Thursday Reads: Cover-Up General Barr Commits Crimes for Mob Boss Trump

Good Afternoon!!

Once again, I hardly know where to begin. Yesterday Cover-Up General Barr made a complete ass of himself during his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Here’s a good summary of what happened from NBC News:

Just to put all of the news of Barr’s Senate testimony yesterday into one place, here are our seven highlights:

1. He said a president could replace an independent counsel if he thought in the investigation was unfair: “If the president is being falsely accused, which the evidence now suggests that the accusations against him were false, and he knew they were false, and he felt that this investigation was unfair, propelled by his political opponents, and was hampering his ability to govern, that is not a corrupt motive for replacing an independent counsel,” Barr said.

2. He admitted he didn’t review the underlying evidence in the Mueller report on whether Trump committed obstruction of justice: “We accepted the statements in the report as the factual record,” Barr said in an exchange with Kamala Harris. “We did not go underneath it to see whether or not they were accurately accepted as accurate.

3. He indicated he didn’t read the full Mueller report or even its executive summaries: “Polling data was shared, sir,” said Cory Booker. “It’s in the report; I can cite you the page.” Barr responded, “With who?” (Answer: Paul Manafort shared polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik – revealed on page 7 of Mueller’s executive summary of Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign.)

4. He dodged Kamala Harris’ question on whether the president or anyone at the White House asked him or suggested to him to open an investigation into anyone: “I’m trying to grapple with the word ‘suggest.’ I mean, there have been discussions of matters out there that… they have not asked me to open an investigation,” he said.

5. He said the Mueller report was his “baby” after Mueller submitted it: “At that point, it was my baby… It was my decision how and when to make it public.”

6. He said Mueller’s concern to him about his March 24 summary was inaccurate media reporting: “And I called Bob and said, you know, what’s the issue here? Are you — and I asked him if he was suggesting that the March 24th letter was inaccurate, and he said no, but that the press reporting had been inaccurate.” (But here’s Mueller’s letter complaining about Barr’s summary: It “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions.”

7. And/but he called Mueller’s letter “snitty”: “The letter’s a bit snitty, and I think it was written by one of his staff people.”

Afterward, he announced that he would refuse to attend a scheduled hearing before the House Judiciary Committee today.

Kamala Harris was the star of the show. Here’s her full examination of Barr in which she got him to stammer and stumble and finally admit he never looked at the evidence of Trump’s obstruction of the Russia investigation.

As noted in the NBC list, Cory Booker got Barr to admit that he didn’t know that Paul Manafort had shared internal polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik–who is connected to Russian intelligence services–indicating that Barr didn’t even read Mueller’s report or even the executive summaries! In fact, in his exchange with Nebraska Republican Ben Sasse, it appeared that Barr did not even know who Oleg Deripaska is!

Here’s Twitter thread from David Rothkopf on the long-term implications of Cover-Up Barr’s claims about presidential power.

I don’t think we fully realize the profundity of Barr’s assertions yesterday. The ideas that a president can determine whether or not he ought to be investigated or that a president is incapable of committing obstruction are not just outrageous assaults on Constitutional values.

Taken in the context of this administration’s systematic rejection of the oversight role of Congress and of the law–whether it is the emoluments clause of Constitution or the obligation of the IRS to hand over tax returns to the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee–what we are seeing is nothing less than a coup, to use a word the president has grown fond of. Trump and Barr are seeking to eliminate the checks and balances that are a hallmark of our system and to effectively render the Congress subservient to the presidency.

Combine this with the efforts of the Senate to load the courts with judicial candidates loyal to the president and the implication of McConnell, Graham & Co. that they will not fulfill their own Constitutional obligations, and you see a devastating picture.

Please click on the link and read the rest.

Some reactions to yesterday’s horror show

Neal Kaytal: Why Barr Can’t Whitewash the Mueller Report.

Many who watched Attorney General William Barr’s testimony on Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which followed the revelation that the special counsel Robert Mueller had expressed misgivings about Mr. Barr’s characterization of his report, are despairing about the rule of law. I am not among them. I think the system is working, and inching, however slowly, toward justice.

When it comes to investigating a president, the special counsel regulations I had the privilege of drafting in 1998-99 say that such inquiries have one ultimate destination: Congress. That is where this process is going, and has to go. We are in the fifth inning, and we should celebrate a system in which our own government can uncover so much evidence against a sitting president….

The underappreciated story right now is that we’ve not only learned that it was Mr. Barr — and pointedly not Mr. Mueller — who decided to clear President Trump of the obstruction charges, but also discovered the reasoning behind Mr. Barr’s decision. The American public and Congress now have the facts and evidence before them. The sunlight the regulations sought is shining.

Mr. Barr tried to spin these facts. He hid Mr. Mueller’s complaints, which were delivered to him in writing more than a month ago, even when Congress asked in a previous hearing about complaints by members of the special counsel’s team. And the four-page letter that Mr. Barr issued in March and supposedly described the Mueller report omitted the two key factors driving the special counsel’s decision (which were hard to miss, as they were on the first two pages of the report’s volume about obstruction): First, that he could not indict a sitting president, so it would be unfair to accuse Mr. Trump of crimes even if he were guilty as sin; and second, Mr. Mueller could and would clear a sitting president, but he did not believe the facts cleared the president.

These two items came out because the special counsel regulations allowed for public release of this information (and not, as Mr. Barr testified on Wednesday, because he “overrode” the regulations to give the information to the public). The attorney general was misleading through and through, not just about the investigation, but about the special counsel regulations themselves.

Read the rest at The New York Times. I hope Kaytal is right; I’m having a little trouble being optimistic right now.

Greg Sargent: William Barr is helping to cover up Trump’s biggest crime of all.

As the political world struggles to digest the enormity of Attorney General William P. Barr’s profound corruption of his role on President Trump’s behalf, it’s worth stepping back and surveying a distilled version of what we know, now that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s redacted report has been released:

  • Russia launched a massive attack on our political system, undermining the integrity of our elections, to elect Donald Trump president.
  • U.S. law enforcement launched an investigation primarily aimed at getting to the bottom of that attack so that we could fully reckon with what happened and ensure the integrity of future elections.
  • Trump tried in multiple ways to derail that accounting of this massive attack on our political system — and then tried to bury the truth about that derailment effort — in a manner that was at best corrupt, and at worst criminal.

The simplest way to understand much of what Barr has done — and what Trumpworld will be doing to impede inquiries going forward — is that it’s mainly aimed at obscuring the broad contours of that larger story.

The point here is not that everything they’re doing is deliberately aimed at this end. It’s that this bigger story is at the center of everything — and by “biggest crime of all,” I mean Trump’s most monstrous wrong — and thus efforts to keep smaller truths from coming out will inevitably be about obscuring that larger story.

Read the rest at The Washington Post.

Politico: Pelosi: Barr committed a crime by lying to Congress.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday accused Attorney General William Barr of committing a crime by lying to Congress, blasting him in a closed-door meeting and later at a news conference.

“We saw [Barr] commit a crime when he answered your question,” Pelosi told Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) during a private caucus meeting Thursday morning, according to two sources present for the gathering.

“He lied to Congress. He lied to Congress,” Pelosi said soon after at a news conference. “And if anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime. Nobody is above the law. Not the president of the United States, and not the attorney general.“

Pelosi’s comments were an apparent reference to Barr’s response to Crist last month during a House Appropriations Committee hearing, during which the attorney generals aid he was not aware of any concerns that special counsel Robert Mueller’s team might have expressed about his four-page summary of Mueller’s findings.

More reactions, links only

The Washington Post: Hillary Clinton: ‘China, if you’re listening, why don’t you get Trump’s tax returns?’

Jamie Bouie at The New York Times: Bill Barr’s Perverse Theory of Justice.

Aaron Blake at The Washingotn Post: William Barr’s ‘snitty’ slip-up gives away his game.

EJ Dionne at the Washington Post: William Barr has shamelessly corrupted the debate over the Mueller report.

Amanda Marcotte at Salon: Bill Barr runs from House Judiciary hearing — will Democrats let him hide?

Benjamin Wittes at The Atlantic: The Catastrophic Performance of Bill Barr.

Jennifer Rubin: Barr’s testimony was a low point in Justice Department history.

ABC News: Hillary Clinton: Barr is acting as Trump’s ‘defense lawyer.’

I expect there will be more news breaking today. What stories have you been following?

 


21 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Cover-Up General Barr Commits Crimes for Mob Boss Trump”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    A New leak from CNN.

    • bostonboomer says:

      • bostonboomer says:

  2. bostonboomer says:

    • quixote says:

      *This* is what keeps me up at night. According to what I’m seeing, the “solution” that lets legislators duck embarrassing stands on impeachments is the 2020 election. Let the voters get rid of the transnational crime syndicate for us.

      But there’s nobody making sure that can’t be stolen even worse than 2016.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Exactly. Frankly, I think Trump will win a second term if we don’t stop him soon. Democrats need to start being more aggressive.

        • I’ve been afraid of him getting re-elected since the beginning of his term pretty much, and the Dems are not inspiring confidence yet. And not impeaching him because of 2020 is not a good reason. It sets such wrong precedent.

        • NW Luna says:

          I’m flummoxed at the thought he’d win another term. Surely the ones who didn’t vote last time will realize how wrong they were and vote this time.

          Ahahahaha! Who am I kidding? I saw someone today who complained about no good solutions to homelessness and wanted more funding of education and of research. Yet he said he didn’t think much of either party or see much difference. This was in clinic so I had to hold myself back from yelling “Well, one party’s trying to take away healthcare and the other party wants healthcare for everyone! One party likes tax deductions for private jets, the other wants funding for research and education. See a difference? Any difference you idiot???”

          Pours herself another glass of wine.

          • bostonboomer says:

            The reason i”m so worried is that the Russians will do even more in 2020 than in 2016. We haven’t done anything to prevent them from hacking into the voting process, dropping people from the voter rolls and changing votes.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      • RonStill4Hills says:

        As a man I am probably not the best person to make this analogy but…by failing to at least have hearings about they blatant violations of law are we not telling the country, “Nobody is going to believe you. They’re going to say it was your fault. They will never be punished and you are just opening your self up to be hurt all over again. Now go clean yourself up honey, and be more careful next time.”

  4. NW Luna says:

    Trump’s yowling that FBI investigation for cause is the same as spying. Whatchamatter, Donnie, were you doing something wrong?

    The woman had set up the meeting [with George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser], to discuss foreign policy issues. But she was actually a government investigator posing as a research assistant, according to people familiar with the operation. The FBI sent her to London as part of the counterintelligence inquiry opened that summer to better understand the Trump campaign’s links to Russia.

    The American government’s affiliation with the woman, who said her name was Azra Turk, is one previously unreported detail of an operation that has become a political flash point in the face of accusations by President Trump and his allies that American law enforcement and intelligence officials spied on his campaign to undermine his electoral chances.

    The Trump campaign has seized on the report as evidence that the “FBI spied on the Trump campaign”.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2019/may/02/william-barr-testimony-donald-trump-latest-news-live-updates?page=with:block-5ccb59d08f087d3be8782351#block-5ccb59d08f087d3be8782351

  5. NW Luna says:

    This maxes out at $36.5K, so won’t actually help cover long-term care for very long but can be used for modifications such as accessible access to the home, and to pay for home caregivers. Glad to live in a blue state!

    The state of Washington has passed the Long-Term Health Care Trust Act, a first-in-the-nation law that will establish funds that workers can access when they need long-term care. It’s a start toward dealing with the problems faced by families of the elderly, and especially at helping older people who don’t have family to help care for them at all. The bill passed both houses of the state legislature in late April, and Gov. Jay Inslee, who backed it from the start, will sign it.

    Starting in 2022, a new payroll tax of .58 percent (that’s 58 cents for each $100 in income) will go into a state fund available to any qualified Washingtonian. People who are self-employed can opt in to the system, too.

    An actuarial study used in preparing the bill estimates Washington should save about $3.9 billion in Medicaid costs by 2052

  6. NW Luna says:

  7. RonStill4Hills says:

    Ok so, under the Barr rule, knowing that the Paula Jones lawsuit was completely full of shit, wouldn’t ANYTHING that Bill Clinton did to make it go away, be completely constitutional?