The release of Robert Mueller’s redacted report Thursday finally gave the nation a chance to assess just how honest and forthcoming Attorney General William Barr was in the original four pages of “principle conclusions” he wrote summarizing the real report. Let’s just say: Barr’s account didn’t fare well. Actually, Barr’s account was a cover up, full stop. In fact, Barr has proven to be a lying, scheming shill for Donald Trump. He proved that through his press conference before the release and he proved that through the way he manipulated Mueller’s words to give them different meaning. Let’s do a side-by-side comparison of three of Barr’s excerpts to Mueller’s actual report, counting down to the most egregious of them all.
3. In clearing Trump of obstruction of justice, Barr twisted a Mueller quote to make it seem like there was no underlying crime to obstruct. In fact, Mueller was explaining that despite the absence of a criminal conspiracy regarding Russian interference, other potential crimes did exist for which Trump was attempting to impede the investigation.
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.
Vol. II, Page 157: Obstruction of justice can be motivated by a desire to protect noncriminal personal interests, to protect against investigations where underlying criminal liability falls into a gray area, or to avoid personal embarrassment. The injury to the integrity of the justice system is the same regardless of whether a person committed an underlying wrong. In this investigation, the evidence does not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference. But the evidence does point to a range of other possible personal motives animating the president’s conduct. These include concerns that continued investigation would call into question the legitimacy of his election and potential uncertainty about whether certain events — such as advance notice of WikiLeaks’ release of hacked information or the June 9, 2016, meeting between senior campaign officials and Russians could be seen as criminal activity by the president, his campaign or his family.
2. Barr quoted an out-of-context a Mueller passage declaring "numerous links" between Russia and the Trump campaign to suggest that interactions between the two entities were entirely free of suspect, if not criminal, behavior.
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 U.S. 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.”
Vol I, Page 1: The investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.
1. Barr didn't use the words "Congress" or "congressional" in his four-page cover up once—not once. Meanwhile, Mueller laid out an extensive rationale for why Congress both can and should assess Trump's actions through the lens of obstruction of justice. Mueller never once suggested that Barr should make the determination.
The Special Counsel's decision to describe the facts of his obstruction investigation without reaching any legal conclusions leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime.
Vol. II, Page 169: We concluded that Congress can validly make obstruction-of-justice statutes applicable to corruptly motivated official acts of the President without impermissibly undermining his Article II functions.
Vol. II, Page 170: Under OLC's analysis, Congress can permissibly criminalize certain obstructive conduct by the President, such as suborning perjury, intimidating witnesses, or fabricating evidence, because those prohibitions raise no separation-of-powers questions.
Vol. II, Page 176: Congress has Article I authority to define generally applicable criminal law and apply it to all persons—including the President.
Vol. II, Page 177: In the case of obstruction-of-justice statutes, our assessment of the weighing of interests leads us to conclude that Congress has authority to prohibit a President's corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice.