167. Slippery Barr Defies Logic (Revised)

2 May

US Attorney General William Barr says that the word “spying” is the same as “investigating.” Spying is more sinister and he knows it. When Russia sends “spies” over here, do we call them “investigators”: NO.  Barr, a Trump sycophant,  is saying that the investigations of Trump’s administration, approved by numerous officials at the highest levels and by FISA courts, are somehow illicit and can be called spying. That would mean that a dozen FBI officials and judges (mostly Republicans) all conspired to persecute Trump for no reason.

If you read the M. Report carefully, you will not see anywhere, a statement of “innocence.” For all questions, either evidence is presented or it is stated that no evidence proving a crime was found; implying that further investigation could lead to such evidence. White House Lawyer Emmet flood confirmed in a letter that a prosecutor never finds that anyone is “innocent” or “exonerated.”

Barr said that he was not “summarizing” the Report, but was only stating the verdicts. But the analogy does not hold, because this is not a trial with verdicts. The Report is primarily a summary of evidence, presented without conclusion, to be used by Congress (not the A.G.) to decide on impeachment. Impeachment is somewhat different from ordinary criminal rules and procedures. Slippery Barr tried to say he was presenting verdicts; nonsense. The public does not care what this Trump sycophant thinks, it wants a decision from Congress.

Regarding  “conspiracy” or “collusion”, there was no clear evidence of an actual crime. But there were plenty of suspicious interactions of Trump and staff with Russians that indicated illicit Russian influence. The Trump-Putin exchange did not have to be based on money, it could have simply been based on Russian help with the election. The interactions include secret Trump-Putin meetings without any US officials, such as the Secretary of State. Contrary to usual governmental procedures, there was no official discussion before or after these meetings. There were numerous communications by Presidential staff with Russian leaders and favors for Putin, like delaying sanctions. Refusal to believe (for a long time), that Russia influenced the election. Putin was treated like an ally, instead of an aggressor (partially taking over Ukraine) and a killer of reporters (that Trump did not condemn). The suspicious acts of Trump were numerous and sufficient to start an investigation, without any need for the Steele Dossier.

I already discussed Barr’s prejudicial scheduling of the release of the redacted Mueller Report. First, it was released on the Thursday before the Friday holiday and a vacation time, so that no actions could be taken for a while. Even worse, about three weeks later, the press conference where slippery Barr presented his incorrect views of the Report, was held two hours before the Report was released, so that he could not be properly questioned. Thus, sycophant Barr had two opportunities to present his distorted views before anyone could read the Report. The American public paid millions of dollars for this vital investigation, which Trump, through Barr, claimed exoneration.

Mueller sent two letters to Barr stating that his interpretation of the Report was faulty. Barr stated that in conversations, Mueller said his interpretation was satisfactory. Until we have more testimony, we need to accept the written version, that Barr mislead the American people.

Thom Hartmann  writes (Salon, March 26, 2019) that back in 1992 Bill Barr did a cover up similar to what happened today. He reportedly buried evidence related to “the Iran-Contra scandal.” Conservative William Safire referred to him as the “Coverup-General. 

The manner in which Barr got his job as A.G. is very troubling. Back in June 8, 2018, Barr wrote a memo regarding “obstruction of Justice” that was favorable to Pres. Trump. It supported the view that an AG would not have to recuse himself regarding supervision of the Muelller investigation. Trump liked this idea and it probably influenced his decision to nominate Barr.

This morning, slippery Barr did not show up for his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, claiming that his examination by an outside attorney was somehow wrong. There is recent precedence for this: the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing (October 2018), where an outside attorney did some of the questioning. A historical search shows that there were many instances of questioning by staff or outside counsel.

 

 

 

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