According to testimony released on Tuesday, John Elias, a career department employee, will highlight Barr’s perceived motivations behind the department’s multiple investigations into mergers in the cannabis industry.
He asserts that 29% of the Antitrust Division’s merger probes targeted the cannabis industry, citing Barr’s explanation for pursuing one such investigation in March 2019.
“Rejecting the analysis of career staff, Attorney General Barr ordered the Antitrust Division to issue Second Request subpoenas,” Elias said, referencing the division’s most comprehensive type of merger probe. “The rationale for doing so centered not on an antitrust analysis, but because he did not like the nature of their underlying business.”
Taken together, the accounts from Elias and Mueller team lawyer Aaron Zelinsky
— who will also appear Wednesday, to testify that longtime adviser Roger Stone was “treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the President” — tell a consistent story of notable political abuse across the Justice Department. The two accounts reinforce each other, despite coming from two separate Department of Justice teams overseen by different political appointees.