Elizabeth Warren flags Trump's 'descent into authoritarianism,' wants Barr out, other candidates to speak up

Peter Weber

CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Wednesday night about her disappointing fourth-place finish in New Hampshire's Tuesday primary, and after discussing her path forward for a minute, Warren said she knows "everybody wants to talk about the horse race, but the thing that is really getting to me right now is what's going on over at the Justice Department," specifically President Trump's "inappropriate influence" and Attorney General William Barr's unprecedented interference in Trump crony Roger Stone's sentencing recommendations.

"Right in front of our eyes, we are watching a descent into authoritarianism," Warren said. "What Barr has done should mean that we are demanding a resignation, and if that guy won't resign, then the House should start impeachment proceedings against him." Cooper asked if that would be politically wise. Maybe not, but there are also "political considerations to ... sitting on your hands," Warren said. "We can't just sit by and watch this happen, and I have to say, I'm surprised the other presidential candidates aren't out there talking about it."

MSNBC's Chris Hayes noted that Republicans, when asked about Barr's meddling, shrugged and said Stone's sentencing is in the judge's hands. "Why is it such a big deal to you?" he asked. "This is a huge deal, because this is about the president, and then his attorney general, interfering with the operation of justice, making it about something personal," Warren said. "This is about the rule of law in the United States. ... We are watching in front of us a president who now feels like he can do anything. And that means we are watching a descent into authoritarianism."

Hayes asked if Warren's proposed Justice Department task force to retroactively look at criminal corruption inside the Trump administration isn't similar to what Warren is criticizing now? "No, that's exactly backwards," she said. The task force would be politically independent, and besides, "the alternative is that Donald Trump is effectively saying by his actions, 'Hey look, do whatever it is that Donald Trump tells you to do, including breaking the law, and Donald Trump will then bail out the person, make sure that there is no punishment, or that the punishment is light.' We have to re-establish rule of law. Part of that will be independent investigation," and in the meantime, Congress can use its power of the purse to rein in Trump's corruption. Watch below.

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