Attorney General William Barr testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, May 1st, about his findings in the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Report On The Investigation Into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. The entire Testimony was streamed live on Snip bytes and can be rewatched here.
After watching the hearing in its entirety many people, myself included, and even some members of congress, have been wondering if Barr even read the report in the first place.
After reading Barr’s 4 page summary many people were shocked that it seemed to ignore everything that had been discovered and reported regarding this investigation.
How could there be “No Collusion” or “No Obstruction” given that people were going to jail for actions related to the case? And what about the back door channels or the Trump Tower meeting that was admitted too? And what about the effort by the President to fire people involved with the case? Something just wasn’t right here but once again President Trump declared victory on Twitter.
No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2019
The Barr summary was heavily criticized for its lack of detail including not using a single full sentence quoted from the entire Mueller report; rather a few cherry-picked partial phrases and words to justify his conclusion. Congress, the Media, and the Public at large demanded that Barr release the actual Mueller report.
On April 18th, William Barr held a press conference hours before releasing the partially redacted version of the Mueller Report. Once again in his statement he doubled down claiming that the report exonerated the President.
“investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”Barr’s Prepared Remarks at Press Conference on the Mueller Report – Lawfare
A couple hours later the Mueller Report was released to the public and by the next day most of us knew that everything William Barr had summarized and stated in the preser didn’t add up. The Mueller report did not exonerate the President at all and in fact is contrary to most everything William bar (and the President) had claimed previously.
All of the things we were told in the Media about the case were in fact right there in the report; including some extra detailed bits we had no idea about.
All of this leads up to what made William Barr’s testimony on Wednesday so fascinating. It was as if through willful ignorance he was sticking to his guns. How could he still believe that there was no evidence… in light of all of the overwhelming evidence?
It’s still mind blowing to me to comprehend this, but it’s almost as if he didn’t really even read the report. Come to find out that’s not as far fetched of an idea as I originally thought. The answers he gave to many of the questions being asked during his testimony, actually seem to support that very conclusion.
In this video clip Barr seems to not know that polling data was shared, which is brought up on page 7 of the report.
One moment from Barr’s hearing that I’m still replaying: This exchange with Cory Booker where Barr seemed to be unaware that Paul Manafort had shared internal polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik. pic.twitter.com/5v8ddTmXmG— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 4, 2019
This is one of the sections Sen. Cory Booker is talking about.
Another response that makes one wonder how much of the report did Barr actually read?
Bill Barr resorts to semantic games as @SenatorLeahy grills him about whether he’s troubled that the Trump campaign never reported any of Russia’s activities to the FBI. Even Lindsey Graham ends up commending Leahy’s questioning. pic.twitter.com/n5FMqlrCy5— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 1, 2019
Barr also doesn’t seem to be very aware that the OLC opinion was a big part of why Mueller couldn’t make a charging recommendation.
WATCH: Sen. Whitehouse presses AG Barr on Justice Dept. guidance on potentially indicting a sitting president, agreeing that the OLC opinion could be tested in court and could be overruled by the judicial branch. pic.twitter.com/QRIOm5XNPm— MSNBC (@MSNBC) May 1, 2019
Sen. Feinstein points out the obvious obstruction in listed in the report.
Citing details from the Mueller report about Trump’s interactions with McGahn, Feinstein forces Barr to acknowledge there is in fact evidence that Trump obstructed justice pic.twitter.com/0kVRaof3Zs— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 1, 2019
Barr waffles on obstruction again.
.@ChrisCoons: Trump asked the White House lawyer to create a false record. Why didn’t you include that in the letter you sent to Congress?— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 1, 2019
BARR: I was focused on releasing the full report at the time. pic.twitter.com/f7R4QLS2cw
Sen. Harris discovers that Barr did not even bother to look at the underlying evidence of the report (if he even read the report itself).
Barr admits he did no work of his own before deciding to clear Trump of possible obstruction of justice charges pic.twitter.com/6bBQj90rru— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 1, 2019
As a side note, Harris’ did a such great job on her questioning of Barr that I’m including this one as well.
Under questioning by @SenKamalaHarris, Barr admits that career ethics officials within the DOJ weren’t consulted about possible conflicts of interest that he and Rod Rosenstein had in handling the Mueller investigation pic.twitter.com/WsFBlGsEbg— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 1, 2019
I’ll admit that most likely Barr is doing his best at just trying to cover what is painfully obvious for everyone to see and that he probably did read at least in part some of the report. It’s astounding that he admitted to not reading the underlying evidence, and yet was still able to make the conclusion that the Trump campaign did nothing wrong.
Anyone who has read any substantial portion of the Mueller report cannot in good conscious say that it exonerates Trump and his campaign. It’s plain for anyone to see that there was some criminal activity, a lot of foul play, and absolutely confirms without any doubt that there was obstruction of justice.
I suspect that’s also why so many of Trump’s supporters in the media, like Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham were encouraging people not to read the report, and pretending it was a “partisan witch hunt” written by a bunch of “angry Democrats”. (For the record every major player involved with the investigation and production of the report including Robert Mueller, is a Republican)
Oh by the way, the Chairman of the Committee formed to question Attorney General on the report, which he may or may not have actually read, Lindsey Graham, admitted that he himself did not read the entire report either.