Opinion: William Barr confirmation hearing: Trump’s attorney general pick still has a lot to answer for

Barr purports to look into Mueller’s mind and reaches conclusions about Mueller’s thought processes. The memo contains dozens of references to assumptions such as, “I believe that Mueller’s team is considering” and “as I understand the theory, Mueller proposes” and “Mueller’s interpretation… all-encompassing… novel and extravagant.” The problem is that all of these suppositions are Barr’s alone — Mueller has said exactly none of these things. Barr is plainly setting up straw men just to knock them down.

…Barr argues that Trump did not commit a crimeby telling then-FBI Director James Comey to stop investigating Michael Flynn because, as the country’s “top prosecutor,” Trump has unfettered power to terminate criminal investigations. Moreover, when Trump fired Comey (inferentially for refusing to go easy on Flynn) the president was simply exercising his plenary power to hire and fire executive branch officials. Again, in Barr’s opinion, there is nothing to see here and no investigation of Trump is necessary.

…Barr does acknowledge one exception to his “facially lawful act” rule. He states that “the issue of obstruction only becomes ripe [and therefore open to investigation] after the alleged collusion by the President or his campaign is established first.” In other words, if Mueller has found evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, Barr believes that the president can then be investigation for obstruction and covering-up said collusion.

William Barr confirmation hearing: Trump’s attorney general pick still has a lot to answer for



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