A couple of hours from now, Attorney General William P. Barr is going to explain to the press what he and his staff made invisible in the Mueller Report. And afterward he’s going to provide copies of the censored document to Congress. If you think this is, among other things, upsidedown, you wouldn’t be the only person holding to that point of view. But then this has been the case since Barr provided his four-page “summary” of the 400-page Mueller Report. A spin job by a reverse Rumpelstiltskin spinning what we presume to be Mueller gold into Trumpian straw.
The Washington Post reported last evening that the report would only be “lightly” redacted, but later there were reports of “heavy” redactions. Every media outlet could improve their mostly wretched credibility ratings if they would reflect the reality of the redactions in their headlines.
Here are some suggestions, not all of which originate with me: The Barr Whitewash? The Barr Laundromat? The Lowered Barr Bar? The Barr Bowdlerization? The Barrdlerization? The Barr Exculpation? The Barr Expurgation? The Donald Decontamination?
Hmmmm. Perhaps they should just make it simple and just call it Barrf.
The Editorial Board of The Washington Post recommends Barr’s redactions on the Mueller report don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt:
Mr. Barr is essentially asking Congress and the public to take him at his word that his redactions will be proper. There is already cause for wariness about Mr. Barr’s judgment, following reports that those who worked on the Mueller investigation felt that the summary the attorney general released last month inadequately represented their findings. The fact that Mr. Barr rejected the notion that Mr. Trump obstructed justice, even though Mr. Mueller made no determination on the matter, is another concerning sign about what the attorney general is thinking.
More importantly, Mr. Barr works for an administration preparing for all-out war with Congress over all sorts of disclosure, which would be only the latest in a string of bad-faith rejections of federal rules and traditional norms. Regardless of the attorney general’s reputation, he still works for an administration that long ago lost any benefit of the doubt on transparency and fair play.
There may be no satisfying end to this national saga until an independent referee steps in to sort out the controversy. Reggie Walton, a U.S. district judge, raised on Tuesday one possibility for further review. Accusing Mr. Barr of creating “an environment that has caused a significant part of the public … to be concerned about whether or not there is full transparency,” the judge raised the possibility that he would demand an unredacted copy to review whether the Justice Department’s omissions were warranted. We hope he follows through. Mr. Walton could ensure that the redactions followed Freedom of Information Act procedures and were not influenced by political considerations.
The Attorney General of the United States is actually having a press conference at 9:30am just to write the banners for cable news screens for the 2 hours it will take for reporters to catch up with the text of the redacted Mueller report.@TheLastWord 10pm
— Lawrence O’Donnell (@Lawrence) April 18, 2019
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