Weeks ago, when Attorney General Bill Barr first amazingly announced that Mueller had written there was “no evidence of collusion” and “no evidence of obstruction”, I remarked that I felt that the AG was not telling the truth and due to bias, skewed the outcome. Mueller had said there was “insufficient evidence” in determining any violations of any federal laws related to Trump-Russia contacts. Barr distorted his statements and claimed there was “no evidence of collusion”. A truly impartial Attorney General surely would not conflate “insufficient evidence” into “no evidence”.
Apparantly, I was not alone. Mueller himself wrote a letter to Barr expressing his own concerns and his disappointment as to how the report was being portrayed.
Most stunningly, during a Senatorial hearing, Barr said there was no obstruction because the President Trump could take actions to terminate the investigation since he felt he was being wrongfully accused. In making that statement, not only did Barr completely justify all of the president’s actions but created the logical predicate that any future president could allege he was being wrongfully accused and then fire whomever he wanted to fire and tell any of his subordinates to lie to obscure the truth.
Many of us have said that for these and so many other reasons, Barr has proven himself to be corrupted by his own political bias. Obviously, the Trump defenders vehemently disagree.
Facts have emerged however that give rise to the proposition that Barr hasn’t just put his fingers on the scale of justice to defend his boss. Instead, he has sat on top of the scale which risks justice toppling due to his weight.
Just this week, Barr made a comment that explains his behavior that is fast putting this nation into a constitutional crises. During an interview with the Wall Street Journal Barr said "I felt the rules were being changed to hurt Trump, and I thought it was damaging for the presidency over the long haul".
"At every grave juncture the presidency has done what it is supposed to do, which is to provide leadership and direction," he told the Journal. "If you destroy the presidency and make it an errand boy for Congress, we’re going to be a much weaker and more divided nation."
He told the Journal that he was not defending President Trump himself but the Office of the President.
Some might disagree about the real beneficiary of his loyalty. But that is not the point. His role as Attorney General has been to ensure the nation that justice prevails without bias as he controls events involving the most important investigation in decades, and possibly in the Republics’ history.
Barr cannot have two masters. He cannot fairly and justly adjudicate this important controversy (which is what he did on the issue of obstruction) believing that not only were rules changed but they were changing to HURT Trump.
This statement clearly explains the underlying reason that he refused to honor Robert Mueller’s request to release the special counsel’s own narrative and replace it with Barr’s own, which happened to distort Mueller’s findings and assert him into the matter of obstruction of justice.
In his own words, Barr explained that he felt it to be his duty to protect Trump from the changing of the rules to injure the President (or the Office of the President). As a result, whether by design or not, Barr almost single-handedly shut down a federal investigation allowing the president to immediately announce that he was exonerated that there was “no collusion” and “no obstruction”.
Look at the facts. Since then, Golfing buddy Senator Lindsey Graham has said “no mas” to future questions and that Trump Jr. should not testify despite a Congressional subpoena. With the help of Barr, the president has put Nixon to shame with the continued coverup and the stonewalling information by making absurd claims that Congress is acting with without authority, a matter a federal judge has recently repudiated. Now, Trump, the GOP and loyalists are claiming the investigation is a “redo”. It is not. It is trying to remove the Barr dung that now covers the federal investigation into Russian interference in our elections.
Instead of trying to present answers to volumes of remaining questions unanswered by the Mueller report the key witness Robert Mueller had not been questioned, another key witness Don McGahn’s words, disputed by Trump, are not being resolved. The political party that claims it wants the truth to be revealed about Comey, Brennan and others are walking in virtual lockstep to block any further discussion on Trump-Russia.
Except one lonely member of Congress has balked. Congressman Justin Amash tweeted on Saturday that he felt Barr was not being honest and that the President had committed acts that were impeachable.
Trump and the GOP responded swiftly. Trump called him names. The extreme right wing media suggested Amash had financial motives for his mutiny. noted he had business in China and that he was doing this to launch a presidential campaign. There was no mention that just maybe, he was telling the unvarnished truth?
In his own defense, Amash cited illogical statement by the Attorney General in declining to find obstruction of justice. Initially Barr said a person cannot obstruct justice if there was no underlying crime. At a later hearing, he backed off of that and said it was possible.
What exactly did tweet in his defense?
People who say there were no underlying crimes and therefore the president could not have intended to illegally obstruct the investigation—and therefore cannot be impeached—are resting their argument on several falsehoods: 1. They say there were no underlying crimes. In fact, there were many crimes revealed by the investigation, some of which were charged, and some of which were not but are nonetheless described in Mueller’s report. 2. They say obstruction of justice requires an underlying crime. In fact, obstruction of justice does not require the prosecution of an underlying crime, and there is a logical reason for that. Prosecutors might not charge a crime precisely *because* obstruction of justice denied them timely access to evidence that could lead to a prosecution. If an underlying crime were required, then prosecutors could charge obstruction of justice only if it were unsuccessful in completely obstructing the investigation. This would make no sense. 3. They imply the president should be permitted to use any means to end what he claims to be a frivolous investigation, no matter how unreasonable his claim.
In fact, the president could not have known whether every single person Mueller investigated did or did not commit any crimes. 4. They imply “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” requires charges of a statutory crime or misdemeanor. In fact, “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” is not defined in the Constitution and does not require corresponding statutory charges. The context implies conduct that violates the public trust—and that view is echoed by the Framers of the Constitution and early American scholars.
Sounds to me that the Congressman read Mueller’s report as he said he did. The report explained the difficulties it had uncovering facts.
Mueller wrote that the special counsel’s office “learned that some of the individuals we interviewed or whose conduct we investigated — including some associated with the Trump Campaign deleted relevant communications or communicated during the relevant period using applications that feature encryption or that do not provide for long term retention of data or communication records,” the report said. “In such cases the Office was not able to corroborate witness statements through comparison to contemporaneous communications or fully question witnesses about statements that appeared inconsistent with the other known facts.”
As a result of the missing evidence, Mueller wrote that his office “cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light on (or cast in a new light) the events described in the report.”
And despite Barr amazingly claiming that Trump had “fully cooperated in the investigation, Mueller said Trump’s written answers were both "inadequate" and "incomplete or imprecise". In fact, Trump’s attorney refused to allow Mueller to ask any questions at all about issues related to “obstruction”.
So, instead of rallying behind Amash for being honest, courageous and forthright, the entire party apparatus led by the President continued to claim there was no underlying crime, therefore no obstruction. To add injury to their total lack of morality and credibility on this issue, the conservative freedom caucus punished Amash, essentially treating him as a heretic, a traitor.
Today, Nancy Pelosi, after meeting with her caucus accused President Trump of engaging in a coverup. Unfortunately, it is not just President Trump who is hiding under cover. AG placed a blanket over the truth by trying to undue whatever concerns he had about injury to Trump or to the institution of the office. The GOP controlled by Trump has acted like dutiful soldiers and has maintained a shield to guard against future damage.
The real injured party is the American people. Not only is scale of justice now deformed by the weight of Barr’s actions, but our people are fighting one another rather than joining to ensure the rule of law is forever maintained.