Like the rest of you, I am shocked and deeply puzzled about the four-page summary of the Mueller Report given by Attorney General William “The Fixer” Barr. First, let’s recall a couple of things about Barr. He is notorious for having engineered the pardons given to Iran-Contra criminals. You can see Bloomberg’s summary here. Key paragraph:
The most significant single act of Barr’s career in the Department of Justice was to advise President George H.W. Bush to pardon six officials from Ronald Reagan’s administration, including Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, for crimes associated with the Iran-Contra affair. At the time, Barr was — you guessed it — attorney general. His recommendation gave Bush the cover he needed to issue the pardons.
This effectively crushed the Iran-Contra investigation. Barr was allowed to use his own judgment in assessing whether pardons should be given.
Barr is also, to put it bluntly, a right-wing religious fanatic. From Americans United for Separation of Church and State:
Addressing a conference of governors on juvenile crime in Milwaukee on April 1, 1992, Barr blasted public schools for no longer providing moral instruction. He asserted that public schools had undergone a “moral lobotomy” and blamed it on “extremist notions of separation of church and state.”
About six months later, Barr struck again. During an Oct. 6, 1992, speech in Washington, D.C., to the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a traditionalist Catholic group, Barr called for the imposition of “God’s law” in America.
“To the extent that a society’s moral culture is based on God’s law, it will guide men toward the best possible life,” Barr said. He also attacked “modern secularists” for supposedly ushering in cultural decline, remarking, “The secularists of today are clearly fanatics.”
So, to put it bluntly, I don’t trust this SOB any farther than I can throw him.
And what we have received this past weekend is a Barr Whitewash.
No collusion? No conspiracy? Interesting. Then could someone please explain to me the following:
–The firing of James Comey over the Russia investigation.
–The multiple attempts Trump made to fire Robert Mueller or cripple the investigation, including efforts made by Steve Bannon.
–The constant smears and attacks directed against Mueller by Sean Hannity, probably at Trump’s behest, including Hannity’s description of the investigation’s participants as the “Mueller Crime Family” [sic]?
–Trump’s assertion that Mueller’s office was merely “13 Angry Democrats”
–Trump’s refusal to testify under oath in public. (Point of reference: We were all forced to listen to Bill Clinton being interrogated in the ugliest and vulgar way on national TV during the Lewinsky Affair. But Trump doesn’t have to. How does that work?)
–Trump’s rage at Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia probe.
–The attacks on Mueller made by Rudolph Giuliani.
–Lindsey Graham’s blocking of the release of the full report, at Trump’s behest?
Do those seem like the acts of someone who thought a fair investigation would exonerate him?
Specific questions as to collusion:
Was there or was there not a meeting on 9 June 2016 between representatives of the Russian Federation and Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Rob Goldstone? Did Trump’s people attend this meeting because they sought Russian help against Hillary Clinton?
Was there or was there not a meeting on 2 August 2016 between Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort and GRU agent Konstantin Kilimnik at which Manafort shared confidential polling data with Kilimnik? Kilimnik was indicted by Mueller’s office.
Was there or was there not a direct line between Roger Stone and Wikileaks? Did or did not the Trump campaign seem to know ahead of time about the content of emails stolen by Russian intelligence? Yes or no?
Was there or was there not a long series of very suspicious interactions between Russia’s Alfa Bank and the Trump organization? As reported in The New Yorker, right here, this jumps out at one:
Examining records for the Trump domain, Max’s [Max: a researcher who gave only that name] group discovered D.N.S. lookups from a pair of servers owned by Alfa Bank, one of the largest banks in Russia. Alfa Bank’s computers were looking up the address of the Trump server nearly every day. There were dozens of lookups on some days and far fewer on others, but the total number was notable: between May and September, Alfa Bank looked up the Trump Organization’s domain more than two thousand times. “We were watching this happen in real time—it was like watching an airplane fly by,” Max said. “And we thought, Why the hell is a Russian bank communicating with a server that belongs to the Trump Organization, and at such a rate?”
Only one other entity seemed to be reaching out to the Trump Organization’s domain with any frequency: Spectrum Health, of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Spectrum Health is closely linked to the DeVos family; Richard DeVos, Jr., is the chairman of the board, and one of its hospitals is named after his mother. His wife, Betsy DeVos, was appointed Secretary of Education by Donald Trump. Her brother, Erik Prince, is a Trump associate who has attracted the scrutiny of Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Trump’s ties to Russia. Mueller has been looking into Prince’s meeting, following the election, with a Russian official in the Seychelles, at which he reportedly discussed setting up a back channel between Trump and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. (Prince maintains that the meeting was “incidental.”) In the summer of 2016, Max and the others weren’t aware of any of this. “We didn’t know who DeVos was,” Max said.
Can anyone account for the reason that Jared Kushner and Erik Prince sought back channels to Russia?
Can anyone account for the meetings between Trump campaign officials and Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak both before and after the 2016 election, as reported here?
There is much more but you get the point. Either William Barr has completely misrepresented what Mueller found OR the definition of collusion was so narrowly and specifically defined that there was virtually no way it could be found.
In short, I’m calling BS. Something is wrong. We’re being lied to.
I leave you with this. It is a screenshot of an email discovered by The New York Times (I think). The communication is between Russian-connected mobster Felix Sater—who was a long time business partner of Donald Trump—and Trump’s personal lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen. See what you think of it:
You may find this article about William Barr’s views on obstruction of justice to be relevant. And in a memo in December 2018, Barr said:
“Mueller should not be permitted to demand that the President submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction.” [Barr] also accuses Mueller of being “overly-aggressive” in his use of the obstruction laws and describes the pursuit of a “novel obstruction theory against the President” as “grossly irresponsible”
I’d forgotten about this. Barr’s son in law is, effectively, part of Trump’s legal team: