From well before he stepped into the role of attorney general, William Barr has made it clear that he regards his job to be protecting Trump and … nothing else. The technical description of Barr’s position might not call him Trump’s lead defense attorney, but that’s obviously how Barr has interpreted his role. The release of the Mueller report this week, even in a form still carrying a plethora of redactions, reveals just how ridiculous, disgraceful, and fundamentally dishonest Barr’s letter to Congress claiming to summarize the findings of the report really was.
The Mueller report already contained summaries for the areas of both Russian interference and obstruction of justice. But even if Barr determined that these summaries were too lengthy for his audience, it’s not difficult to assemble a summary of each area that’s a far more accurate reflection of the report’s contents. Of course, a blank page would be a better summary. Or a random selection from Crime and Punishment. Because, even for those who anticipated as much, it’s hard to contemplate just how far Barr’s “summary” of the report falls from the report’s actual content. Supposedly comedic assessments of what could be on the other end of phrases and fragments Barr cherry-picked for his letter turned out to be all too accurate.
As an exercise, here’s a quick review of what Barr told Congress, compared to a more accurate assessment of the contents.
The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 US. presidential election. As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
In Barr’s letter, only a fraction of a single sentence comes from the report he is supposedly summarizing, and that fragment is framed completely differently than it is in the report. Here’s how the same segment might have looked had Barr been interested in reporting to Congress truthfully, rather than in a way that cast the best light on Donald Trump by hiding the findings of the special counsel team.
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