Bill Barr’s Legal Exposure May Lead Him to Lie about the Hunter Biden Laptop

In case you missed it on Twitter, I am currently reading the former Attorney General’s fictional autobiography, which is predictably awful. I’ll write it up at more length in the days ahead.

The most newsworthy detail — by far! — in the parts I’ve read thus far is this admission describing how he “had” to open the Durham investigation, not because there was a suspected crime, but because Barr believes Trump’s “adversaries” pushed it to hobble his Administration.

I saw the way the President’s adversaries had enmeshed the Department of Justice in this phony scandal and were using it to hobble his administration. Once in office, it occupied much of my time for the first six months of my tenure. It was at the heart of my most controversial decisions. Even after dealing with the Mueller report, I still had to launch US Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the genesis of this bogus scandal.


I always suspected that the preelection peddling of Steele’s dossier and other similar collusion claims comprised an attempt to carry out a classic campaign dirty trick: first, develop scurrilous allegations about one’s opponent, then get them into the hands of an investigative authority, and, finally, leak the “fact” that the allegations are being investigated. This way, unverified allegations are publicized and given instant credibility on the theory that authorities thought them worthy enough to investigate. News organizations can justify publishing dubious allegations by claiming they are really just reporting the facts of a pending investigation. Before Election Day, the Clinton campaign had a good motive for instigating the collusion narrative: besides hurting Trump, it diverted attention from her own e-mail server scandal, which seemingly came to a head in early July when FBI director Comey held a news conference sharply criticizing Clinton for her mishandling of classified e-mails. [my emphasis]

Over and over, Billy situates in advance — sometimes even before he returned to government — his belief in conspiracy theories that John Durham is currently chasing. The book goes a long way to substantiating that Durham is and always was using a criminal investigation to tell a story developed before either Barr or Durham had looked at any evidence.

This entire three year investigation was started because Billy Barr wanted to get revenge, not because he wanted to investigate a crime.

That’s important background for a recent appearance Barr made to claim that the decision by social media companies not to allow the NY Post story on an unverified laptop go viral swung the election.

So when former staffer Larry Kudlow on Thursday interviewed former attorney general William P. Barr for his Fox Business show, the conversation operated from shared assumptions about Trump’s successes and the toxicity of the political left. The result was that Barr outlined a remarkable hierarchy of importance for actions that might have affected the results of a presidential contest.

Russian interference in 2016, he said, was just “some embarrassing emails about Hillary Clinton and Bernie.” The effort to “suppress” information about Hunter Biden’s laptop, meanwhile, was “probably even more outrageous” and “had much more effect on an election.”

Philip Bump lays out all the evidence that Barr’s claim the media ignored the story is false and links to a contemporaneous analysis of the uncertainties about the laptop — though not this recent, overlooked WaPo article that revealed “the data contained on the drive [that purportedly comes from Hunter Biden’s laptop] was so compromised by a variety of factors that definitive conclusions about most of its contents were impossible.”

Bump is wrong, in my opinion, to treat this recent Hunter laptop surge as a mere political conversation on the right. It’s not. It is part of a plan to undermine the investigation — and likely, by then, prosecution — of Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to obtain dirt that is believed to closely if not exactly resemble what he ended up releasing under the guise of a discovered abandoned Hunter Biden laptop. If Republicans win the House, Jim Jordan will dedicate the resources of the House Judiciary Committee full time to investigating this “story,” and will use it to sabotage whatever legal proceedings are working against Rudy at that point.

And that’s why it’s important that a once respected lawyer is going on TV endorsing conspiracy theories.

After all, Barr is legally implicated himself.

As I said, I’ll write far more about the lies Barr told in his narrative. But one key detail is his explanation for appointing Richard Donoghue as a gate-keeper over any Ukraine investigations.

In January, as the impeachment process headed toward conclusion, Deputy Attorney General Rosen issued a memo to all US attorneys’ offices designating Richard Donoghue, the US attorney in the Eastern District of New York, to coordinate Ukraine-related cases. This was done not just for efficiency but also to protect the department from manipulation by foreign interests. As we headed into an election year, we had good reason to worry that Ukraine—a hotbed of political intrigue and conspiracy theories—posed a special concern. It was a channel through which all sides could inject disinformation into our system. This could be done by feeding spurious “evidence” of supposed criminality to US law enforcement authorities. This vulnerability was compounded in a Justice Department in which any one of ninety-three US attorneys’ offices around the country can initiate an investigation based on information it receives. In addition to ensuring information sharing and avoiding conflicts, we wanted to ensure that Ukrainian actors couldn’t instigate cases willy-nilly in different jurisdictions around the country. For this reason, we selected one office to take the lead and also serve as a “traffic cop,” coordinating existing and any new cases. Rich Donoghue was chosen for this role because he already had related matters pending in his Brooklyn office and was one of the most experienced and respected US attorneys in the department.

This is not entirely a lie. It is true that Jeffrey Rosen wrote a memo giving Donoghue veto authority over any investigations pertaining to Ukraine. But the move had the exact opposite effect of what Barr claimed in his narrative.

It had the effect of ensuring that Rudy could continue to chase disinformation from a known Russian agent, Andrii Derkach, to use in the election with no legal consequences.

On November 4, 2019, SDNY executed searches — searches that Main Justice would have had to be informed about — on Rudy and Victoria Toensing’s cloud accounts. In subsequent months, SDNY would execute searches on Yuri Lutsenko and several other Ukrainians, but not Andrii Derkach, not even after Rudy flew to Ukraine to meet with Derkach personally on December 5, 2019.

In the wake of those searches, on January 17, 2020, Jeffrey Rosen issued a memo putting his trusted deputy, Richard Donoghue, in charge of all Ukraine-related investigations.

As has been publicly reported, there currently are several distinct open investigations being handled by different U.S. Attorney’s Offices and/or Department components that in some way potentially relate to Ukraine. In addition, new information potentially relating to Ukraine may be brought to the attention of the Department going forward. The Department has assigned Richard Donoghue, the U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY), who currently is handling certain Ukraine-related matters, to coordinate existing matters and to assess, investigate, and address any other matters relating to Ukraine, including the opening of any new investigations or the expansion of existing ones.


Any and all new matters relating to Ukraine shall be directed exclusively to EDNY for investigation and appropriate handling.


Any widening or expansion of existing matters shall require prior consultation with and approval by my office and EDNY.

Now that we know about the Rudy search in November 2019, the effect of this memo is clear: it limited the SDNY investigation to the scope of the investigation as it existed at that time, into the Lutsenko attempt to fire Yovanovitch (which was included in the original Parnas indictment), but not Rudy’s meeting with a Russian agent to help Trump win re-election.

Instead, EDNY presided over all the Ukraine goings-on during the election, during which time they could have done something about ongoing tampering. Indeed, after Geoffrey Berman succeeded in ensuring that Audrey Strauss would replace him after Barr fired him to try to shut down ongoing investigations (including, undoubtedly, the one into Rudy and Barr’s friend Victoria Toensing), Barr and Rosen replaced Donoghue with another trusted flunky, Seth DuCharme. Under DuCharme, then, EDNY sat and watched while Derkach interfered in the election and did nothing until — per yesterday’s NYT story — “the final months of the Trump administration.” According to the public timeline, it appears that they just let a known Russian agent play around in our democracy.

This step didn’t protect American democracy from Russian tampering. It protected the Russian tampering.

And now Barr is out there claiming that an effort by social media companies to protect democracy was the real crime.

87 replies
  1. skua says:

    Democracy itself is the crime for the theocratic subscriber to authoritarian, medieval interpretations of the writings of a first century Jewish sect.

    Our very troubled social media companies seem to have, in this instance, been accomplices to what Barr seeks to purge us of.

  2. flerzo says:

    He stipulates that both sides would use Ukraine to insert stories. This is typical projection. He is aware that his side is using it, and is making up a both sides narrative. Then he puts in an overseer so that only one side will be able to use that route, and to protect them while they are at it…

    Same old playbook. Accuse the other side of whatever nefarious thing you are doing. If your side is found out, claim the other side is making up theories to protect their own activities, which you made up in the first place. Finally, if this does not work, muddy the waters leaving the impression that both sides did it.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      Yep. The quotes are filled with such “projection”. Who is more qualified than a Republican like Barr to explain how a “classic campaign dirty trick” would work. Convenient as it is, I have never liked the use of the word “projection”. Projection is an unconscious psychological process, the opposite of calculated.

      • Tom R. says:

        Dear DME:
        *) Not every car crash is an accident. Just ask Heather Heyer.
        *) By the same token, as a point of terminology, not every instance of projection is inadvertent. The English word has been around for more than 140 years that I know of, and AFAICT inadvertence has never been part of the definition. The Latin verb projecto — meaning accuse — has been around for thousands of years.

        Rather than throwing away a perfectly good word, let’s continue to use projection without hesitation. You can add adjectives such as “vicious and calculated” if that’s what you mean.

        • paulumba says:

          Actually, the English word, “projection,” and the Latin word, “projecto” are both derived from the Latin verb, “proicio, proicere, projeci, projectus” meaning “to throw forth.” Some editors spell the 3rd and 4th principal parts with the letter “i” instead of a “j”. “Projecto” has the iterative or emphatic suffix ‘to’ added to the stem “projec.”

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Well, the psychological definition is what is at issue here, and that was first mentioned by Freud in an 1895 letter. Psychologically, I do think the process is unconscious.

          Nonetheless, I’ll accept your suggestion and let this be one less burr in my saddle.

        • grennan says:

          “Projection” was the term Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth I’s spymaster, used for what we’d call sting operations. Like the one that finally nabbed Mary, Queen of Scots.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          As I’ve thought about your reply, I’ve come to realize that you did not understand my comment, nor do I think you understand the background of using “projection” to refer to how Republicans are behaving when they accuse Democrats of doing what they do. We are not saying Republicans are doing something tantamount a ship’s bow projecting into the sea, nor even Putin attempting to project his power into Ukraine. The term comes from a psychological process, a defense mechanism in which the individual projects qualities that they cannot accept as part of themselves onto another individual. This is a nearly universal process and is done unconsciously. Examples of projection can be seen in almost every heated marriage argument: “You’re the angry one!” “No! You’re the angry one!” The term is quite apt as applied to the behavior of the right for many years now. I’m merely registering that the one flaw in coining this term to apply to political debate is that, as a process within the individual, projection is unconscious, but as applied to groups acting politically, the behavior is almost always calculated.

        • Leoghann says:

          Simple observation reveals that projection occurs both unconsciously and consciously, depending on the person and situation. Sociopaths use it freely, just to sully the waters of attempted honesty in relationships.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Jeez. Tough crowd. “Simple observation”, huh?

          So, my comment is met with a long, strange, irrelevant discussion about the meaning of projection not in the sense that it used here, to which i respond, I think sensibly. And my attempt at clarity is met with a dismissive remark that amounts to “whatever your point you’re obviously wrong.”

          I’m sorry to be so blunt, but this feels less like a discussion and more like a dick-wagging contest. “Simple observation”. Is it obvious that psychopaths are acting consciously when they maliciously deploy projection? Answer: of course not. Does Trump have self=awareness? Hell no. Does Trump understand that his recent statement the he is “the most honest human being God ever created” is absurd? The chances of that are vanishingly small..

          Anyway, this is the second time on this website I’ve met with people taking themselves too seriously to be engaged with fruitfully. It’s my one complaint here. Certainly this thread has not been enlightening in any way, and I’m sorry for my part in creating it. I still hold that there is a minor issue with taking the word projection from psychology and applying it to politics in this way because it carries in some way an air of innocence. It is an extremely minor remark and not really worthy of much discussion, certainly not worthy of tracing the history of the word from ancient times. But as it is, there has been exactly zero discussion of the minor point I hoped to make.

          I realize that I do not have the background and research skills to add much to the investigations and clarifying discussions that are the heart of this website. I greatly appreciate the contributions from those who do use their skills so usefully. Henceforth, I will return to lurking.

          “Simple observation.” You don’t even bother to explain yourself. So condescending.

        • TDBach says:

          If I may jump in, gingerly. Projection is the process of projecting one’s own flaws, motive, whatever on another. Freud saw it as an oft-employed unconscious defense mechanism which a therapist can usefully learn from and make their patient aware of for therapeutic ends. But that’s only the unconscious variety. The conscious variety is intentionally manipulative. It’s also popularly known as “gaslighting.” That’s my two cents, and it’s worth at least half as much.

        • praxEs says:

          Yet, scientific psychology has rejected just about all of Freud’s speculations and offers entirely different variables, explanations and theories for his short list of colorful, yet nonsensical offerings. Some have famously observed that contemporary college English Departments are pretty much the only place left among America’s universities where one might find ‘scholarship’ of a freudian variety.

          When I spoke of scientific psychology, I intended to encompass academic psychology as it is pursued by those who have reached a sophisticated understanding of the experimental designs and statistical analyses required to conduct publishable research in first rate, peer-reviewed journals and to even make sense out of other scholars’ published articles.

          Our culture is thoroughly imbued with rich metaphors about science matters and especially human behavior that are either antithetical or just plain irrelevant to scientific understanding.

          Are you (vous) one of the folks who believes that stress causes ulcers? Well — you would be wrong! Helicobactor pylori is the correct answer and we have known this for decades.

          Were you a parent who was part of the ‘self-esteem’ movement of a decade or two ago? Well — you would be wrong! Demonstrated performance is antecedent to self-esteem much more than there is an important effect in the other direction.

          ‘Simple observation’ is profoundly bounded by the concepts, expectations and observational methods employed by observer.

          It is baffling to me that one would find straight-faced defenses of any of freud’s musings, nor any of his accolades, nor even much of the derivative psychodynamic points of view on this site.

          I can’t resist raising one more belief imbedded in our culture that derives from the ancient, so-called frustration-aggression hypothesis and is terribly wrong! Punching and kicking stuff to ‘release’ frustration’ increases rather than decreases subsequent aggression. So much for the wacky hydraulic model offered by John Dollard and his colleagues in 1939 as they attempted to shoe horn freud into then contemporary learning theories.

    • Krisy Gosney says:

      One side is evil (they support abortion and contraception and LGT rights and existence) so their interference is evil. The other side is not evil (they do not support abortion and contraception and LGT rights and existence) and their interference is in the service of god.

  3. Al Ostello says:

    “Mark Meadow’s cell phone is everything Republicans wish Hunter Biden’s laptop was”

    — Jeff Tiedrich

  4. Grung_e_Gene says:

    Chain-of-Custody does not matter when yo have a piece of the True Cross err, Laptop.

    And the Laptop and all it contains is the repository of all the 2020 election. Unironically, for the likes of Glem Greenwald who genuflects before it’s holiness and ironically for We, the People who are on the cusp of falling into the grasp of the Fascists.

  5. Alan Charbonneau says:

    Barr writes: “This way, unverified allegations are publicized and given instant credibility on the theory that authorities thought them worthy enough to investigate”

    That was the what Trump’s first impeachment was all about, an attempt to publish that an investigation was initiated into the Bidens; there is no evidence of wrongdoing, but they simply wanted an announcement of an investigation for the exact reasons Barr states about unverified allegations. He understands the irony here, but he has no shame.

    • Al Ostello says:

      Shamelessness is a prerequisite for being in the GOP

      (Your reminder that in 2016 the email lady waited 24 hours to concede the election and the entire wingnut outrage-industrial complex lost their fucking minds and fell all the fuck over themselves in a mad dash to declare her the sorest loser in the universe) lol

  6. joel fisher says:

    I’m so glad the insightful eyes of EW are on Billy Barr. The entirety of his tenures at Justice were triumphs in the area of normalizing the steady process of eroding the limited democracy we have. What bothers me the most is not the fact that bad people do bad things–that’s hardly news–but the complete impunity with which officials at the JD can lie to each other without consequence. Certainly Barr, Durham, and others have made false statements–“phony Russia investigation” leaps to mind and is 1000s of times more significant than, “I’m not working for a client.”–to the FBI and the federal LE people who are working with them. Nobody seems to care. Why are they immunized? What’s the public policy benefit from having LE protected in this way? Anyway, keep up the good work.

    • notjonathon says:

      You know that they are following Plato, who said that it is permissible for authorities to lie in the service of the state, but that the people must not be allowed to lie to the authorities.

    • Al Ostello says:

      I concur. I can’t even listen to him (or most of the GOP) speak at all.

      Thankfully Dr. Marcy is hardcore about her work. A million thanks !

      • LeeNLP says:

        Dr. Wheeler reminds me of a surgeon going about her business saving a patient’s life by doing the thing most humans find most objectionable- cutting through living human tissue. Bless her and all who bring such patience and skill to life-critical tasks (including the life of a democracy) that others couldn’t and wouldn’t do.

  7. BobCon says:

    This tweet about Ken Vogel and John Solomon has me wondering:

    What happens if evidence of Vogel shows up on the Giuliani devices seized by DOJ?

    I assume if it’s in the form of email or messages which directly conect to a trial, then it goes public. It’s less clear to me what happens if, say, there is a record of 20 calls back and forth between Vogel and Giuliani right before one of Vogel’s idiotic articles.

    Are there avenues for suspicious but not provably criminal behavior to become public via the usual process of bringing a case to trial? Does the 1/6 Committee, for example, have an avenue to obtain and release this? Is it accessible via FOIA? I realize leaks are theoretically an option, but that avenue is fraught. Or do we need to rely on the NY Times policing itself (Ha!).

    • Rayne says:

      Vogel needs to worry about any communications which suggest he learned about criminal behavior he didn’t report to authorities (hello, Branzburg v. Hayes).

      That, and he needs to worry about the people he’s blocked because he doesn’t like to be criticized. This particular elephant will not forget.

      • BobCon says:

        At a functional news outfit I would have a healthy degree of confidence that Vogel wouldn’t be on his beat if there wasn’t a lot of background editorial oversight that has overseen him and made sure he’s not compromised.

        But recent reporting makes it seem awfully clear that Baquet is checked out on the news side and different beats are doing whatever they feel like.

        Coverage of the Cotton and Palin disasters make it clear that AG Sulzberger is weak, dumb, and a fan of the intellectual rot at his paper, and there is no sign in the cleanup that he has any clue either.

        Judith Miller was a wreck for the Times, but the damage was mitigated somewhat because she was at least selling out the paper’s reputation for an American in Cheney.

        AG Sulzberger and his cronies are too stupid to understand that Vogel is threatening to crash the paper’s reputation for Putin as he is literally murdering innocents.

        • Rayne says:

          This article is pure stenography. No, I take that back: it’s public relations material built up around whatever Giuliani said to Vogel.

          Rudy Giuliani Plans Ukraine Trip to Push for Inquiries That Could Help Trump

          In other words, propaganda. There’s nothing newsworthy in it at all, regurgitation from one side preparing to build fake evidence to smear Biden through his son.

          The piece Vogel wrote published two days later wasn’t much better except that the principals had been called out and their plans had to be revamped leading up to the infamous quid pro quo “perfect call” Trump made on Ukraine’s Zelenskyy.

          Rudy Giuliani Cancels His Trip to Ukraine, Blaming Democrats’ ‘Spin’

          There’s no way Vogel can walk this back; he was deeply integrated in Giuliani and Trump’s plans to squeeze Ukraine into helping Trump’s re-election and he’s continued to allow himself to be used like toilet tissue in spite of repeated criticism about his work. There’s no way Dean Baquet can rationalize this. It’s been NYT’s history since the 1930s to be handmaiden to fascists; it doesn’t look like the outlet will change its business model anytime soon.

  8. harpie says:

    – Here’s a TL of 2018 related to #J6TL, and 2019 is just below that:
    – The info about the CNP meeting is still further down in that comment section.
    – Here I’m adding some BARR highlights, and showing how they fit in those TL’s, with the [slightly modified :-)] entries just before and after:

    XX/XX/18 [“in the end of 2018”] Ginni [SCOTUS Spouse] and Clarence [Note to Media: SCOTUS is NOT! political] THOMAS dine with TRUMP/Melania at WH
    ++12/7/18 TRUMP announces nomination of BARR to replace SESSIONS as AG
    12/10/18 Pat CIPOLLONE becomes WH Counsel

    1/24/19 Ginni [SCOTUS Spouse] THOMAS hands TRUMP a political Purge / Replace list at WH mtg
    ++2/14/19 BARR confirmed as AG
    2/19/19 Clarence [ Note to Media: SCOTUS is NOT! political] THOMAS issues a remarkable unjoined concurrence designed to support TRUMP’s frequently expressed desire to “loosen up libel laws” against the news media
    ++5/XX/19 BARR appoints DURHAM to lead probe into origins of FBI Russia election interference investigation
    5/16/19 – 5/18/19 CNP holds mtg called 2020 Vision at The Ritz-Carlton in McLean, VA.
    Ginni [SCOTUS Spouse] THOMAS and her friend [“I’m not asking you Cleta, honestly”] MITCHELL share their plans about how to Start the Steal of the 2020 Presidential election.

    [Mayer]: [MITCHELL] warned that Democrats were successfully registering what she sarcastically referred to as “the disenfranchised.” […] “They know that if they target certain communities and they can get them registered and get them to the polls, then those groups . . . will vote ninety per cent, ninety-five per cent for Democrats.”

      • Eureka says:

        Billy “Barr the the door to the plane”

        after a combination of:

        Bill “I’m landing the plane right now” Barr


        “Katy, bar the door”

        Or just Bill “[busy] landing the plane” Barr if you want to go more straightforward.

        • Eureka says:

          Alternate, via a Trump quote about him:

          Bill “a disappointment in every sense of the word” Barr

          I don’t have the book but there are also options re Barr quotes about Trump”

          Bill “Trump is a “maniac” “unreasonable” “off the rails” Barr.

        • Eureka says:

          … I call him plain “Billy Barr the door” (covers the broader territory) [line dropped out of edit above]

          I think of Durham as Barr’s vassal.

      • Desider says:

        “Bull Durham” still fits so right.
        “BarrBarr the Elephant” has a certain cachet – thinking of BillyBoy and elephants racking – wonder if he changes steps between administrations…

      • Tom says:

        In my mind, I always associate the name Bill Barr with an imaginary Dairy Queen ice cream treat, as in: “Hey kids, try a Billy Bar! The original Shit on a Stick!”

        Reading the excerpt from BB’s book above, the term “Barr-Faced Lie” also comes to mind.

      • harpie says:

        These are ALL wonderful! LOL!
        I want to get them all together. [Let me know if I’ve missed any!]

        – Billy BARR [the plane door]
        – Bill [busy landing the plane] BARR
        – Bill [a disappointment in every sense of the word] BARR
        – Bill [Trump is a “maniac/unreasonable/off the rails] BARR
        – Billy BARR [the door]
        – Billy [his Barrf is bigger than his byte] BARR
        – Billy [Spun damn thing grafts another] BARR
        – Billy [BarrBarr] BARR
        – Billy [the original Shit on a Stick!] BARR
        – Billy BARR [-faced Lie]
        – Billy [Where’s My Roy Cohn] BARR
        – Billy [Low-] BARR
        – Billy [Dis-] BARR
        – Billy BARR [-none]
        – Billy [getting my Murdochs in a row] BARR


        – John [BARR’s vassal] DURHAM
        – – John [Bull] DURHAM

        • harpie says:

          More possibilities: a combo:

          – Billy [“a disappointment in every sense of the word”] BARR [-none]
          – Billy [Low-] BARR [-none]

        • harpie says:

          [This is too much fun]

          – Billy [“Where’s My Roy Cohn”] BARR [- faced lie]
          – Billy [getting my Murdochs in a row] BARR [- faced lie]

  9. What Constitution? says:

    “Dis-Barr” and “Bull Durham”. If that’s not too many notes. But Durham deserves very little attention in a rational world — he’s only in it to throw mud such that any attention he receives is little more than successful distraction — while Barr represents a type of cancer that merits intense attention and attack. “Low Barr” or “Barr None” also come to mind.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Barr is normalizing the politicization of the DoJ that he accuses the Democrats of committing – all in service to the king. He’s been doing that his entire career in government.

    As for his lying about the alleged Hunter Biden laptop – no data on which is reliable – why would that be different from anything else Barr says? :-)

    • Raven Eye says:

      This is crazy. Barr normalizes politicization of DOJ — the GOP takes that up as the norm — and is able to immediately apply that to a non-GOP administration. This is a self-licking ice cream cone on the scale of a Readi-Mix truck.

      Reminds me of a FEMA conference I attended in Emmitsburg post-Katrina: FEMA was arguing that since they screwed the response up so badly, they were the only ones with the experience to fix things. The GOP can now wave the same kind of flag with respect to DOJ.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Not an original argument. Executives who manage their companies into bankruptcy court say it all the time: “We’re the only people on earth who could possibly manage this company out of bankruptcy. So pay us more, make it a priority not subject to competing claims, and drop all pre-bankruptcy claims against us for fucking up.” Works nearly every time.

        Leads to a lot of abuse, whereas labor is treated like a sack of potatoes and has to take a haircut or lose their jobs. Personally, I would make it a rebuttable presumption that senior executives and directors be prohibited from continuing to run the company – and be prohibited from serving as directors at any other company.

        • P J Evans says:

          If I were a judge on one of those, I would probably say something like “You managed it into bankruptcy. That is good evidence that you are incapable of managing it out of bankruptcy, as if you were capable it wouldn’t *be* in bankruptcy.”.

  11. Terry Mroczek says:

    Another great article from Marcy! I look forward to your unparalleled analysis and references.
    That passage from Barr’s book makes me think that he is cognitively challenged. I’ve read the books by Strzok, McCabe, Comey, Simpson and Fritsh regarding the origins of the Russia investigations and how many similarities they have. In order to write that passage, Barr would have to completely disregard testimony, FBI interviews, documented timelines and rationalize away so many facts, that it would require a completely twisted mind – or one that is compromised. I’ve thought for a long time that repeated exposure to conspiracy theories and otherwise unproven ideology actually diminishes one’s capacity to observe and interpret cause / effect connections and draw accurate conclusions. I believe that is the source of the greatest danger to our democracy.

    • mass interest says:

      “…completely twisted mind…,” not cognitively challenged.

      Barr knows exactly what he’s doing and why he is/has been doing it. And will continue.

  12. WilliamOckham says:

    It might be entertaining if Sussman’s lawyers put Bill Barr on their witness list.

    Yes, I realize that the U.S. federal criminal justice system has higher goals that providing me with entertainment.

      • BobCon says:

        It would be fascinating to see him confronted for once by someone who was fully prepped for him and he was in a situation where there was nowhere for him to hide.

        He’s spent pretty much the past 45 years making sure he’s never in that situation, so I doubt it happens, but I can dream.

      • Peterr says:

        With the accounts of Barr’s actions as described in his own book, it’s as if he is begging to be called to testify.

        Give the man what he wants, I say.

    • klynn says:

      I hope Will offers to start the whole army of Erics.

      More would sign up than I think anyone realizes.

      • BobCon says:

        Bunch’s tribute is great, and Boehlert did tremendous work.

        On the offhand chance Bunch ever reads this, my one suggestion is that he goes further to name names than just Baquet. People like Bunch have a greater opportunity to uncover the execs, producers, and editors who are really running the show, and we desperately need that spotlight.

        Reporters bear the brunt of it because they show up on camera and get the bylines, but it’s critical we understand the involvement of people like Patrick Healy and Peter Wallsten in the discourse, for better or worse. Their invisibility is a big blind spot.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        From Will’s piece:

        “[T]his country needs a small army of Eric Boehlerts — people who can prod journalism to see beyond the next Georgetown cocktail party to understand that we stand on the brink of an America where leaders won’t just call reporters “the enemy of the people” but will act aggressively on those authoritative impulses.

        We need, but don’t have, Eric Boehlert and an army of reporters like him. What we don’t need are would be journalists like the Glenn Greenwald we still have.

  13. Theresa N says:

    I’ve always appreciated Marcy’s in depth reporting on Barr. Thank you.
    I saw this article today.
    Barr & the Murdoch’s – how do you fight this disinformation machine?
    Paywall is not up because they allow a certain # of articles to be gifted each month. Here are a couple excerpts on Barr & the family.
    “Lachlan, meanwhile, sent another powerful signal about his leanings even before his March 29 speech when he attended a book party last month celebrating former Trump attorney general William P. Barr.”

    “Barr is tight with Rupert Murdoch, and he signaled an embrace of Lachlan as well at the party — thanking him by name for traveling all the way from California for the event, and adding that it was Lachlan and his father who encouraged him to write the book at a time when Barr was hesitant.”

  14. Thomas says:

    In previous posts, I was wrong about the publication date of Peter Schweizer’s book “Secret Empires”
    The publication date was March 20, 2018. In this book is the original, fictional story about Joe Biden/Hunter Biden/Burisma/Viktor Shokin.
    The allegations in the book do not match real world facts about what happened.
    Schweizer is the inventor of this set of lies.

    In other sources, I have read that Steve Bannon and Rebekah Mercer were also involved in putting the book together.

    These three poisonous liars are also the source of the debunked lies in the book “Clinton Cash.”
    Sessions appointed a special prosecutor, John Huber, to “investigate” the jacked up lies about Hillary Clinton that are in this book for two years, before the “investigation” was closed with NO indictments.

    Republicans need to be aggressively prosecuted for their extreme abuses of power.
    Quite simply, MANY OF THEM must be thrown in prison for decades to put a stop to their extremely abusive criminality.

    I hope that Rudy Giuliani’s crime spree in which he attempted to SELL THE FRAUD that is in Schweizer’s book, comes to an end with 25 years in prison for the two dozen criminals who assisted him.

    I check every day to find out if the SDNY investigation has finished presenting the evidence to a grand jury.

    The LAPTOP is a part of this whole fraud scheme. How could Schweizer’s fictional stories be “verified” by Hunter Biden’s laptop? The answer is THEY CAN’T BE.

    Republicans “investigate” LIES that they invent. They must be kicked out of any position of authority that allows them to abuse power and commit crimes. The entire party is a racketeering and grifting scheme. They aren’t a legitimate political party.

    • bmaz says:

      “Republicans need to be aggressively prosecuted for their extreme abuses of power.
      Quite simply, MANY OF THEM must be thrown in prison for decades to put a stop to their extremely abusive criminality.”

      For exactly what crimes? For writing a crappy book? Seriously, people have to stop looking at the criminal justice system, and the prison system, to solve their political issues. It is not going to happen, and it would be sick if it did.

      • Sonso says:

        Unfortunately, the 3rd rail of American politics is, as Bill Maher (and others going back 100+ years) stated long ago, Americans are stupid. We revel in it, and thus evidence, intellectual thought, and scientific process are beyond ~half the population. Because this can’t be fixed in short order, it ‘slouches towards Bethlehem’. Apologies to Rayne, but we really are close to collective doom.

        • Rayne says:

          Doesn’t help your case to rely on Bill Maher. There has always been a percentage of the public which is authoritarian, and it’s their nature to rely on their authority figures’ opinions rather than their own intellect. They still wanted good King George rather than risk building a new nation.

          I’ll argue we’re in future shock — our technological prowess has outstripped our ability to comprehend it, and at all levels of our society not just those who’ve been denied or refused education. This is a key reason why digital agitprop got ahead of the public’s understanding of the risks social media poses to democracy. People thought they were merely taking fun tests on favorite colors/actors/foods when they were taking A/B tests to screen out their political leanings for weaponization.

          Save the apology and spend some time with younger people. They are fucking smart in spite of GOP’s stranglehold on investment in education. They’ve had to survive our navel gazing and self pity while we’ve sucked up all the resources.

        • Thomas says:

          Absolutely, Rayne!
          I do not think that prosecution of the Republican Party is a silver bullet for all of our ills? How could it be? If we jail a purse snatcher, will that effectively eliminate theft? If we roll up a grand larceny gang, will that eliminate theft?
          No it will not.
          But the fact that we cannot abolish human vice is NOT a good reason to tolerate kleptocracy. We must do what we can to.mitigate it and check it, if we don’t want to be ruled by crime bosses, like people are in Russia.
          The most effective thing that we can do in this decade to preserve our republic is to reform the corporate system.
          Corporate charters are tools, like hammers. You can build a house with a hammer, or you can murder someone with it. The abusive oligarchs want to convince you that if you want to build houses, then you must tolerate murder by hammer. Just let the murders go, they say. You want houses, don’t you?
          But I am onboard for a reorganization of our educational system as well. And thank you for reminding me.

      • Thomas says:

        Of course I am not suggesting that Republicans should be prosecuted for writing a crappy book.
        I’m suggesting that they should be prosecuted for their elaborate frauds. No one has a right to be a liar. No one has a right to commit fraud. No one has a right to conduct false prosecutions. The purpose of the legal system is not to afford “playtime” for rich, falsely aggrieved crackpots. We need to make them pay a price for that, and wealth inequality is so extreme in our soceity that the only just way to make these felons pay a price is by jailing them and confiscating everything that they have.
        These people are millionaires and billionaires but they spend their time scheming to commit felonies. Without confiscation and jail, they are undeterred.
        As a observer of history and politics over the last 50 years, I have witnessed the rise of the unrestrained criminality of the Republican Party. They have been orchestrating deliberate frauds over and over. They use propaganda techniques to deliberately defraud, again and again. They are not held accountable for these frauds, and they compound this criminal behavior with larceny on a grand scale, abusive false investigations, bribery and extortion. They are not a legitimate political entity. They are an organized crime entity.

        In answer to such critiques, they have whataboutism to offer. They believe if they can find one corrupt Democrat who has been held accountable, then that justifies their unaccountable crime syndicate. So, their response is gaslighting. More fraud, in other words.
        Fox News, and all the responsible 8ndividuals there, need to be indicted for wire fraud and racketeering. They are an organization that exists to commit crimes and provide a propaganda platform for criminals. Yes I know they will wave the First Amendment flag, but the FA is not an absolute. There are exceptions and this country needs a legally defined standard that puts frauds in jail. We need to have that fight.
        The brazen criminality is so obvious that the case will be won.

        • Thomas says:

          In recent months, the leadership of the Republican Party has been making threats that they will “get even” with the Democrats for investigating crimes that millions of us witnessed! They threaten to launch false investigations about lies they invented.

          They threaten to turn the House of Representatives into a an ACTUAL witchhunting institution as “revenge” for investigations and prosecutions of the crimes they committed or supported. They intend to elevate their crackpot accusations and false grievances and defraud the country with them.

          Understand this: they are threatening to commit widespread felonies in a systematic fashion if they attain power, and they are already committed to overthrowing our system so that they can remain in power permanently and willfully commit any criminal schemes they wish with impunity.
          I think having the fight I outlined above is more than justified.

          We cannot allow pretenders to aristocratic power to rig the econo.ic system, abuse the legal system, systematically defraud a large percentage of the population, and organize paramilitaries to enforce their illegimate reign in the streets.

          Not only is this the path to power that was taken by the iconic fascists of the 20th century, but this method of overthrowing a regime was successfully prosecuted by Justice Jackson at Nuremberg. It was the first of the crimes for which the Nazis were convicted and it enabled all the rest.

        • Rayne says:

          First, you want prosecutions. So name the crimes. We have laws. Point to where laws have been violated and by whom and then go after them.

          But not here in our comments, we’re already doing that work.

          Second, you want reform in a number of different areas of society. Write up your manifesto, organize people around it, make the change happen.

          But not here in our comments because our mission is ours, not yours.

          You’ve now written 1040 words from your initial comment through your replies beneath the same comment under a post about Bill Barr — and you haven’t mentioned Barr once in those 1040 words. This is DDoSing this thread. Move it along.

        • Buleriando says:

          My family is from the Netherlands. Several of them were in the resistance during WWII. The current parallels with ’30s Germany scare the shit out of me.

          EDIT: Rayne, sorry if this is OT.

      • CD54 says:

        Maybe political action — like nationally televised, hot lights testimony under oath which squeezes the liars to eat their lies or commit false statements? And maybe become a well-known, certain, and dependable treat for the lying liars.

        In spite of his baggage Alan Grayson did put on a seminar on Committee questioning, but please just leave it to the workhorse staff attorneys.

  15. Zinsky says:

    It is truly appalling that a former attorney general of the United States would be admitting misuse of the DOJs discretionary investigative process in a book and presumably, getting paid large sums of money for doing so. Bill Barr is an utterly shameless man. After his prior misdeeds in covering up Iran-Contra for Bush I and the emasculation of the Mueller Report in 2019 and misleading the American public on what it said, I cannot even look at the man without feeling physically ill.

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