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Did the Attorney General Deceive Congress?
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William Barr, the attorney general of the United States, now faces a likely contempt citation for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena and for misleading Congress. This is about the Mueller investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Isn’t the investigation now complete? How did the attorney general’s veracity become an issue and thereby extend the life of the investigation?

Here is the backstory.

When special counsel Robert Mueller completed his 448-page final report of his nearly two-year investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the Trump campaign and its relationships to Russian agents, and the personal efforts of President Donald Trump to impede the investigation, he complied with the federal rules and delivered his report to the attorney general. Barr examined the report and decided to undertake two approaches to releasing it to Congress and to the public.

The first approach was to summarize its principal conclusions and the second was to redact from public and congressional view materials that federal statutes and court rules prohibit him from making public. So, late on a Sunday afternoon in April, Barr authored a four-page summary of Mueller’s conclusions, which related that Mueller and his team of FBI agents and prosecutors could not establish the existence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian agents for the campaign to receive something of value from the Russians. Barr offered the opinion that this conclusion exonerated Trump on the conspiracy — what the media falsely called “collusion” — charge.

The second statement in Barr’s four-page summary was that while Mueller found evidence of obstruction of justice by Trump personally, he left the decision of how to proceed with this evidence to Barr; Barr then concluded that the president would not be prosecuted.

In the meantime, Barr and his team began to scrutinize in private every word in Mueller’s report so as to reveal only what federal statutes and court rules permit to be revealed. While this process was going on, some folks on Mueller’s team leaked to the media their displeasure with Barr’s four-page letter because they felt it had sanitized the report and failed to capture the flavor, tone and gravity of the allegations it made against Trump personally.

After media outlets published the story of this disenchantment, Mueller himself sent a letter to Barr essentially objecting to the same matters that some on his team had complained about to the media.

While government officials often disagree with each other, this little spat over whether Barr’s summary was faithful to Mueller’s report became important because of the following seemingly innocuous event: When Barr was testifying before a House subcommittee about his budgetary requests for the Department of Justice in the next fiscal year, he was asked by a member of the subcommittee if he knew anything about any criticisms by members of Mueller’s team about his four-page summary of Mueller’s conclusions. He replied, “No, I don’t.”

ORDER IT NOW

But of course, Barr did know because Mueller told him in his letter of the complaints his office had about the four-page letter. Did the attorney general deceive Congress? The Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee grilled the attorney general later on this, and he offered that a follow-up telephone call between himself and Mueller dissipated Mueller’s written complaint. Yet, the fact that Mueller — a seasoned government official — wrote a letter about this knowing its near certain permanent residence in government files is telling. He made a permanent record of his complaint about Barr’s sanitized letter, and Barr hid that record from Congress.

At the same time that all of the above was transpiring, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the full unredacted Mueller report from Barr, and he dropped the ball again. Instead of challenging the subpoena before a federal judge and asking her to rule on the lawfulness of compliance, Barr ignored it. This produced calls for the House to hold him in contempt; a largely symbolic gesture, yet an unpleasant one for Barr.

What’s going on here? It is clear that Barr’s four-page letter, about which Mueller complained to Barr and some of Mueller’s team complained to the media, was a foolish attempt to sanitize the Mueller report. It was misleading, disingenuous and deceptive. Also, because Barr knew that all or nearly all of the Mueller report would soon enter the public domain, it was dumb and insulting.

Barr knows the DOJ is not in the business of exonerating the people it investigates. Yet he proclaimed in his letter that Trump had been exonerated. When the report revealed 127 communications between Russian agents and Trump campaign officials in a 16-month period, and the expectations of those officials of the release of Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails, that is hardly an exoneration.

Was Barr’s testimony before Congress deceptive? In a word: Yes.

In a bit of bitter irony, the statute that the House Democrats now claim Barr violated is the same obstruction of justice statute that Mueller says the president violated — engaging in deceptive or diversionary behavior for a corrupt purpose in order to impede a government investigation or inquiry. This is a gravely serious charge against the attorney general. Barr’s prosecutors regularly prosecute defendants for doing what it now appears Barr has done. And the president last weekend added fuel to this fire by changing his mind on whether he will allow Mueller to testify publicly about his report. He now won’t permit it.

History teaches that these unpleasant events — like Watergate and Whitewater — can take on lives of their own, and can often have unintended consequences. But the lesson is always the same: It would be better for all of us if the whole truth comes out and comes out soon.

Copyright 2019 Andrew P. Napolitano. Distributed by Creators.com.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Robert Mueller, Russiagate 
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  1. Tusk says:

    This is like high school drama at this point.

    • Agree: Hail
    • Replies: @Hail
  2. user_s says:

    Putting time between yourself and that two and half year period where you were wrong about everything should be your goal at this point.

  3. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    More chanting by St. Mueller’s altar boy:

    “In a bit of bitter irony, the statute that the House Democrats now claim Barr violated is the same obstruction of justice statute that Mueller says the president violated — engaging in deceptive or diversionary behavior for a corrupt purpose in order to impede a government investigation or inquiry.”

    So now the Establishment has moved onto a supposed process crime to cover up another supposed process crime to impede a farce based on a false premise that Russia contaminated what Freedom Watcher has in a previous column called the “American marketplaces of ideas”?

    Having sold out and/or undertaken revenge for being left off the Next Ninth Robe list in November 2017, Mr. Napolitano is now a tool for use on the fools. On this website, he’s merely a pinata.

    • Agree: Bubba
  4. One thing we agree on: Barr botched the whole thing. His appointment is another indication that Trump is just not competent for the job he holds.

    Now you mention conspiracy, implying criminality.

    What law exactly would have been broken if Trump had received dirt on Clinton and used it?

    We’re looking at a fight between a skunk and a polecat. The Dems have proven themselves to be the more morally despicable of the two, because they know better.

  5. The Democrats are too ugly and hateful to win a presidential election. Even against Trump. And they are dangerously close to being exposed as criminals and traitors. And they hold Barr in Contempt? I recommend that they kill themselves.

  6. Here is the backstory.

    Now I know why he calls it the backstory. He pulls it out of his ass.

    • LOL: Curmudgeon
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Antiwar7
  7. corkie says:

    I’m looking forward to reading the full unredacted Mueller report myself. As I’m in no hurry I will wait until it arrives at my local bookstore. Until then I’ll be sure to keep a close eye on the Fantasy Fiction section, where I’m sure it will be filed.

    • LOL: Hail
  8. For a year now, for every Napolitano post, I just read the comments. There’s no point in reading what he writes, because all of it is pure garbage.

    I do like reading the comments though.

    • Replies: @Hail
  9. Anonymous[135] • Disclaimer says:
    @WorkingClass

    Now I know why he calls it the backstory. He pulls it out of his ass.

    Nappy should start saying “here is my backside story”.

  10. You can’t obstruct if there was no crime to begin with.

    • Replies: @Bill H
  11. renfro says:

    I’ve always said that what we need to get rid of the swamp is a Elliot Ness in the WH.
    Therefore I vote for Mueller for President.

  12. Bill H says: • Website
    @Robert Dolan

    “You can’t obstruct if there was no crime to begin with.”

    Yes, you can, which is not to say that Trump did. If Trump were to fire the special prosecutor in an effort to stop the investigation, that would be obstruction whether the investigation would have revealed a crime or not. Stopping the investigation itself is obstruction, regardless of whether or not a crime occurred.

    If, however, he fired the special prosecutor in order to assure that he was replaced with one who did not have a conflict of interest, that would not be obstruction because he was not trying to stop the investigation, he was trying to preserve the integrity of the investigation.

    In any case, Trump did not fire the special prosecutor. He did discuss doing so, but only because he was convinced that Mueller was not impartial, which was absolutely correct. Merely discussing firing the special prosecutor, in any case and regardless of reason, is not obstruction.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  13. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bill H

    If the government has criminalized “engaging in deceptive or diversionary behavior for a corrupt purpose in order to impede a government investigation or inquiry,” then the people live in a police state:

    1. The victim of such a crime is the government.

    2. The proof of such a crime must be found in the mind and heart of the person charged.

    Mr. Napolitano not only condones this, but has been propagandizing since November 2017 for its application to the (deeply flawed, even faux) champion of dissident Americans. He is a statist and sycophant of the Establishment’s priestly (lawyer) class.

  14. Hail says: • Website
    @Tusk

    I am willing to bet more Americans are close followers of their local major-league baseball teams than are close followers of this whole endless, Mueller-related snoozefest.

  15. Hail says: • Website
    @restless94110

    Strange, I came to the same conclusion (no point in reading the columns) and made the same decision (do read the comments occasionally) at some point in late 2018.

  16. MrTuvok says:

    It seems like the only one who deals in deception is the good judge. He claims there is no exoneration but is unable to identify a crime.

    All he can do is produce a little Russian smoke and mirrors – much like Trump’s enemies.

  17. It was obvious to me, that when Mueller included “Russian Meddling” in the title, that it was a political document designed to keep the narrative going for the Democrats and never Trumpers. As Bill Binney himself noted some time ago, Mueller had no interest in interviewing him about the “hack”. There is zero evidence of Russian meddling. There is, however, lots of speculation about Russian meddling. There may well have been Russian meddling, but it wasn’t where Mueller wanted to find it.

  18. Antiwar7 says:
    @WorkingClass

    You have to admire his honesty.

    • Replies: @Bubba
  19. Joodie says:

    Here is the backstory: Andrew Napolitano asked Trump to appoint him to the Supreme Court and his offer was refused. He has been attacking Trump ever since.

    • Replies: @MrTuvok
  20. Lets see. Barr summarizes Two Volume 900 page Mueller report. One week later, entire 900 Mueller page report is released for everyone to read.

    And the problem is…what?

  21. Roger says:

    The Mueller letter did not say that anything about the Barr letter was wrong. Mueller only said that Barr had not fully summarized the 400 page report. Yes, that is obvious. If you are not satisfied with the Barr letter, then go read the Mueller report.

  22. Bubba says:
    @Antiwar7

    What honesty?!?! He’s been a shill for the Deep State Repubocrat Party for over 2 years. Ex-judge Napolitano represents all that is corrupt (and more) in Washington, DC.

  23. buckwheat says:

    Napolitano is a sad little cuck who has lost what little credibility he ever had. Trump should appoint him as an envoy to Fuckistan and be done with the dumb son of a bitch..

  24. Trump is guilty of OOC

    Obstruction

    Of

    Coup

  25. There was no collusion was the conclusion about this huge confusion and yet the judge is under the illusion that a profusion of I said this, no you didn’t claims is of grave consequence

    He is a silly man.

    As the the shyster who was on OJ’s dream team, Alan Dershowitz, has pointed out, Trump had the constitutional authority to fire whomever he wanted whenever he wanted and men like the author here will just have to run for office and be elected if he wants to influence what is happening when it comes to policy

    Trump IS The Executive and he does not require scrutiny by unelected tyrants like this irksome author because we can vote him in or out but we cannot vote the judge off of the washington island

    This investigation was a scam and Mueller is a dirt bag who worked diligently to keep four innocent men in jail while he was head of the FBI office in Boston during the Whitey Bulger days

    https://www.newsmax.com/politics/alan-dershowitz-mueller-political-zealot/2018/04/08/id/853235/

  26. Big Tim says:

    What is Napolitano talking about? Is he going nuts or has he always been so? How does Mueller expressing his opinion in a letter to Barr that Barr’s cursory statement was not to his liking have to do with Barr being aware of what “members of Mueller’s team” may have expressed to someone? So Napolitano is equating “members of Mueller’s team” to include Mueller and his letter? But in this sentence he differentiates: “What’s going on here? It is clear that Barr’s four-page letter, about which Mueller complained to Barr and some of Mueller’s team complained to the media, was a foolish attempt to sanitize the Mueller report. It was misleading, disingenuous and deceptive.” (All obviously Napolitano’s prejudiced opinion.) Was the question asked of Barr by a member of the subcommittee (name not mentioned ??) a set up between Mueller and Congress, and now Napolitano? Is Napolitano showing his true colors?

  27. KenH says:

    I think everyone knows that bitterness over not being nominated for a SCOTUS seat is cause for judge nappy’s weekly “back story” bile. I don’t think anyone takes him seriously anymore, so he might just want to hang it up and become a WalMart greeter.

  28. JamesD says:

    This is a pathetic article. Note the following:

    1. Turncoat Andrew DOES NOT quote the question asked of Barr, but quote’s Barr’s reply.

    2. The 4 page summary Barr issued WAS REQUIRED BY LAW.

  29. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    Nothing here from this columnist for over two weeks. Why?

  30. reno says:

    Perhaps Ron Unz decided to stop paying for this crap

    https://www.creators.com/author/judge-andrew-p-napolitano

    • Replies: @anonymous
  31. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @reno

    Or that Mr. Napolitano pulled up stakes, which I had predicted. My guess is that Mr. Lang and Mr. Engelhardt did so, too. All three received substantially negative comments here.

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