January 16, 2019

In a discussion of Bill Barr's nomination hearing, CNN's John Berman pointed out he's not going to fire Robert Mueller. "He's going to let the investigation continue, and that's not nothing, Josh," he said to former FBI agent and legal analyst Josh Campbell."

"It's not nothing," Campbell agreed.

"But there are two aspects here that a lot of people fear. One being that he would come in and totally disband the special counsel. Obviously, with House Democrats there to provide that check, that's not going to happen. But then the other thing that many of us feared was he would somehow constrain Mueller or constrain the information that we ultimately learn. That's what we risk right now.

"I got a text message yesterday from someone inside DOJ who kind of summed it up nicely, said 'I think we could have done a lot worse.' If you're inside DOJ, you don't know what's coming your way. Sessions is gone, we know the president has been on all-out campaign attacking the Justice Department leadership, is he going to put a stooge in there? Most people look at the performance yesterday from Mr. Barr, admirable job. They're not getting someone that maybe they could have gotten. I remember when I was inside the FBI after Comey was fired, you know, the joke was, 'Are they going to put Sheriff Joe in as FBI director? Is this going to be a stooge?' We're not gonna get that, obviously, with Barr.

"The problem is, it all circles back to the issue of transparency and what is going to be made public. The American people have been shellshocked by lies from this administration. Every single day, big and small, we're lied to. So through no fault of his own, Mr. Barr is asking to us look at him and trust him that he will release information and not hold something back. Again, right to be skeptical because the administration -- we've run out of the benefit of the doubt, right? So I think what the best thing to do moving forward would be that assurance that, look, we're going to make the report public.

"There is intense public interest here and the last thing I'll say on that is that I was harkening back to the Hillary Clinton case, was inside the FBI working. I remember the decision 'Do we make this public even if there's no there there? Is there such intense public interest?' Obviously, we know he came out and did so and got fire from both sides. Even though they don't find something terrible about the president, is there enough public interest that the public needs to know what happened?"

"It's interesting that Bill Barr criticized that specific decision from James Comey," Berman said. "In fact, people look at his criticism of James Comey in that situation and think that Barr is sending some kind of signal, that he's not going to tell us more in this case. I think we have that sound bite and we may as well play it."

Jim Comey, as I've said, is an extremely gifted man who's served the country with distinction in many roles. But I thought that to the extent he -- he actually announced a decision was wrong. And the other thing is, if you're not going to indict someone, then you don't stand up there and unload negative information about the person. That's not the way the Department of Justice does business.

Everyone in the Village seems desperate to believe that Trump is capable of appointing a decent, honorable person to such an important role -- despite the evidence of the past two years. I have some swampland in New Jersey to sell them.

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