|Attorney General William Barr|
Thursday, May 2, 2019
No Real Conservative Should Celebrate Attorney General William Barr's Lying to Congress and the American People
Some "conservatives" (I hate to sully the term because most of them are simply "Trumpers") are celebrating the actions of Attorney General William Barr. Yesterday's Wall Street Journal staff editorial declared that President Trump now has a "real" Attorney General. Really? Let's recap.
Mueller unquestionably lied to Congress and the American people in the initial memo he wrote summarizing the Mueller report. Then he went to Congress and again lied against about what the Mueller report contained and whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller agreed with his characterization
of the Mueller report. Then, hours before Mueller Report was released, Barr went before the American people and again lied to them, lies that were intended to spin the report which, contrary to the Barr's month-long narrative, namely did not clear the President of "collusion" (Mueller expressly did not look at "collusion" but only considered whether the actions of Trump's campaign rose to the level of a criminal conspiracy). Barr also claimed that the report was inconclusive on obstruction and Mueller's decision not to prosecute had nothing to do with the Justice Department memo saying a sitting President could not be prosecuted. Not true.
So we conservatives are supposed to celebrate an Attorney General who lies, not even to mention Barr's earlier performance, impugning federal law enforcement, by repeating with approval Trump silly, unsupported claim his campaign was illegally spied upon.
Oh, and yesterday, Barr said it was perfectly legal for a President to obstruct a criminal investigation into his conduct if the President believes that he or she did not do anything wrong. Unfortunately extensive coverage of Barr's lies pushed this disturbing theory off the front page. Barr also refused to talk about whether President Trump asked him to launch investigations of his political opponents and refused to recuse himself on other criminal investigations that were farmed out by Mueller to other U.S. Attorney offices.
If Barr would have been Attorney General during President Nixon's time, the Watergate investigation would have been shut down immediately and Nixon would have served two full terms. I can't imagine anything Nixon did that Barr would not have given him cover on.
Now Attorney General Barr is refusing to comply with legislative subpoenas or testify before the House. Again, "conservatives" are celebrating. Really? So are we going to celebrate the next time when there is a Democratic President who refuses to allow a Republican Congress to exercise oversight authority? So we conservatives don't believe in separation of powers and checks and balances? So we conservatives instead believe in an imperial Executive branch led by a President who can do whatever he or she wants?
Barr has been more than willing to do what it takes to protect President Trump even if it means undermining our democratic institutions and throwing away his own reputation. Not sure why a a 68 year old man at the end of the career would want to leave a legacy as a lying sycophant with no integrity.
But then again, maybe Barr's should not have had a positive reputation to begin with. In 1992, the late conservative writer William Safire detailed Attorney General Barr's effort at stonewalling Congress in an effort to obstruct an investigation into Republican President George Bush's "Iraqgate scandal." Later that year, Barr urged pardons of key administration officials caught up in the Iran-Contra affair, a scandal that took place during the Reagan administration. This includes Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, who was being prosecuted for lying to Congress. Because of his antics as Attorney General, Safire used to call Barr the "Coverup General."
Obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and the American people, undermining the rule of law. Yes, that is the legacy of Attorney General William Barr. And that is not a legacy that any real conservative should celebrate.