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fraurosena

Bill Barr, cover-up attorney for Trump

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fraurosena

As we're talking about Bill Barr a lot over multiple threads, I thought his shenanigans should have their own thread.

 

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fraurosena

Sweet Rufus. The obstruction and obfuscation is painfully obvious. 

 

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From the WaPo editorial board: "William Barr torched his reputation. His testimony compounded the damage."

Spoiler

ATTORNEY GENERAL William P. Barr entered office with more credibility than many Trump appointees. A veteran of the George H.W. Bush administration, Mr. Barr avowed loyalty to the Justice Department’s mission and, nearing the end of his career, seemed to have little incentive to serve as another Trump sycophant. Yet Mr. Barr has lit his reputation on fire, and he just added more fuel in his Wednesday testimony before a Senate panel.

Much of the hearing centered on the attorney general’s decision to release a highly misleading representation of the findings of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation. In particular, Mr. Barr failed to acknowledge the alarming nature of Mr. Mueller’s analysis on whether President Trump obstructed justice, and he did not explain why the special counsel declined to say whether Mr. Trump was guilty of the charge. This really matters: Given the damning account in Mr. Mueller’s report, what appeared to be keeping the special counsel from accusing the president of criminal acts was not the lack of evidence but the fact that the president cannot be charged under Justice Department rules.

Mr. Barr defended himself Wednesday by insisting that his memo, publicized weeks before he released any additional material, was technically accurate, despite the fact that his spin deeply affected the reception of Mr. Mueller’s full report when the public finally got it. It was not supposed to be a full summary of the special counsel’s report, he insisted — just a brief explanation of the top-line conclusions. Mr. Barr’s long history in Washington belies his argument: He should have known how his pre-spinning of the Mueller report would distort the truth of the special counsel’s damning findings, to the president’s benefit. He did it anyway.

The Post revealed Tuesday that, shortly after Mr. Barr released his memo, Mr. Mueller sent a letter to the attorney general, objecting that the memo “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the special counsel’s report. Mr. Barr did not mention this letter when he told members of Congress last month that he had no knowledge of any frustration on the part of Mr. Mueller’s staff. In other words, after releasing a spin job on the Mueller report, he misled Congress on whether the special counsel was unhappy about it.

On this and other matters, Mr. Barr has cited personal conversations with Mr. Mueller to defend his actions. According to Mr. Barr, the special counsel was more unhappy with the press coverage of the attorney general’s memo than with the memo itself. Mr. Barr also insisted that Mr. Mueller said that Justice Department policy on charging sitting presidents did not determine his decision on accusing Mr. Trump of a crime — even though that was a key consideration in the analysis Mr. Mueller included in his report.

It is long past time the public stopped hearing Mr. Barr’s views on how Mr. Mueller feels, and heard from the special counsel himself. The Justice Department should enable Mr. Mueller to speak publicly and under oath at the earliest opportunity. The special counsel should address not only his substantive findings on the president’s misbehavior but also the attorney general’s manipulation of his work. Not just Mr. Trump should be held accountable for his actions. So should his attorney general.

 

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fraurosena

@Howl, you asked in the other thread why Barr is acting the way he is. As with all of them, of course there is a Russian connection. 

I‘d say that the odds that Deripaska has Barr in his pocket are pretty high.

 

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"Barr’s refusal to testify before House panel increases likelihood of contempt citation from Congress"

Spoiler

Attorney General William P. Barr told a House panel on Wednesday that he will not testify about special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report, raising the prospect that Democrats will hold the nation’s top law enforcement official in contempt of Congress.

Barr, who also missed a deadline for subpoenaed information on Wednesday, had been scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday about his handling of Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. But Barr balked at the committee’s plan to have a committee counsel question him alongside lawmakers, a snub that angered Democrats.

“When push comes to shove, the administration cannot dictate the terms of our hearing in our hearing room,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the committee, told reporters. He said the panel would meet as planned and added “I hope and expect that the attorney general will think overnight and will be there as well.”

Nadler said that he would give Barr a “day or two” to turn over the full, unredacted Mueller report in accordance with the committee’s subpoena, information that was due Wednesday morning. But the chairman warned that “if good faith negotiations don’t result in a pledge of compliance . . . the next step is seeking a contempt citation against the attorney general.”

The attorney general’s refusal to appear escalates an already contentious fight between President Trump and House Democrats over Congress’s oversight role. Trump has vowed to fight subpoenas from Democrats, sued to block compliance by accounting firms and banks and instructed former and current aides to rebuff the repeated requests from Capitol Hill.

Congressional Republicans blamed Democrats for Barr’s refusal to appear.  

“It’s a shame members of the House Judiciary Committee won’t get the opportunity to hear from Attorney General Barr this Thursday, because Chairman Nadler chose to torpedo our hearing,” said Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R-Ga.), the panel’s top Republican.  

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec blamed the cancellation on “unprecedented and unnecessary” conditions demanded by Nadler.

“The attorney general remains happy to engage directly with Members on their questions regarding the report and looks forward to continue working with the committee on their oversight requests,” said Kupec.

The breakdown in talks between the House and Barr followed news that Mueller challenged the attorney general’s handling of the report on Russia interference in the 2016 election. Suggestions that Mueller felt Barr misconstrued his findings reverberated in the House, with Democrats accusing Barr of perjuring himself in testimony to Congress.

In back-to-back congressional hearings in early April, Barr claimed to have no knowledge of Mueller’s concerns with his four-page summary of the report’s findings. But Mueller’s March 27 letter of discontent calls Barr’s testimony into question, Democrats say.

“It seems to me he offered misleading information,” said panel member Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.). “This is a really grave situation that an attorney general would mislead the public, No. 1, and then mislead members of Congress, No. 2. That's a very grave situation.”

Another panel member Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) agreed: “My reaction [to the March Mueller letter] was: Why does the attorney general of the United States continue to apparently view his job as the personal attorney of the president rather than the top law enforcement officer in America?” 

The issue came up during a House Democratic leadership meeting with chairmen on Wednesday. But leaders have not said how they intend to respond, deferring instead to the Judiciary panel. 

Asked whether Barr should resign, as some congressional Democrats and presidential candidates have suggested, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, “I’ll wait and see what happens tomorrow at the Judiciary Committee, but I do think that his comments don’t even live up to the standard that he must have for an attorney general.”

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Wednesday that Barr’s handling of the Mueller report is a “very serious matter” and that it appeared he made untrue statements to Congress.

“That was not a truthful response,” Hoyer said of Barr’s suggestion that he didn’t know how Mueller felt about his summary. “I think the first effort ought to be to have Barr explain the discrepancy.”

Barr defended his handling of the Mueller report at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday. He downplayed Mueller’s letter complaining about the characterization of his work as “a bit snitty” and suggested it was most likely written by a member of Mueller’s staff.

In one testy exchange, Barr even suggested that Mueller’s opinion on how he handled the report didn’t matter anyway. “It was my baby,” Barr said. 

During a pair of closed-door meetings Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, Judiciary Democrats had discussed holding Barr in contempt of Congress for ignoring a subpoena and threatening to skip the scheduled hearing. At one point, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) suggested the committee impeach Barr if it subpoenas him for testimony and he refuses to show.

But after a back-and-forth, the panel agreed impeaching Barr would probably distract from their investigations of Trump and that if they were to begin impeachment proceedings against an individual, it would probably be Trump. That’s when the group settled on the tentative contempt plan, officials said.

The debate over how to handle Barr highlights the predicament House Democrats will find themselves in as they consider ways to reprimand him: Do they try to oust Barr for actions they believe are impeachable? Or do they stay focused on Trump, whom they view as the ultimate prize?

“We are now seeing the attorney general engage in obstruction of a congressional subpoena,” said Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.), a member of the committee. 

Cicilline later added that “we cannot tolerate as a country to have the chief law enforcement officer of the United States either boldly misrepresent or provide untruthful testimony to congressional committees.”

 

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Howl

Barr is also declining to recuse himself from X number of investigations that have been referred out of the Mueller investigation. 

And JFC, the Deipaska connection...There is NO ONE in this administration who isn't tainted by/compromised by/influenced by Russia.  

Barr did not do well today, except at obfuscating.  Not much chance he'll show up to a Democrat controlled House hearing tomorrow (with lawyer on standby!) where he'll be put on the hot seat and cross examined for a sustained length of time, instead of 5-minute increments. 

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fraurosena

So what are you actually going to do about it? 

They fret? ‘It sure is disappointing’? What the actual fuck.

They should be losing sleep over their idiocy! They should abase themselves in shame, and bloody well be at the forefront demanding his impeachment and removal from office!

 

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fraurosena
Posted (edited)

Laurence Tribe has the right of it. It’s time the dems realize that the Russian assets are not playing the same game they are. Time to adjust. Time to act. Now, before it’s too late.

 

Edited by fraurosena
Phone’s autocorrect needed correcting

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fraurosena

Saint Rachel has a bombshell question.

 

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GreyhoundFan

 

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GreyhoundFan

 

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Awww, Diamond and Silk love Barr:

 

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Dandruff
3 hours ago, GreyhoundFan said:

 

How about an attempt at removal via impeachment?

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"Barr reminds Mueller: If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog"

Spoiler

Eight-year-old Liam Daly became an Internet sensation when he penned a letter to his grandfather, William Barr, while sitting in the front row at Barr’s confirmation hearing in January.

“Dear Grandpa,” he wrote. “You are doing great so far. But I know you still will.”

Alas for Liam, and for all of us, it was not to be. Now, just weeks on the job as President Trump’s attorney general, Grandpa has disgraced himself. The speed with which Barr trashed a reputation built over decades is stunning, even by Trump administration standards.

Before, Barr was known as the attorney general to President George H.W. Bush and an éminence grise of the Washington legal community. Now he is known for betraying a friend, lying to Congress and misrepresenting the Mueller report in a way that excused the president’s misbehavior and let Russia off the hook.

Three weeks ago, Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) asked Barr about reports that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team complained that Barr’s four-page summary of their work didn’t “adequately or accurately” portray their findings. “Do you know what they’re referencing?” Crist asked.

“No, I don’t,” Barr replied under oath, speculating that they “probably wanted more put out.”

Grandpa was fibbing.

Thanks to The Post’s reporting, we now know that two weeks before Barr denied knowledge of the Mueller team’s displeasure, he received a letter from Mueller complaining that Barr’s summary “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions” and resulted in “public confusion.”

Barr, caught in flagrante delicto in his deception, told senators Wednesday that “the question was relating to unidentified members” of Mueller’s team, not Mueller himself — a technical answer that might get him off for perjury but doesn’t avoid the conclusion that he deliberately misled Congress and the public.

Why didn’t Barr disclose the Mueller letter when Crist asked the question? Barr replied that Crist had posed “a very different question.”

Um, right.

Of equal concern, Barr rejected Mueller’s requests to release more of the report to clear up the confusion. “At that point, it was my baby,” Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. “It was my decision how and when to make it public, not Bob Mueller’s.”

It was his baby, and he smothered it — thus allowing Barr’s misrepresentation of Mueller’s report (characterized by Trump as “total exoneration”) to harden.

Barr’s mistreatment of Mueller is all the more appalling because, during his confirmation hearing, Barr boasted that the two men and their wives were “good friends” and would remain so. Barr reportedly told a senator privately that he and Mueller were “best friends,” that their wives attended Bible study together and that Mueller attended the weddings of Barr’s children.

If so, Barr’s betrayal reminds us: If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. In addition to his unilateral clearing of Trump on obstruction of justice (something Mueller did not do), Barr also echoed Trump’s claim that there was “no collusion” (a question Mueller did not address) and that there had been “spying” against Trump’s campaign.

Barr continued undermining Mueller on Wednesday, calling Mueller’s letter to him “a bit snitty” and saying Mueller should have ended the investigation if he didn’t think it in his purview to say whether Trump committed a crime. And Barr eagerly played Trump’s defense lawyer.

Mueller’s finding that Trump repeatedly leaned on White House counsel Don McGahn to get Mueller fired?

Barr devised the implausible explanation that Trump only wanted Mueller replaced by “another special counsel.”

And Trump instructing McGahn to say publicly that Trump didn’t order Mueller fired? “Not a crime,” Barr argued.

Barr also defended his assertion that Trump “fully cooperated” with the investigation, even though he refused to be interviewed and tried to get then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to unrecuse himself and shut down the inquiry.

“I don’t see any conflict between that and fully cooperating with the investigation,” Barr reasoned.

And what about Trump’s mob-style tactics to thwart cooperation with Mueller? “Discouraging flipping in that sense is not obstruction,” Barr declared.

Even Barr’s choice of pronouns — “we have not waived the executive privilege,” he said — showed he was Trump’s lawyer, not America’s attorney general.

Repeatedly, Barr said it didn’t matter that Trump had deceived the public. “I’m not in the business of determining when lies are told to the American people,” he said. But now Barr, by misrepresenting his dealings with Mueller, has gotten himself into the business of lying to the American people.

Even an 8-year-old knows lying is wrong, whether it’s legal or not. Surely Grandpa Barr should have. The attorney general owed better to his “friend” Mueller, and to the rest of us.

 

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Howl

Long thread on twitter about TWO letters that Mueller sent to Barr.  The second letter references a March 25th letter that was sent to Barr: "I previously sent you a letter dated March 25, 2019, that enclosed the introduction and executive summary for each volume of the Special Counsel’s report marked with redactions to remove any information that potentially could be protected by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure that concerned declination decisions; or that related to a charged case. We also had marked an additional two sentences for review and have now confirmed that these sentences can be released publicly." 

Many people would like to see the exact text of that letter and the attachments.  These aren't just letters; they document what was done when, what Barr knew and when he lied about it and what he decided to withhold from the American people in order to engineer damage control to protect the President.  

My thinking is that Mueller would be only too happy to testify to the House to set the record straight.  And I pray to Rufus that Mueller isn't compromised somehow. 

 

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fraurosena

And here it is, a connection between Barr and Deripaska (and Mnuchin too). Admittedly, it's not a direct connection. Yet. But you can bet there is also a direct one. It's only a matter of time before we'll find out.

 

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"White House complained to Barr about contents of special counsel report after its release"

Spoiler

The White House last month lodged a formal complaint with the Justice Department over the findings of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III — and made clear that President Trump believes he retains the right to assert executive privilege over material contained in the report, despite its public release.

The five-page letter was authored by Emmet Flood, who has handled the Mueller investigation for the White House counsel’s office, and submitted to Attorney General William P. Barr on April 19, the day after Barr released a redacted version of the report.

The letter was provided to The Washington Post by a White House official one day after Barr criticized Mueller during a contentious appearance in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The attorney general described a letter from the special counsel asking him to release summaries of his report as “snitty” and said he was confused by Mueller’s decision that he could not come to a conclusion at the end of his obstruction-of-justice inquiry.

In his report, Mueller wrote that he believed that because a Justice Department policy holds that the president cannot be indicted while in office, the special counsel’s office could not make an assessment on whether the president had broken the law.

“While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” Mueller wrote in his 448-page report, which laid out evidence gathered about potential acts of obstruction by Trump.

In his April 19 letter, Flood accused Mueller of exceeding his authority by spilling into public view a recitation of facts far more detailed than what is typically included in criminal indictments. He described the report as “prosecutorial curiosity — part ‘truth commission’ report and part law school exam paper.”

Both the Justice Department and the special counsel’s office declined to comment.

In the letter, Flood offered a scathing critique of Mueller’s report, writing that the special counsel team abandoned the normal burden of proof that requires prosecutors to establish crimes beyond a reasonable doubt.

The refusal to “exonerate” the president, he wrote, turned the presumption of innocence on its head.

“Because they do not belong to our criminal justice vocabulary, the SCO’s inverted-proof-standard and ‘exoneration’ statements can be understood only as political statements, issuing from persons (federal prosecutors) who in our system of government are rightly expected never to be political in the performance of their duties,” Flood wrote in the letter, which was first reported by CNN.

He said that Mueller’s lengthy report showed his team had “failed in their duty to act as prosecutors and only as prosecutors.”

Before the release of Mueller’s report, the White House did not assert executive privilege over the document or request redactions.

In his letter, Flood wrote that the White House declined to assert the privilege with a “measure of reluctance born of concern for future Presidents and their advisors.”

But he made clear that the White House did not believe this choice meant they have closed the door on asserting executive privilege over the same material in the future.

In particular, he wrote that the release of the report does not affect the president’s ability to instruct advisers to refuse to appear before congressional committees.

“It is one thing for a President to encourage complete cooperation and transparency in a criminal investigation conducted largely within the Executive Branch,” he wrote. “It is something else entirely to allow his advisors to appear before Congress, a coordinate branch of government, and answer questions relating to their communications with the President and with each other.”

The House Judiciary Committee has issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Donald McGahn, who was a key witness to several episodes Mueller explored as he looked at whether Trump obstructed justice.

The White House has objected to McGahn’s appearance. In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Trump said he’d already had McGahn testify for more than 30 hours, referring to the time the former White House lawyer spent with Mueller’s investigators. “Congress shouldn’t be looking anymore. This is all. It’s done,” Trump said.

If McGahn chooses to defer to guidance from White House lawyers, the issue will likely result in a lengthy court battle that will test the limits of the president’s executive powers.

 

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"The worst thing Barr did this week had nothing to do with the Mueller report"

Spoiler

The worst thing that Attorney General William P. Barr did this week arguably had nothing to do with possible contempt of Congress or the Mueller report.

It had to do with health care.

On Wednesday, amid the circus over alleged special counsel snittiness, the department that Barr oversees formally asked a federal appeals court to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act, jeopardizing access to health care for tens of millions of Americans.

If the Trump administration prevails, everything in the law would be wiped out. And I do mean everything: the protections for people with preexisting conditions, Medicaid expansion, income-based individual-market subsidies, provisions allowing children to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26, requirements that insurance cover minimum essential benefits such as prescriptions and preventive care, and so on.

The administration’s rationale was laid out in a policy brief supporting a lawsuit challenging Obamacare by 20 red states. Their logic: When Congress, as part of President Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, set the penalty for not carrying health insurance to zero, that effectively made it no longer really a “tax,” and therefore made it unconstitutional. Somehow, that rendered the rest of the law unconstitutional, as well — including lots of provisions having nothing to do with the mandate.

This reasoning has been rejected even by conservative legal scholars otherwise opposed to the law. But legal merits (and demerits) aside — which are likely to be ultimately adjudicated by the Supreme Court — it’s also not clear what political upside Republicans could possibly see in mounting yet another overt attack on Obamacare.

The GOP’s November congressional losses were largely motivated by voter rage over the party’s attacks on Obamacare, after all. Trump has, of course, more recently proclaimed the GOP the “party of health care,” and he and other party leaders continue repeating the obvious fiction that they’re cooking up “something terrific” to replace the ACA.

Yet Trump’s party has never been able to come up with (let alone pass) a viable replacement plan, even when it had unified control of government.

There are more productive things Trump and lawmakers could do to improve the health-care system that don’t involve dismantling the ACA. Obamacare, after all, did a lot to expand coverage and not nearly enough to improve affordability.

In fact, if Republicans are looking for more fruitful areas for improvement, they might contemplate a survey focused on employer-sponsored insurance plans that was released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Los Angeles Times.

About half of the U.S. population has employer-based coverage, including 60 percent of nonelderly adults. While most say they are generally satisfied with these health plans, many nonetheless struggle with the financial burden they impose — particularly the high-deductible plans that cover 4 in 10 people with employer-sponsored insurance.

Deductibles in employer-sponsored insurance have been rising since long before the ACA. They have nearly quadrupled over the past 12 years and now average $1,350 for a single-person plan. But separate survey data show that only half of nonelderly, one-person households report having at least $2,000 in savings available.

It’s no wonder, then, that many with “good” health coverage still report trouble paying for care. In fact, half of adults with job-based coverage say they or someone in their household has skipped or delayed getting medical care or filling prescription drugs in the past 12 months because of the cost.

Figuring out how to reduce out-of-pocket costs — including deductibles so high that they’re tantamount to not having insurance at all — turns out to be much more challenging than simply burning down the entire system. After all, requiring employers to spend more on health insurance might just end up hitting workers in the form of lower wages.

Even so, there are promising paths forward.

For instance, the latest version of a plan known as the Medicare for America Act —  introduced Wednesday by Reps. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) — would create an expansive public insurance option to compete with the employer-sponsored system. The public option would cap premiums and out-of-pocket costs and have no deductibles. The bill would allow employer-sponsored plans to continue, as long as they covered a minimum average share of enrollees’ health expenses.

Other options might include refundable tax credits to offset out-of-pocket spending, as have been proposed by Democrats before.

Trump administration officials may not like these alternatives. Fine. But if they’re going to persist in trying to blow up the current system — through administrative sabotage, funding cuts and bogus court challenges — the onus remains on them to propose better ways to rebuild it.

 

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GreyhoundFan

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I suggest this series of photos:

 

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fraurosena

Another reason to love Ted Lieu.

 

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