Politics Opinion: Bill Barr's indefensible defense of Trump isn't fooling this federal judge
A federal judge ordered the DOJ to release a memo that Bill Barr used to clear Trump of obstruction of justice
"It is time for the public to see" the memo, Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote in a searing opinion issued Tuesday.Barr said at the time that he'd come to his decision "in consultation with the Office of Legal Counsel and other Department lawyers" but did not publicize the OLC's memo.
We already knew that former Attorney General Bill BarrCongress and the public about the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Turns out, it's even worse than that. New revelations in a Washington, DC, lawsuit make clear the depths of the fundamental dishonesty that marred Barr's tenure as attorney general.
Back in March 2019, in a thoroughly deceitful -- but ultimately successful -- effort to save former President Donald Trump's legal hide, Barr wrote an infamous four-pagethat baldly mischaracterized the Mueller report and unilaterally declared Trump free and clear on obstruction of justice, despite Mueller of elements of obstruction of justice (though Mueller did not reach a conclusion of whether Trump committed the crime, largely because of a Justice Department policy against indicting a sitting president). Barr then withheld the actual from the public for nearly a full month, as public opinion calcified around his distorted, pro-Trump conclusions.
Justice Department ordered to release memo on why Trump wasn’t charged in Mueller probe
Former Attorney General William Barr leaned heavily on the memo in declining to charge Trump with a crime, but Barr never released the document publicly.A federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to release a confidential memo that former Attorney General William Barr cited as justification for not charging ex-President Donald Trump with obstructing Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia.
We know Barr misled the American people in his summary letter, first, because Mueller himself -- in an uncharacteristically confrontational move --in which he pointedly noted that Barr's public summary "did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office's work and conclusions."
Later, Judge Reggie Walton -- nominated to the federal bench by Republican President George W. Bush in 2001 -- alsoBarr for his dishonesty. In a , in a lawsuit brought by a public interest group seeking access to redacted portions of the Mueller report, Walton excoriated Barr for his "lack of candor," which "call(s) into question Attorney General Barr's credibility and in turn, the Department's representation" on the Mueller report.
DOJ ordered to release memo advising Barr on not pursuing Trump obstruction charges
A federal judge ordered the release of an Office of Legal Counsel memo supporting former Attorney General William Barr’s decision not to pursue obstruction of justice against former President Donald Trump following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. © Provided by Washington Examiner Judge Amy Berman Jackson released a 41-page opinion on Monday rejecting arguments from the Trump DOJ that the advisory memo from March 2019 had been part of the deliberative process and subject to attorney-client privilege and thus not subject to public release following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Citizens f
Barr's misrepresentations were so flagrant, according to Walton, that they "cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary." This is how a judge calls a litigant a liar, politely.
Now, Judge Amy Berman Jackson, a federal judge nominated by President Barack Obama in 2011, has registered her disgust with Barr's dishonesty over the Mueller report. In aon Tuesday, in a lawsuit by a government transparency group seeking documents relating to the Mueller report, Jackson held that Barr's summary of Mueller's report was "disingenuous." That's charitable phrasing, and a big deal when applied to a former attorney general. It's also nothing new.
But Jackson'sadded another layer to the Barr-Mueller scandal. There was apparently a legal memo kicking around the inner sanctum of the Justice Department, which the department tried to use to convince Jackson it provided Barr with the legal basis for his conclusion that Trump had not obstructed justice. If that was the case, it would support the notion that perhaps Barr did not rush to judgment in clearing Trump, and perhaps Barr did engage in meaningful legal deliberation, rather than the precooked rush job that his four-page letter -- issued just after Barr received the Mueller report -- appeared to be.
Ted Lieu Says 'History Will Not Be Kind' to Bill Barr Following Mueller Report Memo Order
Lieu responded to a federal judge's order to release a memo about the ex-attorney general's decision not to charge Donald Trump over 2016 election interference.Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered the Justice Department to turn over a memo from March 2019 that Barr had cited as the reason for not charging Trump following the investigation by former special counsel Robert Mueller into claims of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
However, Jackson found that the Justice Department's representation of the legal memo was also "disingenuous" and gave "incomplete explanations" intended to "obfuscate the true purpose of the memorandum." In fact, the legal memoby two political figures in the department -- Steven Engel of the Office of Legal Counsel and Ed O'Callaghan, a top adviser in the Deputy Attorney General's Office -- only after Barr issued his four-page memo, as a seeming after-the-fact justification for Barr's otherwise indefensible actions.
The Justice Department tried to sell Jackson a bill of goods about Barr's thorough and deliberative legal process, but she saw right through that facade and acknowledged that Barr's conclusion was cooked from the start. Jacksonthat the facts "belie the notion that it fell to the Attorney General to make a prosecution decision or that any such decision was on the table at any time ... The fact that (Trump) would not be prosecuted was a given."
Barr already had earned himself a place in history as a uniquely problematic attorney general. His flagrant distortion of the Mueller report was only his first of many transgressions. He later would intervene in unprecedented fashion to aid Trump's political alliesand ; decline to open a criminal investigation in the Ukraine scandal, despite of potential criminality; the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York under questionable pretenses; unjustifiable force against protesters by the White House; and the public about the threat of massive voter fraud in the run-up to the 2020 election.
The new revelations in Jackson's opinion are, in one sense, more of the same. Beyond that, they make clear that Barr -- and those around him -- would cross almost any line to cover up his misconduct.
Barr surely will go down in history among our most dishonest attorneys general. He's earned it.
Bill Barr threatened to quit if Trump tried to fire Christopher Wray: Report .
Former Attorney General Bill Barr threatened to quit if then-President Donald Trump fired Christopher Wray, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to a new report. © Provided by Washington Examiner Barr learned of plans to dismiss Wray when Johnny McEntee, a top Trump aide, introduced him to Bill Evanina, a top counterintelligence official in the administration who was reportedly being considered as a potential replacement for Wray, according to Business Insider.