On Nine Different Occasions, Bill Barr Was Unable to Offer Any Evidence of Irregularity in Russia Investigation

Bill Barr says a lot of things in his softball interview with CBS that are factually incorrect. He repeatedly states that counterintelligence activities were directed at the Trump Campaign.

People have to understand, you know, one of the things here is that these efforts in 2016, these counter-intelligence activities that were directed at the Trump Campaign, were not done in the normal course and not through the normal procedures as a far as I can tell.


WILLIAM BARR: Well, I just think it has to be carefully look at because the use of foreign intelligence capabilities and counterintelligence capabilities against an American political campaign to me is unprecedented and it’s a serious red line that’s been crossed.

JAN CRAWFORD: [1] Did that happen?

WILLIAM BARR: There were counterintelligence activities undertaken against the Trump Campaign.


I think it’s important to understand what basis there was for launching counterintelligence activities against a political campaign, which is the core of our second amendment- I’m sorry, the core of our first amendment liberties in this country.


The fact that today people just seem to brush aside the idea that it is okay to you know, to engage in these activities against a political campaign is stunning to me especially when the media doesn’t seem to think that it’s worth looking into. [my emphasis]

Counterintelligence activities were directed at three people the campaign itself fired because of their suspect ties to Russia, and a fourth guy who was secretly acting as a paid agent of a foreign country even while serving as the primary advisor for Trump’s campaign intelligence briefings. And the only known counterintelligence activities, as opposed to predicated criminal investigative techniques, were directed at people after they had been ousted from the campaign.

He claims, falsely and in contradiction to what Mueller said the other day, that there was “no” evidence of a conspiracy.

WILLIAM BARR: Well it might be legit under certain circumstances but a lot of that has to do with how good the evidence was at that point. And you know Mueller has spent two and half years and the fact is there is no evidence of a conspiracy. So it was bogus, this whole idea that the Trump was in cahoots with the Russians is bogus. [my emphasis]

He makes an absolutely hilarious comment about how, if there were evidence that FBI agents investigating — say — Hillary Clinton were biased or leaking, we’d be hearing about it. He even mentions the conspiracy theories about Obama that were fed, at a national level, by a guy named Donald Trump.

JAN CRAWFORD: But it seems like you have a concern that there may have been a bias by top officials in the FBI as they looked at whether to launch and conduct this investigation?

WILLIAM BARR: Well it’s hard to read some of the texts with and not feel that there was gross bias at work and they’re appalling. And if the shoe were on the other–

JAN CRAWFORD: Appalling.

WILLIAM BARR: Those were appalling. And on their face they were very damning and I think if the shoe was on the other foot we could be hearing a lot about it. If those kinds of discussions were held you know when Obama first ran for office, people talking about Obama in those tones and suggesting that “Oh that he might be a Manchurian candidate for Islam or something like that.” You know some wild accusations like that and you had that kind of discussion back and forth, you don’t think we would be hearing a lot more about it?

We’re not hearing about it precisely because Barr is treating the investigation into people who had loose ties to Trump’s campaign as unprecedented as if the investigation into Hillary by FBI Agents who were leaking about it wasn’t happening at the same time. These are all things that he should have been corrected on air — as well as the fact that the public record shows that the investigation into Trump’s former campaign aides was slower than it normally would have been.

In general, Jan Crawford was utterly supine in this interview, letting the Attorney General state one falsehood after another, without correction.

The one place where she did commit some journalism was in asking repeatedly for evidence that something went wrong that justifies his investigation into the investigation. Nine times, Crawford asks the Attorney General for actual evidence that there’s reason for an investigation into the investigation.

JAN CRAWFORD: [2] So I guess in making this turn can you help us understand, I mean what’s- what is the concern? What have you seen, what’s the basis for that?

WILLIAM BARR: Well I don’t want to  get you know, too much into the facts because it’s still under review.


JAN CRAWFORD: [3] What have you seen? What evidence? What makes you think, I need to take a look at this? I mean, what have you seen in the summer of 2016?

WILLIAM BARR: Well, I’ll say at this point is that it, you know, I- like many other people who are familiar with intelligence activities, I had a lot of questions about what was going on. I assumed I’d get answers when I went in and I have not gotten answers that are well satisfactory, and in fact probably have more questions, and that some of the facts that- that I’ve learned don’t hang together with the official explanations of what happened.

JAN CRAWFORD: [4] What do you mean by that?

WILLIAM BARR: That’s all I really will say. Things are just not jiving, and I’m not saying at this stage that–


JAN CRAWFORD: I mean, [5] there’s a concern that this may have happened before we realized that the investigation was initiated in July. I mean, what…

WILLIAM BARR: I don’t want to get into those details at this point. I would just say that, you know…

JAN CRAWFORD: [6] But you said there’s a timeline concern.

WILLIAM BARR: Well I won’t, I won’t confirm that, but I’ll just say that, you know, there’s some questions that I think have to be answered, and I have a basis for feeling there has to be a review of this.

JAN CRAWFORD: You’ve said, you’ve said the time frame between the election and the inauguration, you’ve said this publicly, was kind of strange. Some strange things may have happened.  [7] What concerns you there? Specifically, the meeting at Trump Tower.

WILLIAM BARR: I don’t want to- I don’t want to get into that.


JAN CRAWFORD: [8] What suggests to you there was a failure in the upper echelon at the FBI?

WILLIAM BARR: Because I think the activities were undertaken by a small group at the top which is one of the- probably one of the mistakes that has been made instead of running this as a normal bureau investigation or counterintelligence investigation. It was done by the executives at the senior level. Out of head quarters–


JAN CRAWFORD: [9] And you think that happened even with the investigation into the campaign, potentially?

WILLIAM BARR: I am concerned about that.

To each of those nine questions, he responds by making false claims about what happened, speaking about his feelings, or simply dodging.

That should be the takeaway of this interview. The Attorney General has launched an investigation without having any basis on which to do so, even while exhibiting either ignorance or outright deliberate false statements about what happened.

260 replies
    • alfredlordbleep says:

      Periodically anointed fireside chats with plain-folks-Wm-Barr should appear anytime the real Barr defaces the landscape.
      Episode 1 (would have been):
      “BARR”: Let’s simplify for easy listening. Insufficient evidence means no evidence. No evidence means no underlying crime so no obstruction.

      . . . Later Episode: “Barr” will talk while cleaning one of his firearms.
      Perhaps as a sidebar
      “Pence” can “ad-lib” something about The President’s hurt feelings and mercy being like tears from heaven.

      ( All in the high spiritual à la The Church Lady)

    • Americana says:

      Wasn’t that the most ludicrous touch? The fireside chats of Pres. Roosevelt weren’t meant to dissemble and be disingenuous like this fireside chat by Attorney General Barr was meant to do. I am more and more concerned w/Trump’s subversion of the various individuals in positions of oversight of our civic institutions. Surely, Barr must have substantial knowledge of Trump prior to taking on this position of Attorney General? How could Barr have avoided discovering just what Trump’s been doing over the past decades viz Russia leading up to this latest commercialization of an effort to cozy up to Putin? I’m beginning to think someone ought to organize a television exposé night for Barr where he can catch up to what the rest of us know about Trump and his activities. I’m hoping there will be an overwhelming gush of unfortunate financial information from Deutsche Bank that will subsume everything Trump so this issue of Trump is solved in one moment of horror.

  1. Curveball says:

    We need an investigation of the investigation of already investigated investigators. Among other things.

    • Troutwaxer says:

      That brings up an interesting question. Does anything Barr is doing qualify as obstruction?

      • Americana says:

        It certainly might end up as obstruction of justice should AG Barr decide he finds something while investigating the investigators he’s able to twist into a legal conundrum that allows him to send the Special Counsel’s Trump-Russia investigation into legal oblivion.

        Here’s an interesting analysis on Lawfare by Jack Goldsmith, one of Lawfare’s founders and a professor at Harvard Law, of the CBS interview of Barr:


        From the above link:

        And Then Barr Got Really Crazy

        Perhaps the least convincing and most bizarre thing Barr said came at the end of the interview (with my emphasis):

        AG Barr — “I think one of the ironies today is that people are saying that it’s President Trump that’s shredding our institutions. I really see no evidence of that, it is hard, and I really haven’t seen bill of particulars as to how that’s being done. From my perspective the idea of resisting a democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him and you know, really changing the norms on the grounds that we have to stop this president, that is where the shredding of our norms and our institutions is occurring.”

  2. klynn says:

    My biggest frustration was the blatant snide rudeness of even doing the interview and the timing. It is an effort to weaken Mueller’s work and conclusions. An effort to professionally patronize Mueller’s statement yesterday. WBarr cares not one bit for the rule of law.

    • OmAli says:

      I’m really frustrated that Mueller said that Barr had acted in good faith in his releasing of the redacted report. He acted entirely like the malign imp he has always been.

      • Rayne says:

        Examine again very, very closely what Mueller said:

        We conducted an independent criminal investigation and reported the results to the attorney general, as required by department regulations. The attorney general then concluded that it was appropriate to provide our report to Congress and to the American people. At one point in time, I requested that certain portions of the report be released and the attorney general preferred to make — preferred to make the entire report public all at once and we appreciate that the attorney general made the report largely public. And I certainly do not question the attorney general’s good faith in that decision.

        — Mueller requested certain portions of the report be released
        — Barr preferred to make the entire report public all at once
        — Mueller isn’t questioning Barr’s good faith about releasing the entire redacted report.

        Mueller’s good faith was limited only to Barr’s intent to release the full report. If Mueller screwed up it’s that he had faith in Congress and the public that they would read the entire report instead of allowing themselves to fall into complacency and rely on Barr’s wholly disingenuous summary.

        • bmaz says:

          Yes, Rayne is exactly right here. It was most certainly not a blanket statement as the idiots in the press reported.

          • OmAli says:

            That was the point I failed to make, and my apology. Mueller inadvertantly gave the press the opportunity to let the misunderstanding develop. Many of us recognized the qualifier. Most, probably, did not.

          • The Lorem Ipsum Conspiracy says:

            I think Mueller is too clever for his own good. The sphinx like riddle about what he could have said but didn’t say and this highly parsed non-criticism presumably make him feel like he’s honoring the unwritten rules of the institution, but really its just egotistical preening.

            The people keen to understand what Mueller means can figure out the veiled criticisms just as easily as if he made them directly. But the average joe doesn’t have time to work it all out. Which leaves the field wide open for the liars with their simple and direct narratives to overwhelm any subtle truths.

            Communicating clearly and directly is a basic requirement for informing people. Mueller and everybody else need to stop pussyfooting around. If he really believed that Russia’s assault on our elections is that important, he’d make a better effort to communicate his concern.

            • hester says:

              I could not agree with you more.

              Mr. Mueller’s meticulously parsed statement fell short. These time call for unambiguous assertions of facts and conclusions. Instead of the double negatives, parsing and fanciness offered up. Phooey

              • bmaz says:

                And, yet, that is not only not his duty to spoon feed it to you, it is the complete antithesis of his duty under DOJ protocols.

                His statement went WAY beyond where I, or anybody else that understands how the DOJ discloses (other than Comey, of course, which every person here thought was inappropriate).

                Mueller’s statement is not the issue. What is in his report is.

                • hester says:

                  For sure it was not his duty. And ianal so I don’t know what the DOJ protocols are.

                  However, Mr. Mueller was not addressing only lawyers. He was addressing the nation.

                  instead of saying this
                  “The order appointing me special counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. We conducted that investigation, and we kept the office of the acting attorney general apprised of the progress of our work. And as set forth in the report, after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”

                  why didn’t he say something simpler, like this?

                  ” The order authorized us to investigate obstruction. We did that investigation. The president committed a crime / (crimes) by obstructing justice in the following ways: …..”

                  Easy for all to understand

                • foggycoast says:

                  that may be true if this were within the cloistered legal world. the audience here was the American public. If he was not ready to make a statement to edify the lay person he should just not have made a statement at all. we should be beyond inside baseball at this point.

                  • SharkeyWoman says:

                    Oh come on. You don’t have to be a legal expert to understand what Mueller was saying. He went above and beyond. If people are too damn lazy to read and analyze, that’s their problem.

                  • Areader2019 says:

                    Yes, thank you. This has really been eating at me today. We have two worlds:

                    1. Logic, facts, legal procedures, precedent, policy, etc.

                    2. Persuasion…disinformation..manipulation.

                    Having a really good argument in (1) will not necessarily carry the day in (2). In fact, it could totally backfire.

                    The subtle nuance of stating “I can not say that Trump did not commit a crime” is just completely lost in a world where mass rallies are chanting “lock her up”.

            • Vicks says:

              I disagree. Mueller’s job was to investigate, lay out the facts, and give a summary. What people are demanding is his opinion.
              It wasn’t his ‘opinion” he should follow DOJ guidelines; he was working for the DOJ and those were their guidelines, so he followed them.
              He didn’t “think” there wasn’t enough evidence to show a broader conspiracy, he measured his evidence against the legal definition, and it came up short.
              He couldn’t exonerate Trump of obstruction because he had evidence to the contrary.
              As for not spelling things out clearly or telling us if Trump was guilty of obstruction, that argument just goes around in circles. You can ask why or say he should have given his opinion or at least explained what he felt were the highlights of the report, but Mueller explained why. If you don’t believe his answer that is one thing, but if you believe in the United States you can’t accuse someone of a crime and not allow them to defend themselves at some point you will have to admit, frustrating as it is you know why.
              On a more positive note, If you believe the report and the evidence it contained was intended to be handed over to congress to decide how its contents should be used to best serve our country it gets easier to understand why Mueller’s opinion or highlights would not be welcome. It also makes sense if you consider the report a historical document that could potentially be poked at and picked apart for generations.

              • bmaz says:

                And, as I said here, there was no other place where Mueller’s definition of “conspiracy” would have ever held. Charging and conviction on equal and lesser facts happens every day. Now maybe it was fair for Mueller to hold a higher standard here, that is a discussion for another day, but the thought that he just could not under DOJ norms is a crock of shit. See this previous reference.

                • Vicks says:

                  Your link went to a comment on conspiracy, not DOJ norms/policy. Can you repost? I am interested in reading it
                  I agree that it would not have been difficult for Mueller to take a stand or figure out a workaround, there are a lot of disagreements out there with the DOJ policy BUT (with the exception of Barr’s Trump-serving -newly minted claim against Mueller’s silence) I couldn’t find any disagreement coming from within the DOJ. When I checked to see what Mueller’s supervisors had to say on the topic I couldn’t find any quotes from Rosenstein but I did find a couple from Barr (add another lie to his tally) my point being that is appears that Mueller was working WITHIN a DOJ and UNDER a supervisor that supported the policy.
                  In his memo “Mueller’s Obstruction Theory” Barr wrote
                  “The fact that President is answerable for any abuses of discretion and is ultimately subject to the judgment of Congress through the impeachment process means that the President is not the judge in his own cause. See Nixon v. Harlow, 457 U.S. 731, 757-58 n.41 (1982)(* The remedy of impeachment demonstrates that the President remains accountable under law for his misdeeds in office.”)
                  From Barr’s confirmation hearings
                  Blumenthal: The question is whether the President could be prosecuted while in office. I happen to believe that he could be. Even if the trial were postponed until he is out of office, but because the statute of limitations might run, for any other number of reasons, a prosecution would be appropriate. Would you agree?
                  Barr: Well, you know, for forty years, the position of the executive branch has been you can’t indict a sitting president.
                  Blumenthal: Well, it’s the tradition based on a couple of (Office of Legal Counsel) opinions, but now it is potentially an imminent, indeed immediate possibility, and I am asking you for your opinion now, if possible, but if not now, perhaps at some point.
                  Barr: Are you asking me if I would change that policy?
                  Blumenthal: I am asking you what your view is right now.
                  Barr: You know, I actually haven’t read those opinions in a long time. But I see no reason to change them.
                  It appears that (at the time) it was DOJ policy not to indict a sitting president. Mueller followed it and sealed the deal with his comment on fairness.
                  It almost looks like Mueller went searching for rules to follow; the overachiever hoping for gold stars on his paper, in the short term this may be irritating as hell, but the way Mueller proceeded, rather than setting himself up for potential accusations of a special prosecutor going rogue (and violating DOJ policy) or one with a ginormous ego that loves to hear himself talk, we have people pissed off because Mueller followed too many rules and won’t take the chance of muddying his work by over-explaining what has already been written. If this turns into the epic battle many of us fear this may turn out to be a good thing.

                  • bmaz says:

                    Heh, that was the right link! It is a standard set of jury instructions that both the DOJ and defense attorneys agree with and adhere to every day in federal courts throughout the country. That was just the first one I found on Google, but they are effectively identical to every set I have ever seen, whether in one of my cases or other people’s. That is the law used in court. I think if you read it, especially pages 8-12, but if you don’t know standard instructions, probably worth to at least skim the rest too. This is literally how DOJ prosecutors defense attorneys and the courts deal with conspiracy law in real life.

                    I think after doing so, and pondering the difference between what you read in Mueller’s report, and Barr’s summaries and statements, you will see a huge difference. Mueller was unnecessarily and ridiculously conservative in his postulation of conspiracy law, and Barr is just flat out a liar. Would have been impossible to prove up a conspiracy case? Please, that is just laughable. It happens every day under standard pattern jury instructions for conspiracy.

                    • Mulder says:

                      Bmaz-I’d definitely read a post on this if you were to take it on. I’ve seen you reference your frustration with Mueller’s approach to conspiracy more than once and would appreciate a legal walk thru for dummies. Thanks in any event.

                    • vicks says:

                      Got the conspiracy info this time thanks.
                      I can see your point on Mueller being ridiculously conservative and your opinion Mueller could have been trusted to make the call, but what if next time it’s a political hack?
                      I see it as congresses job to do the dirty work and Mueller’s report as a tool they will rely on. It contains strong evidence that BECAUSE of Mueller’s obsessive rule following remains untainted. He is not speaking because every time he is asked to clarify something it will put a bit of spin, a little emphasis that was not picked up in the initial reading and no matter how small it will be seen as an advantage to one side or the other. It’s up to the people we have sent to Washington to represent us to decide what is next and Mueller handing over the report to congress WITHOUT an opinion I think is a clear example of a check and it’s balance.
                      When all the work is done our lawmakers will stick their finger in the wind to see which way the votes are blowing, if Trump gets tossed it will be because that is what “the people” want; if they want Trump to stay in office, god help us but that’s how I have been taught a democracy works.
                      As for conspiracy perhaps you are right and there is enough evidence to convict as it stands, but I keep thinking of the Trump’s team’s claim that you can’t convict for obstruction if there is no crime and I believe there is a good chance that once congress starts digging into Mueller’s data they are going to be able to present a strong case that despite numerous and obvious evidence of conspiracy in the report, The success of Trump’s interference (including dangling pardons to those willing to lie) limited Mueller’s ability to access and obtain the details the public needs to fully appreciate the damage this admin has done to our country. Congress, on the other hand, has the power to force these people to be publicly questioned under oath which if done skillfully, will fill in the many blanks and create a full and clear(er) picture for the public to use to form it’s opinion.

                    • Democritus says:

                      This was great and gave my brain a mini workout. Thank you!

                      (Also would LOVE to see you write up a full post on your opinion about the decision not to charge conspiracy.)

                      I can’t help but think that would have provided a much greater impetus to change the framing of entire debate to one more about loyalty to the United States that the Democrats, or activists at least, could have seized on.

                  • Kick the darkness says:

                    Continuing from “change them”.

                    Funny-I had a real WTF moment when it took me a bit to realize the text following “change them” in your post was no longer quoting Barr’s answer to Blumenthal, leaving me going, “Wow, did he really say that? But hold it…the report hadn’t even come out yet”. I know Jed Shugerman’s twitter feed, for example, has been quite critical of the Mueller report on several fronts, like with respect to the “fairness” thing. I’m not one to assess the merits however.

            • Americana says:

              Trouble is, that Trump might find an avenue to skip out of legal jeopardy if Mueller steps one word beyond the permissible lines. I think Mueller was justified in saying the Mueller report is his testimony and that of his team of investigators. The trouble is there’s so much disinformation being pumped out via Russian trolls and American disinformation artists that it’s hard for less informed Americans to find news outlets w/genuine, solid, incontrovertible information. Look at what Fox News has been pumping out ever since Mueller’s press conference and AG Barr has been right in there pitching disingenuous irrationality right alongside Prof. Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University Law School. What’s a poor schlub American to do if they don’t subscribe to reputable newspapers and they don’t keep up w/the shifting information landscape on Trump?

              • bmaz says:

                Naw, Mueller’s words are important, but do not control Trump’s “legal jeopardy” at all. Maybe his political jeopardy, but not legal at this point.

        • OmAli says:

          Rayne, yes, and I should have emphasized the points you just did. The point I failed to make is that, in spite of what you noted as being true, Barr harbored no good intent in waiting to release the report all at once. He was ensuring that his poison could have time to work its way into the public’s perception before offering any information from Mueller that might possibly dilute it. I just wish Mueller had withheld any praise, at all. None was earned.

          • Rayne says:

            On Barr’s general lack of good faith I think we both agree. Barr’s summary offered the clearest proof his acts would be suspect.

            What I want to know: when exactly did Barr draft his summary? Did he pointedly lie to Mueller about the release of the redacted report in its entirety?

    • P J Evans says:

      I suspect they’d scheduled it before Mueller’s briefing – I wonder if this “interview” was the catalyst for his resignation.

    • Americana says:

      Yes, I’m afraid AG Barr is trying to defang whatever Special Counsel Mueller has said and done since the release of the report. The one thing Barr cannot change is the Mueller report. Barr has had to confront a huge upwelling of support for Mueller and the Mueller report by former DOJ alumni. Nothing Barr says or does can eliminate that support for Mueller from knowledgeable federal prosecutors who’ve read the Mueller report and back its conclusions. If more of those former DOJ federal prosecutors agree to interviews on television and in news stories, Barr will be forced to counter their statements and therein Barr’s falsehoods and confirmation biases will be disclosed just as Barr disclosed in the CBS interview that he doesn’t think Trump is shredding American institutions:


      From the above link:

      And Then Barr Got Really Crazy

      JACK GOLDSMITH: “Perhaps the least convincing and most bizarre thing Barr said came at the end of the interview (with my emphasis)”:

      AG William Barr — “I think one of the ironies today is that people are saying that it’s President Trump that’s shredding our institutions. I really see no evidence of that, it is hard, and I really haven’t seen bill of particulars as to how that’s being done. From my perspective the idea of resisting a democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him and you know, really changing the norms on the grounds that we have to stop this president, that is where the shredding of our norms and our institutions is occurring.”

      • Rayne says:

        Oh my gods what utter horseshit this is: “democratically elected president”

        Not democratically elected by a long shot between racist gerrymandering and other forms of voter suppression including voter ID, exacerbate by secret microtargeted social media messaging and illegal foreign aid including contributions laundered through the NRA.

  3. Milord says:

    I am so sick and tired of these interviews where some tRump toady gets invited onto a talk show, throws out a bunch of stink bombs and the interviewer just sits there inhaling the fumes. Broadcast journalists (almost an oxymoron these days) are so afraid of losing the access they need to do their jobs they don’t realize they are already not doing their jobs.

  4. Rita says:

    The contrast between Mueller and Barr couldn’t be starker.

    Mueller: By the book, careful, precise, stick to the facts.

    Barr: Vague hints of wrongdoing, with little factual basis, almost like he has just emerged from a cave in the Himalayas after 4 years and has been briefed on what has transpired by only Trump’s defense counsel.

    • Jenny says:

      LOL!!! Great line “…emerged from a cave in the Himalayas after 4 years…”

      To me, Barr comes across as smug, vague and haughty. Think he is spying for Trump?

  5. Willis Warren says:

    Barr still hasn’t read the fucking report, he just doesn’t care. In his mind, the president can do whatever the fuck he wants. His inconsistent statements about the law don’t jibe with that obvious attitude.

    He released the Report as released because the redactions were getting redacted, and he didn’t do anything in good faith by design. He’s just a lazy fat fuck who wasn’t gonna charge trump and wasn’t gonna summarize the report without telling america to fuck off. He knew no one was gonna read the thing. No one read the 911 report and online trolls made up all kinds of bullshit about it.

    Mueller had a lot of shots in his statement, and not enough people seem to get that. Saying “I do not question the good faith of x” is not saying that x acted in good faith. It’s saying that was good that somehow happened, now read the fucking thing, hell at least read the Vol 1/2 summaries, ok?

    • Avattoir says:

      I have to disagree with your conclusion that Barr is “just a lazy fat fuck”.
      You left out his chronic toadyism to wingnut authoritah, that he’s a longtime unreformed liar, and that he’s pretty clearly engaged in a campaign of purging the DoJ of competent politically neutral investigators and, to the extent he’s able from one step’s remove, the FBI to boot.
      The “lazy fat fuck” judgment, if anything, captures his positives.

      • Areader2019 says:

        Yeah…Barr is actually smart, and good at what he does. He was a CIA lawyer after all. He uses the system to project power.

        I think he is corrupt, anti-democratic, and basically evil. But when was the CIA ever accused of being there for the little guy?

        • koolmoe says:

          And I bet there’s some sort of sweet board position or other monied-spot awaiting him after his DOJ stint, Everything with these corrupt folks is ultimately about dollars.

      • Willis Warren says:

        When I first read the report, I was like “this is great! he didn’t redact so much and the report is totally damning to the president”

        So, that’s what I mean by lazy. He could have done a lot more damage. Now, maybe he thought that redacting more would lead to more curiosity, but I doubt that, given the furor over the redactions in situ. I really believe he couldn’t be bothered to read the report.

  6. 200Toros says:

    No-one should treat Barr like a normal AG. He has replaced Michael Cohen; he is the president’s personal fixer.

    Treat him as such.

    • Vicks says:

      Barr is dangerous.
      I believe we have just seen a hint of the dark ambitions of many people in and connected to the Trump administration; people that have no business being anywhere near the levers of power.
      They have made use of the MAGA machine to spin their messages closer and closer into acceptance.
      Now they have Barr, a master manipulator of words, to provide them cover if they choose to take things further.

  7. Scott Rose says:

    Has anybody yet asked Barr if he thought it was patriotic of Trump to lie throughout the campaign by saying he had no ongoing business deals involving Russia or Putin, and for him to simultaneously be praising the totalitarian Putin as a “strong” leader and a “great” man?

    Has anybody asked Barr if he thinks the U.S. military fought WW2 for a Trump-like figure to come along and behave in so venal, self-serving a manner in praise of a dictator?

  8. Tracy Lynn says:

    Rayne, BMAZ, OmAli, thank you all for pointing this out. I missed the significance of the “good faith”
    reference… and have been pondering it since I read about it—somewhere.

    • punaise says:

      I too was dismayed by the “good faith” aspect – whose limited scope makes sense now that it has been highlighted here.

  9. Bay State Librul says:

    Let’s roll the hard six.

    The comic relief portion of this play (tragedy) is complete.

    No more Acts. No more Scenes

    “The plays the thing to catch the conscience of our King”


  10. reluctance says:

    Has either Mueller or Barr provided any justification for failing to indict Trump Jr?
    Is the oft cited, but never actually laid out DOJ guideline to never indict the President extend to persons other than POTUS?
    Could I read it?
    In what judicial forum might that guideline be challenged?
    What are the limits of the guideline? Could the POTUS murder someone? Could the VP conspire to murder the President, become POTUS, and then pardon himself?
    Why has no one asked Barr these questions? Sorry, bit offtopic, but the lack of appetite to challenge and dissect this really strange assertion seems so deeply weird.

    • John Forde says:

      I’ve been wondering this too. Will today’s Andrew Miller GJ testimony be incriminating to DJTJ?

      • Areader2019 says:


        Yeah, I think Bannon, Paul Ryan, Sean Spicer, and Reince Preibus are trying to stay quiet and hope this blows over and they can still have a career later.

        • CitizenCrone says:

          Bannon, at least,is alive and happy screwing up EU and the Catholic Church–like they needed help with that! He’s a dangerous man.

          • RWood says:

            Bannon is more than dangerous, he’s a man on a mission. He’s proven to be both smart and capable and he understands TV/propaganda far better than anyone else in trumps White House.

            I think he recognized a failure with trump, cut his losses, and chose to take his mission overseas while he waits for another chance. I feel he’s ten times more dangerous than trump or any of his circle. We need to keep a careful eye on him while dismantling the problem currently at hand.

            • Americana says:

              Sorry, but I do not think of Steve Bannon as a smart man. He is the culmination of decades of disinformation of the kind Trump spins to his advantage in his campaign speeches. Bannon may believe in the narrative he’s spinning for the Western world but, unfortunately for us, it’s not clear whose grasp of the future is more accurate — his or ours. Bannon is not a brilliant man. He’s simply a man on a mission and his mission coincides w/the fruition of decades of propaganda finally being taken to heart by middle class Americans and middle class Europeans. But there are strange lapses in the narrative as visualized by people and politicians like Steve Bannon. Whether Bannon wishes to confront it or not, this is a globalist world in its last iteration of global industrialization. Nothing Bannon says can stop that.

    • Tom says:

      Re: the decision not to charge Don Jr., see vol. 1 p. 185 of the Mueller Report where he begins outlining his reasons for not charging the participants in the June 9th Trump Tower meeting.

      • reluctance says:

        Thanks, Tom, that was helpful.
        What about the perjury charges?
        “Interview of Donald J Trump, Jr., Senate Judiciary Committee, 115th Cong. 28-29, 84, 94-95 (Sept. 7, 2017). The Senate Judiciary Committee interview was not under oath, but Trump Jr. was advised that it is a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001 to make materially false statements in a congressional investigation”
        Or obstruction of justice? There’s certainly enough in the report to support an indictment for that.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Barr’s CBS interview yesterday was a whopper. Apart from impugning Bob Mueller’s professional competence, he claimed that the shredding of norms comes not from the current president. It comes from those [Trump critics] who want to stop a duly elected president from exercising his lawful prerogatives and authority for partisan political reasons.

    So, Bill, are you advocating the removal from office of Mitch McConnell? Are you prepared even to criticize him?

    Mitch McConnell spent more than a year stopping every Obama initiative during his last year in office which required Senate cooperation – including his obligation to fill a vacant seat on the Supreme Court – on the basis that it was an election year. McConnell’s real purpose was to shut down Obama’s administration, which qualifies as norm shattering, partisan, and extra-constitutional conduct.

    Mitch McConnell is doing it again. The Dems are [weakly] trying to hold Trump accountable for his obvious and abundant wrongs, while trying to conduct normal business. McConnell ain’t having it. He is sitting on over 100 proposals from the House, considering them DOA. His reason? They are initiatives from the Democrats and it’s election season again. How is that for shredding norms, Bill?

  12. Savage Librarian says:

    Additional behavior by Barr that I find remarkable are in items 1 and 8, below. In #1, he really doesn’t know the difference between the 1st and 2nd amendments. That is alarming.

    In #8, he is projecting. He is criticizing the very thing that he is now doing himself.

    1] ….”I think it’s important to understand what basis there was for launching counterintelligence activities against a political campaign, which is the core of our second amendment- I’m sorry, the core of our first amendment liberties in this country.”

    8] “WILLIAM BARR: Because I think the activities were undertaken by a small group at the top which is one of the- probably one of the mistakes that has been made instead of running this as a normal bureau investigation or counterintelligence investigation. It was done by the executives at the senior level. Out of head quarters–“

    • P J Evans says:

      Barr clearly isn’t familiar with the First Amendment, which is about freedoms – religion (which they’re violating all the time), speech and the press (which they would like to lose), assembly (and they’d like to lose that part, too), and freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances (and notice it doesn’t limit that to white males).

  13. punaise says:

    Have a Heart:

    You’ve been lying so low in the weeds
    But you done ambushed us
    You’d have us down, down, downplay the deeds
    Wouldn’t you, Barr-a- coulda?

    No right no wrong you’re selling a song and dance,
    A whisper game

    If the real thing don’t do the trick
    You better make up something quick
    You gonna burn it out to the wick
    Aren’t you, Barr-a- coulda?

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      Barr-a-coulda! This makes me laugh. One of my favorite songs by one of my fav groups!

    • Eureka says:

      “Have a Heart”– Do they make traps big enough to catch Barrs?

      A little cheese (not the good stuff), peanut butter… some FN on the teevee?

      Chianti and undercooked fava beans?

      • P J Evans says:

        I’d go with peanut butter – it’s sticky, and even rats can’t get it off the trigger that fast. (I swear they can teleport when they get cheese, though.)

        • Eureka says:

          LOL PJ, our rodent friends are far more agile and furtive than this quarry. Only if the tv were accidentally re-tuned to MSNBC would he move fast enough (and in that case it may only be his vocal cords, to yell). (I’ve got a log cabin diorama-situation going on in the Barr-sized model.)

          However, you make an excellent point and the peanut butter would render his paws sticky. Plus it’s cheaper.*

          *Well, for now, maybe. I don’t know how all of our foodstuffs get impacted by surprise tariffs and climate derangement. We shall have to account for that.

          • P J Evans says:

            I’d go for air-dropping him in the middle of the Everglades (at least two miles from anywhere), and let the pythons deal with him. (Or the middle of Iraq or Syria.)

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I think Bill Barr knows very well what’s in various parts of the Constitution and in federal statutes. He just doesn’t care about them, if they conflict with his politics. And he’s patented his Baloo Bear schtick to hide his Roy Cohn-like conduct.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      I agree. Still, neither one is a good look. But I guess he believes it plays well to the base (and the basest.)

  15. Jenny says:

    Entire transcript of CBS and Barr interview. He sounds like the president’s personal lawyer having read the entire transcript.


    JAN CRAWFORD: So you don’t regret taking the job?


    JAN CRAWFORD: Not even today?

    WILLIAM BARR: I’d rather, in many ways, I’d rather be back to my old life but I think that I love the Department of Justice, I love the FBI, I think it’s important that we not, in this period of intense partisan feeling, destroy our institutions. I think one of the ironies today is that people are saying that it’s President Trump that’s shredding our institutions. I really see no evidence of that, it is hard, and I really haven’t seen bill of particulars as to how that’s being done. From my perspective the idea of resisting a democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him and you know, really changing the norms on the grounds that we have to stop this president, that is where the shredding of our norms and our institutions is occurring.

    • RWood says:

      I’ll tag a question for the group onto that if you don’t mind:

      1: How is Barr being paid? (and no, I’m not talking about his government salary)

      2: How can we find the answer to question one?

      • koolmoe says:

        I agree with your assumption…
        …but I think it’ll be after this administration. Will be interesting to see where Barr lands $ in retirement $

  16. dwfreeman says:

    Yes, Mueller speaks in riddles of decorum and Barr speaks in riddles of Washingtoninan babble, attorney general speak that he has cured for his own enterprise of Trump reform.

    Of all the messages that Mueller chose to emphasize in his closing remarks on his case to impeach Trump, the one he failed to emphasize was the one about all the efforts to block him from coming to the very prosecutorial decision-making that Barr belatedly laments is the greatest failure of his investigation. It’s as if Barr and Trump want it both ways, vindication or shame in claiming Mueller was wrong in damning the case on the faint praise of regulatory innocence.

    For the record, there were lots of collusion and obstruction, and Mueller chose to investigate the one area of the case where the Russians acted independently and asked questions later about Trump campaign involvement, not as if it mattered but because it did matter, and the campaign went along at every level from Papadopolous, Page, Manafort and Flynn. They were all personally motivated to help Trump win and they all were approached by Russian suitors and never turned down an invitation to participate in the wider influence effort to elect Trump.

    They were all played as Russian pawns in Putin’s game of risk and world domination. He put a cultivated Russian asset in the White House. Think about that. Sweeping and systematic doesn’t even begin to express what the Kremlin achieved in 2016, and the Republicans and Barr want to re-litigate whether this outcome inappropriately harmed Trump and Russian interests? Because that is what this is about.

    The failure of the Democrats to act on plain sight evidence for the need to impeach Trump is only trumped by Barr’s incredulous support of an investigation to deny the existence of 37 indictments, 7 guilty pleas and finally the acknowledgement of the fucking White House doofus himself that Russia aided and abetted his illegitimate election to review whether it should have been legally launched in the first place.

    • bmaz says:

      There is no such thing as “collusion”. There is no such word in criminal law, it is a fabricated and idiotic word that Trump and his “personal attorneys” created out of ether and fraudulently sold to the press and public to tilt the playing field. Please do not further that goal.

      If you would like to talk about conspiracy, please elaborate.

      • Avattoir says:

        Sharpening my utensils for what promises to be quite the tasty inorganic morsel (assuming you get a reply).

      • Troutwaxer says:

        I think you’re missing the forest for the trees a little… if you replace “collusion” with conspiracy it’s a fairly intelligent post. It’s worth keeping in mind that you can teach someone without coming down like a ton of bricks.

        • bmaz says:

          I am tired of the lazy use of “collusion”. And the substitution of those terms was my only complaint with that post, so I am not sure what your point now is.

          • Troutwaxer says:

            I think there are two appropriate responses to “collusion.” One is to attack the troll, the other is to gently educate. Newcomers may not know all the issues as well as long-time posters, so maybe it’s not great to bomb new people whose comments are otherwise intelligent.

            • Rayne says:

              When you have your own site, you can call the shots. Then you might realize moderators here see things backend which should be treated skeptically if not with outright hostility until proven otherwise.

              We don’t have time here to hold hands and make nice. We’re not trying to grow this audience for monetization — do you see any advertisements? Frankly, the price YOU pay for participating in a commentariat which isn’t rife with trolls/bots/provocateurs AND advertising which will track you even out of this site is that you have to bear our brand of screening.

              And every minute I spend having to explain this AGAIN is a minute I can’t spend researching, writing, or generally doing personal stuff. Because none of us who write for and run this site are getting paid for this. We’re volunteers committed to civil liberties and a true representative democracy.

              Really bloody tired of the etiquette policing of free labor when our fucking democracy is in flames.

            • bmaz says:

              Troutwaxer – Rayne is right here. From the first instance I saw the term “collusion” being bandied about, I have aggressively pointed out that such is not a word with any applicable meaning in criminal law. It just is not, and never has been, unless you are dealing with some arcane and weird anti-trust or bankruptcy law thing. Which has no applicability whatsoever to anything at hand. And this blog has consistently noted that.

              Sure, it may have been noted in front page posts because the term has been falsely and fraudulently inserted into the discussion by Trump et. al, and the clueless press, but it has never been real.

              At some point, we get tired of repeating the obvious. You are newish here. We are not.

    • Rayne says:

      I’m going to back up bmaz on this point: the word “collusion” is not a legal term.

      It’s a weaponized word, part of the ongoing disinformation operation Team Trump has used all along. Every time you use the word it reinforces the frame they’ve created.

      Trump’s concocted Rose Garden speech last week after storming out of an infrastructure meeting revealed the pre-planned signage with that word used on it, perfect for soundbite application.

      Let’s focus on adding something new to this discussion. What can you add which hasn’t been said or written about the Special Counsel, the Trump-Russia investigation, Bill Barr, or Congress’s handling of Trump-Russia?

      • Areader2019 says:

        Well…yes, I agree…there are two tracks here.

        1. Legally you are absolutely correct. Collusion is not a thing. It won’t fly in a court room. It represents a type of disconnected illogical BS that will get you yelled at by the judge.

        2. But, in the world of politics and persuasion, it is a thing. I’ve even seen new forms of the word enter the vernacular:

        “Seems kind of collusion-y.”

        I just don’t know how to reign in the world of BS by using logic. I think part of it is that we need to inflict draconian punishments on liars. Anyone who promoted that false “Pelosi is drunk” doctored video needs to be banned from posting anything the internet. Even Trump. Especially Trump.

      • massinterest says:

        I would like the word “collusion” banned from this blog as long as we’re talking Trump and his critters. In SOLID CAPS in a message to posters.

        It appears all too often, and serves only to confuse and frustrate.

        • Rayne says:

          You mean you’d like me to to write here, NO COLLUSION on this blog — ???

          See how easily that backfires? The word is totally toxic.

          Community members should memorize this code number and the term — really already should have it memorized given how many times it’s already been charged.

          18 U.S. Code § 371 – Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud

          If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

          If, however, the offense, the commission of which is the object of the conspiracy, is a misdemeanor only, the punishment for such conspiracy shall not exceed the maximum punishment provided for such misdemeanor.

          Don’t need the entire text, just 18 USC 371 Conspiracy

        • bmaz says:

          Hi there. There is pretty much no place on the internet where the proprietors called bullshit on the fabricated term “collusion” earlier and more often than the principals here did. I continue to remind people that the relevant term is conspiracy.

          Making that demand of this blog, of all places, seems unfounded.

          • Mooser says:

            I have found “No collusion” to be a very useful phrase. I changed one letter, to NO COLLISION, and now it is my driving-safety mantra.

          • massinterest says:

            My apologies.

            As if the moderators here don’t have enough to do.

            Am just tired of seeing that meaningless word.

            • bmaz says:

              Sorry. And no worries. Also, join the club. It is maddening how it has been falsely inserted into common legal vernacular, where it has no place whatsoever outside of a very rare business law meaning.

  17. gmoke says:

    In this interview, Barr had that same soft voice Dick Cheney used. That same soft voice they seem to train Catholic priests with. Since at least the Iraq War when Cheney used that calm tone to justify a needless war and torture, I get the willies when I hear it. For me, it’s a signifier of evil and a tell that something is desperately wrong with the person using it, trying to convince you that up is down, right is wrong, and trusting the sociopath before you is the only option.

    • OmAli says:

      gmoke. What you said.

      Is there any reason to hope that Barr’s Bar Association will ponder his behavior?

      • bmaz says:

        No. None. Barr is a member of the DC bar. They will not even touch a DOJ attorney without it being referred by the DOJ OPR. And that is not going to happen.

          • bmaz says:

            Sorry to be the bearer of bad news! This is kind of a long running problem regarding discipline for DOJ attorneys. Unfortunately, there is rarely any such discipline.

  18. Frank Probst says:

    If you’re working at the DOJ, and you need clarification about what a particular DOJ policy is, who do you ask? Wouldn’t it be the final word be the Attorney General’s? Why doesn’t Nadler just haul Mueller into a hearing and say, “The AG says you misinterpreted this policy, and you actually CAN make a determination about whether or not you think the President obstructed justice. Here’s a copy of your report. Could you please make that determination and give it to the committee?”

  19. Savage Librarian says:

    Mueller did his job. Now it’s time for Congress to do their job. If there are short-comings in DOJ policy, so be it. But Congress has ample power and authority to carry on. And they must. The only hold up is an authentic and persuasive statement to the American people.

    This article in the DB today is helpful:

    “Mueller Signals Congress Deserves His Evidence. Otherwise Trump Is Untouchable.”

    “Indeed, the existence of Congress’s constitutional power to impeach and remove a president is a central pillar of the DOJ’s rationale for concluding that presidents can’t be indicted while in office. That is, a president’s temporary immunity from prosecution does not make them unanswerable for wrongdoing, because Congress retains the power to bring a criminal president to heel.”


  20. ken melvin says:

    If one were to lick Bill Barr’s bare back, would they have a psychedelic experience?

  21. Loon says:

    Did Mueller find enough evidence to charge criminal conspiracy – a literal agreement? He states “no”. Did Russians, WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign (and associates) communicate with each other and knowingly use each other for the purpose of electing Donald Trump president? Absolutely, in multiple ways over many months of the campaign and laid out in detail by Mueller. These people were drowning in “cahootness”. (new word).

    • RWood says:

      I’m recalling a comment from bmaz from several posts ago saying (paraphrasing of course) that these types of cases are rarely solved with a smoking gun, but rather with oodles of circumstantial evidence, everyday in courts throughout the land.

    • Rayne says:

      You need to read the report. And you need to listen to and read carefully Mueller’s remarks:

      Let me say a word about the report. The report has two parts, addressing the two main issues we were asked to investigate.

      The first volume of the report details numerous efforts emanating from Russia to influence the election. This volume includes a discussion of the Trump campaign’s response to this activity as well as our conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.

      This was not a definitive No. An insufficiency of evidence doesn’t mean there wasn’t a conspiracy. Your comment doesn’t point to diametric conditions. The entire point of obstruction is to obscure the facts including sufficient evidence.

    • bmaz says:

      And Loon, also see this comment, and then this comment, and read the actual standard jury instructions that DOJ, Courts and even defense attorneys work off of every day. Robert Wood was citing me quite correctly on this.

      • Loon says:

        Those links were very helpful. The standard jury instructions really opened my eyes re:agreement. Thanks.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah. That is why I always cringe when media, politicians and, it turns out even Mueller and Barr, tell people what conspiracy law is and how hard it is to convict someone under conspiracy law. It really is not that hard at all. And the actual law applied in court is quite a bit different than they all clack about on TV and whatnot.

  22. Nehoa says:

    Looks like Barr is going further with “just not saying.” Barr and DOJ just blew off most of Judge Sullivan’s order to make public various materials related to the Flynn case, including transcripts of any audio recordings of Flynn, such as his conversations with Russian officials – except for one transcript of a call between Trump’s personal lawyer, Dowd, and Flynn’s lawyer. Looking forward to Sullivan’s response!

    • fpo says:

      Yeah, this is interesting. Curious about the protocol/policy here for Sullivan’s response. Can he direct his response to Barr straight away – and in doing so – address the lawless (and pervasive) nature of Barr’s ‘just not saying’ argument/strategy regarding all things Trump? Might also hasten resolution of the issue at hand, and save a few taxpayer dollars at the same time. Hoping Sullivan is good and pissed off about this one…

      Obviously, public release of Flynn/RU audio/transcripts is a pretty compelling argument against the whole “witch hunt” crap – which the average Joe in MAGAville will recognize immediately. Also pokes a pretty good hole in the Barr/GOP idiots’ rationale for the ‘investigate the investigators’ line of bs, too. No wonder they want it buried.

  23. Veni Vidi Vasi says:

    This whole affair has radically increased my alcohol consumption. I feel like we are going downhill with no brakes.

  24. David B Pittard says:

    This is pure speculation but about something Barr said about Mueller on a video on Foxnews. Barr said Mueller told him three times that the Justice Department opinion (that a sitting president could not be indicted) played no part in Mueller’s decision to not accuse Trump of a crime. Mueller said just the opposite in his public statement. Could it be that Mueller had to duck telling Barr that because otherwise Barr would not have released the report? Did he see Barr’s machinations from the beginning and then had to figure out a way to get the report out (success) and now hopes that Congress will take it where it leads, but will avoid further comment because of restrictions that continue to govern what he can say and how? Did he resign, officially, before making the public statement, thus being free to say anything at all?

    • Rayne says:

      1) Barr said that on Fox.

      2) Read the report — Volume II, pages 1-2 (page 213 of 448) — underline for emphasis is mine.

      Page 1
      Volume II, page 1

      Page 2
      Page 2

      CORRECTION: where it says “Why Donnie Jr. Wasn’t Indicted” should read “Why Donnie Jr. Wasn’t Cited” meaning full identified as an unidentified co-conspirator though he is surely mentioned in redacted text within the report.

      3) Listen to what Mueller said. The report is his testimony. You won’t get his complete testimony without reading the report.

      • Eureka says:

        FYI, not sure if this impacts others- I am not seeing what you apparently posted in the middle of your comment.

        It just says:
        Page 1
        Volume II, page 1
        Page 2
        Page 2
        (Then your Correction statement. That plus a ref to underlining rang my clue phone as to missing images.)

      • reluctance says:

        So, do I understand correctly that the various linking lines above are meant to indicate that Jr cannot be held to account, because.. actually, no. I don’t get it.
        Why can he not be charged with perjury for lying to congress?
        Why, further, can he not be named as a member of a conspiracy to obstruct justice in coordination with “individual number one”?
        Spell it out for the cheap seats.

        • Rayne says:

          A post Marcy wrote in January discusses the possibility Junior was too stupid to enter into a conspiracy.

          He could have pleaded ignorance about campaign finance; he strikes me as the kind of arrogant twit to whom it would never occur to check the law first before doing anything. Probably acquired this at his dad’s knee.

          I’m more skeptical — I’m not certain how Junior could have missed his dad getting in trouble with the Federal Election Commission in 2011 for failing to do the appropriate filings. Wouldn’t that have clued Junior he needs to check the law before plunging into campaign related agreements?

          • P J Evans says:

            Given that the entire family seems to think that laws don’t apply to them – they’ve been buying their way out of legal problems for the last mumble decades, and even Fred’s father tried it without success – I’d say it’s not ignorance.

            • Tom says:

              It doesn’t seem reasonable that a 39-year-old man would not know that in America you do not seek or accept assistance from a foreign government, least of all Russia, when you’re running for dog-catcher, let alone the Presidency. The Trumps’ main goal in life is money: everything else comes second, even their country.

              • P J Evans says:

                Remember the story about the lemonade stand, when they were young? They didn’t realize that (a) lemonade stands are pretty much non-existent and (b) they’re selling to pedestrians, not people in limos (or rich people in whatever their car of choice is). So ignorance and stupidity, both.

  25. OldTulsaDude says:

    In related fictional snark, Maggie Haberman reports that Hope Hicks looked “radiant” in a gold lame’ Gucci dress while watching the Barr interview.

    • Tom says:

      Just another example of the advantage of being physically attractive–to some, anyway–as we go through life’s travails.

    • P J Evans says:

      I have to assume she was at a party, because gold lame isn’t the kind of thing you wear otherwise. And the next question is, what kind of party would have people watching Barr getting a tongue-bath?

  26. Badger Robert says:

    Barr was taking over the investigations and the prosecutions. Under his direction they are part of a cover-up. Mueller is not able to stop that, but he won’t participate in it. This implies negative conclusions about anyone still working for DOJ.

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    What could be in the Flynn transcripts of conversations with Russian Ambassador Kislyak that it is worth telling Judge Sullivan to go Cheney himself, you’re not getting it?

    Do they reveal more about Trump’s direct involvement or that of other campaign or administration staff? Do they reveal more evidence of an actual or proposed quid pro quo between the Trump administration and Putin’s Russia? Does it further implicate Flynn and make his plea deal less likely to be approved? Or is this about refusing to acknowledge sources and methods? If so, one suspects debate about declassification is as much about protecting Trump as it is protecting sources and methods. That might explain why the DoJ would not have sought to deal with the matter sooner.

    If nothing else, the DoJ’s position assures that Sullivan will attempt to enforce his order and delay the case further by sending aspects of it up to the DC Circuit for immediate review.

  28. Scott says:

    Interviews like this are irrelevant though. What matters is that Barr is firmly in charge of the cover up, and is clearly embarking on a purge of the DOJ which will be unprecedented in US history.

  29. Kick the darkness says:

    WILLIAM BARR: Yeah, but everyone dies and I am not, you know, I don’t believe in the Homeric idea that you know, immortality comes by, you know, having odes sung about you over the centuries, you know?

    Thought it was an interesting comment. He doesn’t believe it, yet the hero’s journey is precisely the metaphor that comes to mind for him in considering his reputation.

    • klynn says:

      Agree that it is an interesting the comment and agree he is definitely on the hero’s journey. Otherwise, if he believed his words, he would not be AG right now, he would have declined the offer.

      Ironic that an image of Homer is in the The Cathedral of the Annunciation inside the Kremlin. Ironic that Homer’s classics have also played an interesting role in Russian history.

    • P J Evans says:

      He’s possibly thinking about a heavenly reward for being a good and faithful servant.
      I’d like him to consider who he’s actually serving by blocking justice in this way.

    • errant aesthete says:

      It would seem another farewell parting is imminent on this day of ‘Hero’s Journeys’ – Emmit Flood is scheduled to leave the WH amid the hosannas of the Lord and Master:

      “Emmet Flood, who came to the White House to help me with the Mueller Report, will be leaving service on June 14th. He has done an outstanding job – NO COLLUSION* – NO OBSTRUCTION! Case Closed! Emmet is my friend, and I thank him for the GREAT JOB he has done.”


      * Apologies Bmaz

      • bmaz says:

        For what? Heh, no apologies. It is interesting that Flood is bailing. Whole range of possible reasons why. Who knows?

      • Kick the darkness says:

        The hero’s journey requires willingness to suffer and a final act of transformation. I could be wrong, but I don’t see that in Flood. Something about the cut of his jib basically says “you know, there’s still a lot of money left to be made”. But Barr, something about the guy unsettles me. I’m probably just paranoid that before Trump’s goose is cooked or he goes one XR crush and snort over the line somebody will actual emerge from his circle that has a plan and knows how to pull the strings.

  30. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Impeachment is always a rare and hotly contested political process. Public sentiment for impeachment always follows public arguments made for and against it by congresscritters and defending presidents. It never precedes those arguments.

    Nancy Pelosi’s go-slow strategy seems to be dependent on front-page headlines published in dead tree newspapers. It’s a curious strategy for a digital age. The signals she expects to drive her timing are off. She and her leadership are hiding behind process and the supposed lack of public sentiment to avoid their constitutional duty. They are hiding impeachment inquiry behind the false front of presidential removal to avoid acting.

    Among the reasons is that they seem stuck in the past and fear the future, despite their supposed optimism about 2020 victory. Rep. James Clyburn is a stellar example. His faith that Mitch McConnell will rediscover his public duty and frankly assess the need to sanction or remove Donald Trump is full-frontal denial.

    The Democrats smell of fear and they are swimming with sharks. They fear Trump and his moneyed patrons. They fear alienating their own. They fear Trump’s relentless propaganda and his willingness to cross any line. They fear their left and the young turks leading it. And yet they are counting their success chickens before their electoral hatching. They are dropping the eggs as they ramble around the barnyard to avoid the impeachment inquiry barn. They smell as if they fear a fight, an open invitation to attack by a predator.

    • Rayne says:

      This: “Impeachment is always a rare and hotly contested political process. Public sentiment for impeachment always follows public arguments made for and against it by congresscritters and defending presidents. It never precedes those arguments.”

      Come on, EoH. Half of this comment isn’t necessary — we KNOW a political act in a polarized society is challenging — and its bulk is cumbersome to readers on mobile devices. Could you please distill what you want to say into something new into which community members can sink their teeth? You’ve been here long enough to grasp the caliber of what’s needed.

      • Troutwaxer says:

        The first paragraph is preface to the second paragraph, and allows the second paragraph to carry the really important idea about where/how Pelosi gets her signals.

        • Rayne says:

          Right. Which would be great if EoH was writing for his own website and needed to introduce his audience to the subject.

          Look around. This isn’t that audience. And a substantial part of the key audience reading comments here read on mobile devices. Concision matters.

          Otherwise {scroll-scroll-scroll}

          • errant aesthete says:

            With all due respect, maybe I’ve not been here long enough, or perhaps I am not as seasoned or properly vetted as most, but I appreciated the “whole” of EoH’s comment, especially as it relates to the impeachment issue. There is a myriad of ways to gauge this, some better than others, but personally speaking, I found this to be of value. In short, the communication was concise.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      You know it. The MSM and Nancy Pelosi’s reporters seem not to. Rather, they use the obvious as if it were an excuse not to launch an impeachment inquiry.

    • orionATL says:

      earl of h. –

      i don’t know for sure what information pelosi uses to make her decisions, but the notion she does so based on newspaper stories seems absurd to me.

      in addition, this particular sentence seems to give the game away, to whit, pelosi has a “constitutional obligation”. as far as i can tell she has no such obligation whatever. this type of commentary reminds me of the morality politics of the “righteous progressives” of 2016 and their destructive political judgements and actions. i would say that the house speaker has options with regard to impeachment, rather than obligations.

      re the speaker’s house roles :



      one of the reasons pelosi might be reluctant is that she has a split caucus that is said to be at war with each other. i would hope dems don’t start a public impeachment effort without a strong, cohesive caucus. it would be better if the national dem party would avoid a circular firing squad for the next 18 months on this issue.

      • bmaz says:

        Yeah. Right. What kind of Congress person would want to actually honor and respect their oath of office as opposed to engaging in chickenshit political expediency? What kind of coward would shit on the Constitution like that? And if you think I will let your crap go because you mask it by going to Earl, you have another thing coming.

        • orionATL says:

          why bmaz how nice to see you again. what an unexpected pleasure!

          my comments below at 4:36 and 4:47 still hold for you. except i would add that increasingly your behavior appears demented. this comment of mine was addressed to e of h’s argument, not to you or your arguments. you were not intended as a recipient.

          it is interesting to note that among those baying for impeachment to begin NOW, the very critical attention that was focused on special counsel robert mueller has shifted to speaker pelosi since mueller told the multitude to kiss his coattail. so now it is pelosi who is being vilified, but far more harshly than mueller ever was.

          mueller had a great deal of experience and relied on it, not on the demands of the mob, to see him thru. i expect that Pelosi, who is similarly very highly experienced in political matters, will do the same. democrats can consider themselves lucky to have such a leader.

          as for your using the oath of office as a cudgel to get what you want from a politician, surely to god you’ve learned by now that that does not work. however it most definitely is an excellent rhetorical device to use to set someone up to criticize, as you have set pelosi up as a coward and one who ducks her obligations.

          your criticism of pelosi echos eerily your criticism of secretary clinton in 2016. it probably is not full blown misogyny now (though it certainly was then), but it certainly is unnecessarily harsh, to the point of viciousness, in your endearing unhinged way.

          [I’m doing the mod on this submission right now. Understand we don’t always have time to go through every single comment as they are submitted. You have a problem with this? Take it up with me. /~Rayne]

        • orionATL says:

          who is doing the moderating this sunday morning? i have had a comment in response to bmaz deleted. bmaz is fortunate to have such loyal allies.

          [I’m letting this through with warning: Do not insult the moderators/contributors/editors at this site in comments. No ad hominems. Use the Back button if you don’t like what you’re reading. /~Rayne]

          • orionATL says:

            rayne –

            no need to get your feathers ruffled, rayne. i specifically asked the edit system to delete this post. the request for confirmation came back; i indicated ok. it failed to do so.

            as for commenting in the last 24 hours, it has been an unrewarding experience. i was given the distinct impression this site was asking for views on impeachment other than the prevailing ones, so i addressed a comment in response to jockobadger. bmaz was not mentioned in any way. at 6/1 1:38 bmaz decided to stomp on my comments about the importance of politics in the impeachment question in his usual subtle way. that was his mistake.

            later, i continued the effort to challenge impeachment opinion in a comment based on a comment by earl of huntingdon. around 7:30 pm bmaz decides this comment is a covert comment designed for him; it was not; he is nuts.

            the emptywheel website can’t continue to expect expression of different opinions if it supports a junkyard dog who attacks – not debates but attacks – opinions different from his own. under the gresham’s law of commenting, this situation eventually results in conventional wisdom becoming the coin of the realm and in an embarrassing surplus of fawning commenters.

            in other ways it has been a good day. grandaddy helped three warriors cut shields out of 3/8″ plywood ready now for light sanding, painting and warfare – an elfin cavalry shield, and two shields for amazons, one round and one, per request, shaped like an ice cream cone.

  31. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The facts and probable cause in the case of Donald Trump vastly exceed the paltry case against Bill Clinton. The investigation of Reagan and Bush over illegal conduct arising out of the Iran-Contra affair never got off the ground, owing in large part to – Bill Barr’s – stellar efforts at stonewalling and obstructing it.

    The Nixon case involved a different time and a different GOP. His patrons and party abandoned him to avoid the greater harm to them of a formal impeachment and trial. It forced him from office. For Trump, there is no greater harm than admitting failure. He will burn the White House down before leaving it. That is also the lesson that Dick Cheney and the GOP learned from Nixon. It comes straight from Roy Cohn’s playbook: Fuck Congress, never give up, never give in, never admit. Always attack, first, fast, and often.

    Democrats can lead, follow or get out of the way. But they seem to want to think about it until the end of their fall off the cliff.

    • Troutwaxer says:

      Exactly. Mueller gave Pelosi the best possible covering fire. If she doesn’t head for impeachment it’s because she isn’t getting the very obvious signal.

  32. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Atlantic’s David Frum is a hearty supporter of Nancy Pelosi’s go-slow strategy. He thinks impeachment, for example, would “suck the air” out of all the other investigations.

    Frum is being as deceptive as Bill Barr. Those investigations evolve around the same facts that argue for Trump’s impeachment. They are largely being stonewalled by Trump, making them go nowhere fast while allowing delay to seep at the foundation the Dems say they need. An impeachment inquiry would strengthen the House’s authority to overcome that stonewalling, it would strengthen that foundation.

    Frum thinks that the Democrats should hold off on impeachment because they would need it if Donald Trump wins a second term. A more blind argument is hard to imagine.

    Holding off on an impeachment inquiry would enhance the chances that Trump wins that second term. If he wins, the GOP is likely to retain the Senate. In that case, the Dems – and the country – would be far worse off. They will have missed their chance. The momentum will have swung vastly in Trump’s favor. He will not hesitate to use it to crush his perceived enemies – and any remaining norms – in a thoroughly medieval way.

    The results would make the Democrats even less likely to use the powder they sacrificed so much to keep dry. And they would be unworthy of support.

    • Badger Robert says:

      Frum’s argument is ill conceived. There will have to be an impeachment inquiry. People can debate how far it will proceed, but the effort will have to be made. The Democrats will have to win the election, too. The impeachment record has to be constructed even if the issue is passed on to the voters.

      • bmaz says:

        And it is my thought that the issue “does” get passed on to the voters. But you have to make the record and enhance your ability to operate if you are the House. And opening an inquiry facilitates that greatly. Use the power and then say “we have demonstrated what a malefactor Trump is, on every front, and now we will let the voters decide. We have honored the Constitution, and we believe in democracy”.

        • Badger Robert says:

          Synthesis accomplished. Congress cannot ask voters to do their duty, if the Dems were not willing to do their duty.
          The risks could not be greater.

          • bmaz says:

            That is exactly what I have been squawking about all these weeks. And why it is so critical to not conflate opening an inquiry with articles and trial. One does not mean the other.

      • orionATL says:

        badger –

        a couple of weeks ago when impeachment hysteria hit its first high, a commenter here cited lawrence tribe opining that impeachment was a process and that that process was underway in the house – presumably under the leadership of nadler and schiff. that seems like a reasonable view of impeachment, i.e., the foundations of an impeachment charge are being laid now. the white house surely understands that, hence the all out effort to staunch any knowledgeable testimony that might (further) incriminate president trump.

        yes, the democratic party must win voters’ minds. information coming out of this impeachment process now underway will help do that. i suspect, though, that many millions of voters are way ahead of the “information from impeachment” process and have already decided that trump is incompetent or, at least, not someone they trust.

        in my view the game that counts most is winning the white house in 2020, not impeaching trump. as it happens, however, any impeachment process will reveal and publicly underscore trump behavior that most voters would find unacceptable.

        in winning the presidency and the senate (and retaining the house, a major pelosi concern), the key move by democrats is going to be who represents them as their presidential candidate not how fast and furiously :) the democratic house can impeach the president.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, that was Larry Tribe in March. He now unequivocally thinks an impeachment inquiry should be opened immediately. And, secondly, and yet again, and inquiry does not mean voting articles of impeachment. It simply allows far stronger, and faster, investigation of the facts that will matter to voters in 2020. As Tribe notes,

          “Any such postponement would not only be unprincipled. It would also be politically shortsighted. To quote Shakespeare’s Brutus, “We must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”

          • orionATL says:

            i’m not going to chase down the comment but it was within the last two weeks. i suppose the commenter could have cited and old tweet but that was not my sense.

            in any event, tribe is not the arbiter of anything, he just made what seemed a sensible comment then and in my view remains a sensible comment now.

            since we are talking about it, here are some details of the process which may reduce some of the fog now surrounding the issue – fog that seems mostly to have to do with explicitness and speed, which ain’t gonna happen:




            • bmaz says:

              I could care less about Tribe’s earlier comment. The one I saw was in late March give or take and before release of the Mueller Report. The second Tribe digested the report, he turned on a dime to call for starting an impeachment inquiry immediately. If hi voice mattered before, then it matters now, otherwise you are just engaging in confirmation bias.

              Secondly, thanks for the citations. Do you really think I do not understand the process and thresholds? Really??

              The only “fog” that is “surrounding the issue” is by dishonest voices pushing the lie that opening a mere inquiry is tantamount to voting on formal articles of impeachment and sending them to the Senate for trial. That is outright a duplicitous lie, and it is being propounded by Pelosi. Pelosi, almost certainly knows better, many more people seem to just be tragically uninformed.

              I have said this about three times already today, but, in the hope you will digest it, here, again, is the actual truth:

              I cannot emphasize this enough: The ONLY question on deck is whether to open a mere impeachment inquiry in order to facilitate investigation, evidence gathering, make court arguments on the same bulletproof, and conduct oversight that is cravenly being denied by the Trump Admin. That is the ONLY thing at issue.

              You seem to have bitten off on popular nonsense that it is tantamount to voting articles of impeachment and trial in the Senate. That is an outright lie, don’t fall for that.

              So, for all the nice people who blithely think the House should carry on with investigation, this is how you support their ability to do so with maximum legal support. Yes, it does make that much of a difference, and no it does NOT mean the feared articles put on trial in the Senate. And it is the absolute best way to educate voters ahead of 2020. Now, if you want to perpetuate this lie, carry on with the lie.

              • Troutwaxer says:

                Just to confirm my impression, you’re saying that the various House commitees get better institutional support if the inquiry is an “impeachment inquiry” than an ordinary inquiry? And the house committees also have the luxury of not being required to formally press charges if strategic needs change

                • bmaz says:

                  Well, an “inquiry” would come out of HJC. But, yes, pretty much any oversight in the House could be funneled through that investigation if necessary. And almost anything Trump related is germane.

        • orionATL says:

          i might as well add something else since i’m committing the heresy of saying that impeachment is not the most important game going on now. that is that:

          1) the dem control of the house is due to winning seats in conservative/republican congressional districts. voters in such districts may be interested in what comes out during house hearings, but they are almost certainly not clamoring for impeachment.

          2) the dem control of the house is due to a tidal wave of women voters rejecting trump politics. i doubt retaining this support depends on the constitutional legalities of emoluments, etc., so much as concerns about abortion and birth control (yes, those religious fanatics are coming for your tablets and dispenser); concerns about abuse of children and families at the border; medical care for children and the aged; the protection of the “preexisting condition” clause; and generalized rage at generations of male political leaders’ self-authorized power entitlement.

          • bmaz says:

            So, your position is that rote political expediency is more important than the very existence of the Constitution and the checks and balances that it relies on? Rote political expediency is more important than Pelosi and her ilk honoring their actual oath and duty of office? It is more important to pander to some dipshit mythical voter in a “swing district”? And you believe that the turnout and vote in 2018 was NOT about bringing accountability and defending our democracy and the Constitution it is based on in the face of the onslaught of Trump administration has brought against it? That is your position? Good to know.

            • orionATL says:

              oh come on, bmaz,

              you and i and millions of other voters may revere the u.s. constitution, but it is revered by no one in american politics as best i can tell. it is used merely as a tool or weapon to attack the other side.

              we are dealing with political reality. any side in the conflict that fails to consider political reality risks losing. think backwards on how you would feel about a trump victory in november, 2020. think of how you felt in november, 2016.

            • orionATL says:

              oh, and bmaz,

              don’t bother to state my position with your rhetoric; that is a cheap debating trick.

              there is not a sentence in your 1:38 comment that fairly or accurately represents what i have said.

              • bmaz says:

                My summary was accurate. And just two minutes ago, you confirmed you place cheap and mythical voter politics a year and a half in the future above defending the Constitution. You have repeatedly made that crystal clear. And it is a craven position. You think people don’t care? This bunk is exactly why. What a betrayal of the very document that millions of military casualties have fought and died to protect. You won’t even allow a solidified investigation to proceed. Yay America.

                • orionATL says:

                  bmaz, you are a pompous master of diatribe, by which i mean just what the dictionary says – bitter, abusive criticism or denunciation.

                  it is rare to see someone, other than your privileged self, blow their stack so rapidly, vapidly, and completely as you manage to do whenever challenged. come to think of it, i did not challenge you initially. you decided to visit a comment i made with your all too customary vituperation and bombast.

                  you are not your usual interesting self when you pull these tricks.

                  if anyone wants to understand the quality of your judgement on serious political issues they have only to visit your inane and scabrous twitter commentary in early 2016.

                  • bmaz says:

                    I have tried to be nice to you. Including personally babysitting you through joining Emptywheel after we left TNH. So, your willingness and predilection to attack me is inane and misplaced. I have always not only tolerated you, been nice to you, but defended you, constantly, when others attacked you in the past.

                    So long, and thanks for all the fish Orion.

                • orionATL says:

                  bmaz –

                  i will add i don’t think i have ever seen another commenter or moderator who can take the air out of the room and derail what could have been a fruitful discussion thru the use of vituperative language quite as effectively as you can.

                  as for impeachment, let’s see what happens. i would bet it will proceed slowly, beginning with the house member who first submits the resolution and the search to be certain there are plenty of votes to support it.

                    • Jockobadger says:

                      Hey bmaz, I’m at home, in bed, feeling like crap (nice sunny day too) and read this reply to Orion. Lol! Thanks. You’ve helped me here at EW and fwiw, much appreciated. Barked at me once or twice but I deserved it.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Jocko, I hope you feel better. Can sympathize with the feeling crappy when it is gorgeous just on the other side of the window. Fluids and rest!

  33. foggycoast says:

    not sure if this is discussed upthread: if Barr is now saying that Mueller could make the accusation if the evidence supported it what is preventing a call from the House committees to reopen the investigation to allow Mueller to now make that accusation and indict Trump on obstruction (assuming as we assume that he found sufficient evidence)?

  34. Star_Rover says:

    The Right’s echo-chamber will amplify this comment to fault Mueller for making Barr’s stalling and cover-up necessary:

    “because we were not involved in the investigation we would have no way of looking at the report determining what was grand jury material and what wasn’t, so we had for a period of weeks been asking the special counsel’s office to highlight the stuff so we could quickly process it for release.”

    First time I’ve seen this come up … is there any truth to it?

          • LeeNLP says:

            I honestly wish it were the case that Barr was “something else”, that dirty political tricksters masquerading as serious legal minds were the exception rather than the rule. My sense is that Roy Cohn-wannabes are a dime a dozen in the sort of world Trump inhabits. Indeed, I found Michael Cohen’s comments to the GOP congressmen rushing to play a role as Trump’s fixers, a role he understood all too well, to be quite insightful.

        • P J Evans says:

          Ah, “Epoch Times” – the newspaper of Falun Gong, and very far right. Not a reliable source, in short.

          • bmaz says:

            No, but we asked for a citation of the phenomenon Star was referencing. Don’t think he/she were adopting it.

        • Rayne says:

          So Barr was recorded saying it in the interview, and now Epoch Times is pushing this point in particular, while avoiding the fact Barr lied in this same interview.

          This is an information warfare tactic, redirecting attention away from the lies.

          Given all the other charges filed and investigations spun off by Special Counsel, all the content revealed in their “speaking indictments,” don’t you think the answer is already obvious? That what the public needs has already been revealed and the rest should be addressed by House-led investigations?

  35. Star_Rover says:

    This allegation was deemed important by Turley, and likely soon will feature as a talking point regarding the Mueller Report. Epoch Times was the only place I could find what Barr actually said.


    Is there any prior reportage of this request for Mueller to highlight Grand Jury stuff? Seems a response now is required from Mueller’s team or this comment will stand as truth.

    • Rayne says:

      You need to broaden your reading material and try harder if you are genuinely trying to find information. I’ve erased several replies now because I keep coming back to that point. Read more widely. Try harder.

      • Star_Rover says:

        Apparently Barr’s comment that Mueller did not follow DOJ requests to highlight Grand Jury parts of his report so that those could be easily redacted has been common knowledge to everyone for some time, but I somehow missed learning that until yesterday’s interview?

        Rightwing propagandists certainly are slipping-up in not using such an obviously strong talking point in their spiels against Mueller so far … but probably will now that Barr has reiterated it.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah, well I don’t know about that at all. Mueller said he fully redacted the executive summaries, which he thought should have been released instead of Barr’s completely dishonest 4 page “summary” and his later letter. Barr pretty much lied about that, which Mueller pointed out in a terse letter to Barr (actually two). Beyond the exec summaries Mueller submitted, the remainder of the Report was not known whether it would be released or not, so the remainder was always going to be up to both Barr and Mueller to redact. So, if Barr is saying this, it is yet another deception.

          • Star_Rover says:

            Since they do not contain anything requiring redaction, has there been any ‘justification’ from DOJ for not releasing the Executive Summaries … other than doing so probably would make impeachment a certainty?

  36. TomA says:

    Marci, I read all your columns and I understand where you’re coming from. But please direct some of your skill at the bad things that the FBI has done over the past couple of decades. They have been a rogue agency that has egregiously abused the civil rights of average citizens via the new tools of EC surveillance. They have clearly spied on journalists such as Rosen and Attkinson, and numerous members of Congress on both sides of the isle. They have done this with impunity and arrogance. They are (and remain) a loose cannon that can point at anyone, anytime, and for any reason they choose. They have not earned the right to be excused for this behavior. Please stand up for the courageous whistleblowers like Manning and Winner (and many others), who have been abused by the FBI. It’s high time they get reigned in and forced to be accountable for these abuses.

    • bmaz says:

      Seriously?? This blog has covered all of those topics in as deep, if not far deeper, than any other place. If you are not aware of that, you have not really read us over the years. Use the search function, you will find all of that. Also, her name is spelled Marcy. And Sharyl Attkisson’s allegations were demonstrated to be complete bunk.

    • Rayne says:

      Jesus Christ, you can’t even spell her name right but you’ve read all her columns? You’ve missed more than a decade’s worth of drubbings she’s given to the entire Department of Justice for their incursions on civil liberties?

  37. Rayne says:

    Ironic or code? I’m puzzled by the Alaska trip myself. The most serious shit is going down in D.C. and he’s off in Alaska?

  38. Loon says:

    Somewhat O/T, and my apologies if this has been covered, but Nunes and others are now saying that the transcript of Dowd’s call to Flynn’s lawyer was misrepresented in the Mueller report because the Mueller report didn’t include the part where Dowd said he wasn’t asking for “any confidential information.” I literally have right wing friends who now say this phrase is exculpatory information that the Mueller report deliberately left out and proves the whole investigation and report is hopelessly biased. Jeez … since IANAL, any education on this subject would be valued. Thanks.

    • Rayne says:

      Just as the case in your first comment back in January, this is a situation where an overbroad brush has been applied.

      That “any confidential information” fragment doesn’t do what they think it does, no matter how hard they try to spin it. The entire voicemail transcript depicts an ask for “some kind of heads up” — that’s the problem, asking for a signal. And then when Flynn’s lawyers refused, well, Dowd made it worse.

      The man should have retired a while ago. And you would have answered your question if you’d followed Marcy’s Twitter feed.

      • Loon says:

        Thank you. I do try to follow the feed as linked on this site and saw her tweets on the transcript – just wanted to ask about the Nunes response. My first thought was also that it really was just more of Nunes’ spin but I came to you all to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.

        • Rayne says:

          Oh, it’s definitely Nunes spin. He’s useful to the conspirators because what he does as a member of Congress, going to and from Congress. is protected by the Speech or Debate Clause — to a point. What we don’t know for certain is what Nunes receives in exchange for his utility as a MoC.

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      Dowd had two messages : one, he asked for a heads up if Flynn had information that implicated the president, and two, he wanted Flynn to be reminded that he was still held in favor by the president ( i.e., reminded of the pardon power).

      Perhaps what they were thinking was a preemptive pardon in case Flynn did have information that implicated the president?

      The more important thing to me is that the president’s lawyer believed it possible, and possibly likely, that there was evidence that implicated the president.

        • Loon says:

          Rayne – I completely agree with you. I never said or implied it was something different. I was inquiring about Nunes’ response so that I could have some more ammunition to counter the spin besides my own personal feeling. I trust EW, learn from you, and agree with nearly everything you, bmaz, and Marcy discuss. But give me a break – if was a question from a well-intentioned reader who loves your work. I would not want to be in your position with such a blog but I know that I’ll never comment again on the blog. But I’ll keep reading and please keep up the good work.

          • Rayne says:

            My point was that the fragment they are claiming is exculpatory has many other rebuttals — in this particular case, the very same voicemail is jam packed. You now have plenty of ammo for this one weak sauce claim.

            It won’t be the last whether you choose to comment or not. They’ll bring more if only to smother their targets.

          • bmaz says:

            Hi Loon. I sincerely hope that is not right, and you continue to join in. You are right, this is sometimes a difficult place to wrangle on the front end. And you and other readers and commenters see only a fraction of what we deal with. It comes and goes, of course, but the last couple of days have been, shall we say, challenging.

            That said, you have been fine. We bark back and forth even with long time regulars. Don’t sweat that. If you like this forum, and you seem to, keep contributing. That is why we still have a comment section when most all of our original contemporaries no longer do, or, if they do, they are a joke now. Sure, we police it, but it is out of a desire to keep it. So, hang in there.

            • Loon says:

              Thanks bmaz. The bizareness I’ve seen over the past few days just in my own circle has been incredible and I’m sure what you deal with is an order of magnitude worse. I was trying to put my finger on it and it smells of desperation. Rayne captured it with the phrase “smother their targets”.

            • Star_Rover says:

              Not many real forums left since the NYT ones died years ago (quousque ID there, hope Walter_Map is still with us), but their demise was due to too many ‘gamers’, usually doing a Rightie shtick. That is what we really are fighting, not any ideology … Fascism is gaming in essence.

              Some here are not dissimilar though nominally Left … Progressive is not a pejorative :·)

                • Star_Rover says:

                  Simple: Do you see existance (life, 42, whatever) as a game to be played, or something else?

                  I don’t know what it is … but it certainly isn’t a game.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Nope. Trump needs an enemy as water needs a vessel, to give him shape and purpose.

            • Mooser says:

              So Mueller is safe, but will have the ineffable satisfaction of watching the people on his team get destroyed?

              • Rayne says:

                I don’t know how you came up with that deduction. Maybe you’re with a different mob with different rules but the one fucking with our elections defenestrates, poisons, shoots, blows up, snowplows, or helicopters inconvenient people. And I don’t think anybody on Team Trump believes Mueller is anything but inconvenient.

                  • Rayne says:

                    Are we done striking? I don’t know that the identity of “we” is yet agreed upon, let alone whether the strike has finished its swing.

                    • Mooser says:

                      I certainly hope there is more to the strike. If they don’t get him on the swing, perhaps they will get him on the round-a-bout.

                      (As if I even know who “they” is anymore. Let alone “we”)

  39. Yohei72 says:

    I may have missed a discussion of this in the typically epic comment thread above, but: What realistic options are there for enforcing Judge Sullivan’s order to the DOJ to turn over the Flynn materials? If Barr et al. decide to burn down another norm and just keep saying, “Nope, you’re not getting them,” who’s to stop them? I know Sullivan’s gifted at tearing people a new one in his court, but what mechanism does he have to actually enforce? I can’t see the AG being hauled off by U.S. marshals or whoever for contempt of court, no matter how much he might deserve it.

    • bmaz says:

      Contempt order. There are contempt sanctions short of locking someone up, usually financial. But if there were to be a contempt detention, it would be an AUSA that is an attorney of record on the case, not Barr. And you are right, that is likely never going to happen. But I can easily see Emmet having a contempt hearing, yelling at them and imposing some kind of financial sanction.

      • Yohei72 says:

        Thanks for the insight. Of course, this question can easily turn into an infinite recursion – what if they say, “No, we’re not paying any fines,” etc.?

        The old “who watches the watchmen” paradox has been playing out all too vividly lately. What do you do when the highest law enforcement authority in the land is the lawbreaker?

  40. Bay State Librul says:

    Fast Forward to January 2021 and somehow the Dems take the Prez.

    Who would be nominated as Attorney General, and could that Attorney General once confirmed, turn over this hidden shit to the American people?
    Democracy died in darkness with Barr, can the light shine in with The “AG to be named later”?

    • Rayne says:

      Assuming the Dems could take the Senate AND whoever won didn’t take her for VP, I’d put my money behind Kamala Harris.

      Because a black woman going after corrupt crypto-Nazis, policing voter rights, monitoring white nationalist terrorists? Fuck yeah.

      • Badger Robert says:

        Harris defending the US against election terrorism, the US version of a truth commission? I’m down with. Maybe the guilty parties will all move to Moscow.

        • Rayne says:

          I know bmaz has problems with her but I think she could do a lot to restore faith within DOJ as an institution after the savaging it’s received during Trump years while handling the outward messaging necessary to do the same with the public. Could her nomination drag out into sunlight all her flaws? Yes — and she’d be on notice, because you can bet all the white nationalist Republicans would dog her mercilessly, perhaps even going so far as to stick up for persons of color who might be mistreated during her tenure. Imagine that.

    • Bay State Librul says:

      Good choice.
      I know it’s hard to get a handle on Mueller’s profile, but our friend (Maureen) at NYT has a fine article on Barr and Mueller.
      I agree: Don’t use double negatives and say what’s on your mind?
      Confusion is running rampant

      • bmaz says:

        Harris may not be a bad choice for AG, assuming, as Rayne says she is, not already higher on the ticket. And, if that is the case, I’d think she is almost the obvious choice. And her Senate seat would never be in jeopardy.

        She absolutely has the chops and gravitas to fill that post. But she also has some fairly hideous baggage from her time as the DA in San Francisco and AG for California. And it is almost impossible to emphasize just how much that is so. People nationally do not know and understand this like people here in the west do. There are serious issues there.

        • Badger Robert says:

          That would explain why Obama is looking elsewhere and why Senator Booker, among others, is willing to compete with her.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Indeed. Not Bidenesque levels of baggage, but serious luggage. It would probably not prohibit her becoming AG or SecDef, military, and law and order types love her sort of baggage. But her president would need to balancer her appointment with a more progressive one elsewhere.

          If she were to become AG, the drama shifts to who becomes head of the OLC, then the criminal division. Both appointees should be busy as hell.

          • bmaz says:

            Yes. Exactly. And who would be the DAG, who really runs the department. Whatever, Harris would be a lot better than what we have had under Trump. That is a given.

    • bmaz says:

      Marcy, who literally started at Kos long ago, before they were huge, got a shout out there in some roundup thingy?

      • P J Evans says:

        Yes. (She’s been mentioned there before, because she’s so good and has been on this so long.) They were actually quoting Joan Walsh, in “The Nation”.

        Respected intelligence analyst Marcy Wheeler tweeted immediately: “Shorter Mueller: That was an impeachment referral, damnit, now act on it.” Presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren both used the same “impeachment referral” language. May all the 2020 Democrats join in, and soon.

        Significantly, while Mueller made it clear he’d rather not testify before Congress, he did not say he would refuse to do so, if asked. “Any testimony would not go beyond our report. The work speaks for itself. I would not provide any information that is not in the report.”

      • P J Evans says:

        “APR”, as it’s called for short, is a summary of opinion pieces, the ones worth reading. (Charles Pierce, for one.)

  41. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Every time I see Barr on the tv, I hear part of what he says, amidst interruptions or interference. But it gives me the uber-creepies that he is exhibiting what I’d call ‘the Aspen look’, or ‘Sun Valley casual’.

    Marcy excels at breaking down the language.
    But the imagery and setting also matter.
    Barr’s interview conveys an oozy Jackson Hole/Aspen/Sun Valley don’t-question-me-I-make-all-the-rules vibe.

    If the sound had been louder, I’d almost have expected Barr to pontificate that ‘out West, where I vacation, the aspens are already turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them.’

    A whole lot of potential audience will glance at the screen, see yet another talking head with fireplace shot, and look away.
    Barr excels at propaganda.

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