Tag Archives: DOJ

Wishing that AG Barr rises to occasion

You may choose to believe this . . . or you might choose to disbelieve it. I don’t care. I’ll offer this anyway.

I really want to believe that Attorney General William Barr takes seriously the oath to which he swore when he vowed to uphold the rule of law and to defend the U.S. Constitution.

My hope is being strained almost to the point of snapping.

The report from The New York Times from part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team that Barr might have shaded the team’s work is most disturbing.

The Times reports that some of Mueller’s team have complained that Barr’s four-page summary of the 22-month investigation into whether Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russians doesn’t adequately express the team’s view of what it found. They are saying that Barr is soft-pedaling some of the more troubling aspects the conclusions drawn.

This does force me to join others in wondering whether Barr is more loyal to the president than he is to the law. The oath he took was not to pledge loyalty to Donald Trump. He put his hand on a Bible and swore in the name of God Almighty that he would be faithful to the law. Isn’t that what all our federal officials pledge?

My hope when the president nominated Barr to be AG after he fired Jeff Sessions only because Sessions did what was proper — which was to recuse himself from the Russia probe — was that Barr would emerge as a grownup, as a serious public servant.

I still want to believe that’s the case. He served as AG under a previous Republican president, George H.W. Bush. He is a known quantity. Barr possesses a first-rate legal mind.

Did he, though, “audition” for the AG’s job with that memo declaring that the president couldn’t be prosecuted for any crime because he is the president? 

I do not want to believe that.

The NY Times, though, has cast serious doubt on all of that with the report from members of Mueller’s team that the AG has, um, shaded their findings to protect the president.

Say it ain’t so, Bill. More than that, prove it ain’t so. Release the full report to the public.

No, Mr. POTUS: Mueller hasn’t ‘disappeared’

“Robert Mueller was a God-like figure to the Democrats, until he ruled No Collusion in the long awaited $30,000,000 Mueller Report. Now the Dems don’t even acknowledge his name, have become totally unhinged, and would like to through the whole process again. It won’t happen!”

OK, Mr. President. Let’s chill out for a moment.

This Twitter message you fired off this morning is, shall we say, another lie. But that’s not news, given that you lie whenever your lips move.

I lean toward the Democrats. I have been more than willing to mention Robert Mueller’s name whenever possible. I happen to think much more of him than I do of you.

I also have declared my intention to accept whatever findings Mueller would reach as it regarded allegations of collusion. He has ruled that you and your 2016 presidential campaign didn’t conspire to collude with Russians who attacked our election system.

But he surely has recognized that the Russkies did it. He joins your national security team — which you continue to disparage — in saying that Vladimir Putin’s government sought to influence the election outcome. Putin wanted you elected over Hillary Clinton. He got his wish.

As for Mueller, I must remind you that he made no conclusion about obstruction of justice. At least that is what Attorney General William Barr told us.

You also ought to avoid the “unhinged” talk, Mr. President. If anyone has spiraled out of control over the past couple of years, it’s you.

How about shutting your trap until we see the entire report that Mueller plopped on AG Barr’s lap?

I don’t know why I bother mentioning this to you, given that you have zero shame, zero self-awareness, zero character, zero redeeming qualities that commend you for the office you currently occupy.

I just can’t help myself.

Barr pores over a huge report and then summarizes it . . . so quickly?

Special counsel Robert Mueller handed Attorney General William Barr a 300-page report that chronicles a 22-month investigation into whether Donald Trump’s campaign “colluded” with Russian officials who invaded our electoral system.

Two days later, Barr produces a four-page summary of the report.

We know what Barr says about what Mueller reported. We do not yet grasp with our own eyes what Mueller has determined.

Is the AG corrupt? Is he hiding something? I do not subscribe to the first notion. The second one, well . . . is a debatable point.

That is why I want to join others in demanding that we see Robert Mueller’s report in full. A heavily redacted report with pages upon pages of text blacked out won’t suffice.

The attorney general is hearing from a lot of voices these days to release the report (more or less) in its entirety. National security secrets should be kept away from public view.

According to Barr, Mueller has determined that Trump’s campaign did not collude with Russian goons. He said Mueller drew no conclusion about the obstruction of justice matter.

Americans are left to wonder how Mueller reached those conclusions. Aren’t we entitled to see the evidence that Mueller gathered? Aren’t Americans entitled to see how our millions of dollars were spent?

National Public Radio reported Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reaction to Barr’s summary: “Mr. Attorney General, we do not need your interpretation,” Pelosi said Thursday. “Show us the report and we’ll come to our own conclusions.” She mocked the administration and Republicans as “scaredy-cats.”

I do not want to believe William Barr is doing the president’s bidding. The burden is on the attorney general to keep his promise to operate transparently. He said he would release the report in “weeks, not months.”

Let us see the full report, Mr. Attorney General. Let us decide for ourselves about the veracity of the special counsel’s findings.

Many of us have said we accept Mueller’s conclusion. I am one of them. However, my acceptance is wavering just a bit. The AG’s quick-hit summary isn’t enough to persuade me fully about what Robert Mueller has determined.

Hoping the end of probe would . . . be the end!

Silly me.

I had this naïve thought that Robert Mueller’s report to the attorney general into whether Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russians would be the end of the story.

The special counsel would wrap up his findings, hand them to AG William Barr, who then would tell the public what Mueller had found out. We’d all know — for better or for worse — what went down during the 2016 presidential election.

Then this happened: Mueller essentially cleared Trump and his team of conspiring to collude with Russians who interfered with our election; but then he remained silent on whether Trump obstructed justice by seeking to block any further examination into top aides.

What’s more, Barr issued a four-page “summary” of Mueller’s findings. Not everyone believes Barr’s assessment of what Mueller determined. They contend that Barr is a Trump toadie, handpicked by the president to run interference for him.

Now we’re waiting on the full report from Barr, who promises “transparency.” I am forced to ask: How much of it is he going to show us?

I tend to trust William Barr. I also tend to believe him when he says he will let Americans see as much of Mueller’s findings as he can under the law. I do not need to know the deepest national secrets. All any of us ought to see is the body of evidence that Mueller had collected and from which he drew his conclusions.

Of course, I do have questions now about why Mueller would remain silent on the obstruction of justice matter. Barr said Mueller determined that even though he lacked credible evidence of obstruction, he didn’t “exonerate” the president; Trump, quite expectedly, calls it all a “total exoneration,” which is yet another Trump lie.

I’m going to pose another question: If we presume the worst, that Barr withholds parts of Mueller’s report that might be damaging to the president, would the special counsel be willing to blow the whistle on what the AG is hiding from public view?

Oh, how I want to know the whole truth. My hope of knowing it upon the end of Robert Mueller’s probe has been quashed.

What happened to that ‘pre-existing conditions’ promise?

So much for Republicans’ promise to protect those suffering from “pre-existing conditions” in the ongoing battle over the future of the Affordable Care Act.

The Donald Trump administration — namely the Justice Department — has asked the courts to toss out the ACA, all of it. The decision marks a stunning reversal from the 2018 midterm campaign when GOP candidates across the nation — along with the president himself — pledged to do all they could to protect the portion of the ACA that protects those who suffer from pre-existing conditions.

I should mention here that there is no replacement remedy in place should the court system toss out the ACA. This latest effort is expected to deny more than 20 million Americans of health insurance. Then what?

Donald Trump has joined yet another chorus that goes back on that hollow pledge.

Another broken promise

Democrats who were stung by special counsel Robert Mueller’s decision to essentially clear the president of “collusion” with Russians during the 2016 campaign were given a gift of sorts. They wanted to change the subject. Donald Trump changed it for them.

I continue to scratch my head in wonderment over the GOP’s fixation with tossing out former President Obama’s signature domestic triumph. Republicans tried for most of Obama’s time as president to repeal it; they failed. Then when Trump got elected in 2016, they kept trying; they kept failing, even when they controlled all of Congress and the White House.

The 2018 midterm election changed the political calculus when Democrats took control of the House largely on fear that the GOP would continue to seek to end a health care insurance law that is growing in support across the nation.

What’s maddening, too, is that the administration decided to join this anti-ACA action despite arguments from Cabinet officials against such a move. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was one who resisted the effort.

The ACA isn’t perfect. I get all that. Why not mend it? Why not improve those portions of the law that need work?

Congressional Republicans and the president remain intent on removing Barack Obama’s fingerprints from existing law. To what end remains as muddy as ever.

Shameful.

No high-fives, or condolences just yet

To those who support Donald Trump and those who oppose the president, I want to offer a word of caution for plainly different reasons.

The Trumpsters out there are high-fiving each other over Robert Mueller III’s submission of a report to Attorney General William Barr; he did so without recommending any further indictments into his probe of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians who attacked our electoral system.

They’re repeating the president’s mantra: no collusion.

Whoa! Hang on here, man!

We don’t know anything of what the special counsel’s report says.

The anti-Trump factions are expressing some level of disappointment. They wanted Mueller to deliver some heads — and maybe even some genitalia — on a platter when he turned in his report to Barr. That didn’t happen. Mueller didn’t recommend any more indictments.

To both warring camps I want to offer the same words of caution. It is premature to gloat or glower over what Mueller has completed.

We do no know a thing!

Are we clear? Good!

Join me in waiting for the AG to let Congress know what Mueller has submitted. I guarantee you that a federal government branch with 535 blabbermouths in both legislative chambers cannot possibly keep a secret.

Once they know . . . we’ll all know.

Would the AG dare keep this report secret?

I’ll admit readily to being wrong more than I am right.

Still, I have to wonder about the concerns of those who believe Attorney General William Barr might keep Robert Mueller’s findings secret, that he won’t allow any release of his findings to the public that has a legitimate right to know what the special counsel has determined.

We hear the gripes from folks who suggest that since Barr is a Donald Trump appointee that he will run interference for the president. Mueller spent two years examining allegations of collusion and conspiracy, not to mention obstruction of justice involving the president’s campaign and Russians who attacked our electoral system.

I have faith that Barr is going to do right by the public. He will hear the calls to release the results. Trump says he’s fine with the public knowing what Mueller has determined; then again, the president might change his mind . . . you know?

I believe William Barr is a stand-up guy who will heed the calls from leaders of both political parties. They want the results released. Members of the public want them released, too. After all, Mueller spent millions of dollars of our money to get to the root of the questions that have swirled all over the Trump administration.

Yes, I could be wrong. I recognize that I am far from the political center of gravity. I am just one American living out here in the middle of the country trying to make sense of what is happening in our nation’s capital.

I cannot believe the AG is arrogant enough — or stupid enough — to keep these results a secret.

Thank you for serving our nation, Robert Mueller

Robert S. Mueller III — a man of enormous skill and accomplishment — doesn’t need a word of thanks from chump bloggers such as me, but he’s going to get one anyway.

The special counsel has completed his work, handed it to Attorney General William Barr and this morning he might be sleeping in a little. He deserves the rest.

Mueller has spent much of his adult life serving the United States of America. He took on a huge task in early 2017 when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed him special counsel to examine that “Russia Thing” alluded to by Donald John Trump.

He accepted the bipartisan praise that came his way upon the appointment. Mueller then assembled a first-class legal team to examine allegations that Trump’s presidential campaign “colluded” with Russians who had attacked our electoral system in 2016.

He had to deal eventually with Trump’s incessant blathering of recriminations against him, his team. The president challenged Mueller’s integrity, his honesty, his commitment to fairness, the legality of his work.

Through it all, Mueller kept quiet. He was stone-cold quiet. Mueller’s operation was leak-proof in the extreme. Mueller went about his work. He indicted more than 30 individuals. Mueller secured convictions (including guilty pleas) from about a half-dozen top Trump aides.

The man’s commitment to public service is well-known: service during the Vietnam War as a combat Marine; as a federal prosecutor; as an assistant attorney general in a Justice Department led by William Barr; as director of the FBI under two presidential administrations, one Republican and one Democratic.

He conducted himself with professionalism and dignity, which in my view was in stark and glaring contrast to the conduct exhibited by the nation’s 45th president.

I have declared my intention to accept whatever findings Mueller has reached. If he exonerates the president of wrongdoing, then so be it. I would accept those results not because I want the president cleared of any funny business, but because of my implicit trust in the special counsel and the work he has done on our behalf.

The probe that Robert Mueller conducted was not a “witch hunt.” It was a search for the truth. I believe he has found it, in whatever form it takes.

Forgive the cliché, but thank you, Robert Mueller, for your lifetime of service to the nation.

What if Trump changes his mind?

The thought occurs to me. Here goes . . .

Donald Trump has said he wants special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on alleged collusion, conspiracy and obstruction of justice to be made public. The president said he doesn’t object to the public seeing what Mueller produces.

But the president is known to change his mind. Sometimes on a whim. On a dime. Without warning.

What might happen if after seeing an outline of the report’s findings the president changes his mind? Suppose he calls Attorney General William Barr and instructs the AG to keep the report from Congress. Don’t release it to the public.

My question: Would such an act constitute an impeachable offense?

Wait for Congress to get Mueller’s findings; then we’ll know

This is just a hunch. I want to share it anyway.

My hunch is that when U.S. Attorney General William Barr releases Robert Mueller’s findings to members of Congress, the lid is going to fly off the report and we’re going to know all there is to know — immediately!

Mueller turned his report over to Barr. It was locked up tighter than a hermetically sealed drum. No one knows its contents.

Barr is going to look it over. He said in a letter to Congress that he might let lawmakers know as soon as this weekend.

That would be great!

I am tired of waiting on these results. I happen to believe that House members and senators who represent us out here in Flyover Country want to do what we demand of them. Put another way, they know they’d better do what we demand . . . or else!

So, if Barr delivers the findings to Congress by the weekend, I expect we all will know what Mueller has concluded about collusion, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, you name it.

Don’t wait too long, Mr. Attorney General.