Biden Justice Department seeks to take on Trump rape defamation suit

Andrew Cummings
June 9, 2021

After Carroll's 2019 accusation, Trump said that he never met Carroll and accused her of fabricating the allegations to sell her book or to "carry out a political agenda".

Why it matters: When President Biden was a presidential candidate past year, he criticized the DOJ's highly unusual move to intervene and replace Trump's private lawyers with attorneys from the department, per the New York Times.

After the Justice Department first articulated its view of the scope of the president's duties a year ago, Carroll's lawyer Robbie Kaplan starkly summarized: "There is not a single person in the United States - not the president and not anyone else - whose job description includes slandering women they sexually assaulted".

The Justice Department's consistency in sticking with the case, even after Trump lost the election, has been cited by some as proof that Biden is keeping his word that he won't try to influence the department's moves.

"Elected public officials can - and often must - address allegations regarding personal wrongdoing that inspire doubt about their suitability for office", the filing stated. Trump is returning from Camp David.

The Justice Department appealed that ruling in the waning days of the Trump administration-and under Garland's stewardship, persisted in its efforts to offer Trump a defense on the taxpayer dime. But Garland's DOJ is standing by Barr's DOJ - it released a heavily redacted version of the memo and is appealing Jackson's order to provide the entire document to the public.

Abrams jumped in and asked, "Why should the Department of Justice be putting down markers as opposed to doing what it views as the right thing?"

Honig noted that the Carroll case is far from the only example of Garland's Justice Department maintaining the "status quo", in many respects. In fact, Trump was reportedly keen on an even more specific theory leading up to the 2020 election: that Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton would swoop in and replace Biden last-minute as the nominee. But Garland isn't doing that.

Yet questions remain not only about the investigations that prompted this change of policy, but also about the White House's role in the department's decision to change course.

The statement continues: "And while we are not going to comment on this ongoing litigation, the American people know well that President Biden and his team have utterly different standards from their predecessors for what qualify as acceptable statements".

"I know there is some concern (which I strenuously disagree with) that if we go after Biden too soon, we can collapse him, and the Dems will replace him at their convention".

"Then-President Trump's response to Ms Carroll's serious allegations of sexual assault included statements that questioned her credibility in terms that were crude and disrespectful", a brief filed to the Second Circuit Appeals court read.

The judge characterized the Justice Department arguments against release as "so inconsistent with evidence in the record, they are not worthy of credence".

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