The highly anticipated Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing with Attorney General William Barr provided all the sparks and melodrama that was advertised. While the Republican members of the committee wasted their time flattering Barr and calling for ridiculously unwarranted investigations of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the Democrats effectively revealed just how devoutly wedded to Donald Trump the Attorney General is.
Barr was unashamedly protecting Trump from any potentially negative perceptions he might have earned due to his flagrantly unlawful activity and obstruction of justice. Barr refused to concede some obvious failures on his part to be an objective servant of the American people, rather than a personal criminal lawyer for Trump.
Even so, Barr couldn’t remember whether or not Trump ever asked him to open an investigation into Trump’s political opponents or critics. He admitted that he didn’t review the evidence in the Mueller report before deciding that Trump was innocent. He denied that directing someone to change their testimony (as Trump did to White House Counsel Don McGahn) was witness tampering and obstruction of justice. He defended his use of the loaded, Trumpian term of “spying” during his previous congressional testimony. He couldn’t even say whether the President’s actions were consistent with his oath of office. So Barr is not just another Trump lawyer, he’s as bad at it as the rest of Trump’s legal team.
Many of these revelations were discussed immediately after the hearing by Fox News anchors Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace. Smith delivered a remarkably straightforward recap of the proceedings with all of the brutal – for Trump – truths included. He then turned to Wallace, whose assessment was equally candid, but also included some peremptory criticisms of his Fox News colleagues. He began by addressing the letter from Mueller to Barr after Barr’s bastardization of the special counsel’s report (video below):
“I know there are some people who don’t think this March 27 letter is a big deal, and some opinion people who appear on this network who might be pushing a political agenda. But we have to deal in facts. And the fact is that this letter from the special counsel … was a clear indication that [Mueller] was upset, very upset, with the letter that had been sent out by the Attorney General.”
Wallace noted that Mueller’s letter was intended to express his view that Barr was misleading and confusing the public. It would have been extraordinarily uncommon if Mueller had simply expressed those views in a personal phone call to Barr. But his decision to go further by documenting them in writing demonstrates how seriously he felt that Barr had crossed ethical lines. Mueller’s letter clearly stated that he wanted Barr to correct the record publicly.”
“He felt the Attorney General’s letter was inaccurate. He says in the conversation he was talking about media coverage. But that’s not what it says in the letter. He says in the letter that you didn’t reflect what we found in the report … Those aren’t opinions. That’s not political agenda. Those are the facts.”
Wallace is making it abundantly clear that he is concerned about how Fox’s “opinion people” are likely to distort reality when they get their turn in primetime. He’s being deliberate in his remarks to emphasize that what he’s presenting are the facts, as opposed to what shills like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham are expected to say later on.
It’s amazing that a so-called “news” network can operate this way. They have people they identify as journalists openly maligning their network confederates as disreputable purveyors of rumors, distortions, and lies. There would seem to be no point to watch a program hosted by State TV mouthpieces who spew fantasy fiction that the network’s straight news reporters refute.
Yet that’s the business model of Fox News. And millions of dimwitted Deplorables tune in every night to be lied to by shameless Trump PR flacks posing as journalists. It’s the behavior of cult members who obediently believe only what the cult leaders permit them to believe. However, with the reporting by Smith and Wallace, some of these poor souls might come into contact with some actual truth. That could result in their being released from the spell of the Fox News charlatans. Or it might cause them to suffer an aneurysm that turns half of the brain into mush. Well, the half that wasn’t already mush.
Fox News' Chris Wallace: Some opinion people who appear on this network who might be pushing a political agenda don't think the Mueller letter is a big deal. But we have to deal in facts — the fact is this letter was a clear indication that Mueller was very upset w/ Barr. pic.twitter.com/YSedEZ8NRL
— Lis Power (@LisPower1) May 1, 2019