William Barr // A History of Cover-Ups

William Barr has made this a win for Moscow – The Washington Post – By Dana Milbank
Columnist
March 25 at 5:45 PM

Attorney General William P. Barr’s summary of the Mueller report is scandalous — for reasons that have little to do with “collusion.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert S. Mueller III nearly two years ago “to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” as he put it then. Mueller’s report, submitted to the Justice Department on Friday, is titled: “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.”
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Mitch McConnell Blocks Resolution to Release Full Mueller Report – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a non-binding resolution calling on Attorney General William Barr to release the full Mueller report, Axios reported Monday. The bill passed unanimously in the House and was backed publicly by many prominent Democrats. And while President Trump said releasing the full report, which was delivered to Barr this weekend, “wouldn’t bother me at all,” McConnell argued that publicizing the report in its entirety could raise security issues. Barr’s four-page summary of the report has been released publicly,
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William Barr’s shady track record of covering up the crimes of a Republican president – Alternet.org – written by Thom Hartmann / Independent Media Institute January 17, 2019
Bill Barr knows how to cover up the crimes of a Republican president. We know, because he’s done it before. The week of Christmas, 1992, George H.W. Bush was on…

Bill Barr knows how to cover up the crimes of a Republican president. We know, because he’s done it before.

The week of Christmas, 1992, George H.W. Bush was on his way out of office. Bill Clinton had won the White House the month before, and in a few weeks would be sworn in as president.

But Bush’s biggest concern wasn’t that he’d have to leave the White House to retire back to Connecticut, Maine, or Texas (where he had homes) but, rather, that he might end up in a federal prison. Independent counsel Lawrence Walsh was closing in fast on him, and Bush’s 1986 diary was a key to it all.

Walsh had been appointed independent counsel in 1986, to investigate the Iran-Contra crimes of the Reagan administration.
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Cover-up Attorney General Bill Barr strikes again | Salon.com – This time, Barr buries Mueller’s report and cherry-picks fragments from it to justify Trump’s behavior

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3
Thom Hartmann
March 26, 2019 10:30AM (UTC)
This article was produced by the Independent Media Institute.

Back in 1992, the last time Bill Barr was U.S. attorney general, iconic New York Times writer William Safire referred to him as “Coverup-General Barr” because of his role in burying evidence of then-President George H.W. Bush’s involvement in “Iraqgate” and “Iron-Contra.”

General Barr has struck again — this time, in similar fashion, burying Mueller’s report and cherry-picking fragments of sentences from it to justify Trump’s behavior. In his letter, he notes that Robert Mueller “leaves it to the attorney general to decide whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime.”

As attorney general, Barr — without showing us even a single complete sentence from the Mueller report — decided there are no crimes here.Just keep moving along.

Barr’s history of doing just this sort of thing to help Republican presidents in legal crises explains why Trump brought him back in to head the Justice Department.
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Trump Picks William Barr, Defender of Presidential Power, as Attorney General – Mother Jones – If confirmed, Barr would oversee special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and he will face tough questions about the investigation during his confirmation hearing. When Barr was nominated for this same position in 1991, at the age of 41, he was already a known advocate for presidential power—a trait that Trump also sought out in Supreme Court appointee Brett Kavanaugh.

The announcement ends speculation that Trump would allow acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to hold the position for an extended period of time.
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Bill Barr — cover-up artist | Salon.com – Thom Hartmann
January 20, 2019 10:58AM (UTC)
This article was produced by the Independent Media Institute.

Bill Barr knows how to cover up the crimes of a Republican president. We know, because he’s done it before.

The week of Christmas, 1992, George H.W. Bush was on his way out of office. Bill Clinton had won the White House the month before, and in a few weeks would be sworn in as president.

But Bush’s biggest concern wasn’t that he’d have to leave the White House to retire back to Connecticut, Maine, or Texas (where he had homes) but, rather, that he might end up in a federal prison. Independent counsel Lawrence Walsh was closing in fast on him, and Bush’s 1986 diary was a key to it all.
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William Barr Supported Pardons In An Earlier D.C. ‘Witch Hunt’: Iran-Contra : NPR – Carrie Johnson
Twitter

Then-Attorney General William Barr, left, with President George H.W. Bush. Barr supported Bush’s pardons for six people caught up in the Iran-Contra scandal, which is resonating today.
Marcy Nighswander/AP

This won’t be the first time that William Barr, President Trump’s nominee to become attorney general, will be involved with what’s been called a “witch hunt.”

Barr, who is scheduled to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday for his confirmation hearings, ran the Justice Department once before, under President George H.W. Bush.

Back then, the all-consuming, years-long scandal was called Iran-Contra. On Dec. 24, 1992, it ended when Bush pardoned six people who had been caught up in it.

“The Constitution is quite clear on the powers of the president and sometimes the president has to make a very difficult call,” Bush said then. “That’s what I’ve done.”
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William Barr’s record on 4 key issues | PBS NewsHour – By Daniel Bush/Gretchen Frazee
William Barr’s record on 4 key issues
Politics Dec 7, 2018 2:29 PM EDT

William Barr’s tenure as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush 25 years ago is receiving fresh scrutiny for clues about how he might lead the Department of Justice a second time if he is approved by the Senate.

President Donald Trump tapped Barr on Friday to fill the post left empty by his firing of Jeff Sessions last month. Matthew Whitaker has served as acting attorney general since Sessions’ ouster.
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Mueller Report Summary Shows William Barr Did What Trump Hired Him to Do – Charles P. Pierce
Mar 24, 2019
Key Players In Russia Investigation Prepare For Release Of Mueller Report
Win McNameeGetty Images

If the president* really had an ounce of empathy in him, he’d issue mass pardons immediately because, otherwise, a number of people are going to feel really stupid going off to federal prison. They will be going off to federal prison knowing that they committed their crimes in defense of nothing. William Barr on Sunday did what he was hired to do. He summarized Robert Mueller’s report in the most favorable light possible to the administration* and, where he couldn’t do that—specifically, on the crime of obstruction of justice—he just decided to turn Mueller’s own conclusion completely upside down. But, in any case, if Barr’s summary is taken whole, Paul Manafort et. al. got caught up in a criminal conspiracy in which the only crimes were their own.

To refresh everyone’s memory, prior to being appointed Jefferson Beauregard Sessions’s successor, Barr wrote a 19-page memo regarding the Mueller investigation in which he pretty much predicted his own summary.
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Barr’s Summary Omits a Key Aspect of Mueller’s Report – The Atlantic – Natasha Bertrand
6:00 AM ET
Cliff Owen / Associated Press

On Sunday afternoon, Attorney General Bill Barr presented a summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions that contained a few sentences from Mueller’s final report, one of which directly addressed the question of collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” In a footnote, Barr explained that Mueller had defined “coordination” as an “agreement—tacit or express—between the Trump campaign and the Russian government on election interference.”
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Mark Joseph Stern // William Barr did exactly what Trump hired him to do. – Fast forward to Sunday, when Barr released his summary of Mueller’s report after absorbing it for less than 48 hours. Barr outlined one key finding unambiguously: The Trump campaign, he wrote, did not coordinate with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election. That conclusion will come as a great relief to the president and his supporters, if Mueller’s report is as clear-cut as Barr indicates. But the attorney general’s summary includes a second finding that is confusing and equivocal. Mueller, Barr wrote, left “unresolved” the question of whether Trump obstructed justice. He instead laid out “evidence of both sides” and allowed Barr, along with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, to use those findings to determine whether the president committed obstruction. On the basis of this evidence and analysis—which we cannot yet evaluate—Barr and Rosenstein decided that Trump did not commit such an offense.

This portion of the summary will remain a puzzle until Mueller’s report is released to the public. But Barr provided a clue to his reasoning, by suggesting that he did not see evidence Trump hampered the Russia probe with “corrupt intent.” As former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal has noted, it is hard to understand how Barr, or Mueller, or anyone, could gauge Trump’s intent, because the president has not been interviewed about his intentions. Why not? We know at least one person vigorously opposed to compelling Trump to submit to an interview: Bill Barr, whose 2018 memo declared that Mueller could not legally do so.
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David Smith, Julian Borger and Lauren Gambino // Donald Trump admits ‘this Russia thing’ part of reasoning for firing Comey | US news | The Guardian – Comey had been leading an investigation into possible collusion between Trump advisers and Russian officials when he was dismissed by the president. Defending that decision in an interview on NBC News on Thursday, Trump said: “And, in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said: ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.’”

Trump also said there were three occasions on which Comey assured him he was not under investigation. The president said he called the director of the FBI to ask for an update on a possible criminal investigation into his ties with Russia.
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Carrie Johnson // William Barr Supported Pardons In An Earlier D.C. ‘Witch Hunt’: Iran-Contra : NPR – Then-Attorney General Barr supported the president’s decision in the Iran-Contra case, which gave clemency to people who had been officials in the administration of President Ronald Reagan, including former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. He had been set to go on trial to face charges about lying to Congress.

To the man who led the Iran-Contra investigation, however, the pardons represented a miscarriage of justice.

“It demonstrates that powerful people with powerful allies can commit serious crimes in high office, deliberately abusing the public trust without consequences,” said Lawrence Walsh, the independent prosecutor in the case, at the time of the pardons.

Barr said later that he believed Bush had made the right decision and that he felt people in the case had been treated unfairly.

“The big ones — obviously, the Iran-Contra ones — I certainly did not oppose any of them,” Barr said as part of the Presidential Oral History Program of the Miller Center at the University of Virginia.
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Eliza Relman // Read Attorney General William Barr’s letter on Mueller report – Business Insider – In Barr’s letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees, which he publicly released, he wrote that he would brief Congress on the contents of Mueller’s report as soon as this weekend.

Barr said he would work with Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “to determine what other information from the report can be released to Congress and the public consistent with the law, including the Special Counsel regulations, and the Department’s long-standing practices and policies.”

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