Attorney General Bill Barr’s search for a trusted adviser to lead the nation’s largest U.S. attorney’s office is over.
The attorney general selected his senior counselor Timothy Shea, a career prosecutor who has experience in dealing with corruption and drug trafficking, to be the interim top prosecutor in Washington, D.C., Fox reported. In his new capacity, Shea will have jurisdiction over a range of politically charged cases in the “Swamp.”
Barr picks trusted adviser for “Swamp” cases
Shea was tapped to replace outgoing prosecutor Jessie Liu, who has been nominated to serve as undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes at the Treasury Department. In a statement, Barr praised Shea as a prosecutor without parallel.
“I am pleased to appoint Tim Shea as Interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. Tim brings to this role extensive knowledge and expertise in law enforcement matters as well as an unwavering dedication to public service, reflected in his long and distinguished career in state and federal government,” Barr said.
“His reputation as a fair prosecutor, skillful litigator, and excellent manager is second-to-none, and his commitment to fighting violent crime and the drug epidemic will greatly benefit the city of Washington,” he added.
Shea has served in a range of roles including deputy attorney general from 1990 to 1992 and assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia from 1992 to 1997, in which capacity he prosecuted violent crimes, drug trafficking, fraud and other crimes. As counselor to Barr, he helped manage the fall-out of Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide at Manhattan’s Correctional Center, overseeing reforms in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Shea has also led a task force to prosecute crimes at the District of Columbia correctional facilities at Lorton, and he has served in congressional roles in the House and Senate.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said that Shea “did an outstanding job leading in-depth investigations into issues ranging from consumer protection to government waste, fraud, and abuse” as chief counsel and staff director for the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Maddow, others see conspiracy afoot
His appointment is telling considering the barrage of criticism that Barr has received for attacking corruption in Washington, namely at the FBI, which has taken a major hit to its credibility over illicit spying on then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016 and a culture of profligate leaking to the mainstream media. Naturally, Barr’s pick was immediately the basis of liberal conspiracy theories.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow suggested that Barr had tapped Shea to protect retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser to President Trump who was railroaded in the Robert Mueller-led special counsel probe with a bogus process charge for allegedly lying to the FBI about his diplomatic contacts with Russia. The DOJ recently said it would accept probation for Flynn after initially seeking a prison sentence.
Shea would also take over the apparently dormant case involving fired FBI Director James Comey’s former deputy, Andrew McCabe, who has been accused of lying about leaks to the media — although the status of that case is uncertain. The DOJ declined to prosecute Comey over leaks which it found had set a poor example for career FBI officials.
Another appointee of Barr’s, U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut, is overseeing an ongoing criminal investigation of the origins of the Russia hoax. Durham, who has a reputation for prosecuting corruption with bullish vigilance, recently appointed a new criminal chief to his team.