Before we begin with Barr today, look for the Julian Assange story to take up a lot of media consideration this spring. The Assange case has meaning on a lot of levels. On the one hand, Assange portrays himself as a muck raking journalist, exposing information in the public interest. On the other hand, he’s been characterized as a spy and a vigilante. His eventual prosecution is going to raise enormous first amendment issues, not to mention what information about his Russian activities will bring.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the Mueller investigation, William Barr continues to solidify his position of redacting the Mueller report, and forming a team to go after Trump’s political enemies. Rick Wilson weighed in on it, and it’s not his typical farcical jaunt through the chicaneries of the Trump administration. Wilson is appalled. He points out that Barr’s mission is clearly to protect Trump, not to protect the rule of law. Daily Beast
William Barr’s tone was calm, but his agenda was clear: His job is to protect Donald Trump, no matter the prerogatives of Congress or any consideration of the rule of law. Bill Barr is not the attorney general of the United States. He is the Roy Cohn whom The Donald has craved since become president; an attorney general who sees his duty as serving Trump.
Barr won the job by writing a memo before he knew a single fact contained in the Mueller report. Its tacit and overt promises were irresistible to Trump: As attorney general, Barr would protect this president from charges of obstruction. Barr knew then, and knows now, that he has an audience of one: Donald Trump. Like Barr’s job-application memo, every word of his testimony this week screamed out obedience to the president.
Barr has gone in just one week’s time from being compared to John Mitchell, to now being compared to Roy Cohn, Trump’s original “killer.” Trump has been crowing for years, “Where are my killers?” It would appear that he has finally found his killer. Barr not only made his plans on redaction clear, he also proselytized conspiracy theory with his references to “spying” on the Trump campaign.
By acceding to Trump’s demands for political revenge and refusing to call out the language of witch hunts, crooked cops, angry Democrats, and treasonous enemies within, Barr sent a message to every member of the DOJ and intelligence community—even before reaching his own investigative conclusion—that they can either follow the Trump line, or potentially face persecution and prosecution.
Wilson points out that the mishandling of the Mueller report is the kind of thing that happens when a nation is slipping from democracy to authoritarianism. Here’s his bottom line:
They think this is procedural and political, not existential. There are no brakes, no white knight in DOJ to come to the rescue, and unless Democrats get the entire report in court, Barr, Trump, and Fox will write the history of this sorry affair.
This is existential. This is as to be or not to be as you can get. Congress needs to use it’s subpoena power now and get an unredacted copy of the Mueller report. Bill Barr is the most dangerous man in America and he can’t be under estimated.