Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing: AG William Barr

Catch Marcy’s live tweeting of today’s Senate Judiciary Committee featuring star witness Attorney General William Barr:

I set up a list of folks covering Trump-Russia, most of whom are covering the hearing today:

Rayne’s Trump-Russia Twitter list

CourthouseNews’ Brandi Buchmann is also covering the hearing today via Twitter:

Background on Barr leading up to today’s hearing:

08-JUN-2018 — William Barr sent a (unsolicited-?) 20-page letter(pdf) to the Department of Justice outlining his opinion on the Office of Special Counsel’s Trump-Russia investigation and the SCO’s questions about obstruction of justice by Trump.

27-JUN-2018 — Barr has a brown bag lunch with DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (see today’s hearing, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s second round of questions, approx. 3:03 p.m. EDT).

07-NOV-2018 — Jeff Sessions’ apparent exit from role at Department of Justice as Attorney General.

07-DEC-2018 — Trump announced he would nominate Barr to succeed Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.

03-JAN-2019 — Trump formalized Barr’s nomination.

15-JAN-2019 — Barr appeared for two days before the Senate Judiciary Committee in nomination hearings.

04-FEB-2019 — Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve Barr as Attorney General, 12-10 along party lines.

07-FEB-2019 — Senate voted to approve Barr as Attorney General, 54-45 nearly along party lines.

14-FEB-2019 — Barr was sworn in as AG.

05-MAR-2019 — Meeting between Barr and Special Counsel Robert Mueller regarding the SCO investigation.

22-MAR-2019 — Barr decided outcome of the SCO this day (see today’s hearing, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s second round of questions approx. 3:00 p.m. EDT).

24-MAR-2019 — Barr released a 4-page letter summarizing the impending Special Counsel’s Office’s Trump-Russia investigation report.

27-MAR-2019 — Mueller sent a letter to Barr in which he said Barr’s summary “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the SCO’s report.

18-APR-2019 — Trump-Russia investigation report by SCO released to public with redactions by Barr.

30-APR-2019 — March 27 letter from Mueller to Barr reported by Washingon Post.

This thread is dedicated to the Barr hearing — please stay on topic.

ADDER: Former FBI director James Comey’s op-ed in NYT published today, How Trump Co-opts Leaders like Bill Barr.

95 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Am I the only one muting the GOP members when they get their turn to ask questions? I just wanted to scream during Sen. John Kennedy’s turn.

      • Rayne says:

        Barr’s lying, the parsing…it’s just non-stop, wall-to-wall. And then the GOP members…Sasse could have done the right thing but he stepped on his dick repeatedly by filibustering his own questions. So useless.

        • P J Evans says:

          Sasse may be dealing with a mental conflict between what he knows is right, and what he’s been told to do by his party bosses.

          • Rayne says:

            I dunno. He’s like this all the time. Makes noises about doing the right thing and then caves to the GOP like a broken lawn chair displaying his missing spine.

            • P J Evans says:

              That’s exactly the kind of thing I mean. He knows what’s right – but he can’t seem to do it. None of them can. (Some don’t even pretend any more, like McTurtle.)
              At least I’m not stuck at the car dealer while they do major maintenance stuff – replacing its cell-phone battery pack, mostly – as I hate the TV there, even though it’s not on Fox or CNN.

      • LillyH says:

        I agree, Harpie. I must depend on the kindness of others to listen and translate into print.

      • Rayne says:

        Well, Kennedy is and has been the definition of ‘crazy pants’. His photo should appear next to the term in the Urban Dictionary.

  2. fpo says:

    “No.” Barr won’t recuse himself from open investigations. (Sen. Blumenthal having posed the question to Barr)

    Of course not, he’s the Resident’s attorney. What a silly question.

    • harpie says:

      This is how Senator Durbin put it this morning:
      7:14 AM – 1 May 2019

      I’m gravely concerned that the 14 criminal referrals from Special Counsel Mueller related to the investigation are under the supervision & control of AG Barr. He’s virtually disqualified himself to be the kind of person we can expect to stand back & make sure justice is served.

  3. Geoff says:

    I’m really surprised no one has made the mafia analogy, about how the Don gives orders, and works through cutouts and intermediaries. The Trump crime family has been practicing this art for decades, yet no one thought to frame the investigation in terms of how they actually operate and how it hamstrings an investigation. It’s as if the law can’t seem to evolve or capture this behavior and has a built in loophole to let criminality go unchecked, without anyone being willing or able to stop it. Given the laws limitations here, it seems doubling down on lies is the right strategy, and Barr is exactly the kind of guy to carry that out.

    Now, there have been some indications that people understand the above issue, and if they DID think that it was important to discuss how this method of obfuscation can make it hard to pin things down, especially when layered on with multiple pardon offerings, then for sure they must have thought about part 2, when the failure to be able to use the law to its fullest extent because it is riddled with loopholes, leaves you with just facts, without indictable conclusions. That should have made it completely clear that in handing over the report to ANYONE on team Republican, they were going to spin a non-specific outcome into their own answer and claim exoneration. Lying : It’s what they do the way most people breathe. There couldnt have been any debate as to how team R would treat this if given the chance. You only need look at the Senate. They will let anything slide if it means winning. They literally just ignore reality until you prove the false reality they make up is actually false. And the Dems just keep flailing at that task.

    Yet somehow, still, after realizing you are playing an unfair game (honest law abiding investigation vs continuing criminal acts defendants) and then realizing that you’ve been had on the release, there is still only a timid bit of push-back that can also be spun as a semantic disagreement. I just dont see how this ever gets off the ground if Mueller doesn’t come forth and make a stronger statement about what was indictable, and what prevented the indictments. Or at least, the Democrats have to hold Barr in contempt when he decides he wont answer questions put forth in a Dem house investigative meeting. I’m super frustrated, and this hearing today isn’t helping.

    Someone I know keeps asking, “why would Barr take this job?” Some say, well, his kids got sinecures, etc, but it seems to me he took it because he enjoys this shit – thumbing his nose at people, telling the Dems to f-off, and pretending he is the smartest person in the room. I seriously think that is what he gets off on, and this is precisely why he took the job, because he wants his opponents to lose and look like fools. I think the stakes are too high this time, and we can’t allow him to win again. I just don’t see any attacks today drawing blood so far, but granted, I’ve missed a lot of what has happened.

      • Geoff says:

        I don’t doubt this one bit. It would be like resurrecting a Scalia that came out even crankier after his dirt nap.

        • Kat says:

          I don’t think so. He’s too old – McConnell and co want to stack it with young’uns so that they’ll be there forever.

      • Mooser says:

        “I think Barr is bucking for a SCOTUS appointment.”

        And I always thought I would never, ever write a comment which said “I just threw up a little in my mouth”. But that thought did it.

  4. RWood says:

    I hope the House is watching this and sees the value of picking someone to be their designated questioner. I’m sure they have a staff member capable of shredding Barr’s BS defenses via cross-examination. It’s the kind of questioning he wants to avoid, so I expect him to pull out any reason he can for not appearing.

    • JAFive says:

      Yes! It’s so frustrating to watch them filibuster themselves instead of actually questioning effectively. The worst is when they occasionally get him off balance and then fail to press the advantage.

      • JAFive says:

        They need to hit harder on “Do you believe Pres. Trump lied to the American people” — best evidence here is the statement dictated about Trump Tower meeting. They’ve taken enough swings at the McGahn incidents that they’re not likely to score a hit there any more.

        • RWood says:

          And…he’s not appearing.

          Can we maybe go on offense now? Asking for myself and 300 million of my countrymen.

  5. harpie says:
    10:57 AM – 1 May 2019

    Hirono: American people know you’re no different from Rudy G or Kellyanne Conway of people who sacrifice reputation for the grifter in WH. You’ve chosen to be POTUS’ lawyer and side with him.
    Hirono’s leadup is a two drink question for Barr. Hitting him on his PR hackery.
    Hirono accuses Barr of lying out right. keeps calling his memo a “so-called summary.”
    Hirono: You did exactly what I thought you’d do.
    Now reviewing his past cover-ups.
    Go go go Mazie!!!

  6. Nehoa says:

    Barr uses the argument that if there is no underlying crime by Trump, then he could not have been obstructing. This ignores the concept that he was obstructing in relation to a crime by another party. In this case the hacking and election meddling by the Russians. Trump has not, to my knowledge, stated that the Russians were responsible. Why he has not done that is often attributed to pride about his electoral success. The real reason could easily be something that the Russians have on him, either carrots or sticks.

    • P J Evans says:

      I wonder when Barr forgot everything he had to have learned in law school.
      (I have a niece with a JD – she doesn’t practice; law firms aren’t interested in people who have any kind of disability, even if they’re definitely competent. She passed the bar on the first try….)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Barr is flat wrong that obstruction requires a separate underlying crime. It does not, least of all does it require that the person who commits obstruction have committed that underlying crime.

      That’s the thing about obstruction. It makes it hard or impossible to prove there was an underlying crime. Scooter Libby committed obstruction, among other felonies. His obstruction obscured whether there were underlying crimes. But if there were, the most likely perpetrators, apart from Scooter himself, were Dick Cheney and George W. Bush.

      • pjb says:

        You are correct, of course, but I don’t think Barr would disagree with respect to every person on the planet except the President of the US. There, he believes, because of his over-expansive view of executive power, that unless there is a underlying criminal charge, the President must be presumed to be without the kind of corrupt intent necessary to charge him with obstruction. In Barr’s view, if the President believes an investigation into himself is unfair he can shut it down as a matter of criminal law. He can even believe he committed an underlying crime, as long as the evidence for such crime does not in the end meet a BRD standard. Fucked-up, I know, but its all there in his 20 page audition memo. All he needed to know from Mueller was that he wasn’t going to charge a conspiracy. From that, he jumped immediately to no obstruction.

        • hollywood says:

          Barr is channeling Nixon who declared, “When the President does it, it’s not illegal.”

  7. Peacerme says:

    I got nauseous and had to go eat Indian food. (Switched to EW twitter instead of tv). It feels like we are watching democracy on life support. I pray she makes it, but they are gonna re-litigate Clinton. Paint themselves as victims and minimize, deny and blame.

    I get the exact same feeling I had staring at the bruises on my face as my parents proclaimed they did not believe in spanking children. I can hardly watch. But I do. Because I know my invalidation does not even compare to the invalidation of those families on the border, the trafficked children, the brown people of this country. I watch for them. They are suffering most acutely from this abominable administration.

    Barr and Lindsey Graham know they lie. It’s obvious that they consciously constructing reality as opposed to seeking truth. You can tell by how carefully they craft their words. How they dodge and deflect.

    I can’t make points or be logical. Too flooded by the dance of lies. Too familiar. Such an abuse of the truth. It’s truly painful to watch. I am torn by the desire to see the lies for my own eyes and disgust for the way it harms our country and it’s people.

  8. Jenny says:

    Rayne, excellent post with the twitter feeds. Thank you. This post keeps me from screaming out the window. Like you I have to mute when the GOP start talking.
    Barr is playing dumb. He just asked Booker where it was in the report. Did he read it?
    Well, the “Cover-Up General” has guzzled the orange Kool-Aid.
    The good news, exposure, exposure and more exposure.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    There are a lot of HLS grads in that room (Barr is GWU), but it looks like only about one-in-ten can ask a decent question and follow up if the first answer is bullshit.

    • pjb says:

      I am sorry that I haven’t been watching. I had a feeling most of the Senators would not be able to ask useful but simple fact questions which would either get Barr to agree to something or else look like a stooge by hemming and hawing. Has anyone asked any variation of the following?

      “if SDNY determined to indict Trump notwithstanding the OLC guidance, would you permit it?”

      It seems to me if he answers no, he is agreeing the OLC is jurisdictional (as Mueller says) and not informative or precatory (as Barr’s summary claimed) and thus Mueller did not decline to make an obstruction determination, he (and presumably Barr as AG) was powerless to do so (and Barr did so anyway). If he answers yes, SDNY is free to indict Individual-1 for campaign finance crimes (and anything else it finds he criminally violated).

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Goopers have decided their best bet to save Trump and to undercut Bob Mueller’s report is to piss on the FBI. (Sen. Crapo, in particular, seems especially bungling, but then he might just be running out the clock.)

    For a law ‘n order party, that seems especially short-sighted. It also has SFA to do with the conduct described in the Mueller report.

    • BobCon says:

      It’s a scorched earth strategy. They are willing to destroy their own political capital in order to deny the Democrats anything they can use.

      The only plan is to hold on until 2020, hope that the Democrats nominate an exploitable candidate, and count on the amnesiac media noise machine to respond to drumbeats of enemies marching on the borders.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Sen. Cruz, another Harvard Law grad, is borrowing Sen. Blackburn’s kneepads.

  12. Rayne says:

    Oh ye gods and fishes now it’s the Zodiac Killer, gonna’ slay some perfectly good question time with his ranty approach to empty filler.

    Texas, seriously. Couldn’t you do better? You produced the likes of Anne Richards and Lyndon Johnson and this is the best you could do?

    And of course we’ll never really get into Ted Cruz’s campaign having been used as the testbed for the Trump campaign’s social media-cum-information warfare platform.

    • P J Evans says:

      Texas seems to have lost its collective political mind back around 1994, and has been getting worse since. (For the record, I voted against Shrub in 1994, 2000, and 2004. And I was in Pete Laney’s Texas House district, so i know that they’ve had better.)

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Sen. Cruz is dazzling us with numbers, budgets and page counts. He is willfully ignoring the substance in Barr’s summary and his unwillingness to publish the Mueller summaries until Barr had first framed the disclosure in the best interests of Donald Trump.

    As a HLS grad, he should know the difference between finding no collusion and finding insufficient evidence of obstruction to win at trial hands down – even assuming the DoJ permitted the indictment of a sitting president for any crime.

    Cruz is also selling that it was the Dems who politicized the DoJ and FBI, but it is Barr who is being manifestly transparent. Nice bit of projection. Cruz seems mightily afraid that it is painfully obvious that it is his president who has done that. Nice job of gaslighting, but unpersuasive. He is doing Trump’s job to prepare for the coup.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As Sen. Harris brought out, Mr. Barr seems remarkably unfamiliar with the evidence.

    But to repeat bmaz’s argument, it is useless to keep asking Barr to explain himself – which allows him to frame the issues rather than state facts, about which he might be wrong or lying. For information about the Mueller Report, ask Bob Mueller. Otherwise, start an impeachment inquiry.

  15. Geoff says:

    FIrst off, obviously, IANAL. But a serious question : how does one exactly prove that someone else is lying? I mean, it seems prettttty obvious to me that Barr is lying repeatedly. Yet, it doesn’t seem to matter. How exactly do we call a lie when someone is slippery with words and is constantly using just enough variation with statements to make them seem like their may be a shred of uncertainty as to how to interpret them. I just feel like, wow, all these really smart people calling out the lies, yet, somehow, they aren’t lies. Is Eric Prince of Darkness going to manage this too? Or does one need to be an slippery eel lawyer type? Manafort was lying, we figured that out, because there was documentary evidence. We have Barr’s memos and his statements, but he lies so often, it’s like his whole life is a lie. How does one pin this pig down?

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Sen. Hirono cannot be sued for defamation for comments made during a Senate hearing. Constitutionally and legislatively, congresscritters are immune from such suits. But please, find a lawyer and sue; they will want to be paid first, though.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I would say that Bill Barr has not only read Bob Mueller’s report and all is appendices and supporting documents, he can cite several of the juiciest bits by heart. Protecting the GOP, and hence Trump, from its conclusions and embarrassing statements is the reason he is Attorney General.

      Barr might have avoided looking at the most routine and boring bits, so as to have a colorable basis for his claims of ignorance, but that would not preclude calling his claims a sham. Having protected presidents and CEOs his entire career, this is something Bill Barr knows how to do in his sleep.

      Bill Barr’s arrogance is real, it is the apparent slovenliness of his demeanor that is costumery. He is the business end of a bullwhip.

      • BobCon says:

        I wouldn’t put it past Barr to have had several people read it first and cut out problematic areas before he got it for the purposes of plausible deniability. That would mean there is collective knowledge at DOJ but no personal responsibility.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Barr conveys that impression, but he did start his career at the CIA, which makes me think he’s putting on a good show. Being forgetful or mistaken is not as contemptuous of Congress and is less of a crime than lying or covering up.

        If it happened as you say, Barr’s staff were well briefed about what needed to be cut out of the report to protect the president.

        As if it needed to be confirmed. Lil’ Lindsey made clear again today that the GOP and the Senate have decided that protecting the president is the most important job they have. Lindsey and his GOP compatriots in the Senate are of one mind that Caesar must rule and that the republic must go.

        • P J Evans says:

          They already know that he’s lied today, several times.
          (Some members of the media were calling it out today, as he did it.)

  17. Hops says:

    I keep coming back to the fact that RNC e-mails were hacked but not released. It sure seems like Trump Inc and/or Russians have something on top Republicans. Trump has a copy of Putin’s playbook.

    • harpie says:

      Here’s a thread considering that from Wendy Siegelman, today:
      9:50 AM – 1 May 2019

      Russians hacked the RNC / The GRU released thousands of documents on DCLeaks
      Mueller report footnote 140 said DCLeaks released a portfolio named “The United States Republican Party”
      Republican portfolio posted by DCLeaks included emails from Lindsey Graham […]
      It’s not breaking news that Russians hacked the RNC – but it has not been widely reported that Mueller included detail on the hack of RNC emails through Smartech in footnote 140 – and there has been very little MSM coverage of this topic. […]

      There’s lots more at the link.

    • Stacey says:

      Yes, yes, and yes! I just have never bought this idea that they’re all just protecting themselves from Trump’s base. It has never been just Trump’s behind they are covering for, it has always been there’s as well. Trump’s AMI playbook (blackmailing, etc.) mirror’s Putin’s and I’m sure Putin has schooled him even further in their private tutoring sessions, but the fact that nothing ever came of the RNC hacked material at the time, even though they hired some big PR Crisis firm to help them put out a fire that never got started, is a huge red flag to me.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    From his performance today, Bill Barr conveys the sense that his powers of recollection are as poorly developed as Donald Trump’s. Given his academic and work history, head and shoulders above the performance of Donald Trump, that seems extraordinarily unlikely. Which makes Barr’s performance a sham.

    • e.a.f. says:

      that is the lack of recollection disease. its seems to come and go as required. some one ought to throw those guys, Barr, etc. in jail until they do remember. Oh, that isn’t legal It was absolutely disgusting to watch that man carry on as he did. He’s supposed to the A.G. of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. He looked more like a cocaine lord at trial. The Republicans have no shame.

      The rest of the G20 must be sitting around having a good laugh while the dictators of the world are listening to get pointers on how to be more corrupt.

  19. Jenny says:

    Barr: The letter was a bit snitty, I think it was written about one of his staff people.

    He sure is smug and arrogant. Doesn’t sound like he read the entire report. He certainly blanked more than once.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Something tells me the cast party for the Bill and Bob show has been canceled.

      • Jenny says:

        Yep – “Cover-Up General” and “Bobby Three Sticks” show canceled.
        Doubt there will be family picnics together.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        I realized while watching this that Nathan Lane needs to play William dis-Barr on SNL. Once I saw that, it was all I could think of while listening to his prevarications and lies and dissembling and filibustering.

        His behavior reminds me of the Golden State Killer who will soon be on trial for raping and murdering dozens of women over decades. He was recently caught via DNA. A former policeman and sherriff, he was perfectly lucid upon arrest, but now that he is in court, his mouth hangs open and he is in a wheel chair, posing as non compos mentus .

        Barr is trying to ‘dumb down’ the public’s perception of himself, so that his duplicity is less evident and the Dems look like they are ganging up on this ‘fine public servant’ ( as proclaimed by the Senators).

  20. Eureka says:

    This part where he weasels on when he got info (then exploiting definition of q as re ‘report’ to answer the Q as to what and when he saw) was peak Barr in so many ways. IMO he knows he is ‘lying or trying’ else there wouldn’t be all the facial microexpressions, overtalking, etc. So fucking irritating, the lies and wriggles and faces throughout. Nevertheless, they nailed him between questioners, at least as to when he was *deciding* on obstruction:

    emptywheel: “Bingo: Barr started making the decision on obstruction prior to seeing the report.”

    emptywheel: “Barr got the report on the 22nd. Made final decision on 24th. Admits he had started discussing it before he got the report. “OLC had already done a lot of thinking about some of these issues.””

    ETA: this was during Whitehouse questioning ca 3p, 301p ET and referencing back to testimony to Harris.

  21. fpo says:

    Barr kept going back to Mueller’s concern as being the “press coverage” (per the telephone call Barr initiated)– oddly consistent with Rump’s constant barrage of same – but beyond that, does anyone really believe that RM’s ire was the result of the media reporting? So yes, absolutely, let’s hear from Bob Mueller. Cannot wait to see how the Rs handle that ‘fact-finding’ opportunity. And Barr never reviewed the evidence?? Wonder how DOJ morale is after that performance?

  22. Rayne says:

    Got to hand it to MSNBC — they are all over this and they are able to pick out points and details where Barr is lying and how the SCO report has been abused/neglected/distorted.

    • Peterr says:

      When Brian Williams cut away from the hearing the first time, for he and his panel to lay out immediately how the testimony that they had just broadcast was false, is a sign that he and the producers at MSNBC have moved away from the “he said/she said” school of journalism (i.e., “just let the cameras roll and see if the Dems call him on it”) and into the realm of calling BS when BS is being flung.

      Good for them.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        This would be a good opportunity for Brian Williams to redeem his journalistic credibility.

      • Rayne says:

        I have the impression Nicolle Wallace called the shot to pull away for correction. As a former Bush comms staffer she has more cred with wider audience to call out Barr’s lies. Assuming that’s what happened, Williams did good to step out of the way.

        • Peterr says:

          At best, Nicolle may have asked for the pullaway, but she doesn’t make that call. She’s a panelist, not a host. The same goes for all the former DOJ folks that MSNBC have in their mix of panelists. The decision to break away from the hearing was made by Brian and the producer. They may have done so after seeing their panelists pulling out their hair and screaming “WE GOTTA CHALLENGE THIS!” and “HE’S LYING!!!” while watching Barr’s performance, but it was their call.

          • Rayne says:

            I kept watching MSNBC for a while after I wrote that comment. She’s the one who flagged the stop, Williams acknowledged it while the two of them were chatting before her program began. There hadn’t been a full complement of panelists at the time, either.

  23. BobCon says:

    I’m very curious to see how the media headlines this later today.

    They were burned when they all ran with Barr’s summary in March. I would hope they learned their lessons and portray this as what it is — a coverup, and they focus their coverage of Barr and the GOP senators as accessories, not portraying this as a both sides piece.

    I’m not very optimistic they learned any lessons, though.

    • P J Evans says:

      Headline at SFGate, right now:
      Barr splutters, deflects in viral questioning by Kamala Harris (12:06pm)

      • BobCon says:

        NY Times headline right now is a tepid “Barr Defends Handling of Mueller Report in Senate Testimony”

        Washington Post at least goes with a headline of “A Bit Snitty: Barr Dismisses Mueller’ s Letter” — that’s a bit focused on secondary issues, but at least it isn’t suggesting Barr is on equal footing.

        Because heavens forbid the Times walk back their March headline clearing Trump on essentially zero evidence.

        • alfredlordbleep says:

          I don’t recall that March NYT headline.
          I do recall their ~”weight lifted from the President”.
          (shudda made screen captures of Times front page, hour to hour).

  24. Peterr says:

    The exchange at the end of the hearing, with Barr’s revelation that he has notes that were taken by a staffer in his office of his conversation with Mueller, was huge. First, the exchange demonstrated that there is at least one additional witness to that conversation, and second, there are contemporaneous notes from the conversation.

    I suspect that in the time it’s taken me to get here and make this comment, Jerry Nadler has drafted a new subpoena for Mr. Barr.

  25. CD54 says:

    @JAFive at 2:19 pm

    Like this:

    House Counsel: Does Donald Trump lie?
    Barr: argle bargle
    House Counsel: How did you conclude Trump was not lying about corrupt intent?
    Barr: argle bargle
    House Counsel: Did Trump’s refusal to be interviewed contaminate his claimed intent?
    Barr: Spying, spying, spying.

  26. Peterr says:

    In Mueller’s letter, he has this to say about his own work and how he has spoken about it to the AG:

    As we stated in our meeting of March 5 and reiterated to the Department early in the afternoon of March 24, the introductions and executive summaries of our two-volume report accurately summarize this Office’s work and conclusions.

    OK — so far, so good. He then pivots to what Barr said about his Office’s work and conclusions:

    The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions.

    There’s nothing here about the press getting it wrong, and that being a problem. Mueller is politely but firmly objecting to the way in which Barr and his office personally mis-stated the work of the OSC.

    And he did it in writing.

    This is a very big deal. This is the ultimate defense of a subordinate who is not willing to be thrown under a bus by a superior: Put It In Writing. This is what a subordinate does when that person believes that there will be a subsequent investigation of potentially illegal conduct and wants to make clear that they had nothing to do with it.

    Beyond objecting how Barr rolled out the report and mis-characterized Mueller’s work, I think Mueller’s letter was a shot across Barr’s bow in the broader sense. When the redacted report finally came out weeks later, many were pleasantly surprised at what was and was not redacted, fearing that much more was going to be withheld. After getting this letter and the subsequent phone conversation, Barr had to be thinking “If Mueller would do this after reading my letter, I shudder to think what he might do if I don’t release the full report, or if I over-redact stuff when I release it.” Thus, this letter may have encouraged Barr to take a lighter hand with respect to redactions.

  27. klynn says:

    The PM Blumenthal questions were really important. The abrupt ending of the mtg showed L Graham upset. Was Graham present for the call perhaps?

    • fpo says:

      Aw, that was just Graham realizing that, contrary to what he said in his opening remarks, it actually isn’t ‘over,’ in fact, it’s just getting started. ;))

      • Areader2019 says:

        I turned my sound back on just in time to hear Lyndsey say:

        “For me, it is over.”

        Which I agree with. His integrity, reputation, public honor and any remaining sense of self respect is over.

  28. MattyG says:

    Thanks for this threat Rayne – after a long day in the salt mines, toiling undisturbed by the disturbed surface dwellers… till now… Phew what a day you guys had up here!

  29. e.a.f. says:

    Saw parts of what is alleged to be the testimony of the A.G. of the U.S.A. Yes, the guy was old, over weight with glasses, grey hair, but I’ve seen Hell’s Angels be more truthful than this guy. I’ve dealt with drunk teenagers who were more truthful and straight forward than this person was. Oh, he really is the A.G. of the United States of America. there is an old guy about the same weight in Venezuela who keeps saying he’s the President there. Perhaps he and Barr ought to get a room together some where. They’re in the same league.

    I was disgusted by the “performance” of Barr at these hearings. The game playing, the avoidance, the dementia. It was truly depressing.

  30. John K says:

    And Donald Trump commended Barr, saying that he did a great job of testifying. A great job of testifying should mean that he spoke truthfully and plainly, nothing more. Instead, we witnessed a man, apparently uninformed about the text of the report, hem and haw in response to straightforward questions (esp by Senators Hirono and Harris). We know that Trump’s version of a great job of testifying involves obscuring the truth, diverting away from the subjects at hand, and hiding criminal behavior. One liar defended another liar and received praise for his lying.

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