Twisting Of Facts and Lawyer-Speak Rule the Day As AG Barr Spins Mueller’s Report


The letter which William Barr sent regarding the Mueller report is some fabulist confection. Here’s a link to the full thing. Read it and you’ll be set up to understand what national security reporter Marcy Wheeler is saying.

Now, if your mind is already reeling and you’re saying “huh?”, you are not alone. Emptywheel::

Barr and Rod Rosenstein have spent 72 whole hours considering that evidence to come up with this judgment:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.


In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognized that “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference,” and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President’s intent with respect to obstruction. Generally speaking, to obtain and sustain an obstruction conviction, the government would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person, acting with corrupt intent, engaged in obstructive conduct with a sufficient nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding.

Here’s Wheeler’s commentary on this material.

Here’s the thing, though: at least given what they lay out here, they only considered whether Trump was covering up his involvement in the hack-and-leak operation. It doesn’t consider whether Trump was covering up a quid pro quo, which is what there is abundant evidence of.

They didn’t consider whether Trump obstructed the crime that he appears to have obstructed. They considered whether he obstructed a different crime. And having considered whether Trump obstructed the crime he didn’t commit, rather than considering whether he obstructed the crime he did commit, they decided not to charge him with a crime.

There’s no mention of Roger Stone in Barr’s letter, and we know full well that Stone was 1. part of Trump’s campaign; 2. dealing with WikiLeaks, 3. doing so with Trump’s knowledge and consent. This fact is important because it’s indicative of the cherry picking that is going on right now, in order to frame the Mueller report in a light most positive to Trump.

Pelosi and Schumer have already demanded a full copy of the report, and, as you recall, Trump said only last week that he had no problem with the report being made public.

This is the beginning of a long, hot summer, and it only just turned Spring.

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11 Comments on "Twisting Of Facts and Lawyer-Speak Rule the Day As AG Barr Spins Mueller’s Report"

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So much for the rule of law.
But then the perp was an old, rich, white dude, so what did we expect? In American laws only apply to those pesky melanated people or unfortunates without the means to buy their way out of jail. Voting has never been more important than it is now. I don’t care if the Democratic candidate is a freaking Ford Fairlane: if it’s got a “D” after its name, I’m all over donating, volunteering, canvassing, phone-banking–whatever it takes.


Odd though this is to say, it’s still early doors. The defenses are predictable, the parsing anticipated. But the narrowness of Barr’s focus makes me wonder. I am convinced that Barr is there to protect Republican interests over Trump’s own. Today’s letter was about keeping Trump calm. The calm will not last.

Denis Elliott
I wish I had your faith. I happen to agree that this isn’t over, and that additional charges/prosecutions are coming by various jurisdictions Mueller has handed things off to – provided Barr doesn’t quash them which with Mueller’s main investigation over will be easier for him to do. I’m also deeply disappointed in Mueller. Yes, I realized when Trump basically gave Ukraine and ultimatum that cut off access to key evidence Mueller was about to get the job of proving conspiracy got more difficult. However, huge, complicated cases have been won relying heavily on circumstantial evidence. What did Mueller need?… Read more »

I was waiting for you. I hope you are okay.

Everyone here, I think, can see through the carefully worded statements that come to light once in a while …. Trump himself, has no useful knowledge of high level court proceedings, actually only low level gutter language … His lawyers are undoubtedly in battle positions, fingers flying, trying different forms of obstructing, once again, obvious conclusions, mentioned by our Star Schiff in a statement to George on ABC, all hell is yet to break loose, both committees of power in our own House are demanding the FULL DETAILED REPORT …. It’s my feeling, that very soon, the dotard will almost… Read more »