The jig is up. Anyone holding out hope that Attorney General William Barr was somehow a serious legal mind and a patriotic institutionalist who would keep Trump from going off the rails can forget about it. Not only is he failing to provide those guard rails, he’s actively working to destroy them. When you drop an incendiary word like “spying” into a congressional hearing and then pretend you had no idea it would be problematic, it’s over. Sure, your minions can assure the New York Times that you had no ill intent and your Deputy Attorney General can paint the criticism of your handling of the Mueller report as just “completely bizarre,” but none of that changes the fact that you’re clearly weaponizing the Justice Department for use by the president.
Indeed Donald Trump knew exactly what to do with his newfound cudgel. “There was absolutely spying into my campaign,” Trump told reporters, playing up Barr’s characterization. “There was illegal spying, unprecedented spying.” That Barr was forced to concede at the hearing that he had “no specific evidence” but rather more of a gut feel that he wanted to explore was completely irrelevant by the time Trump had chewed it over and spit it back out to reporters the next day. Now the FBI investigation was definitively illegal and unprecedented.
This is the circus of the grotesque Barr has now ushered us into. The nation’s top law enforcement officer makes a completely unsubstantiated and indeed disproven claim with admittedly no evidentiary underpinnings and then the nation’s commander in chief repeats it resolutely, without caveat, as an unqualified truth. But it’s certainly not the first or even most consequential distortion of reality Barr has delivered. It all started when Barr declared Trump exonerated of wrongdoing even though he admitted that Robert Mueller had expressly declined to exonerate Trump, and then Trump declared his own “complete and total exoneration.” This is supposedly justice at work.
By the end of the week, the Trump campaign was fundraising off Barr’s miscarriage of justice.
Trump campaign flagrantly mischaracterizing BarrÃ¢Â€Â™s testimony in fundraising solicitation >> pic.twitter.com/8OSqySc0Xc
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) April 12, 2019
“What a disgrace,” noted one DC journalist. “That Barr has found no way of correcting this… bad for him and the country.”
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