March 25, 2019

This morning, the Trump cheerleaders continued "Operation Perceived Victory" launched yesterday as Attorney General William Barr's letter to Congress became public. Press Secretary Sarah Slanders Sanders went so far as to appear on NBC to talk to Savannah Guthrie, who herself is strengthening her streak of legitimizing MAGAts most other true journalists shun.

Hallie Jackson played a portion of that interview for Nick Akerman, who was a prosecutor on the Watergate team. Specifically, Guthrie asked Sanders to answer the criticism that AG William Barr's 4-page letter summarizing the Mueller report amounted to a snap judgement by a political appointee with a pre-conceived notion about a case he hadn't even seen. Of course, Sanders lied, and said that Mueller's report said he could not make a determination about obstruction. Does Akerman agree?

Well, Akerman answered that by tearing Barr's memo apart, both on legal grounds and on ethical grounds.

Not at all. In fact, if you really look at the letter that William Barr wrote, his own concept of obstruction of justice is legally incorrect. First of all he says the reason that there's no obstruction is because there's no corrupt intent, because what Trump did didn't relate to an ongoing proceeding. If you go back to his 30-plus page memo that he submitted as a kind of a job letter to the White House and the Department of Justice a while ago, you'll see that he basically takes the position that there can't be an obstruction in an FBI investigation. That is just not correct. The cases hold that there can be an obstruction of an FBI investigation. Secondly, he doesn't really understand what corrupt intent means in terms of the law. It simply means an improper purpose, and there is no question that Trump telling, directing James Comey to drop the Flynn FBI investigation is an improper purpose. It amounts to corrupt intent. So to me, that part of this letter just smacks of a totally political view that's taken based on law that is not correct. And he should know it's not correct. He was the attorney general before.

Akerman went on to educate the viewers about how very easy it would be for Barr and the DOJ to make the Mueller report public. It's a simple matter of making the request to a District Court judge.

The Justice Department could go into a District Court judge today and ask that the whole report be released because of the public overriding interest, here. Rule 6e permits that to happen. Moreso, why it's important that we have all the underlying facts is we don't know what standard Robert Mueller used in deciding that there was not reasonable proof, proof beyond a reasonable doubt to charge anybody with conspiracy with the Russians. We do know that with respect to the prior indictments with Manafort and Roger Stone, that those particular indictments were really based on proof beyond any doubt. They were based on the Manafort case was a pure document case that you didn't really need witnesses for. The Roger Stone case is based on text messages. So understanding what that underlying proof is is critical. Don't forget, impeachment is not beyond a reasonable doubt. That's not the standard. So the proof here is critical.

Just because Mueller — who we've known from the start to be cautious, non-dramatic, by-the-books, and a reverent institutionalist — did not find proof beyond a reasonable doubt against the Trump crime family of conspiracy and obstruction, does not mean there wasn't A HELLUVA LOT OF EVIDENCE pointing in that direction. The Dems should not, and will not let this go. The argument for impeachment is even stronger now than it was before Barr wrote his summary. And that's saying something.

Ed Note: This article has been corrected to reflect the correct spelling of Mr. Akerman's name. We regret the error.

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.