At Attorney General William Barr’s Thursday morning press conference detailing the public release of the Mueller report, a young reporter looked up from her notes, cast a steely-eyed glance at Barr, and asked why he was characterizing Trump’s emotional state regarding the investigation.
Barr, explaining to the reporter that the information he relayed was included in the report, shut her down by using her own word — “unprecedented” — against her; i.e. Trump’s emotional state was arguably important given that nothing like what his young administration was faced with (Barr alluded to spying and press complicity as well) had ever been done before.
And there’s your good news, folks. With the public release of the Mueller report, snarky reporting of they type Barr shot down, outlandish speculation, and unethical spin should be mitigated. The public at large — and certainly enterprising Twitter journalists — will be able to fact-check what they see and hear in real time.
Obviously, they’re still going to try to tell you what to think. And they already are.
It is hard to overstate how devastating this report is to Trump—and Barr's credibility. It is so, so bad. Barr's press conference just looks crazier and crazier with each passage of the report.
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) April 18, 2019
CNN panel is saying #MuellerReport will still lead to Trump's impeachment.
They're absolutely insane.
— Eye Spy (@Jon_Locke) April 18, 2019
But the American people have the opportunity to decide for themselves if Trump’s emotional state is relevant or if what is contained in the report should lead to impeachment.
When it was revealed that the late Senator John McCain’s aid was horrified that Buzzfeed had published the entire Steele dossier without his permission, it should have been an insight into how these things work. Speculation about a document is the heart and soul of media spin. The dossier was a dark thing that could be speculated about for months and years, weaving a narrative of nastiness that would never be proven or disproven. And it works so long as no one sees the actual contents.
Once the dossier was published, however, everyone could see the emperor was buck naked (or that stupid stories about prostitutes and urine were patently absurd).
It’s the same deal here. Mueller’s findings just are what they are — warts and all, and there are doubtless embarrassing moments for Trump — but at least the press won’t be able to spin them into treason.
And Trump, who spoke to Wounded Warriors today at the White House, seems to be feeling good despite some of what the report will undoubtedly prove about his anxiety over his presidency and his cabinet. A relaxed President Trump told the crowd to applause, “I’m having a good day.”
“We do have to get to the bottom of these things,” he continued. “I say this in front of my friends, Wounded Warriors, this should never happen to another president again, this hoax.”
That last bit is a teaser for what’s to come, no doubt. It likely has to do with prosecution of individuals who (as Barr has also alluded to) may not have had good reason to “spy” on the Trump campaign.
Best of all, the American people can just read the thing for themselves and decide what they think. We’re having a good day, too.