barr said he was determined to lead the Justice Department without being influence by outside forces, including the president.

EXCLUSIVE: Attorney Gen. Bill Barr tells @PierreTABC “the president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case”—but should stop tweeting about the DOJ because his tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job.” https://t.co/YGa2AhcH5v pic.twitter.com/GSRRrJadSU

9.05pm GMT

In an interview with ABC News, attorney general Bill Barr said Trump’s tweets about Roger Stone’s case “make it impossible for me to do my job.”

“I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Barr told ABC.

8.51pm GMT

Trump suggested he may stop allowing aides to listen in to his calls with foreign leaders, a clear reaction to the Ukraine controversy.

“That’s what they’ve done over the years, when you call a foreign leader, people listen,” the president told Geraldo Rivera in a radio interview that aired today. “I may end the practice entirely, I may end it entirely.”

8.29pm GMT

The Pentagon has informed Congress of plans to shift $3.8 billion away from fighter jets and National Guard equipment, among other resources, to pay for Trump’s border wall.

Politico reports:

The surprise reprogramming of another $3.8 billion … means the Pentagon will have forked over nearly $10 billion since last year to help pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall.

But this shift in funding marks a new phase for the administration, which until now had used money set for military construction and counterdrug operations, not combat equipment. The fiscal 2020 money will be moved into drug interdiction accounts that the Pentagon tapped last year to fund border barrier projects.

Representative Mac Thornberry of Texas, the top Republican on House Armed Services Committee, says President Trump’s latest raid on DOD funds to spend more taxpayer money on a Mexico border wall than Congress was willing to appropriate is unconstitutional. pic.twitter.com/JiorGw1LKt

7.56pm GMT

A judge has temporarily blocked Microsoft’s cloud-computing work with the Pentagon after Amazon complained that it lost the contract partly because of Trump’s bias against the company.

Trump has repeatedly lashed out against Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder and owner of the Washington Post.

A judge ordered Thursday a temporary block on the JEDI cloud contract, which was awarded to Microsoft, in response to a suit filed by Amazon. Shares of Microsoft fell on the news, while Amazon’s stock rose slightly.
A court notice announcing the injunction was filed on Thursday, but wasn’t public. It’s unclear why the documents were sealed.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is instructed to earmark $42 million for any ‘costs and damages’ that could be incurred in the event that the ‘injunction was issued wrongfully,’ the filing states. Amazon must file a notice with the courts indicating it has obtained the $42 million by Feb. 20. Microsoft and Amazon must respond to the filing by Feb. 27.

7.32pm GMT

The eight Republicans who supported the Iran War Powers resolution in the Senate were: Todd Young, Mike Lee, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Rand Paul, Bill Cassidy, Jerry Moran and Lamar Alexander.

The resolution, aimed at limiting Trump’s authority to launch military operations in Iran, was expected to attract some Republican support, but the number of defections was surprising.

7.22pm GMT

With the support of eight Republicans, a Democratic resolution to limit Trump’s authority to launch military operations in Iran has passed the Senate.

The AP reports:

The measure, authored by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., says Trump must win approval from Congress before engaging in further military action against Iran. Eight Republicans joined with Democrats to pass the resolution by a 55-45 vote.

Kaine and other supporters said the resolution was not about Trump or even the presidency, but instead was an important reassertion of congressional power to declare war. …

7.07pm GMT

The influential Culinary Union, which represents 60,000 workers in Nevada, will announce its presidential endorsement ahead of the state’s caucuses next Saturday.

BREAKING: Culinary Union to host a press conference regarding a 2020 endorsement ahead of the #NVCaucus.
WHERE: Culinary Union (1630 South Commerce Street Las Vegas, Nevada 89102)
WHEN: TODAY 2/13 at 1pm Pacific
LIVESTREAMED: https://t.co/BkEbHlSlzmhttps://t.co/gJyGTApNYC pic.twitter.com/pnHrMnJwXw

7.00pm GMT

Trump previewed his meeting today with New York governor Andrew Cuomo and insulted Cuomo’s brother, Chris Cuomo, by once again referring to the CNN anchor as “Fredo.”

I’m seeing Governor Cuomo today at The White House. He must understand that National Security far exceeds politics. New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harrassment, start cleaning itself up, and lowering taxes. Build relationships, but don’t bring Fredo!

Cuomo said on Wednesday that he would seek to give federal officials access to state driving records for applicants to Global Entry and other federal programs that allow travelers to quickly pass through airports and borders.

The announcement by Mr. Cuomo comes days after federal officials banned New York residents from applying to — and re-enrolling in — the programs, known as the Trusted Traveler Program.

6.47pm GMT

Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown has slammed Senate Republicans for enabling Donald Trump in his post-impeachment “retribution tour”, as he called it.

I ask my Republican colleagues – what will you do to stop President Trump’s personal retribution tour? pic.twitter.com/VvUbTUMFK2

6.36pm GMT

In response to some of his congressional colleagues’ concerns that his nomination could weaken down-ballot Democrats, Bernie Sanders predicted he would increase turnout if he were the presidential nominee.

Bernie Sanders on criticism that he endangers Hill Dems’ chances.
“When you have a large voter turnout, which is I think what our campaign is going to generate, it’s going to help everybody from the top of the ticket to the bottom of the ticket,” per @jeremyherb

By my calc, NH Dem turnout (vs. ’16) in towns won by…

Buttigieg: +26.5%
Klobuchar: +25.2%
Sanders: +12.0%

Takeaway: most of Dems’ turnout increase was attributable to Kasich/Rubio types crossing over from ’16 GOP primary – not heightened progressive/Sanders base enthusiasm.

6.01pm GMT

Here’s where the day stands so far:

5.44pm GMT

North Dakota election officials have agreed to implement new measures that will make it easier for Native Americans to vote, a major victory for groups suing the state over an issue that dogged the 2018 midterm elections.

5.35pm GMT

As Bernie Sanders cements his position as the frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary, some congressional Democrats are voicing concerns that the Vermont senator’s nomination could weaken down-ballot candidates.

Dem CO Sen Bennet on if Sanders is the nominee: I think that it can be challenging in parts of the country that we have to win in order to win the presidency and win a majority in the Senate. I think that we should be running on an agenda that can get us 55 votes in the Senate

Asked Rep. Dean Phillips, a freshman from a swing MN district and Klobuchar backer, if he thinks Bernie Sanders atop the ticket could have a disastrous impact on down-ballot races. “To be forthright, yes, I do. I think it would have some significant down-ballot effects.”

5.27pm GMT

Congressman Jerry Nadler, one of the impeachment managers during Trump’s Senate trial, responded to the president’s demand that “bad people” get “out of our government” by suggesting that he resign.

You know, Nixon actually resigned. https://t.co/h2KVrtIHGj

5.22pm GMT

Appearing on “The View,” Joe Biden criticized Trump as “the most corrupt president” and once again called on him to release his tax returns.

.@JoeBiden takes on @realDonaldTrump on @TheView:

“This is the most corrupt president we’ve ever had. He talks about how he wants to fight corruption. I tell you what, Mr. President, I’ve released 21 years of my tax returns, release ONE of yours.” pic.twitter.com/ElJ97qaaSB

5.04pm GMT

In addition to the return of former White House communications director Hope Hicks, Trump is also moving his former body man John McEntee into a new role.

MORE in White House staff moves – Johnny McEntee, the aide removed by Kelly over security clearance issues who recently returned to the West Wing, is expected to take over the office that oversees presidential personnel appointments, per 2 ppl briefed.

4.47pm GMT

A quick addition on that last post: the RNC office Trump is unexpectedly visiting is actually his campaign headquarters in Arlington.

What the WH is referring to as the “RNC Annex Office” is in fact the president’s campaign headquarters, @Santucci confirms https://t.co/d6tlk5ISrS

4.41pm GMT

In an unexpected addition to the president’s schedule today, Trump has left the White House to visit a Republican National Committee office in Arlington, Virginia.

The White House said the president was there for some meetings and to offer thanks to campaign officials.

4.38pm GMT

As the debate contines over whether Trump is jeopardizing the rule of law, the House has just voted to remove a 1982 deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Washington Post reports:

The vote on a resolution introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) pushes the issue to the Senate, where Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have introduced a similar measure.

During debate on the House floor, Republicans leaned on anti-abortion and constitutional arguments to oppose the ERA, arguing that enshrining protections for women in the Constitution would mean abortion could not be restricted. Democrats focused on the legality of deadlines and the importance of equal rights. …

4.24pm GMT

Trump has just sent yet another tweet bashing one of his former aides. This time, it’s former chief of staff John Kelly, who defended Lt Col Alexander Vindman for raising concerns about Trump’s Ukraine call.

….which he actually has a military and legal obligation to do. His incredible wife, Karen, who I have a lot of respect for, once pulled me aside & said strongly that “John respects you greatly. When we are no longer here, he will only speak well of you.” Wrong!

4.13pm GMT

During her weekly press conference, House speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump’s comments on Roger Stone’s case represent an “assault on the rule of law” and an “abuse of power.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on President Trump’s comments on Roger Stone sentencing: “This is an abuse of power that the president is again trying to manipulate federal law enforcement to serve his political interests.” https://t.co/lDmNpyyCo4 pic.twitter.com/RZ5B56j8Do

4.06pm GMT

Jessie Liu, the former US attorney whose nomination for a top Treasury post was withdrawn because of her involvement in the prosecution of former Trump associate Roger Stone, has reportedly resigned.

CNN reports:

Jessie Liu, who previously headed the US attorney’s office in Washington, submitted her resignation to the Treasury Department, effective Wednesday evening. She went to the Treasury Department with the intention of filling a Senate-confirmed position, which is no longer available after her nomination was withdrawn earlier Wednesday, the official said.

While head of the US Attorney’s Office in Washington, Liu inherited many of the major ongoing cases from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation and was also handling the politically charged case of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a frequent target of Trump’s ire who is also a CNN contributor.

4.01pm GMT

Democratic congressman Joaquin Castro has introduced a resolution calling for the resignation of Stephen Miller, Trump’s adviser who has helped to craft the president’s immigration agenda.

In a statement, Castro criticized Miller as “a known white nationalist and believer of white supremacist ideology.”

Related: Stephen Miller: why is Trump’s white nationalist aide untouchable?

3.46pm GMT

Pete Buttigieg is now wading into a controversy surrounding a flier from the influential Culinary Union in Nevada, with nine days to go until the state’s caucuses.

With Bernie Sanders becoming the frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary, the union distributed a flier warning the Vermont senator’s Medicare-for-all plan would jeopardize workers’ popular healthcare plan.

I stand with @Culinary226 and their fight for better wages, world class health care, and the American dream for working and immigrant families. No one should ever attack them for fighting and delivering for their members.

3.29pm GMT

Pete Buttigieg is releasing a new Spanish-language television ad in Nevada, which will hold its caucuses next Saturday.

3.04pm GMT

Hope Hicks, Trump’s former White House communications director, is reportedly returning to the administration to work under Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser.

The New York Times reports:

Ms. Hicks, 31, worked on Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign from its inception and followed him to the White House after he was elected, eventually becoming communications director. Her return will come as his re-election campaign intensifies and as his advisers say the superstitious president has talked about recreating some aspects of that first race.

Ms. Hicks’s title when she left belied her influence with Mr. Trump, who felt more personal comfort with her than with almost any other adviser. But on her return, she will report to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and work with the White House political director, Brian Jack. Her title will be ‘counselor to the president.’

2.59pm GMT

Speaking at a campaign event in the Super Tuesday state of North Carolina, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg thanked Trump for giving him the attention boost of a presidential tweet.

To an audience in North Carolina, @MikeBloomberg thanks @realDonaldTrump for the tweets this morning, returning the insults to “Donald” and saying: “If he doesn’t mention you, you have a big problem!” pic.twitter.com/XDrXPtYssp

2.52pm GMT

It seems America just can’t shake Sean Spicer, Trump’s former press secretary who first came to fame by making false claims about the size of the crowd at the president’s inauguration.

Some big personal news!

I excited to announce that I will be hosting a new show at 6pm on Newsmax TV.

“Spicer & Co,’’ debuts on Super Tuesday, March 3rd, at 6 pm ET and will air daily. Sign up at https://t.co/ZOL1vhTXcN to keep up to date as we get closer to the launch date. pic.twitter.com/Efq9Zjki6Q

2.24pm GMT

This morning, Trump had some insults to throw at Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, who is using his vast personal fortune to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on campaign ads.

Mini Mike Bloomberg is a LOSER who has money but can’t debate and has zero presence, you will see. He reminds me of a tiny version of Jeb “Low Energy” Bush, but Jeb has more political skill and has treated the Black community much better than Mini! https://t.co/qIef5VhjDr

.@realDonaldTrump – we know many of the same people in NY. Behind your back they laugh at you & call you a carnival barking clown. They know you inherited a fortune & squandered it with stupid deals and incompetence.

I have the record & the resources to defeat you. And I will. https://t.co/fO4azmZaUg

1.43pm GMT

The Democratic establishment is worried about Bernie Sanders becoming the party’s nominee, as the New York Times, the Hill, Politico and others report today.

We are spending twice as much per capita on healthcare as do the people of any other country. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the healthcare industry last year made $100 billion in profit. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we are wasting $500 billion a year trying to administer thousands and thousands of different plans. What Medicare for All will do is save the average American substantial sums of money.

1.01pm GMT

Donald Trump does not seem too worried about the snowballing controversy over his interference in the Roger Stone case (see earlier).

Echoing the case made by Fox News (see here), the president has tweeted:

Now it looks like the fore person in the jury, in the Roger Stone case, had significant bias. Add that to everything else, and this is not looking good for the “Justice” Department. @foxandfriends @FoxNews

11.48am GMT

The New York Times reports on the Instagram posts by leading meme-makers that Mike Bloomberg has bought.

The self-deprecating and somewhat meta posts pretend to be screenshots of messages from the former New York mayor to the memestagrammers asking them to make memes that make him look cool.

10.56am GMT

It’s interesting to see how the more pro-Trump sections of the US media are reporting the Stone controversy.

Breitbart sent out an email this morning headlined: “Justice for Roger Stone!”

Regardless of your opinion of Stone, he was only found guilty of lying to Congress (which plenty of people have done without being prosecuted), interfering in the House investigation of the Russia Collusion Hoax, and tampering with a witness …

Hey, I’m no Roger Stone fan, and it actually sounds like he deserves some prison time, but there are murderers and rapists and child molesters who don’t serve seven to nine years.

10.10am GMT

Good morning.

Controversy continues to rage over Donald Trump’s intervention in the sentencing of his friend and unofficial adviser Roger Stone – which Democrat Chuck Schumer has called “a crisis in the rule of law in America”.

Related: Barr agrees to testify to Congress amid growing outrage over Roger Stone case

Related: Roger Stone sentencing explained: the controversy over Trump’s intervention

Related: Roger Stone furore shows ‘crisis of credibility’ in US justice system, experts warn

Related: Iowa Democratic party chair resigns after caucus chaos

Related: Marie Yovanovitch: former ambassador warns of ‘amoral’ US foreign policy

Related: After a disappointing start, where does Elizabeth Warren go from here?

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Link : Barr says Trump’s tweets ‘make it impossible for me to do my job’ – as it happened

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