Barr performed so evasively that he’s decided that he can’t appear before the House judiciary committee today. This causes a possible two-day delay perhaps because he doesn’t want to be questioned further without the kind of gaps in preparation he showed yesterday. He already has let us see past the sausage casing to see that Mueller did truly want Congress to do its duty.
Biggest non-surprise of the day. https://t.co/qYtjWl4APP
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) May 1, 2019
The thrust of the letter is that DOJ doesn't provide sensitive case files to Congress.
This is the exact opposite posture that DOJ took in providing access to an enormous number of sensitive Russia probe case files in 2018. https://t.co/GtzKbqBAPM
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) May 2, 2019
Any shred of credibility William Barr still had after the Mueller report was destroyed today during his hearing
One part of the hearing today was particularly eyebrow-raising. As Mueller’s report outlines, President Trump called then-White House Counsel Don McGahn twice in May 2017, asking him to get Mueller removed as Special Counsel. McGahn refused to do so.
When the New York Times later reported on this attempt to fire Mueller, Mueller alleges that Trump asked McGahn to falsify evidence claiming Trump never asked McGahn to fire Mueller. When asked if it would be considered obstruction of justice if a president directed a witness to lie, Barr said yes. But when pressed if what Trump asked McGahn to do was considered obstruction, Barr tried to claim Trump didn’t explicitly ask McGahn to “fire” Mueller.
Democrats pointed out how Barr claimed that the OLC guidance which stated that the President cannot be indicted did not factor in Mueller’s decision-making. Mueller’s report explicitly says it did. Barr claimed it wasn’t clear the Trump campaign sought to benefit from Russia’s interference. Mueller’s report explicitly says they did. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) called Barr out on his early April lie to Congress, in which he stated he was not aware if Mueller supported his conclusion.
There were a few instances during the hearing that raised questions as to whether Barr read the report at all. When questioned by Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), Barr admitted he did not examine the underlying evidence from the Special Counsel’s office.
Barr refused to say whether he has given Trump information about the Southern District of New York’s investigation. Barr also refused to say whether anyone in the White House has suggested he investigate political opponents.
Barr’s expansive view of executive power is no surprise to anyone, but what we are seeing here is an effort to place the President of the United States above the law. Any remaining credibility Barr had was shattered during this hearing and calls for his resignation will likely continue to surge.
Does Barr seriously not know about Manafort giving polls to Kilimnik? (Was a huge story this year, and also detailed in Mueller's report.) Barr seemed confused when Booker brought it up. Maybe he was just being really technical about Booker's terminology. https://t.co/8cOyffnkqo
— Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) May 1, 2019
Every law student learns that the rule of law starts with a proverb from the 17th century:
Nemo Judex in Causa Sua — No Person may be the Judge of their Own Case.
The Founders believed that, the Constitution enshrines it …. and today, Bill Barr shredded it. https://t.co/S54WJVewbI
— Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) May 2, 2019
It’s May Day, and this was a Mayday all right. May 1, 2019, will go down as one of the dark days in the history of this republic.
You think that’s overstated? Then tell me another time when an attorney general went before a committee of the United States Senate and lied like that to protect a lying president. The day after being caught in another whopping lie as we learned about the existence of Robert Mueller’s letter taking issue with the way Bill Barr had characterized the Mueller Report, which Barr had lied about to Congress previously.
And—tell me another time when the members of one political party participated in the protection racket quite like that. Why did Lindsey Graham think it was cute or cheeky to utter the word “fucking” at the beginning of this hearing? Fine, he had the excuse that he was quoting something. But that isn’t why he did it. He did it to de-dignify these proceedings. To signal to viewers that they didn’t need to take this hearing seriously. And, he did it for an audience of one. You think Orange Julius didn’t chuckle when he heard Graham go down in the gutter?
I’ve read just about every word Bob Mueller has ever said publicly or published. He’s written precisely one letter like the angry one he sent to Barr: It excoriated Scotland for letting the Pan Am 103 bomber out of prison. https://t.co/DorCXEgzIG
— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) May 1, 2019