Bill Barr just finished testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
It was remarkable.
Among the opinions the Attorney General espoused are that:
- You only need to call the FBI when being offered campaign assistance by a foreign intelligence service, not a foreigner
- It’s okay to lie about the many dangles hostile foreign countries make to a political campaign, including if you accepted those dangles.
- Because Trump was being falsely accused (it’s not clear of what, because the report doesn’t address the most aggressive accusation, and many other accusations against Trump and his campaign are born out by the Mueller Report), it’s okay that he sought to undermine it through illegal means
- It’s okay for the President to order the White House Counsel to lie, even about an ongoing investigation
- It’s okay to fire the FBI Director for refusing to confirm or deny an ongoing investigation, which is DOJ policy not to do
- It’s okay for the Attorney General to call lawfully predicated DOJ investigative techniques “spying” because Fox News does
- Public statements — including threatening someone’s family — cannot be subornation of perjury
- You can exhaust investigative options in a case having only obtained contemptuous responses covering just a third of the investigation from the key subject of it
The Attorney General also got himself in significant trouble with his answers to a question from Charlie Crist about whether he knew why Mueller’s team was concerned about press reports. His first answer was that he didn’t know about the team’s concerns because he only spoke with Mueller. But he later described, in the phone call he had with Mueller, that Mueller discussed his team’s concerns. Worse still, when called on the fact that the letter — as opposed to Barr’s potentially suspect representation of the call — didn’t mention the press response, he suggested Mueller’s letter was “snitty” and so probably written by a staffer, meaning he assumed that the letter itself was actually from a staffer.
But that’s not the most amazing thing.
The most amazing thing is that, when Cory Booker asked Barr if he thought it was right to share polling data with Russians — noting that had Trump done so with a Super PAC, rather than a hostile foreign country, it would be illegal — Barr appeared to have no clue that Paul Manafort had done so. He even asked whom Manafort shared the data with, apparently not knowing he shared it with a guy that Rick Gates said he believes is a Russian spy. (Video above)
That’s remarkable, because he basically agreed with Ben Sasse that Deripaska — with whom Manafort was sharing this campaign data — was a “bottom-feeding scum-sucker.”
So the Attorney General absolved the President of obstruction without having the faintest clue what actions the investigation of which Trump successfully obstructed by floating a pardon to Manafort.
There may be an explanation for this fairly shocking admission on Barr’s part. He also admitted that he and Rod Rosenstein started making the decision on obstruction before they read the report. Indeed, several times during the hearing, it seemed he still has not read the report, as he was unfamiliar with allegations in it.
In short, the Attorney General said it was okay for Trump to obstruct this investigation because (he claims) Trump was falsely accused, without being aware that the report showed that several of the key allegations against Trump — including that his campaign manager coordinated with Russians, including one Barr agrees is a bottom-feeding scum-sucker” with ties to Russian intelligence — were actually true.
As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post.
Republished with permission from Marcy Wheeler at Emptywheel