I remember telling Swamp Rabbit’s parole officer last month that the Senate confirmation of William Barr for attorney general did not bode well for those of us who were hoping Robert Mueller’s report would be Trump’s undoing.
“Barr is Trump’s boy, Victor,” I said. “He’s the guy who wrote that Mueller’s investigation of possible obstruction of justice by Trump was ‘fatally misconceived.’ That’s why Trump nominated him for AG.”
It’s amazing. Everybody following the story understood that Barr believed in “broad presidential authority,” a belief he acted on while serving as AG for George H.W. Bush.
And we all knew that Barr said Trump was doing the right thing when he fired James Comey as FBI director, even though Trump had admitted in a TV interview that he fired Comey because of “the Russia thing.” (If that’s not an admission of obstruction, what is?)
And yet a lot of mainstream media types profess to be shocked that much of Barr’s four-page summary of special counsel Mueller’s report reads like a spin doctor’s press release for Trump. Barr wrote:
After reviewing the Special Counsel’s final report on these issues; consulting with Department officials, including the Office of Legal Counsel; and applying the principles of federal prosecution that guide our charging decisions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.
So Trump remains in the clear for now, partly because he and his Republican toadies in the Senate were and are in a position to appoint and control lawyers who interpret the law from an extreme right-wing perspective.
Footnote: Barr likes to pretend he is above the fray, on a plane that is purer than partisan politics, despite the fact that he is a militantly conservative Catholic and has been “associated with” the extreme right-wing Federalist Society and the equally extremist Heritage Foundation.
Another: The Mueller report hasn’t even been released for public scrutiny yet, but Republicans, citing Barr’s press release, are saying Trump has been exonerated. We’ll see about that.