In Attorney General William Barr’s congressional testimony earlier today he was questioned rather harshly about the four-page letter he submitted the Congress, and to the nation, on March 29. The Democrats, and particularly The Bulwarkians, that peculiar breed of high minded goof who claims to be conservative but somehow never finds one worthy of support, were left deeply unsatisfied that the masturbatory fantasy that they’ve carried on for two years had ended with Mom turning on the lights in their bedroom.
Jose Serrano put the question of Mueller’s involvement in drafting the letter.
SERRANO: With regard to your March 24th and 29th letters to the judiciary committees, did special counsel Mueller or anyone on his team have a role in drafting them or reviewing them in advance to use any of the summary documents prepared by the special counsel in drafting these documents?
BARR: The letter of the 24th, Mr. Mueller’s team did not play a role in drafting that document, although we offered him the opportunity to review it before we sent it out and he declined that. The letter on the 29th, I don’t believe that was reviewed by Mr. Mueller or that he participated in drafting that letter.
It is sort of interesting that Mueller wouldn’t even bother reading how his report was being characterized by the attorney general. I’d expect him to have a very limited, if any, role in drafting either of the documents, because Barr’s communications are essentially political documents and he wouldn’t want his team to be accused of engaging in the politics, but to refuse to look at it strikes one as something of a petulant decision.
This is what I believe explains a lot of the actions.
Let’s get some dates on the board. Barr was nominated on December 18. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted him out on February 7. He was confirmed on February 14.
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker proclaimed the Mueller investigation was “close to completed” on January 28. The first use of the phrase “winding down” in conjunction with the Mueller investigation appears February 6 as the first prosecutor leaves the investigation. On March 14, Andrew Weissmann left the investigation and resigned from the Justice Department.
The appearance is that the nomination of Barr was the catalyst for ending the Mueller investigation. Quite honestly, I have no doubt that Weissmann and the other Democrat donors Mueller hired–apparently there are no Republican lawyers anywhere available for these investigations–would have continued indefinitely. I certainly don’t believe Weissmann would have left Justice without a strong hint that his career was over.
Shortly after Barr’s letter to Congress, there were a couple of leaks, ostensibly from former members of Mueller’s team, that complained Barr had downplayed evidence and hadn’t used their summary. The last part is significant.
But members of Mueller’s team have complained to close associates that the evidence they gathered on obstruction was alarming and significant.
Some members of the office were particularly disappointed that Barr did not release summary information the special counsel team had prepared, according to two people familiar with their reactions.
Summaries were prepared for different sections of the report, with a view that they could be made public, the official said.
Some of Robert S. Mueller III’s investigators have told associates that Attorney General William P. Barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and that they were more troubling for President Trump than Mr. Barr indicated, according to government officials and others familiar with their simmering frustrations.
The special counsel’s investigators had already written multiple summaries of the report, and some team members believe that Mr. Barr should have included more of their material in the four-page letter he wrote on March 24 laying out their main conclusions, according to government officials familiar with the investigation. Mr. Barr only briefly cited the special counsel’s work in his letter.
However, the special counsel’s office never asked Mr. Barr to release the summaries soon after he received the report, a person familiar with the investigation said.
At the same time, Mr. Barr and his advisers have expressed their own frustrations about Mr. Mueller and his team. Mr. Barr and other Justice Department officials believe the special counsel’s investigators fell short of their task by declining to decide whether Mr. Trump illegally obstructed the inquiry, according to the two government officials. After Mr. Mueller made no judgment on the obstruction matter, Mr. Barr stepped in to declare that he himself had cleared Mr. Trump of wrongdoing.
And Fat Jerry Nadler, weighed in:
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., sent a letter to Barr later in the day urging him to release to the public any “summaries” in the report prepared by the special counsel’s office. Nadler also requested that Barr hand over to the committee “all communications between the special counsel’s office and the [Justice] Department regarding the report.”
“You have already provided an interpretation of the special counsel’s conclusions in a fashion that appears to minimize the implications of the report as to the president,” Nadler said in the letter. “Releasing the summaries—without delay—would begin to allow the American people to judge the facts for themselves.”
Why the concern, you might ask, that these summaries drafted under Weissmann’s supervision aren’t being used? And why is there enough concern to cause Weissmann (don’t fool yourself, no one else on the team short of Mueller had the clout and press connections to get the WaPo and the NYT to run this story) to leak the story?
It can’t be concern about the integrity of the investigation. If Barr made up a summary that did not comport with the actual report, he’s going to look like a total ass when it all comes out and to what end?
A better explanation is that Weissmann’s crew knew that the summaries would set the tone for what was reported and they would be the only version of events for weeks, or even months, as the final report underwent security review and redactions. If the tone was negative, the press would ensure the summaries carried the day even when the report came out. Do you doubt me? Aren’t we still being told that George Bush was warned of a the 9/11 threat by way of a Presidential Daily Brief and he did nothing? Even though we know that story to be false.
I theorize that Barr saw the stink bomb planted by Weissmann and his kiddies and decided to go with bottom line conclusions.
This circles back around to Mueller. Another key thing Mueller didn’t do, along with reviewing Barr’s letters, was make a determination on whether or not any of Trump’s actions rose to the level of obstruction of justice. We have a very good inkling that he never thought so, read my post President Trump’s Former Lawyer Takes You Behind The Scenes And Shows How There Was Never Any Obstruction. In this, John Dowd talks about the level of cooperation between the Executive Office of the President and Mueller’s team to the extent of them providing access to privileged documents and encouraging witnesses to testify.
If he knew there was no obstruction, why wouldn’t he say so in the report. A good guess is because the summaries written by Weissmann’s crew are slanted in a way to give the impression that obstruction took place. We know for a fact that Weissmann will do that type of crap. Senator Charles Grassley, while he was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote to Mueller complaining that the public “statement of offense” released by his team in conjunction with the guilty plea of George Papadopoulos materially misrepresented email conversations in order to change them from the campaign stiff-arming any suggestion that they meet with Russian envoys to making its seem as though the Trump campaign was seeking out Russian contacts. See How Mueller’s Team Lied In Public Document To Stoke The Russia Collusion Hoax. If the summaries alleged obstruction of justice, and Barr did nothing, then Barr would be politically damaged and would, for the remainder of his tenure, be accused of covering up for Trump.
What does all of this mean? What is a unified field theory that explains the Mueller’s decision to not review Barr’s letters and accounts for the immediate leaks alleging that Barr was covering for Trump? It looks like that Mueller, and Rosenstein, lost control of the scope of the investigation to Weissmann. That isn’t totally a surprise. When the investigation resurrected a decade old case that Justice had decided to not pursue and use it to hammer Paul Manafort, for whom Weissmann had a hard-on, it was becoming obvious that the investigation was simply a partisan vehicle to destroy Trump. When Barr came on board he did so with the determination to bring the investigation to a heel. The summaries that Nadler wants were Weissmann’s way of getting the last word in. It didn’t work.
In the end, Mueller was placed in a position of either endorsing those summaries–which he knew to be deceptive–or not. If he asked Barr to release the summaries, it was a tacit endorsement of them. If he read Barr’s letters he had to either agree or disagree with them and do so on the record. By refusing to either ask for the summaries to be released or to look at Barr’s letters, he avoided taking a stand. Barr took all the heat for making a decision that Mueller was supposed to make as well as for not releasing the summaries.
Earlier posts on Barr’s testimony
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