Pressure Works: After Four Days, William Barr Capitulates and Gives an Estimated Page Count!!

Since his obviously limited summary released Sunday night, DOJ has been refusing to provide basic transparency about the Mueller Report or its plans for release. That refusal is best exemplified by DOJ’s unwillingness to reveal how long the Mueller Report is.

Four days later DOJ has just made public a letter to the Judiciary Committees leaders. And while it doesn’t provide an exact page count, it finally offers a ballpark of the page count: “nearly 400 pages long (exclusive of tables and appendices).”

It issues a hilarious denial that Barr’s four page summary — which Barr said “summarize[d] the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel and the results of his investigation” [my emphasis] — wasn’t a summary but then uses the word “summary” in describing what it was.

I am aware of some media reports and other public statements mischaracterizing my March 24, 2019 supplemental notification as a “summary” of the Special Counsel’s investigation and report. For example, Chairman Nadler’s March 25 letter refers to my supplemental notification as a “four-page summary of the Special Counsel’s review.” My March 24 letter was not, and did not purport to be, an exhaustive recounting of the Special Counsel’s investigation or report. As my letter made clear, my notification to Congress and the public provided, pending release of the report, a summary of its “principal conclusions” [sic] — that is, its bottom line.


I do not believe it would be in the public’s interest for me to attempt to summarize the report or release it in serial fashion.

As the bolded language from his original summary makes clear, Barr is now redefining what he summarized in it.

Finally, the letter describes what he will redact (meaning he has reversed on what the NYT got told about DOJ releasing a “summary”) in a public release by mid-April.

Specifically, we are well along in the process of identifying and redacting the following: (1) material subject to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) that by law cannot be made public; (2) material the intelligence community identifies as potentially compromising sensitive sources and methods; (3) material that could affect other ongoing matters, including those that the Special Counsel has referred to other Department offices; and (4) information that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.

Of course, this is a letter to Jerry Nadler, who has a solid constitutional claim to be entitled to grand jury information — indeed, to the entire report. So while it may remain a reasonable solution for public release (though, note his silence on the exhibits, which must be released too), it is a absolutely unacceptable response to the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

At least it shows he’s beginning to feel embarrassed enough about his original hackish summary that he has issued a somewhat less hackish one.

Update: Here is Nadler’s response. He still wants to know how Barr came to a conclusion about Trump’s guilt so quickly.

As I informed the Attorney General earlier this week, Congress requires the full and complete Mueller report, without redactions, as well as access to the underlying evidence, by April 2. That deadline still stands.

As I also informed him, rather than expend valuable time and resources trying to keep certain portions of this report from Congress, he should work with us to request a court order to release any and all grand jury information to the House Judiciary Committee—as has occurred in every similar investigation in the past. There is ample precedent for the Department of Justice sharing all of the information that the Attorney General proposes to redact to the appropriate congressional committees. Again, Congress must see the full report.

I appreciate the Attorney General’s offer to testify before the Committee on May 2. We will take that date under advisement. However, we feel that it is critical for Attorney General Barr to come before Congress immediately to explain the rationale behind his letter, his rapid decision that the evidence developed was insufficient to establish an obstruction of justice offense, and his continued refusal to provide us with the full report.

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. 

296 replies
  1. Geoff says:

    Not that I want to be generous to Lotso Bear, but he did say “summarize[d] the principal conclusions”, not summarized the report, so technically he is not completely wrong when he says it wasn’t a summary. HOWEVER, that tacked on part of “the results of the investigation” is where things get muddy. Principal conclusions would definitely be bottom line, but other conclusions would be results, and a whole lot of pages could be “not results” but detail. Other conclusions might be prosecutions and declinations at least. Not sure what else. Its really unclear what “results” mean, and I’m sure, the type of lawyer that Lotso is, can definitely keep that slippery enough to wriggle out of the mess he has made for himself.

    But still, I think Marcy’s point is clear, that he is probably starting to realize he isn’t slipping that non-summary summary thing by so easily and calling it a day.

    • BobCon says:

      I assume there is a split in the White House between a stonewall faction and a finesse faction, with the compromise being a release of the four pager. Both sides were probably hoping that would be the end of it, but it’s not.

      I suspect in typical Trump fashion we will see pieces coming out followed by a violent door slamming. I don’t know where this will end up, but I think it will be much tougher than the Kavanaugh stonewalling job, since they don’t have the GOP Senate able to set all of the rules.

      • dwfreeman says:

        We have already seen the Trump and Republican response, which is to claim immediate victory and vindication. Then move immediately to the punishment phase in order to enshrine any doubt about victory, which, in fact, fails to override the only logical conclusion of this entire enterprise: it was a wholly-owned and operated GOP fuck-up from start to finish.

        The main purpose of this legal mendacity, of course, was to simply share the good news and propagandize to Trump’s deplorable base which fails to accept the nuance of life and truth as we know it, that Trump’s gospel is the last word. He is the man, regardless of his standing in this world or any other.

        What is occurring now is like the denouement of the McCarthy hearings, in which Roy Cohn and McCarthy were ultimately found out as charlatans, perpetrators of a massive public fraud based on red-baiting. McCarthy thought he was performing a public service to benefit the nation and garner widespread political support. Cohn knew they were only leveraging public opinion. “Sir, do you have no shame.”

        Life and history has a way of repeating itself. Man what awful repetition this is. Trump is Cohn and this is McCarthyism revisited in the White House backed by a party without shame or remorse for their political choices. I will say this about them in connection with their cause, they are all-in regardless of the outcome. And for our collective sake, they must lose.

    • Sandwichman says:

      It’s also possible that “the dog who didn’t barrk” (Mueller) let out a few low growls behind the scenes.

      • coriolis says:

        While I know you’re not being literal, according to Desmond Morris, the non-barking dog and the silent human apparently give more reason to be fearful of attack. When blood is diverted to the mouth for speech, it’s not preparing the other muscles for action.
        Silence interrupting (another’s) anger is probably the time to run.

    • Avattoir says:

      Your comment is most useful where it scans Barr’s statutory duties. The Nadler has all the mental flexibility necessary to train the HJC’s focus on the illegality upon which Barr’s summary rests.

    • jackjackson says:

      is there anyone who thinks maybe someone somewhere will leak the whole thing? my prayers and my heartbeat are depending on a positive response! i have heard NOTHING about LEAKING! someone’s gotta know!

  2. J Barker says:

    Does the phrase “peripheral third-parties” have any formal legal meaning? For example, are first & second parties in contexts like this always the criminal co-conspirators?

    What about “reputational interests”, as opposed to “personal privacy? For example, does every person– including people whose names aren’t widely known to the public– have a reputational interest? Or do only publicly well-known individuals, ex. politicians, have reptutational interests?

    • J Barker says:

      Very small, perhaps too nit-picky detail here: DOJ told the NYT yesterday that the Mueller report “exceeds 300 pages.” Barr’s letter today says it is “nearly 400” pages, exclusive of appendices and tables.

      These two claims are of course consistent, but “exceeds 300” leaves you with “around 300” number in mind while “nearly 400” leaves you with “around 400” number in mind (kinda like something priced as $3.99 vs. $4).

      May not be indicative of anything interesting. Or it may suggest Barr is trying to carefully manipulate public perception in order to minimize damage to Trump if/when the report is finally made public.

      • Katherine M Williams says:

        “exclusive of appendices and tables.”

        Appendices and tables are on pages. They’re important, too. Why don’t they count?

        • gusgus says:

          Tables and appendices do count and will surely contain relevant information. However for the appendices the correlation between page number and relevant information is not strong. The appendices, for instance, might contain thousands of pages of field notes or Maybe just 20 tables summarizing those notes. In this example the relevant information is similar but the number of pages is 1,000 in one case and 20 in the other, so number of pages is not helpful.

          On the other hand knowing the main body of the report is almost 400 pages suggests that the SCO included a significant amount of information in the report plus substantial analysis. Knowing the page number is informative and argues that the report reaches well justified conclusions.

          • bmaz says:

            Yeah, this is right. When the initial term “comprehensive report” was used, it was easy to figure it was in the hundreds of pages. Nearly 400 is sure in that category. It is a lot. We already knew the number of interviews and other disclosures (remember interview and GJ transcripts could be each well over a hundred pages), so the exhibits and appendixes could be massive. Knowing that the report itself is nearly 400 pages is good information.

            • P J Evans says:

              FWIW, the “Final Report” of the House Judiciary committee, on Nixon’s possible impeachment, AKA the Watergate hearing, rand more than 500 pages in its official printing.

    • pjb says:

      I was wondering that too. The only investigative classifications I know of are target, subject and witness. The adjective “peripheral” is what is interesting.

    • Rugger9 says:

      That got my attention too. It’s a good question for the attorneys but my guess since everyone knows who Individual 1 is, they needed a new euphemism for Kaiser Quisling who would of course claim executive privilege without claiming it formally to trigger litigation. Like “collusion” it’s a legal-sounding term that is meaningless but can fool the Faux Rubes and other MAGA types. IIRC a public person like KQ doesn’t have the same privacy rules as a private citizen like me, and it shows up in places like litigation for libel among other things. However, we have good lawyers here, let’s see what they think

      This sleight of hand is the kind of thing the Palace specializes in, that and throwing cabinet secretaries under the bus (Hi, Betsy, let General Kelly make room for you) when trashing Special Olympics for the price of five Mar-a-Lago trips got too politically hot.

      Even though he had as good a week as he could get, KQ was unhinged in Michigan last night. Politifact busted him with five whoppers.

      • Avattoir says:

        This has been frequent even common grist in my brand of mill. There were times when I spent serious time on it. I stopped that because: either it’s obvious so costs near nothing in the main scarce resource (time) or there are others who do it not only better but to a useful purpose (
        And shalt they follow the feats & worship at the feet of a wheel without a wheel),

    • Stacey Lyn says:

      Yeah, I can’t wait for Peter Strzok and Lisa Page to find out that “peripheral third parties” have some reasonable expectation to privacy in an investigation like this. They’ll be so relieved!

      And I think we know who’s “repetitional interests” are being looked after here, by Barr–his own right now!

      • bughunter says:

        Yep. It really is an attempt at a Jedi mind trick.

        “These aren’t the traitors you’re looking for. Nothing to see here. Move along.”

  3. Reader 21 says:

    Great post Marcy! House Judiciary gets to see everything. Barr should have no say in what gets redacted (which to HJC at least, is zero). Per Watergate, including GJ stuff.
    Also, not Barr’s place to release some jacked up version to the public.

  4. Savage Librarian says:

    A big shout out to Gerry Nadler who truly exemplifies what it means to represent the people!

    Also, kudos to Adam Schiff who did that yesterday, proving true that old adage:
    The pencil neck is mightier than the sewered.

    (With all due respect to both Schiff and Edward Bulwer-Lytton, author of the much quoted, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”)

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Maybe somebody should remind Barr, “We come not to bury Caesar”, but to seize your berries!

  5. OldTulsaDude says:

    It’s hard not to admire Chairman Nadler’s refusal to put up with nonsense. It is probably also dawning on AG Barr that his narrowed-to-a-pinpoint denial (no coordination specifically between the campaign and the Russian government) will look mighty silly if Russian cutouts and campaign friendlies are included. I would venture to say that technically, Kalimnik could not be claimed as a member of the Russian government, so no matter what happened between Kilimnik and Manafort while Manafort was campaign chair, it would not be considered coordination under Barr’s razor-thin definition. I would think the same could be said for almost any of the oligarchs, as well – technically, they are not part of the Russian government unless one understands that the Russian government and the Russian mafia are one and the same.

    Definitions matter. Odd that Barr only defined one term in a footnote in his non-summary summary.

    • SteveR says:

      I know I’m preaching to the choir, but each of the distinctions you cite may be very valid considerations when articulating a prosecutorial declination. The finest of distinctions can have a huge impact on a decision whether or not to proceed. Of course, to then ply, as Barr clearly sought to facilitate, those tiny, nearly irrelevant, nuances to claim “total exoneration” and political deliverance is complete bullshit.

      I know how naive this makes me sound, but I remain flabbergasted that pretty much all of the MSM loudly stated that Barr had confirmed “Mueller found no evidence of collusion.” I would expect a sixth grader to be able to read Barr’s letter and recognize he said nothing of the sort (even if Barr tried to tee up precisely that misrepresentation).

      • Reader 21 says:

        An acquaintance—whom I like—tried to sell me on the “Mueller found no evidence” spin—and he’s an attorney! I tried to set him straight, but he’d just watched Cuomo interview Lyin’ Rudy, and it was a tough slog. Wemplehad a good post on WAPO—but too many in MSM (esp the punditry & headline writers) really screwed the pooch. Gregori Greenwaldov helped fan the flames, of course.

    • david says:

      Barr is rapidly approaching “oops” territory.

      [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more unique variation of your username as there are already several “David/Dave” members here. Please also use the same username each time you comment so community members get to know you. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • generalp says:

      First time caller here. I know I will regret submitting this after spending the last few days playing “drink a beer every time Mueller’s ‘findings’ (so generously shared by Barrstool) are misrepresented” and the slow motion choreograph allows the propaganda to bake in. But here goes.

      If we are to believe Barr at this point, the ONLY thing Mueller found (with respect to potential criminal indictments) was that he could not, in prosecutorial good faith, indict anyone associated with his campaign for entering an 1) AGREEMENT (tacit or express); 2) with THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT; 3) to INTERFERE IN THE 2016 ELECTION. Nothing more. That is not in any way the same thing as a finding of “no coordination between the campaign and the Russian government”.

      Not trying to be a snark but if we can’t get it right in this forum (every time) how do we expect Judy Woodruff, David Brooks, and Mark Shields to?


  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Yes, thank you Mr. Nadler. He knows Trump from way back. He is unlikely to be distracted by any attempt by Mr. Barr to shield Trump from the consequences of whatever is in Mr. Mueller’s nearly 400-page report.

    Barr, however, is a made man in senior Republican circles, very savvy, with lots of support for his return to the AG slot. He is playing many games simultaneously. One is with the news cycle. Another would be with the constantly changing demands from the attention deficit afflicted Trump. There would be several others, including implementing neoliberal policies across the board. That Trump overruled Barr so dramatically over repealing Obamacare through litigation – when he couldn’t do it through legislation – is an interesting sign. Even given his duties to the party, it makes me wonder whether Barr will last through the 2020 election.

    • somecallmetim says:

      Does Barr’s stature in senior R circles impress DJT?

      With the turnover in 45’s administration, disposability after use seems to be a given.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        If you’re asking what is neoliberalism, see the wiki entries for and writings by Naomi Klein, Philip Mirowski, and Henry Giroux, who are critics of it.

        If you’re asking what neoliberal policies the DoJ will be tasked with helping to implement, I would start with the repeal of Obamacare through litigation. Barr, at least, seems to be doing it under protest, having had his contrary advice overridden directly by the president.

        • timbo says:

          Trump’s clique are attempting to draw attention away from something that Barr has in his possession with the ACA “isn’t Constitutional!” red-herring. This has already been decided by the Supreme Court—it’s established law. The Chief Justice may soon have to speak out again publicly at the undercutting of our legal system by this sort of nonsense…

        • Doug R says:

          I was confused because it was used to describe the Clintons and thrown at me a few times. I had a feeling it meant two contradictory things at once.

    • Rugger9 says:

      It does make it interesting to follow like in King Lear at the end, where he and his sidekick talk about the palace, “who’s in, who’s out” and other stuff. I’ll agree that disposability is a hallmark of this WH (we lost Frau McMahon today, allegedly) but at some point Kaiser Quisling will need someone with talent to cover for him and I don’t think anyone wants to officially work for him any longer.

      With that said, to me there appears to be a black market of government influence centered at Mar-a-Lago most visible would be the VA triumvirate in the news recently. Maybe what’s really in play are a series of “shadow” administrators doing stuff on executive orders. Then oversight is much harder by the House since they would have to litigate their way through the DOJ (which will probably “decline to prosecute” subpoenas) and the packed courts.

  7. Bay State Librul says:

    Nadler is my hero.
    The tell: Barr went to Graham first, should have gone to Nadler.
    The fix is in.

      • Eureka says:

        His not-even-passive aggressive ‘offer’ to meet with SJC May 1st and HJC May 2nd really pissed me off (beyond how he addressed the letter).

        • Pam in CT says:

          Because May 1/2 are so far out (in which case: I agree), or because Barr is proposing Senate goes first?

          If I were Nadler, I think I’d PREFER to go second, protocol notwithstanding. If House goes second they can follow up on the spin & softballs almost certain to occur in a Graham-led, GOP managed hearing.

    • david says:

      riddle me this.
      I believe Barr was briefed weeks ago and the WH is just working the refs at this point. Since Trump doesn’t read I’d love to know which operatives are running the shop.
      Peripheral reputations? That would be the Orange Satan’s immediate family. Can’t think of anyone else.
      This entire saga is far more riveting than anything the entertainment world can come up with. I might as well cancel Netflix since it can’t compete.
      I wonder what feather will hit the scale when we least expect it and never saw coming that finally tips the monopoly board into the big bowl of dip.
      What if Trump just ups and dies? Have the pardinistas in waiting thought about this?

      • Rayne says:

        I think we have enough troubles around here without dabbling in speculation related to the risks of certain mortal events. Let’s not go there.

        If you want to talk about House of Cards in an open thread, that’s a different matter — and a different comment thread.

      • Jack B. Nimble says:

        The “peripheral reputations” are Barr’s words and Barr’s history is that of money and protecting the central family…the GOP. Trumputin’s family is NOT peripheral, they are central to crimes identified by Mueller. The Republican leadership and entire GOP is “peripheral”, hence Barr stating in public letter that he will NOT do what is right and expose the criminality of his all white, soul sucking brotherhood.

  8. orionATL says:

    what a friggin’ weasel Barr is:

    “…  For example, Chairman Nadler’s March 25 letter refers to my supplemental notification as a “four-page summary of the Special Counsel’s review.” My March 24 letter was not, and did not purport to be, an exhaustive recounting of the Special Counsel’s investigation or report. As my letter made clear, my notification to Congress and the public provided, pending release of the report, a summary of its “principal conclusions” [sic] — that is, its bottom line…”

    since when did anyone consider a summary as “an exhaustive recounting of the special counsel’s investigation or report…”.

    a strawman argument by an experienced lawyer. that implies calculated deception, not that one should be surprised.

  9. orionATL says:

    as for classification issues preventing release of parts of the osc report, those objections are all moot now and forever more given that the house intelligence committee under Republican chairman Nunes forced the DOJ to release a fisa warrant decision with supporting documents and person i.d.’s.

    note the DOJ defended against release of the fisa material in part on protest it would identify “sources and methods” and specifically might cause physical harm to sources.

    you break it, you own it, mfkrs.

    • Reader 21 says:

      Exactly. And Chaffetz had Comey up two days after his Hillary press conference stunt. Schiff warned them, but Rod got scared—what goes around comes around, dude. Spill it.

  10. punaise says:

    Pressure: “Drop the report, Toots” (partially redacted lyrics to a classic)

    I said a pressure drop,
    Oh pressure, oh yeah
    Pressure’s gonna drop on you
    I said pressure drop
    Oh pressure, oh yeah
    Pressure’s gonna drop on you

    I said when it drops
    Oh you gonna feel it
    Oh that you were doin’ it wrong, wrong, wrong
    Now when it drops
    Oh you gonna feel it
    That you were doin’ it wrong and how

    Now when it drops, drop
    Feel it
    You make the wrong move
    Now when it drops, drop
    You gonna feel it
    That you’ve been it doin’ wrong

    Now when it drops on your dirty little head
    Where you gonna go?
    It’s you, you, you
    When it drop on, oh you’re gonna feel it
    What you’re doing is wrong, wrong, wrong
    Pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure
    I said a pressure drop

  11. ggordonliddy says:

    Has any Independent Counsel or Special Counsel report ever been appealed? It goes to the Solicitor General, correct? The Wikipedia page for the acting Solicitor General is another amazing story; at least to a lay person like myself…

  12. J Barker says:

    One upshot of EW’s careful parsing of Barr’s characterization of his Sunday letter really needs to be underscored and amplified: we now have a clear example of how willing Barr is to use partial direct quotes, weasel words, and hair-splitting in order to mislead Congress and the public about a document, his Sunday letter, that is (1) publicly available in full, (2) only four pages long, (3) written by *Barr himself*, (4) is not, all by itself, a document of president-ending, earth-shattering importance.

    In light of that, consider how misleading Barr’s Sunday summary of Mueller’s report may in fact be, especially given that Mueller’s report is neither public nor short not written by Barr himself and is, in comparison with Barr’s letter, of earth-shattering importance.

    • Katherine M Williams says:

      Barr knows the mainstream media, as well as Fox news, will jump on the “no collusion” bandwagon and start clashing cymbals and tooting Trumpets. Perhaps he hopes that with the msm (even the “failing” NYT) amplifying his lies, everything will be copacetic.

  13. James P says:

    Who thinks that Congress will ever see the un-redacted report? I will be very surprised.

    Who thinks that the public will ever see the un-redacted report? I will be shocked if that ever occurs.

    So aren’t we likely to always be dealing with less than a full deck? And isn’t Barr (or his successor) likely to always be holding the cards? Will the next administration be able to give us more? Will they want to? I’m not hopeful about ever seeing any of the good stuff in the report. I look for just a reiteration of what we’ve already seen in Mueller’s court filings. I hope I’m wrong.

    • Frank Probst says:

      The public is never going to see a totally unredacted version of the report. The counterintelligence portion of the report is probably going to be mostly, if not totally, redacted, because much of it will likely be classified. If we get any report at all, it’ll be a redacted report. Then the Dems will have to tell us if there’s anything truly damning in the redacted portions.

      • timbo says:

        Being less pessimistic, I am hoping to live long enough to see the full unredacted report. It might be 30 years, it might be 50 years but, at some point, it is very likely to be released… if our Republic still exists by that time.

      • Doug R says:

        The IC doesn’t want to reveal sources and methods.
        After Snowden, Daesh changed their cell phone protocols and the Russians were able to mask troop movements before their invasion of Ukraine. Both thanks to the “hero” now in a dacha near Moscow.

        • P J Evans says:

          How long after? because (IIRC) for the first few months, the US government was saying that he hadn’t revealed anything important. It took them something like three months to decide that he had – and everything I’ve seen indicates that what he got was training materials, which were of questionable usefulness. (I know ew wrote about it at length.)

          BTW, he’s in Russia because his passport got yanked while he was in transit – he couldn’t go wherever it was he was trying to go, and can’t leave without a passport.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Nadler, Schiff and Cummings at least will summon him for a chat.

      Barr’s too-clever-by-half letter campaign created a confusion that only the author of the true report can clarify. So, the House Ds will ask the guy who wrote it.

      • elk_l says:

        If Mueller thinks his report is being misused/manipulated shouldn’t we expect that he would speak out on his own?

        • bmaz says:

          Seriously? It is NOT Mueller’s remit to respond to this kind of shit. Was this an honest question, or a joke?

          • elk_l says:

            Why is it “NOT Mueller’s remit to respond to this kind of shit?” If it is shit shouldn’t he be responding?
            I am not joking at all. I do have a sense you are resorting to an attempt at intimidation rather than dealing with the issue. Do you for some reason feel Mueller is above criticism?

            • J Barker says:

              No, I think the idea is that, based on everything we know about him, Mueller views his mandate solely in terms of the quality of the end product, and not in terms of how the end product is handled, represented, received, etc. by higher-ups in DOJ or the public.

              While he was conducting the investigation, that was one of his chief virtues. If things get bad, and Mueller refuses to break norms and blow the whistle, then, yeah, all things considered that disposition will no longer be a virtue.

              • P J Evans says:

                Expect the House committees to ask him to come tell them what they would like to know, and what they really need to know.

                • Democritus says:

                  Do they need him back to civilian status? Would that normally be sooner or later, or is this case so extremely different thus far, fair enough argument, that no predication can be reasonably made as to when he could testify if needed.

            • Sandwichman says:

              For one thing, Barr’s parsing of Mueller’s report is probably “not totally bogus” and haggling over it in the absence of the full report could descend into he said / he said game of semantics. For another a non-official public rebuttal to Barr would put Mueller on deck for 24/7 demonization by Trump and his surrogates to drown out whatever comparatively pedantic objection Mueller could raise. Finally, the time and place to speak would be in a Congressional hearing, not a press gaggle.

              On the other hand, maybe Mueller concurs 100% with Barr’s summary.

            • Rayne says:

              Listen, Mr./Ms./Mx. 22-approved-comments-to-date, do some homework instead of having a hissy tantrum demanding somebody here do your work for you.

              Read the authorization letter outlining Mueller’s appointment. I’ll even make it easy and spoon feed this to you:
              Letter by Rosenstein appointing Mueller to Special Counsel

              Now read the damned Special Counsel law:

              Especially this bit under 600.8:

              (c)Closing documentation. At the conclusion of the Special Counsel’s work, he or she shall provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.

              The way out of this is Congressional subpoenas and they’ll come from the House because the GOP majority leader is compromised and in thrall to whatever now owns the White House.

              • elk_l says:

                When you say “The way out of this is Congressional subpoenas” are you intending to say that is the only way out. I would like to think that our, let’s say, Founding Fathers and many of our other leaders through our history would not feel constrained to speak out on what they felt were issues of prime importance only in the instance of being subpoenaed. And, as well, I would like to think that kind of courage and commitment is still extant. If Barr and Trump are running a Statue of Liberty reverse on him, why should Mueller be sitting silently over on the sideline patiently waiting for a possibly greatly delayed subpoena? If he knows his report is likely being used in a fraudulent manner, shouldn’t he be responding aggressively and if he remains silent shouldn’t we assume he sees no misrepresentation of his report.

                • Rayne says:

                  You’re an adult. Knock yourself out and do some research since you clearly suspect there are other approaches. Whatever. Be prepared to show your work with citations if you’re going to keep banging on this, and explain justification for doing something outside the letter of the law including 28 CFR 600.

                  The founding fathers also committed sedition — that whole absolving allegiance and dissolving political bonds part. That option will NOT be discussed here.

                  • elk_l says:

                    Yes, I did for a moment land on some laudatory qualities of the Founding Fathers but, true, that is not the whole story. They also were, by and large, a literal murderer’s row of brutal slaveholders (even Tom J) [references available if desired]. But that is beside the point so also will NOT be discussed here. Back to Mueller, then.

                    I was making the point that Mueller’s silence would be disturbing if he had serious differences with Barr’s handling of the Report and, if so, I would hope he would speak out about that. Further, I would like to hear from him on things beyond that. But that will now likely not happen until Mueller appears before Congressional Committees.

                    In any case, none of us, right now, can claim to know where Mueller stands. I would like to know.

                    Some of us might not be happy recalling that as FBI Director Mueller testified before Congress for the Bush/Cheney Administration’s case on Iraq WMDs in their push for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

                    So, maybe Mueller is a defender of the status quo along with Barr and they are working together for Trump and/or Republican concerns.

                    It is also possible that Mueller and Barr see themselves as working for the presidency, not for Trump, i.e. working to maintain a strong executive office, perhaps doing so with some contempt for Trump and concern about damage his excesses may do to the presidency.

                    As well, with the narrow mandate given to Mueller and the DOJ policy not to indict a sitting President, he may genuinely feel he did everything he could to make the Russia case and could not. He may well feel he has come up with some evidence of obstruction and maybe even a lot of evidence on financial and other corruption that is now more properly dealt with by Federal and State DAs and State AGs (especially NYS). He may feel he has given them a lot to work with and that convictions should result, or maybe not.

                    Or some mix of the above or other similar variations.

                    To repeat, I would like Mueller to clarify some things soon but we are likely to have to wait a bit. In any case, when the report is released, with thanks to a number of very good and very knowledgeable analysts around here, we should get some sense of whether or not we are seeing basically everything or whether some important evidence and/or issues have gotten a palliative or possibly dangerous brush off.

                    The sooner the better, of course.

          • Katherine M Williams says:

            Surely it is Muellers duty as a patriotic American to stop this deranged traitor from doing further harm to our Republic?

            • timbo says:

              I suspect that he will do what he needs to do to follow the letter of the law and the spirit of his mandate. He’s already accomplished a lot, certainly enough to show the Congress that there’s a lot of ‘there’ there to pursue. At the point where it becomes about the President, Mueller can’t really do much if he’s following DoJ guidelines. One might be safe in assuming that Mueller would not feel much regret if the Congress does get his report… but he’s not legally obligated to provide it too them without a subpoena being issued by one or the other chamber of Congress is my understanding.

              Personally, I suspect that Mueller’s office already has a heavily redacted version of the report in hand and ready to go. The release of more classified areas of the report to the Gang of Eight should also be a non-issue…if they ask for it officially.

        • Dcom says:

          I’ve wondered the same thing. I’m interested to know what Mueller can and can’t talk about. It’s his investigation. You’d think he feels a responsibility to get the truth out (or at least not a misrepresentation of his and all his team’s work).

          • bmaz says:

            Heh, that will not be determined here. It is very complicated, and anybody who says they know, at least on this specific question, does not know.

        • Bill Smith says:

          Yes, Mueller or one of his ex-team would likely speak up if they thought their results where being mishandled.

          • bmaz says:

            And you base that on what, exactly?? Do tell since you have better sources than the proprietors of this blog. I’ll be waiting, and I call bullshit.

      • david says:

        The thought of having to watch Jim Jordan perform his usual routine after kissing Barr’s butt has me screaming “serenity now.”

    • Buford says:

      I think Mueller is staying silent to allow the other players time to hang themselves…ya know, let these guys lie in public, than bring out the truth…Mueller’s MO…I have not broken the faith in Mueller…He is only human, but he is a very smart one…He sees what we see, and now he has a chance to step back and look at the big picture, and make himself available to Congress as a witness…

      • orionATL says:

        I have not broken faith in Mueller or his team either. I think they have done a superb job. in my mind I divorce any comment or behavior from barr, Rosenstein, or the white house from Mueller.

        Mueller is an “independent contactor” to the doj whom I have observed for 1 1/2 years doing a conscientious, workmanlike job of investigation and prosecution. Mueller is also a former DOJ official and government employee who understands he is expected and obliged to follow the rules and restrictions of the department of justice, hewing all the more to these in this instance because of the calculated hyperaggressiveness of the president he has been investigating.

        I expect that those who have raised questions about Mueller are going to wish they had just kept quiet until the initial tidal wave of media manipulation and media misreporting had crested and receeded. ye of little faith…

        • dave the welder says:

          i am “of little faith” by nature but your confidence in mr mueller (and of the hive mind here generally) gives me something like peace of mind. i very much want to believe there’s a hard uppercut coming behind this fake to the right …

          • orionATL says:

            scepticism is always warranted in political matters. but so is close observation and the willingness to draw conclusions about a player – you have to decide who you can trust. my observations of Mueller leads me to trust him until I have contrary evidence.

            I understand very clearly that Mueller has a carefully defined job description and that he has gone outside of it (by expanding the investigation beyond strictly russia) about as far as he can go.

            Mueller has his job to do, but he cannot do the job the Congress must do, nor that of the american people acting together to vote out trump and his congressional enablers.

    • Avattoir says:

      Imagine if you will how you would have run your life – and, to this point, how it would appear to others – had you been ‘restricted’
      to scripting and narrating all of it yourself and from discussing any of it otherwise. That may qualify as the highest form of bourgeois ambition (and pretense). Mueller is a great frog in a pond of horribles, and in case no one else does, it may be Mueller is sculpting his own statue. If so, it’d be a silly conceit, but then such is self-identification as Republican.

  14. Willy Powwow says:

    The one area where redaction might be reasonable, at least for the full-congress version, would be if the material might jeopardize any of the continuing investigations we may be unaware of. Not sure there are any, but isn’t there a continuing counterintelligence investigation? What if there truly is more to come?

    • J Barker says:

      Agreed. A real (and hilarious) tell will be if sometime next week we learn that the report is like 398 pages long. Then it’ll be a pretty clear pattern: “exceeds 300”, then “nearly 400”, then “oh, yeah, almost exactly 400”

  15. Marinela says:

    There are many unknowns, just wanted to point out some details we know.
    It seems that Trump wanted somebody he trusts in AG position, when Mueller report was to be delivered to the AG.
    He fired Sessions immediately after election, to facilitate that the report would be handled by Barr, not by Rosenstein.
    So Trump didn’t want Rosenstein to handle the Mueller report conclusions.

    Also Trump had knowledge the report was not coming out before the mid-term elections, and he knew was coming out sometime after the mid-term elections.

    For somebody that didn’t obstruct justice, just having the knowledge of the timeline of own investigations seems fishy.

    • Eureka says:

      999 bottles of beer on the wall,…

      Kidding aside, that was a smart move by Nadler yesterday, because he got Barr today to up the rumored page number *and* acknowledge that it was exclusive of tables/appendices (tho I bet he was trying to whack off intro/summary pp, too).

        • Eureka says:


          (It’s hard to pun with symbols if you can’t find one that’ll work. Please accept my visual imitation)

        • On the nickel says:

          to P J Evans
          March 29, 2019 at 9:42 pm
          Or maybe aleph-one bottles. (Take one down, pass it around, aleph-null bottles of beer…)

          getting all Cantorian on us? even Donald’s fantasy wall can’t hold an aleph null of bottles.

  16. fpo says:

    Latest national polling shows 75% want the full Mueller report made public – just 36% think the report (Barr’s summary) clears the Resident. (NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll)

    I’m wondering if a waiting game strategy, particularly one that is morphing quickly into obfuscation and discussions of executive privilege, reputational interests and the like, will work in Barr’s favor here. The longer people have to consider the facts we do know, ref. Schiff’s stinging presentation, together with the potential/likelihood? for more unforced errors from the WH and/or Barr…a lot can happen in 3 weeks.

    Just thinking about how quickly public opinion was able to help reverse Betsy’s Special Olympics fiasco this week. And while the public will never see the full report, enough frustration and doubt will ultimately shift perceptions – and preferences. 11/03/2020 is coming.

    Peripheral third party reputational interests? Sure. Let’s start with backdoor communications channels and Javanka’s top secret security clearances, for starters.

  17. OldTulsaDude says:

    It struck me sitting here that Barr’s letter feels like a replay of the Nunes memo only much more sophisticated – not meant to shed light but to mislead the media into reporting a false or at least misleading narrative.

  18. Frank Probst says:

    FWIW, Andrew Napolitano from Fox News said the report was around 700 pages. I don’t remember if he said a little less or a little more, but this was very early in the week, and I had the impression that he accidentally let it slip. Consider the source, obviously, but he’s been throwing cold water all week on all the other craziness on Fox News.

  19. Zinsky says:

    Barr is garbage wrapped in skin, just like his boss. The last week proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

  20. Eureka says:

    I also love the gamesmanship part where Barr presages the threat of a cock-block fight with POTUS:

    Our progress is such that I anticipate we will be in a position to release the report by mid-April, if not sooner. Although the President would have the right to assert privilege over certain parts of the report, he has stated publicly that he intends to defer to me and, accordingly, there are no plans to submit the report to the White House for a privilege review.

    • Eureka says:

      “love” = sarcasm.

      I debate the proportions of this letter which should be categorized as political stunting vs gaslighting vs merely informational. The letterhead falls into the last category.

    • Eureka says:

      Who knew this quoted snippet would prove so vexing to the likes of Wittes, Dilanian (Marcy rt’d Ross Garber trying to correct them- pasted below)?

      Further– as per my comment (“presages the threat of a cock-block fight,” i.e. who gets to block Mueller for POTUS- Barr, or WH?)– I think the statement (and procedure) leaves room for another round of delays/ redactions should POTUS ‘change his mind’ and ask for WHCO (or as appropriate) to take it for a spin when Barr’s done, or even quasi-concurrently. The threat hangs like a spectre. So I would add, “(yet)” to Ross’ “no need to submit… to WH.”

      Ross Garber: “There is a mistaken notion that Barr said Rept would not be redacted to protect executive privilege. Actual quote is below. He’s saying that Trump is deferring to Barr to make call so no need to submit Mueller Report to WH. @benjaminwittes @KenDilanianNBC Exec priv still in play (screenshot)”

  21. Frank Probst says:

    I think the plan was to put out the letter and then just attack everyone who said anything at all about Mueller. It might have worked if Trump had any focus, or if this had been a quiet news week, but the Jussie Smollett story knocked Barr’s letter out of the news cycle, and by the time we got back to Mueller, polling data was showing that Barr’s letter wasn’t fooling anyone who wasn’t already fooled. Now Barr is saying that his summary wasn’t a summary, and he’s sounding like a weasel. (I was almost immediately reminded of Clinton’s “definition of is” statement, and I doubt I’m the only one who thought that.) The attack attack attack strategy blew up spectacularly with Adam Schiff’s mic drop, and now Trump is talking about killing Obamacare again. They may still pull this off, but it’s looking more and more like the Democratic committee chairmen are all following a pretty disciplined “slow but steady” set of investigations into various Trump scandals. There’s no serious talk of impeachment right now, either, so that’s become a non-issue. Pelosi deserves credit for keeping her caucus in line, but I think the committee chairmen also deserve a lot of credit here. I think the Republicans were expecting the Democratic committee chairmen to be as bad as the Republican committee chairmen were, and they’re spinning their wheels trying to find a strategy to oppose them.

    And this isn’t going to get any better for Trump. Barr’s letter was most likely the best of all possible non-summaries for Trump, and now he’s stuck. If he stonewalls, he looks like he’s hiding something, because that’s exactly what he’s doing. And anything that gets released is just going to make Trump worse.

    • timbo says:

      It’s already worked. Trump is now shifting the focus away from the summary and to the ACA. His base will ignore anything about the report from now on and concentrate on whatever it is Trump wants them to concentrate on next. Like attacking Schiff. Oh, and the Judicial branch of our government as well. “The ACA is illegal!”: A direct attack on SCOTUS in my opinion.

  22. LillyH says:

    I wonder how technologically savvy Barr is. He’s only a few years older than me and I obviously can use the internet. But, we know Trump doesn’t use a computer or even email. Barr can read, unlike Trump. but was he such a big dog by the time the internet came along, that he had secretaries and underlings to deal with that? He may just be “on the wrong side of the rock and roll line” (stole that) because he seemed surprised by the public’s intense reaction – enough to put out another letter.
    He helped Bush I stay out of trouble and encouraged him to pardon Casper and all but that was 25 years ago. Not that many people on the internet then to complain about it though there was media coverage. I wonder if he thought he could just slide this on though, and it would work out the same way.

    • P J Evans says:

      He probably doesn’t hit the more liberal sites, which would be where most of the questions about this are. Maybe some of his staffers do – but would they tell him what they’re seeing?

    • Herringbone says:

      The intervening years have changed more than just technology. GHW Bush pardoned Weinberger as a lame-duck president, and his salvo of pardons only worked to end the investigations because the country had already rejected him and was moving on. In other words, the pardons allowed the GOP to cut their losses. Barr’s in a much different position here. His slow-walking the Mueller report is as if the pardons had dropped before Inouye’s committee had even gotten started, and just as the ’88 elections were heating up.

      When I consider that the underlying behavior in Trump’s case is much more clearly venal, and that Trump’s personal exposure is much greater than Reagan’s, I wonder if Barr—whether he knows it or not—is only playing for time. Time can give Republicans a lot: it could even possibly give them the opportunity to regroup and reclaim the House or win the White House again. But Barr himself can’t end this scandal the way he did in Iran-Contra.

  23. Reader 21 says:

    @lilly—it’s a great point, I was thinking along similar lines about what Rayne posted up thread, although more on the media front—he’s an old guy now, been awhile since he’s been in the bigs. With Iran-Contra, he helped bury all those outgoing pardons on Christmas Eve (I think)—not sure that’s as easily hidden here, with email (only takes one patriot), a voracious media (such as our own EW!), 24-7 cable and a rightfully skeptical House. Not to mention, it may be dawning in him that, if Mueller is called to testify after him, he’ll not want a ton of discrepancies in their respective testimonies. I wouldn’t think.

  24. foggycoast says:

    the case can be made that the findings summary is responsive to rosenstein’s authorization to investigate, as stated, “the Russian GOVERNMENT’S efforts”. now, let’s assume that the redacted report essentially confirms most of out suspicions about cut-outs, quid pro quo, real estate deals, etc. i do not think that will move the needle. trump apologists will say they don’t care or it doesn’t violate the law, trump’s opposition will say we told you so, he’s guilty of conspiracy. he’s not going to be indicted. only a major smoking-gun revelation will change that equation. there likely isn’t one or it would have surfaced by now. if there is one barr is toast, mueller will have some explaining to do and the house will push hard for indictment or, faiing that, impeachment.

  25. Molly Pitcher says:

    Adam Schiff is currently on Rachael Maddow (I’m on the West Coast) and is absolutely scathing about Barr’s behavior. I recommend finding it and watching.

  26. Jack B. Nimble says:

    Enjoy all the great info, intelligent thought processes, and thought provoking commentary on important issues shared on this blog. The entire debacle is debilitating. My solution for politicians (and other professions…read below) is this- As long as you are a public servant, hired to serve the public to the best of your ability, and you are on the job, you MUST wear a a bodycam and microphone. At no time can you issue a ‘redacted’ compliance of your job as a public official based on national security or ongoing investigations or “peripheral reputations” (or any reason at all). As a public official, everything you do for work is transparent for your constituents. Back door meeting = we see/hear everything. Behind closed door = never…always in constituents view. National security issue = then I should know since it pertains to my community and my security as a citizen of this nation. Add in a constituent voting platform that helps the elected official make his decision transparently with voting results on every issue from said constituents. If that doesn’t work, Why do we have elected officials? Last I checked, traveling to DC doesn’t take weeks (the reason for ‘officials’) and information can be shared as fast as being there. I want my vote back, I don’t need a corrupt official casting my vote.

  27. Willis Warren says:

    Things no one disputes

    1) Russia hacked the DNC
    2) Russia wanted Trump to win
    3) Members of the Trump campaign were willing to accept dirt on Hillary from Russia and neglected to tell the FBI
    4) Paul Manafort shared campaign data with a “former” KGB agent and lied to a grand jury about it
    5) Trump encouraged the Russians to hack Hillary in a public speech and… they did that night
    6) Trump’s campaign lied about all contacts with Russians
    7) Trump lied about a business deal involving a Moscow Hotel in which Russia was going to give him 300 million
    8) The Trump campaign knew about the hacking of the DNC before the FBI and Papodopolous bragged about it to Australian consul in England, and of course lied to the FBI
    9) The NSA intercepted Mike Flynn making a deal with the Russian ambassador to subvert Obama’s response to election tampering… and lied about it
    10) Trump openly dangled pardons on twitter and in his JDA to Manafort, Cohen, Flynn, and threatened people that testified against him
    11) Roger Stone quit the campaign and then reached out to Wikileaks to coordinate releasing the stolen emails

    • Tom says:

      And don’t forget that outdoor interview Trump had with a Fox News reporter on August 23, 2018 in which he said he thought it should be “illegal” for people to cooperate with criminal justice authorities when they’ve been charged with an offense as it just encouraged them to tell lies (i.e., give evidence) about their colleagues in crime. This was around the time Michael Cohen had entered his guilty plea. Sounds like another component of Trump’s obstruction of justice campaign.

    • Bill Smith says:

      Actually some of that is disputed.

      1) Likely

      2) Clapper said that the Russians didn’t want Clinton to win. The Russians pivoted their ‘support’ a number of times before landing on Trump, then at the end they moved away from Trump when they thought he was going to lose to support the Green Party. This is from Facts and Fears : Hard Truths From A Life In Intelligence By James Clapper

      3) How does this differ from hiring Steele? In addition it will funny if the ‘dirt’ that was promised came from Fusion – GPS as this story indicates: There is no requirement to tell the FBI. “If any of us have foreign governments approach us with information about our opponents, we should go straight to the FBI,” Pelosi joked.


      • bmaz says:

        Ah, so now we have a record that you are totally full of shit. Thanks for playing. Also, 3) you want to yammer like a Fox News dolt about Steele? “Etc.”. Haha, don’t be an assclown. And you have just proved yourself one.

  28. Savage Librarian says:

    Barr’s initial letter of introduction to the Mueller Report seems to be having the same reaction as DT’s government shut down. Except this time the reaction is at the speed of light. No more hiding in the shadows.

    @ timbo – I just want to let you know that I appreciate all your level headed and insightful comments. They always seem to calm me and reaffirm my faith in the future of humanity. Thanks for all your effort and input.

  29. Tom says:

    Really looks like Barr didn’t give enough consideration or do enough thought experiments as to how he was going to deal with the Mueller Report when it was finally completed. Did he not anticipate that the demand for the whole unredacted report would have been so overwhelming? He’s just making it worse for himself and the administration by doing this whole Dance of the Seven Veils routine about what parts he’s going to show and not show. If he had done the Full Monty earlier last week and released the whole report there probably would have been a lot of media sturm & drang about the contents (depending, of course, upon what those contents actually are), but the dust might have been beginning to settle right now, especially if Trump had chosen Thursday or Friday to announce, once again, the end of the ACA. As it is, by extending the release date for the report another couple weeks, he’s only fertilizing the idea that a cover-up is at work, especially by signaling to Trump that it’s not too late to exercise some executive privilege. It’s like when the scheduled release date of a movie is pushed weeks or months down the road, you know it’s gonna be bad. Just another example of how stupid smart people can be.

    • Jenny says:

      Tom well said. I giggled with your use of metaphors: “Dance of the Seven Veils and the Full Monty.” Works!

    • timbo says:

      It’s very likely that Barr doesn’t really know what is in the full report at this point. He’s got a lot of other stuff on his plate as AG. I’m guessing he has an assistant that is pouring over the thing with a fine tooth comb… and reading pertinent passages that jump out as he has time?

    • K-spin says:

      Exactly what I was thinking? I may question the AG’s judgement, but I have no doubt he’s an intelligent man and an experienced lawyer. Did he not ‘read the signs’ that clearly showed his four page ‘non-summary summary’ would be insufficient, and prompt further questions? Potentially under oath?
      He is now in an invidious position, whereby any information in the full report that is inconsistent with his Principal Conclusions will permanently ruin his credibility and that of the DoJ. At the very least, his seeming belief that a brief statement would end questions and speculation was naïve. And if his motivation was to satisfy an audience of one (Individual 1), he’d be plain stupid to expect reciprocal support down the track, when those questions are asked. Either way, Bill’s decision-making here is hard to fathom.

  30. Marinela says:

    Special counsel is required to submit his report to AG.
    Since AG is a political appointee, it affects the entire saga depending who is controlling the congress.

    This rule alone seems arbitrary. Why not say the report should go to AG and congress, both chambers, Not give the option to AG to massage the outcome.
    Obviously this would be a future change.

    • bmaz says:

      You can thank the high holy Neal Katyal for that, He who likes to currently criticize the process, was exactly the dope who wrote it.

      • Marinela says:

        Didn’t know this detail. Thanks.

        Ideally, the rules would be well spelled out before even the investigation starts.
        It has to be a way to make this process and results transparent without political abuse. Assume the political games are always present, but we don’t want a Ken Starr situation either.

        Seems like we always compensate, but we don’t really have the correct process for the crimes presently investigated.

      • pjb says:

        Except that the reason for a Special Counsel in the first place is where we want/need to insulate the investigation from the political operatives. It now seems apparent here is a fundamental flaw in the writing of the Special Counsel regs, probably an overreaction to the Starr/Javert debacle.

        • timbo says:

          That appears to have been the intent of not renewing the Independent Prosecutor law. Both parties don’t want an investigation that neither one of them can control. It is symptomatic of the general political situation in the country; if neither party can control an investigation than no investigation can be done.

          Another way to look at this is Pelosi take on impeachment here. If she’s unwilling to impeach GOP scofflaws then what would it take for her to impeach someone from her own party?

          • P J Evans says:

            Pelosi is waiting to see what the committees find out before going for impeachment – because when you’re trying to impeach the president, you want a good shot at winning. Also, she knows that it will have to be really solid to get the necessary GOP-T votes in the Senate, where they have a majority. You don’t impeach casually or without facts.

            • Savage Librarian says:

              IMHO, if Pelosi did, indeed, commit to quit after serving 2 years as current Speaker, she might want to complete other significant goals instead of “being bogged down by impeachment.” The revelations of the Mueller report will do significant damage to DT’s 2020 campaign, regardless. And the pool of Dem presidential candidates is shaping up well.

              Pelosi is brilliant, diplomatic, and deeply dedicated to democracy. We are so fortunate to have her leadership. And I agree, she would never initiate impeachment proceedings without ample facts and, maybe, requisite support.

              But my read of timbo’s comment above is that it is more rhetorical and used as a motivator and expression of angst. I’m guessing timbo is well aware of the need for facts…

      • Marinela says:

        Well, let’s not assume the AG is apolitical. Be realistic and always assume AG is a political hack.

        Was it a better investigation Rosenstein could start or special council was the only option for investigating Trump?

    • Herringbone says:

      “Why not say the report should go to AG and congress, both chambers”?

      Here’s one reason: by the time the independent counsel law expired, Republicans had released to the public the videotaped grand jury testimony of a President admitting to an affair, even though the IC had originally been appointed to investigate a real estate deal. If Ken Starr had the ethics of Bob Mueller, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

      • Marinela says:

        Understood. Paying in the present for past mishandlings.

        Heard somebody saying Mueller probably created his report in such manner that could easily be made public, knowing that stuff needs to be separated. Makes the Barr decision to massage it more problematic.

  31. cfost says:

    As Barr stalls for time, and while mtracy tries to pick a fight with Marcy, I got an idea: why not pick a Trump apologist’s timeline and posts, and skim through them from, say mid-2016? What were they saying then? What facts were they presenting, if any? Do they engage in name-calling (a red flag)?
    So I compared my own quick overview of known and accepted facts about the Hillary/DNC hacks and the FBI investigation of the Trump Crime Family, which was ongoing well before Mueller.
    Yep, some of the hacked emails were unflattering. But there is no question that the FBI investigation is looking into far more serious matters. And yes, that is obvious to sane people. But mtracy wants us to believe that the email hack/leak (a crime) was ok because it did the American voters a service, and that the liberal media should apologize for their coverage of the Mueller investigation.
    Mtracy and his ilk are very selective about which factoids they present to their audience, while they aggressively suggest how their audience should feel about the factoids. This is, at best, juvenile partisanship. At worst, it is propaganda. An audition for Trump or Murdoch, perhaps?

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      From Miriam Webster:
      Definition of factoid
      1 : an invented fact believed to be true because it appears in print

  32. Tom says:

    Ironic that Barr is expressing his concern about the “reputational interests of peripheral third parties” in the same week that Trump is whipping up the wrath of his base against “little pencil-neck Adam Schiff.” Don’t sweat it, Bill!

    • Marinela says:

      He omitted just one word, he meant “reputational interests of peripheral third republican parties”.

      If they are republicans, they are innocent (as per Mitch McConnell) and need protecting.

      • Areader2019 says:

        I also had a real problem with excluding the “reputational interests of peripheral third parties”.

        If the NRA took Russian money to fund GOP candidates, their reputation should be damaged. That is how democracy works. The voters need the facts.

        • Rayne says:

          If NRA took money from foreign countries to launder and donate to campaigns, they should be prosecuted — no reputational interests to consider save for the reputation of our democracy.

        • emptywheel says:

          The NRA was never a significant part of the Mueller investigation (his prosecutors only interviewed Butina once, for a short period). So if they’re being investigated it’s elsewhere.

        • bmaz says:

          Really? There are certainly concerns here where “peripheral third parties” may be integrally related family members and arguably co-conspirators, but in a general sense that is a very good policy. If your in law was wrapped upon a conspiracy, would YOU think you should be a part of public discussion? I bet not.

  33. Avattoir says:

    The Nadler: ‘I speak for the Dems. We have the votes for which I hold this
    proxy. We hold the day. UNLOCK!’

    • Greenhouse says:

      Avattoir, you’re back!!! I remember, prior to Barr’s confirmation, your prescient premonition, admonishing all us here at EW, that Barr really isn’t “Bob’s” friend. Furthermore, (paraphrasing you) you expected shit to really hit the fan once he was confirmed, and telling all of us Dorothys to buckle up because we weren’t in Kansas anymore. Good to see you again, peace!

      • RMD says:

        anyone who thought AG Barr, a republican, who earned his current appointment by earning cred as he assisted Bush in covering up and condoning, if not advocating, that he pardon Iran Contra criminals….and who currently has two relations recently employed by the WH… would do anything but ‘do the GOP conga’ is not a person given to assimilating relevant history into useful understanding.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Avattoir, count me in on the Welcome Back wagon. I have been thinking about you these past few days. So, I’m glad you have returned!

    • Bill Smith says:

      Barr will ignore the April 2nd dead line. I’m not even sure it has any legal foundation. The House can’t pass a law by themselves. When I read the law 20 CFR 600 Section 9 c. and what it references it doesn’t seem that House vote means anything.

      There is the fact that the House can make things miserable for the DOJ down the line.

  34. OldTulsaDude says:

    What amazes me is that according to AG Barr’s non-summary summary the meeting between Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and Konstantin Kilimnik where Manafort handed over internal polling data to Kilimnik that the SCO’s attorney said in court “goes to the very heart of the investigation” would not count as “coordination” or “a link” between members of the campaign and Russia because Kilimnik was not a member of the “Russian government”.

    It’s like claiming, I didn’t give it to Putin – I gave it to his sister’s boyfriend.

  35. Mark Ospeck says:

    punaise, tx for pressure drop, oh pressure, oh yea pressure drop, pressure, pressure drop on you- by Toots and the Maytals. Being an old guy, I’d forgotten all about that gem.

    Otherwise I do feel under pressure and just trying to get to any world that I’m welcome to while listening to the radio, radio v early around 25 or 6 to 4 while looking for those marigolds in the promised land.
    maybe try a riff on dialogues part 1 (avoid the 2) and tell me why you are you optimistic

  36. Vicks says:

    Quick question to those more familiar with the law.
    Barr’s “summary of principal findings” states “The report does not recommend any further indictments nor did the Special Counsel OBTAIN any sealed indictments yet to be made public.”
    Is using the word “obtain” in this case correct and common?
    The media often describes it as “Mueller indicted” or “Mueller’s team indicted”

    • bughunter says:

      The SC can only recommend an indictment to the Grand Jury. The Grand Jury issues the indictment.

      Other courts or grand juries can use the SC’s findings in their own information and indictments, but the obtaining here specifically assumes “from the grand jury.”

      • vicks says:

        Barr’s “summary of principal findings” is the exact opposite of specific, it appears Barr may have pulled a full “Hannity” using bits of the truth to spin an alternate version of the story.
        I was just wondering if his wording left wiggle room for indictments issued but not acted upon, or issued but handed off to a different agency (if that’s even a thing)
        I believe both Mueller and Barr have chosen thier every word deliberatly. Mueller to be specific and narrow, Barr to go as wide as needed to create evidence defending NO COLLUSION!!!!
        Out of a 400 (or whatever) page report Barr chose the following partial sentence from the report to include in his sumary-not summary:
        Mueller’s words:
        “{T}he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in it’s election interference activities.”
        In the next paragraph Barr has the b’s to use the generic “as stated above” to expand what Mueller said to clear all American citizens of coordinating (knowingly or not!) with the Russian based company that Barr chose to call “the IRA” in this proclamation.
        Barr’s exact words:
        “as noted above the special council did not find that ANY U.S. PERSON or Trump campaign official OR ASSOCIATE conspired OR KNOWINGLY conspired with THE IRA IN IT”S election interference activities.
        This seems like such amatuer bullshit to me. Yet the freaking media keeps saying it’s over; Mueller cleared team Trump of collusion.
        Where the hell is the curiosity?
        If the report says the Trump crew is cleared why didn’t Barr choose a quote from the report that said that?
        Or include more quotes if they were all as narrow as this one?
        Is it reasonable to think Barr chose this quote because it was the best available?

        • OldTulsaDude says:

          Has Barr narrowed his definitions to the point where all he is saying is that there was no coordination of the initial IRA hacks?

          • Vicks says:

            Barr has EXPANDED who Mueller has cleared.
            The quote Barr gave us from Mueller’s report (only) clears the folks on the Trump campaign from cordinating with (only) the “Russian government” in (only) “IT’S” interference activities.
            “Any U.S Persons” per Barr’s “translation” seems to clear an additional 325+ million people to what Muller was quoted as saying. Barr inserted the word “knowingly” and “the IRA” to Muller’s very specific “Russian Government”
            If it were the average Joe writing these statements I would clearly be picking nits, but Mueller and Barr are far from average and I believe that every word was chosen carefully and this “summary (not summary) smells like a cover up; perhaps I am wrong and the report does have a ton of information to back up Barr’s “principal findings” and perhaps there is a legitimate reason the report is being withheld from those in congress with the appropraite clearance and perhaps it is only fitting that even at this stage we are asking ourselves if there is no “there, there” WHY THE HELL ARE THEY ACTING SO GUILTY!!

  37. Jim H. says:

    A couple quick points:

    1) “Peripheral third parties” doesn’t necessarily mean human persons. Could be a corporate entity, e.g. Or even a political party or its fund-raising apparatus or its policy wing or even an NGO that peddles firearms. Just saying.

    2) The Russian government meddled in our election. That came out in Barr’s non-summary summary. The campaign didn’t coordinate with the Russian government in its election interference. This summary conclusion says nothing about cutouts for the R gov’t. It also doesn’t absolve the campaign of conspiring with the Russian gov’t or its cutouts on matters not related to their election interference. And this is important.

    3) With so many outstanding matters, one wonders if Barr cut the investigation short and narrowly limited the scope of its acceptable conclusions. To wit: election interference only refers to messing with vote totals and not, say, propaganda or ad targeting active measures using deep polling data.

  38. J Barker says:

    Barr’s written responses to the follow-up questions after his confirmation hearing may shed some light on how much of Mueller’s report he plans to release to Congress and the public, and on his odd walk-back letter yesterday. For example, here are a few of Barr’s responses to questions from Durbin (I’ve put triple square brackets on either side of parts that caught my eye):

    Question 4(a): Do you take DOJ regulations to mean that you should release not the Mueller report, but rather your own report?

    RESPONSE: The applicable regulations provide that the Special Counsel will make a “confidential report” to the Attorney General “explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.” See 28 C.F.R. § 600.8. The commentary to these regulations, which were issued by the Clinton Administration Department of Justice, explains that the Special Counsel’s report is to be “handled as a confidential document, as are internal documents relating to any federal criminal investigation. [[[The interests of the public in being informed of and understanding the reasons for the actions of the Special Counsel will be addressed” through the Attorney General’s reporting requirements. See 64 Fed. Reg. 37038, 37040-41.]]] Under the regulations, the Attorney General must “notify the Chairman and Ranking member of the Judiciary Committees of each House of Congress . . . Upon conclusion of the Special Counsel’s investigation.” 28 C.F.R. § 600.9(a)(3). The regulations further provide that the Attorney General may publicly release the Attorney General’s notification if he or she concludes that doing so “would be in the public interest, to the extent that release would comply with applicable legal restrictions.” Id. § 600.9(c).

    I believe it is very important that the public and Congress be informed of the results of the Special Counsel’s work. For that reason, if confirmed, my goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law, including the regulations discussed above, and the Department’s longstanding practices and policies. Where judgments are to be made by me, I will make those judgments based solely on the law and Department policy, and will let no personal, political, or other improper interests influence my decision. [[[As I stated during the hearing, if confirmed, I intend to consult with Special Counsel Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein regarding any report that is being prepared and any disclosures or notifications that I make under applicable regulations as Attorney General.]]]

    Question 4(b): Do you read DOJ regulations and policy and practice to forbid any discussion of decisions declining to indict?

    RESPONSE: The regulations governing public discussion of a Special Counsel’s declination decisions are discussed above in my response to Question 4(a). [[[ In addition, the Justice Manual, § 9-27.760, cautions prosecutors to be sensitive to the privacy and reputational interests of uncharged third parties. It is also my understanding that it is Department policy and practice not to criticize individuals for conduct that does not warrant prosecution.]]]

    Question 4(c): Do you believe it would be improper and/or prohibited by DOJ policy or regulations to provide Congress or the public with any discussion or release of parts of Mueller’s report [[[relating to the President?]]]

    RESPONSE: Please see my responses to Questions 4(a) and 4(b) above.

    Link to the full document, which I’m still combing through for relevant exchanges:

    • J Barker says:


      1. He’s claiming the AG reporting requirements in the SC regs are what govern the public disclosure of information from Mueller’s report to the public. That’s concerning, in part, because the reporting requirements don’t say anything about a letter outlining the principal conclusions or about what has to be redacted and why.

      2. He says he’ll work with RR *and* Mueller on any public disclosures made in accordance with the AG reporting requirements. That’s concerning because we know he didn’t consult with Mueller about his Sunday letter. Now he’s saying Mueller will help with the redactions but, idk, fool me once…

      3. He cites the Justice Department manual’s warning to avoid disclose “sensitive to the privacy and reputational interests of uncharged third parties.” So here’s an earlier mention of “privacy” and “reputational interests” of “third parties.” Although here he says “uncharged third parties,” and yesterday he didn’t use the word “uncharged.” Makes me think yesterday’s reference to third parties = any uncharged individuals, i.e. Donald Trump, Trump Jr, Kushner, etc.

      4. When Durbin asks about disclosing info about the President from the Mueller report, he tells us that question is addressed by his previous two answers. So, to me at least, that looks like a pretty clear suggestion that he’s going to withhold all information about Trump, since Trump is an “uncharged third party.”

      • Vicks says:

        I understand all of the caution of making all of this information instantly available to the public, what I do not understand is why the full report is being withheld by a freaking trump stooge from (at a minimum) the heads of the intelligence and oversight comittees? Haven’t we seen that movie already?
        Aren’t they cleared to view even top security and grand jury testimony?

        • P J Evans says:

          The “Gang of Eight”, which includes them, is supposed to be cleared for that kind of information – even if they have to use a secure room to see it. Barr is apparently trying to keep the House committee chairs in, if not the dark, at least twilight. And he should know that they’re cleared.

          • Vicks says:

            Well if that’s the case The media sucks for (among other things) not differentiating that. Clearly it’s an outrage if Barr is withholding the report from these members of congress under the illusion that the time is being used to prep it.
            Unfortunatley it appears the Trump is relieving stress by throwing his sh*t bombs at a record rate. My money says it connected

    • timbo says:

      Wait. Do these regulation require that the SCO report to the AG indictments it requested be handed down but were denied by a grand jury? I mean you’d think that but…

  39. greengiant says:

    So if there are yet grand juries in action there may be more indictments to fall would be in line with Barr’s weasel words of not “obtain” to date. Also note the DOJ may not seek indictments where the perp is (one of two of three or so) subject to prosecution in other jurisdictions. Some commentators are suggesting that not only state but other Federal attorneys fit this description. I have speculated in the past that often state election law violations are generally not reviewed by the DOJ. Thus the ALEC concentration is/was on not only gerrymandering legislatures but capturing secretaries of state and elected judges.

  40. Drew says:

    I suspect that Barr’s circling around denying and redefining that his summary was a summary but only a summary of some things, is because it’s beginning to dawn on him that Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff are eventually going to be able to look at pretty much the whole report.

    Last Sunday, he was making the noises that would please the person who appointed him, now he has to start covering his ass and make what he had previously said sound plausible enough that he won’t be laughed out of the Federalist Society.

    • vicks says:

      On Fox News Sunday Kelly Anne not only referred to the “Barr Report” 2 times she expanded it’s findings in a “how dare they!” moment of fake outrage to no one on the campaign lied cheated stole or talked to ANY Russians.
      Wallce let her do whatever you call what she does and then busted her.
      She rolled onto Adam Shiff, and I hit pause. I need a shower
      On a “related” note.
      There were some previous references to Colbert and I will use that (and the fact I am so F’ing tired of these lying, manipulating a-h*les) as an excuse to be petty and mean;
      Colbert once referred to Kelly Anne as “SATAN’S TROPHY WIFE” ”
      I think he nailled it.

      • Jenny says:

        “I tell people all the time, ‘Don’t be fooled, because I am a man by day.’”
        Kellyanne Conway

        • Vicks says:

          Yes she made some comment this AM claiming feminists should be applauding her.
          Somehow I don’t think she gets that her party and that fat white dinosaur she helped get elected pretty much negates just about anything a feminist would find to respect about her.

  41. Jonf says:

    Barr says he may need to redact info related to on going matters. Presumably those matters relate to this investigation that were passed off to other offices. Might we ask why then did Mueller decide to issue his final report? He at least must be certain such matters could never impact any decision on obstruction of justice. But how could he be so certain of events yet to occur or was it not his decision?

    • Drew says:

      Indeed why? Among the reasons could be that there is information that should be in the possession of Congress for disposition according to their role in oversight & impeachment.

      Ongoing matters that aren’t Counterintelligence related (which would have their own process & reasons for protection of classified material, etc, thus not likely what is referred to here)–are likely investigations moving toward indictments–a bit strange for Mueller to report them & Barr to redact them-it surely would be in the purview of the Judiciary Committees and/or Intelligence Committees, even if not for public consumption.

    • vicks says:

      In Barr’s resume he pretty much claimed the president couldn’t ocstruct justice. I took his ‘principal finding” summary (not sumary!) where he took it upon himself to clear Trump an arrogant restatement of his thesis.

  42. Eureka says:

    List: Attorney General William Barr Summarizes Famous Broadway Musicals
    by Orli Matlow

    Sweeney Todd: “A barber reunites with his wife.”

    Hamilton: “A widow establishes an orphanage.”

    Rent: “An HIV-positive singer writes a song.”

    The Sound of Music: “A family decides to leave Austria.”

    Fiddler on the Roof: “A family decides to leave Anatevka.”

    West Side Story: “Gang members abuse police officer.”

    Little Shop of Horrors: “Man feeds plant.”

    Les Miserables: “French policeman drowns.”

    Annie: “President Roosevelt introduces the New Deal.”

    Chicago: “Complete and total exoneration for Roxie and Velma.”

    Via Sulliview’s tweet – see for some funny replies:

  43. JamesJoyce says:

    “As my letter made clear, my notification to Congress and the public provided, pending release of the report, a summary of its “principal conclusions” [sic] — that is, its bottom line…”

    No Mr. Barr…. This is your micromanaged bottom line from your “reading” of the report.

    Hell.. Its author might not even agree with your bottom line assessment or conclusion.

    Quite frankly I do not trust you or your ilk to do what is proper. No one should, period.

    It is called Iran/Contra…

    Comprehend this Mr. Barr..

    “Miestenguizen” is for losers.. 🥴

  44. Peacerme says:

    Did anyone see interview with Ari Melber, Michael Caputo and Carter Page. Both saying how silly the conspiracy theory was. That there was nothing to it. Carter page wanted to discuss the fisa warrants and how wrong they were and how they were based on false documents. Honestly, there was something so wrong with carter page. At first he seemed normal but that man was just too fidgety and stammering. Bizarre. He was not charged. He states that that there might have been obstruction, but the Russian conspiracy theory was a complete mistake. Blown out of proportion. I don’t get who that guy was in this story? And why every time he speaks, my perception has a melt down because of the incongruencies in his affect and non verbals. Something is too weird….anybody see it?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Your twts on that point were memorable.

        Melber is sometimes a sane and informed voice. But he or his producers insist on clickbait shit like this that destroys his other work and folds it into an inedible hash that drives public confusion as effectively as a weekend of rants by Trump.

  45. P J Evans says:

    It feels like time to repost a couple of recipes from FDL days:

    Whiskey Tango-Foxtrot
    1 1/2 oz rye whiskey
    1/2 oz Aguardiente Cristal
    1/2 tsp bar syrup
    Three dashes of orange bitters
    Juice of one tangelo
    Combine ingredients and pour over crushed ice. Garnish with mango.

    “Before we get to the tea list here’s the recipe for the “Fitzgerald Hammer of Justice” concocted by Bustedknuckles with a suggestion from Blank Kludge”
    Fitzgerald Hammer of Justice
    1 shot 151 rum
    1 shot Grenadine
    1 shot Crown Royal (: substitute John Jameson’s Irish whiskey for the ‘Crown Royal’…he’s fighting against the monarchy after all.)
    orange juice to taste
    served over crushed ice with a pillow on the side.
    When you are good and hammered, use the pillow

  46. John Forde says:

    The 1-11-17 NYT piece writes in a passive voice “the criminal and counterintelligence elements were coupled together into one investigation”. When? On 5-17-17 when Muller receiving his mandate? Prior to 5-17-17?

    As though designed as a game of 3 card Monty, the OSC investigation has two sets of halves. The primary pair is criminal and counter intelligence. The criminal investigation is than split further into two parts: conspiracy and obstruction. I think of them as quarters.

    Some kind of of sophistry (maybe Barr, maybe Mueller?) has placed the CI half inside the obstruction quarter. That makes it all the more interesting that Barr acknowledges that Trumps is not exonerated of obstruction, because the CI half is residing within the obstruction quarter.

    Intel committees must by law receive the CI report, but it I am worried this maneuvering has made the CI report completely Barr’s prerogative to rewrite.

  47. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I’m a little tired of the Russia-gate refrain. M. Tracey is a good example of how outrageous it can be. His witless comparison of Marcy to the corrupt Judith Miller is Faux Noise laughable. It compares favorably with Michelle Malkin’s celebrated video of her jumping as high as a mushroom while imitating a neo-con cheerleader.

    Glenn Greenwald’s critique is only slightly more serious. He lumps Marcy with Rachel Madow and others whom he claims oversold Trump corruption that wasn’t there. His lament is that they thereby miss the corruption that is there. That misreads Marcy’s work, conflates it with that of the MSM in general, and exposes a blind spot of Greenwald’s own.

    In a similar vein is an article in today’s Guardian by Michael Paarlberg. [] In an otherwise useful expose of Trump’s many and lifelong corruptions, he joins Greenwald’s lament about the focus on Russia-gate:

    Were it not for this singular obsession, we might have come to appreciate the full scope of graft, influence peddling and petty theft that has made this the most crooked administration in US history.

    I think Paarlberg has it backwards. The focus on Russian interference is what gives focus to Trump’s systematic corruption: It is the biggest wrong of them all, and drives the need to investigate, document, and/or prosecute Trump’s other wrongs, rather than sweep them under the hair rug as old news.

    Examples of Trump’s open and notorious corruptions are many. But Russians are often at their heart, with dirty buyers, dirty money, dirty deals. That is likely to be what made Trump a prime candidate to be used in Putin’s campaign to sow discord and chaos in America by interfering in its once vaunted elections – the heart of any claim it has to being a democratic republic.

    Walter Dellinger’s fine critique of Bill Barr’s spin on the Mueller report makes this point: Many of Trump’s crimes might be difficult to prove or be beyond the statute of limitation, but his many wrongs are not. The place to document and adjudicate them is Congress. []

    • Marinela says:

      Earl, Thank you for this post.
      Seen the confusing coverage in the media and it is depressing.

      Reminds me of the typical Russian propaganda style. They are not trying to prevent the truth to be printed, rather they flood the news with “half-truths”. In the end, the heavy volume of the latter is winning the day.

    • BobCon says:

      I think it’s pretty laughable that other investigations of Trump would have flourished without the Russia investigation. I cannot for the life of me believe we would all have emoluments fever, or Scott Pruitt would be in a Hannibal Lecter cell if there was no Mueller investigation.

      Far more likely is that more airtime would have opened up for Trump to demogogue. You can make an argument that the Smollet case or the royal wedding were distractions, but even then I think it is dreaming to think that the media would look away. The fault isn’t with the Russia investigation, which is still status TBA. It’s with the outlets, all the way up to the NY Times, which decide to devote countless reporter hours to trivia.

      • Marinela says:

        How about this simple proposition?

        News media could deny Trump the coverage anything related to Trump tweets, Trump rallies, Trump lies. We already know he is tweeting a lot, he is lying a lot, he is campaigning a lot. This is not news. Cover the damage his administration is doing to our society.
        If he starts telling the truth, then cover him.

        We are in this endless cycle of madness. Trump is driving and controlling the news narratives. He just tweets another lie, and the media jumps. Heck, he may not even write the tweet himself. He probably has a team spewing out venom on tweeter in his name. His base takes the media coverage of the actual tweets as prove of his accomplishments, and prove that he is a disruptor which supposedly this is why they voted for him.

        What would be real news is how american lives improved or degraded as result of his policies.

        • Tom says:

          I agree that a bit of planned ignoring might be a good way of dealing with Trump’s negative attention seeking. Any parenting manual will tell you that.

  48. Howl says:

    Everything Barr and associates are doing is related to impression management. Might the long con be to stay mum on the actual length of the report to carefully mask the extent of the redactions?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      “Impression management” seems exactly right. The big tactic is to delay the actual report, and instead put out variously designated impressions, summaries and short statements. The intent seems to be to dissipate the impact of the report when it comes out. That the GOP are doing anything like that demonstrates its complete unfitness for office.

      In part, the length of the report will be used to make it seem academic and too complex for the public to understand. Faux Noise and many others will flood the airwaves with versions and counter-versions of what the report says and means. The right must hope to run out the clock and that some other story will take the report’s place.

      I think Nadler, Schiff, Pelosi and other senior Dems (Schumer and the Blue Dogs excepted) are too smart for that. But it will be a long game, which the GOP knows the MSM is bad at playing.

      • P J Evans says:

        300 pages is a fairly common novel length, these days. (Look at the doorstops, that are seven or eight hundred pages – people read those.) I think they underestimate the public, in some ways that matter.
        But they are going to try to minimize its importance, and will put out a lot of stories about why we shouldn’t pay attention to it.

        • Bay State LIbrul says:

          Jo Nesbo’s “The Leopard” is 675 pages. I started months ago and still haven’t finished) — slow reader, you bet.
          As in accounting, the answers will be in the footnotes.
          I believe the report is 399 pages without attachments/footnotes, etc.
          So, it should take 8 hours to digest this baby (but remember — the redactions will be over 50% (guess).
          I’m predicting that it will take four hours, except if you are Bill Clinton who can finish The Sunday NY Times crossword in under ten minutes.
          Conclusion: This is one helluva “slow-mo” cover-up….

          • P J Evans says:

            Stephenson’s “Anathem” – 890 pages, plus glossary and appendices (info-dumps that didn’t really fit in the main book). As a novel, it doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for me. Also Cherryh’s “Cyteen” and “Regenesis” – shorter individually, but really one huge story.

            • Tom says:

              Patrick O’Brian is about the only modern author whose books I will re-read. So many books … so little time!

              • P J Evans says:

                I couldn’t get into O’Brian (though I liked Alexander Kent). Clearly, YMMV.
                (I discovered SF at about the age of 10, so changing that habit is a lost cause.)

          • Tom says:

            If you like Jo Nesbo, you should listen to the audiobook of Patti Smith reading “Blood on Snow” that came out a few years ago. I think she won a Grammy for it.

  49. cfost says:

    On YouTube:
    I know this was discussed briefly in comments a couple of days ago, but if you haven’t yet seen the whole hearing, I urge you to do so.
    This is an excellent overview of a matter that is larger than the Mueller investigation. And, while Schiff’s epic takedown of the Committee’s Republicans is deeply inspiring and satisfying, the real substance is in the testimony that follows. This hearing will be referenced by historians for many years to come. The ideology of Putinism, and it’s methodologies, are the biggest threat to democracy in our lifetimes, imho.

    • Hops says:

      The quote from a Russian intelligence officer that “we change your conscience and there’s nothing you can do about it” was chilling. Trump and his minions have gotten away with things that never would have been tolerated. They are corroding American values.

  50. John Forde says:

    Marcy’s previous thread contained a link to a Just Security article describing the two axial assessment used to rate the degree of foreign influence on a target, in this case, Trump.
    The first axis is degree of Russian influence over Trump: none, unwitting and witting.
    The second axis is degree of US intelligence confidence in it’s finding.
    Did Mueller request the security threat matrix’s production?
    Was the security threat matrix’s production supervised by Dan Coates?
    Has Trump demanded that Barr provide the matrix for Trump’s review?
    Has Barr received the matrix from Coates?

  51. Barry Kiefl says:

    Five times in Barr’s short March 24th letter he makes reference (in his words, not Mueller’s) to an investigation of conspiring or coordinating with Russia/Russians and refers to the Trump campaign and others *associated* with it:

    “The report explains that the Special Counsel and his staff thoroughly investigated allegations that members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, and others associated with it, conspired with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, or sought to obstruct the related federal investigations.”

    “The report further explains that a primary consideration for the Special Counsel’s investigation was whether any Americans – including individuals associated with the Trump campaign – joined the Russian conspiracies to influence the election, which would be a federal crime.”

    “The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

    “As noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the IRA in its efforts, although the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian nationals and entities in connection with these activities.”

    “But as noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.”

    Yet the two direct quotes from the Mueller report dealing with conspiring/coordinating make no reference to those associated with the campaign:

    “As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.””

    “…the Special Counsel recognized that “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference,””

    • Marinela says:

      If I understand this comment, the distinction here is that ‘loose” associates of Trump perhaps are not cleared.

      • Vicks says:

        I see it that way too
        “Loose” associates of Trump are not cleared from working with the Russian Government.
        “Non American” associates of Trump are NOT cleared from working with the Internet Research Agency.
        Barr also used the word “joined” which I thought was odd, “the primary consideration for the Special Counsel’s investigation was whether any AMERICANS including individuals associated with the Trump campaign -JOINED the Russian conspiracies”
        “Joining”, “coordinating”, “conspiring with” it sounds more and more like those corrupt a-h*les may have known what Russia was up to, and they lied because they KNEW it was wrong.
        But hey who doesn’t want thier party slogan to be “immoral is not illegal”

    • cfost says:

      This is important. Barr’s word salad doesn’t address the ongoing pattern of the “Trump Campaign,” transition, and administration where people are constantly coming and going. No telling whether Barr means to include or exclude former and future “members” in his statements. No way Mueller’s report is this vague, especially considering the counterintelligence aspect.

  52. J Barker says:

    For those thinking Congress will be able to clear this up by just Mueller in to testify about the contents of his report, consider Barr’s responses to the following written questions from Sen Durbin (p. 77 of Judiciary Committee Questions for Record, Jan 27):

    7. Will you commit that, if you are confirmed:
    a. You would be willing to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify and
    answer questions specifically about the Special Counsel investigation after Special
    Counsel Mueller submits his concluding report?

    RESPONSE: Yes.

    b. You would not object to Special Counsel Mueller appearing before the Senate
    Judiciary Committee to testify and answer questions about the Special Counsel
    investigation after he submits his concluding report?

    RESPONSE: I would consult with Special Counsel Mueller and other
    Department officials about the appropriate response to such a request in light of
    the Special Counsel’s findings and determinations at that time.

  53. Tom says:

    With all the attention being given to the two sentence fragments we have from the Mueller Report as quoted by Bill Barr, it’s as if they had been found on a papyrus scroll in the Egyptian desert along with a previously unknown version of the Gospel. I wonder whether the Mueller Report will give rise to a whole industry of textual analysis, with readers speculating on the precise meaning of certain words or phrases, or trying to figure out which parts were written by Mueller and what sections were the work of others on his team, assuming that’s how such a document would be composed. Perhaps someone will conclude that the Mueller Report was actually written by the Earl of Oxford, as a break from producing Shakespeare’s plays.

  54. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Joltin’ Joe Biden “denies inappropriate behavior after claim he kissed Nevada lawmaker.” [] His accuser, a seasoned politician, characterizes her recollection of Biden’s 2014 behavior as “blatantly inappropriate and unnerving.”

    The gist of Joe’s response is this, “And not once – never – did I believe I acted inappropriately.” That standard is the problem, though, Joe, isn’t it?

    There are many other aspects of Biden’s behavior that were questionable at the time and are more so today. His consistent voting with his Republican colleagues. His consistent support for banking interests over consumers. His outrageously anti-consumer 2005 bankruptcy law, for which he was the primary mover. His conduct as chair regarding the Anita Hill portions of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings concerning Clarence Thomas’s nomination to the Supreme Court. (When Joe says he wishes he could have treated Ms. Hill better, the answer is he bloody well could have, but chose not to.)

    Democrats would be foolish to promote a figure with so many skeletons in his closet.

    • orionATL says:

      “not once did I believe I acted inappropriately.” how nice to have a self-evaluating standard of sexual harassment. what a weasel Joe biden is.

      and what an intellectual incompetent. remember recently when he went out to the midwest to exhibit his much ballyhooed “i understand the ordinary guy” skill and crowed to the crowds “they are stealing our values”. could a dem politician in these times make a more vacuous statement than that?

      as with many other dem politicians these days riding the ponies on the merry-go-round to grab the big brass ring, Biden has done very little in a long career in public office to actually benefit the citizenry; he has focused on advancing his own career.

      • orionATL says:

        the fundamental problem American society faces today is the need to completely revise the role the corporation plays in American society. we can no longer afford to allow corporation money and the money of the hyperrich funded by corporate successes to control our wages and income, our political choices, our legislation and regulation, our judicial decisions, and our individual personal decisions. wherever corporate/hyperrich money seeps in our politics, there emanates the stench of those signs of a rotting political system – corruption and religious fanaticism. Joe Biden is the last person in the democratic multitude that I would choose to articulate the need for and lead this very essential fundamental change.

    • Jenny says:

      Abundance of skeletons in his closet, yet he became president.

      “I moved on her actually. You know she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and f-ck her. She was married.”

      “I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

      “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

      “Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody. Nobody has more respect.”

  55. e.a.f says:

    Barr certainly has a lot of nerve. His 4th point regarding material which won’t be shared left me rolling on the floor with laughter. Nice try Barr, but I’d suggest he is out of depth on this one.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Barr is the one pleading, “Don’t throw me in that briar patch,” because he has more experience at this than anyone else in government. He was brought back into government to do it.

      Barr, for example, is carefully not distinguishing, as he should, what can be sent to the intelligence or oversight committees, to Congress in general, and to the public. That’s a tactic to delay releasing adverse material to opponents of his client, drawn from the corporate apology industry “crisis management” manual. (Barr has practiced high-level corporate law for decades, including fourteen years as the EVP and general counsel for GTE , so he knows that game well.)

  56. J Barker says:

    Here’s the line in Barr’s 3/29 letter about executive privilege:

    “Although the President would have the right to assert privilege over certain parts of the report, he has stated publicly that he intends to defer to me and, accordingly, there are no plans to submit the report to the White House for a privilege review.”

    Lots of people read this line as promising no executive privilege redactions. I don’t think we should read it that way.

    In 1989, Barr wrote a legal memo on executive privilege entitled, “Congressional Requests for Confidential Executive Branch Information.” There he argued that the head of an executive agency can withhold information from Congress *prior* to an official assertion of executive privilege by the President. In effect, he argued there is a kind of preemptive privilege claim executive officials can make without consulting directly with the President. Legitimate reasons for the preemptive, according to Barr, include the protection of internal executive branch deliberations, state secrets, law enforcement and, crucially, information about communications between a President and his “advisers.”

    Perhaps his views on this have changed since 1989. If not, I think we should expect Barr to redact any information pertaining to communications between Trump and his “advisers”, which could mean anything from communications between Trump and formal WH advisers to communications between Trump and, well, just about every major player in this whole investigation. So there may be black bars over most of the obstruction evidence, I guess? Nadler needs to just subpeona the whole thing ASAP to force Trump to officially assert privilege and get the court battle started. Otherwise we may be staring down weeks of angry letters between Nadler and Barr over preemptive privilege claims before the official assertion happens.

    Memo begins on p. 7:

    • Vicks says:

      The whole point of SC is to keep politics OUT of the investigation According to the constitution CONGRESS not a freaking presidential apointee is THE check on the president.
      The big mystery is why Mueller, according to Barr’s description laid out both sides of every incidence of potential obstruction yet didn’t make the call.
      Mueller made the call on “collusion” but that (supposedly) cleared the president and crew.
      What if it is a simple as Trump did obstruct but Muller can’t indict so he laid it all out for CONGRESS to take the next step because he can’t do anything?
      Barr describes it as he (Mueller) “ultimately determined not to make a TRADITIONAL prosecutorial judgement” perhaps because we are not talking about a traditional situation where indictment is an option?
      Then Barr turns around and claims that Muellers decision to describe the facts “without reaching any LEGAL conclusion leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime”
      Oh really? Says who?
      No footnotes on that one….
      Why would a guy who takes his job seriously hand over two years of work on an obstruction case to a guy who has already said obstruction isn’t really a thing for Presidents?
      Mueller just said “I can’t decide I will leave it up to you?”

      • J Barker says:

        Yes, that’s probably what happened. In fact, it seems likely Mueller believed his evidence established that Trump obstructed, but declined to draw that conclusion because of the DOJ policy about indicting a sitting president. After all, Mueller concluded that his evidence did not establish that Trump & co committed a conspiracy crime. So we would expect that, if he just didn’t have enough evidence on obstruction, he would have declined to prosecute rather than declining to make *any* prosecution determination at all.

        I also suspect Barr’s claim that Mueller lays out evidence “for and against” obstruction is intentionally misleading. It gave everyone the impression that Mueller had a bunch of evidence that supported exoneration on obstruction, a bunch of evidence that pointed toward guilt, and then lays them out side-by-side in his report. I would be shocked if that’s what the report does.

        Instead, I bet the report lays out a bunch of damning evidence for the conclusion that Trump criminally obstructed, and that the “evidence” supporting exoneration on obstruction is mostly Mueller laying out the DOJ policy about indicting a president together with Barr-style views about executive power and the inability of inferior officers to second-guess a Presidents motives for hiring/firing/interfering with prosecutions.

        • Tom says:

          Another factor that Mueller may have thought weighed against an obstruction case is that Trump’s efforts to hinder the SC’s investigation took place “in public view”, as Barr noted in his first letter. If some WH staffer had leaked a memo or taped phone call with the President in which he stated he really fired Comey because of “the Russia thing”, not his handling of HRC’s emails, it would have made much more of an impact than simply hearing Trump say the same thing during a TV interview with Lester Holt.

  57. foggycoast says:

    i’m bothered by terminology in the summary regarding “Russian Government” vs. Russia vs. Russians. the MSM immediately changed the quote in Barr’s summary from “failure to establish conspiracy with the Russian Government” to “no collusion with Russia”. In an investigation the definition of words matter. every expert i’ve heard says that there is no line where the Russian Government stops and the Russian oligarchs, the cut-outs and the troll farms begin. They are one and the same. Do we know Mueller’s definition of “Russian Government”?

  58. harpie says:

    Nadler News:
    5:33 AM – 1 Apr 2019
    [quote] NEW: @HouseJudiciary will vote Wednesday morning to authorize subpoenas for Mueller’s full and complete report and its underlying evidence — plus relevant WH documents from Don McGahn, Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, Reince Priebus and Ann Donaldson [end quote]
    5:38 AM – 1 Apr 2019
    [quote] It’s not clear when Nadler would issue the subpoena, but the vote would give him the authority to do so. The committee is also authorizing subpoena for former WH officials including Bannon, Hicks, Priebus and McGahn [CNN] [end quote]
    3] The House Must See the Whole Mueller Report
    Someday, Trump will not be in office. Congress needs a full accounting of his misdeeds to ensure they don’t happen again.
    Jerrold L. Nadler; the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. April 1, 2019

  59. harpie says:

    White House whistle blower on security clearances!
    White House whistleblower says 25 security clearance denials were reversed during Trump administration
    April 1 at 10:29 AM
    7:22 AM – 1 Apr 2019
    BREAKING: Chairman @RepCummings reveals a #WhiteHouse Whistleblower has come forward in the Committee’s investigation of #securityclearances! Full Release:

    • harpie says:

      Whistleblower, Tricia Newbold: [From Oversight Committee letter]
      [quote] I raised my concerns initially with [Director of Personnel Security] Carl Kline directly. There was no resolution. I raised it with his immediate supervisor, [Chief Operations Officer] Samuel Price. I raised my concerns to White House Counsel on numerous occasions. I raised my concerns to Marcia Kelly, who was the Assistant to the President at the time. I raised my time—or concerns to individuals within Employee Relations, and I raised my concerns to people within the EEO office. I have recently raised my concerns within the last 6 months to [Chief Security Officer] Mr. Crede Bailey directly. And I feel that right now this is my last hope to really bring the integrity back into our office. [end quote]
      Transcribed interview was on March 23, 2019 by both Democratic and Republican Committee staff.

    • harpie says:

      There’s a lot of probably more information in these letters, but the following is infuriating!
      Newbold was suspended for 14 days without pay:
      quote] On January 30, 2019, the current Chief Security Officer, Crede Bailey, suspended Ms. Newbold without pay for 14 days. The Notice of Decision on Proposed Suspension conceded that Ms. Newbold had “no prior formal disciplinary action” in her 18-year career and received a rating of “Exceeds Expectations” on her performance appraisal in 2017, the first year of the Trump Administration.
      Yet, the Notice criticized her for “constant defiance of authority” and a “pattern of this type of defiant behavior.”

      • harpie says:

        oof! ^^^ I really miss the edit button on the rare occasions it does not show up!
        Anyway…more from the letter:
        [quote] […] According to Ms. Newbold, the retaliation against her for raising her national security concerns began in January of 2018, when Mr. Kline began taking actions that were designed to humiliate her as a result of her rare form of dwarfism. According to Ms. Newbold, Mr. Kline repeatedly altered her office environment to cause impediments to her work, such as physically elevating personnel security files out of her reach. […] [end quote]

        • Vicks says:

          Another stomach turner
          I thought I read somewhere there was suspicion that Kline was brought it specifically to clear these folks but now I ‘m not seeing it.
          I do see he came from the Pentagon when Trump appointed him director of the personnel security office in May 2017 (Jared got gifted his top security prize in May 2018) ONE story said that Kline went back to the defense department in January just before the stories started breaking about Kline overuling what estimated to be 30 cases at the time. He is there now just can’t confirm the timing.
          Is Kline just another loyal party member or should someone check to see if this guy has been shopping for new houses and boats or perhaps ugly jackets made from ostrich skins?

          • P J Evans says:

            Kline could be both – but I suspect he may be smart enough to not flaunt whatever rewards he got for approving Tr*mp’s otherwise-unqualified choices.

    • harpie says:

      OMG Republican staff dispute Nadler’s letter:
      12:09 PM – 1 Apr 2019
      [quote] In a response memo, Republicans say the whistleblower’s complaints are “overblown” because “only 4-5” of people granted clearance over her objections had “very serious” security issues. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
      The full GOP memo:

      • harpie says:

        From the Republican Staff letter:
        [quote] […] Chairman Cummings solicited this material from Ms. Newbold despite Ms. Newbold’s stated reservations about discussing highly personal information about White House officials. We did not intend to release any material from the interview; however, Chairman Cummings’s reckless decision to release cherry-picked excerpts forces us to provide this supplemental information. // This memorandum seeks to clarify the record about Ms. Newbold’s interview. […] [end quote]

        • harpie says:

          Surprise, surprise…she’s a DISGRUNTLED employee!
          [quote] Her testimony focused on a series of personnel and workplace complaints that suggest she is unhappy and dissatisfied in her office. [end quote]

        • harpie says:

          [quote] […] Due to a proposed office reorganization, Ms. Newbold’s current supervisor removed her from adjudications. Democrat staff prompted Ms. Newbold to suggest that the change in her job duties was the result of her raising concerns about the process. […] [end quote]

        • P J Evans says:

          And if the GOP-T were doing proper oversight, those people would have had their clearances questioned and pulled a year ago. (Not to mention that they’d not have approved Kline’s transfer in and out without more questions than he apparently got.)

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Duh. Two dozen or more bad apples might be a problem, but four or five bad apples in the barrel is, like, nothing man, it’s an apple pie. Not.

        The Rosenbergs were two people and Washington through out the rules to get them. Klaus Fuchs, who disclosed much more important information to the Soviets, was one guy. So numbers are not the issue.

        That scientist and couple worked on important matters, but nowhere near the White House, the bottleneck through which important matters flow, via such things as the president’s daily briefing. These twenty-five or so people, who were given TrumpClearances(tm), worked in the WH and for the president.

        One person would be a big deal, as in Rob Porter. Two more – Jared and Ivanka – would be a bigger mistake. But WTF do you call twenty-five improper security clearances beyond that?

        Improperly but legally extending a clearance to someone with known vulnerabilities makes a shambles of the entire process (Trump’s management method in a nutshell). It intentionally puts the country at risk. That, too, is all on Donald. The list of impeachable offenses, like the number of McBurgers Trump eats, gets larger every day.

      • harpie says:

        [quote] […] MEE asked Cummings’ office on Monday whether Newbold was specifically asked about Kushner during the 23 March interview and how she responded, but did not receive a response by time of publication. // The letter triggered an angry reaction from ranking committee member Jim Jordan (R-OH) who said in a statement that Cummings had “cherry-picked” excerpts from Newbold’s testimony and was using her comments as a “pretense for a partisan attack on the White House”.
        “Chairman Cummings has departed from longstanding bipartisan oversight of the security clearance process to advance his partisan efforts to attack the president,” Jordan said. […] [end quote]

      • Rayne says:

        Interesting news outlet, that. Owned by M.E.E. Ltd, run by a guy who was with Al Jazeera in Qatar and Al Quds TV, AEI claims MEE is a covert media outlet for Qatar.

        I don’t know, but I think the emergence of this outlet — looks like incept date was December 2013 — is rather intriguing. Keep an eye on one. :-)

          • Rayne says:

            Very “this is not the droid you are looking for” feel.

            Any chance you have/don’t have ad blocking activated in your browser? I can’t see any ads but it could be my ad blocking. But I also didn’t see any sponsors mentioned and MEE is suppose to be for-profit; if it is I can’t see the business model for generating income to support the site.

            (One other site I noticed operated like this: Washington Free Beacon. Started as a nonprofit, shifted to private for-profit, but no ads. Hmm.)

            • harpie says:

              I saw one add at the top of the page.
              Ugg. Sorry I linked to that…I wonder if Laura Rozen knows anything about the MEE or the reporter she retweeted.
              I found one reference to it in this 9/28/18 article by Ann Marlowe [recommended by Wendy Siegelman]:
              Two Princes: How a secret meeting signaled the UAE’s pull in Trump’s D.C.
              A meeting in the Seychelles between the Blackwater founder and a Putin ally has drawn scrutiny. It also indicated another backchannel to the White House.
              [quote] In mid 2015 Nader helped convene a yacht meeting in the Red Sea that included the crown prince, his Saudi counterpart Prince Mohammad bin Salman, President Sisi of Egypt, the crown prince of Bahrain, and the king of Jordan. The objective, according to sources who spoke with the pro-Qatari Middle East Eye, was to curtail the influence of Turkey and Iran. [end quote]
              There is no link at “pro-Qatari MEE”, though.

              • Rayne says:

                What I think happens with sites like MEE is that the editor/s and journalist/s have established credibility within their industry. They probably are quite good at what they do. But the entire proposition of the site means there may be bias in how stories are selected and followed up. I know as a managing editor for a news org with a progressive ideology the stories we covered were visible to us because of our perspective. If one’s POV is Qatari, well…

                And journalists who cite them may see the story from an entirely different POV without pausing to consider the originating POV.

  60. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Regarding the Trump White House’s addiction to giving security clearances to family members and others whom the professional staff deem not worthy of them, the WH Counsel’s position seems to be that because the president has legal authority to give a clearance, he could never do so illegally. That’s likely to be Bill Barr’s position and the FedSoc’s – at least when the president is a Republican.

    The WH Counsel’s position is reflexively defensive of the president and deeply flawed. Like the pardon power and authority over foreign affairs, the president’s authority, while broad, is not without limits. (Just as other constitutional rights, such as civil liberties, all have limits.)

    The president could, for example, exercise a power for an unlawful purpose. He could give a compromised individual a high clearance because he owes some powerful foreigner a favor. He could pardon someone to persuade them not to testify against him in a criminal matter or in exchange for committing some crime, such as obstruction of justice. Using his authority to conduct foreign affairs, he could cut sanctions against Russian oligarchs, allowing them to resume laundering billions of dollars through US banks, because a foreign dictator who has nasty dirt on him said do it or else.

    Just as importantly, the grant of a security clearance, or more than two dozen of them, might be legal and extraordinarily improper at the same time. Congress’s oversight authority extends to both. The sanctions it could impose are broad, ultimately including impeachment.

    • P J Evans says:

      He could give someone a clearance because that person has compromising information about the president or someone close to him and threatens to release it to the media if they don’t get that clearance.

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