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Mon Jun 3, 2019, 08:37 PM

Barr's zealous defense of Trump makes it impossible to trust his legal judgment

By Neal Katyal

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Barr, by contrast, took the opposite approach. He appeared the next day on CBS News and said, “I personally felt he could’ve reached a decision,” and that “the opinion says you cannot indict a president while he is in office, but he could’ve reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity.”

Barr’s statement was news, not only to the American public, but also, I suspect, to Mueller himself. It also should have come as news to someone else: William P. Barr. On the first day of his confirmation hearing nearly five months ago, Barr was asked by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) about former FBI director James B. Comey’s July 2016 news conference on the decision not to indict Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server while secretary of state.

Here is what Barr said in January: “I thought that to the extent [Comey] actually announced a decision was wrong, and the other thing is, if you’re not going to indict someone, then you don’t stand up there and unload negative information about the person. That’s not the way the Department of Justice does business.”

Barr has now directly contradicted what he told the Senate. Why?

The answer has to do with how Barr backed himself into a corner when he cleared Trump of obstruction of justice. Barr was criticized resoundingly for reaching such a determination within 48 hours of receiving Mueller’s report (which was more than 400 pages long). Barr tried to defend himself by explaining that he had had time to evaluate everything because Mueller had told him in a meeting three weeks beforehand that he wasn’t going to reach a decision on obstruction of justice. This has always been a strange claim — that Barr was evaluating the evidence without the report in his hand — but now it gets absurd.

If Barr thought Mueller could have reached a decision on obstruction of justice, did he tell Mueller that when they met in March? Wouldn’t that have literally been Barr’s job, as the supervisor of the special counsel? Instead, he revealed his views only later — and contradicted his earlier position that prosecutors cannot “unload negative information about a person” and that that is not how the “Department of Justice does business.”

Barr’s position, as he described it on CBS, is absurd on its face. Imagine the outcry if Mueller were to have done what Barr now claims he could have done: Mueller would be labeling Trump a criminal, but Trump would have no legal process to defend himself. Folks — including me — would scream about the unfairness of such an outcome. Mueller was faithful to long-standing Justice Department considerations about being fair to potential defendants; Barr, by contrast, appears to be lurching from one bad position to the next.

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The only way forward is for Congress to carry out a thorough investigation and reach its own conclusions.

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Barr has shown himself to be an unreliable and unsteady voice, careening from one position to the next, always in favor of protecting his boss. And even had Barr acted without such partisanship, the whole point of the idea that a sitting president cannot be indicted is that there is an alternative forum to review those questions.

[link:https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/06/03/barrs-zealous-defense-trump-makes-it-impossible-trust-his-legal-judgement/?utm_term=.4c44db51ce7e|

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Reply Barr's zealous defense of Trump makes it impossible to trust his legal judgment (Original post)
Ramsey Barner Jun 2019 OP
guillaumeb Jun 2019 #1
Nitram Jun 2019 #2

Response to Ramsey Barner (Original post)

Mon Jun 3, 2019, 08:38 PM

1. No one trusts Barr.

He was hired to protect Trump.

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Response to Ramsey Barner (Original post)

Tue Jun 4, 2019, 06:50 PM

2. "Barr's zealous defense of Trump makes it impossible to trust his legal judgment."

Pardon my sarcasm, but how long did it take you to figure the out?

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