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March 24, 2019 8:25 pm - NewsBehavingBadly.com

William Barr, former game show host Donald Trump’s hand-picked and rubber-stamped Attorney General (who seemed to have been blatantly “auditioning” for the job), wants you to think that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found “no collusion” and no obstruction:

In a decision quickly attacked by Democrats, Barr, a Trump appointee who took office last month, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that the evidence did not justify bringing obstruction charges, according to the Justice Department’s four-page summary.

Barr quoted Mueller as writing in his report on the issue of possible obstruction of justice: “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement that the fact that Mueller had not cleared Trump on the obstruction issue “demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay.”

The man who drafted the special counsel regulations, Neal Katyal, found Barr’s letter troublesome.

[T]the critical part of the letter is that it now creates a whole new mess. After laying out the scope of the investigation and noting that Mr. Mueller’s report does not offer any legal recommendations, Mr. Barr declares that it therefore “leaves it to the attorney general to decide whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime.” He then concludes the president did not obstruct justice when he fired the F.B.I. director, James Comey.

Such a conclusion would be momentous in any event. But to do so within 48 hours of receiving the report (which pointedly did not reach that conclusion) should be deeply concerning to every American.

That’s just for starters. Read it all here.

Seth Abramson, author of “Proof of Collusion,” has problems not only with the letter but the manner in which the press has reported its contents.

It doesn’t import what media is suggesting it does. … Mueller was supposed to decide if Donald Trump could be charged with Obstruction of Justice—or, if not chargeable, whether he should be referred to Congress for impeachment for Obstruction of Justice. But AG Barr usurped Mueller’s job and decided to make that decision himself. …

On “collusion,” investigative reporters and independent journalists just spent years gathering evidence on a very specific allegation of collusion: that for his own enrichment, Trump traded away our foreign policy on Russian sanctions at a time he knew Russia was attacking us. We are now being told that Mueller never investigated the collusion allegation Trump was facing—on a money-for-sanctions-relief quid pro quo—and instead investigated the allegation as Trump saw it, which was whether he struck an agreement with the IRA or Russian hackers.

Abramson’s full Twitter thread is an eye-opening parsing of Barr’s political gambit.

And one of the biggest achievements of the Russian probe is hardly being discussed: Mueller exposed several Russian intelligence and influence ops, including dirty Russian money going to organizations controlled by Trump, the Republican party, and the gun whores at the NRA — just to name a few.

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dave-dr-gonzo
Dave "Doctor" Gonzo is a renegade media producer, occasional bassist, web developer, and Grammy® voter. He is editor and senior contributor to News Behaving Badly. He has written for American Politics Journal, Alan Colmes' Liberaland (Dave was also a semi-frequent Friday guest on Alan's radio show), and (in print) Audio Review. Dave lives in s fortified compound with doorman in Manhattan's not-so-trendy Yorkville neighborhood.