You knew this was coming and it’s why some were smart to not go all in on the “Mueller’s team did this the right way” talk.
Yes, I’m glad Mueller himself didn’t plant evidence to frame the President. That was always a fringe fear and I never expected such to happen, which is why I’ve said from the beginning that Trump should just let the investigation finish. There was no winning play in shutting it down early, although it would have been justified, and Mueller was never going to actually find anything anyway.
Of course, when your team is full of Democrat donors, former Hillary Clinton lawyers, and a corruptocrat like Andrew Weismann, don’t expect things to be totally on the up and up. We are now starting to get our first leaks post the Barr summary and it’s what you’d expect.
Members of Mueller’s team have told associates that Attorney General William Barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry https://t.co/QicgQvAREK
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 3, 2019
That of course led to claims of a “bombshell,” because we are apparently going to do that for another two years.
NYT bombshell tonight about investigators saying Mueller Report was misrepresented by Barr and bad for Trump is not just important in its own right…its a warning shot. Its investigators saying they won't sit silently by and be misrepresented. A very big deal.
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) April 3, 2019
This is one of those headlines that looks worse than it is. Let’s dig into it a bit.
WASHINGTON — Some of Robert S. Mueller III’s investigators have told associates that Attorney General William P. Barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and that they were more troubling for President Trump than Mr. Barr indicated, according to government officials and others familiar with their simmering frustrations.
Ah, the old 3rd hand “familiar with” standby. It’s become a staple in the Trump era, where you no longer even need direct knowledge from your anonymous sources. You just need someone who claims to be familiar with something someone said about someone else. In reality, there’s not a single named source, nor even a direct anonymous source, in this report.
The officials and others interviewed declined to flesh out why some of the special counsel’s investigators viewed their findings as potentially more damaging for the president than Mr. Barr explained, although the report is believed to examine Mr. Trump’s efforts to thwart the investigation.
Of course they didn’t. Better to play a game of mystery and innuendo as it allows the framing of a narrative while having to provide zero evidence to back it up.
It won’t matter what’s actually in the report because it will likely never be made fully public. Instead Congress and certain members of Mueller’s team will cherry pick insinuative information to hand off to the press. From there they can push anti-Trump angles without having to actually prove those angles are being presented in their full context.
I’ll note that this is exactly what CNN wanted to do with the Trump dossier until Buzzfeed screwed that up for them by releasing it. Jake Tapper got very angry about it, essentially admitting that CNN wanted to keep the actual document under wraps so as to leak only pieces of it. This of course would have allowed them to drop things like the pee tape craziness or claims of Cohen in Prague while hiding behind anonymity to bolster their credibility. It was only because the public saw the dossier that it was quickly realized just how dumb and obviously fake it was.
That’s the play.
If I had to speculate what we are even talking about here, I’d guess that this is not related to Russian collusion, but instead rests on disagreements about obstruction. It’s likely Mueller presented some Trump tweets or the Comey/Flynn conversation as possible evidence of obstruction. Even though Mueller ended up not finding enough to rise to the level of recommending indictment, some on his team may think he should have. Perhaps I’d be shocked if that’s not true.
This entire thing is stupid. The idea that you are going to charge obstruction against someone who did not materially obstruct an investigation into a crime that didn’t exist is nonsensical. Did it happen to Martha Stewart? Yes, and most said it was a travesty at the time. The kind of abuses of power James Comey made regular practice are not how our justice system is supposed to work.
The next push over the Mueller report isn’t going to be whether Trump committed a crime or not. He didn’t. Instead, it’s going to be over whether partisans get their way in breaking DOJ protocol to garner material to smear their enemies with.
Mr. Barr and his advisers expressed concern that if they included derogatory information about Mr. Trump while clearing him, they would face a storm of criticism like what Mr. Comey endured in the Clinton investigation.
The media, Democrats, and a lot of Never Trumpers are desperately hoping that Barr is forced to release information that led nowhere but can be used as a political bludgeon. That’s what this is all about and it should be recognized as such. I hope AG Barr holds his ground and doesn’t cave to the mob.
I predict this “bombshell” will fizzle like all the other ones before it. It’ll serve as fodder for a while but Barr will eventually be shown to have represented the report fairly. Naturally, there will be no apologies for propagating yet another baseless conspiracy theory because there never is.
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