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  # 2228565 1-May-2019 10:45
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How Donald Trump killed the daily press briefing

CNN with Chris Cillizza

The decades-long tradition of the daily White House press briefing is now a thing of the past. Why? Because Trump wants it that way.


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  # 2228757 1-May-2019 14:52
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The Washington Post - Mueller complained that Barr’s letter did not capture ‘context’ of Trump probe

 

April 30

 


Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III wrote a letter in late March complaining to Attorney General William P. Barr that a four-page memo to Congress describing the principal conclusions of the investigation into President Trump “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s work, according to a copy of the letter reviewed Tuesday by The Washington Post. ...

 

At the time Mueller’s letter was sent to Barr on March 27, Barr had days prior announced that Mueller did not find a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian officials seeking to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. ...

 

[Mueller wrote:]

 

 

“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions.” 

 

“There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation."

 

"This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

 

 


The letter made a key request: that Barr release the 448-page report’s introductions and executive summaries, and it made initial suggested redactions for doing so, according to Justice Department officials. ...

 

 

 

 

EDIT:  see also: The NY Times - Mueller Objected to Barr’s Description of Russia Investigation’s Findings on Trump

 

 





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  # 2229151 2-May-2019 08:31
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The New York Times - William Barr Hearing: Major Moments From the Attorney General’s Testimony

 

The attorney general appeared in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions on Robert S. Mueller III’s report for the first time since he made a redacted version of the report public.

 

May 1, 2019  (short extracts form a long report)

 

 

  • Attorney General William P. Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he did not misrepresent the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, despite Mr. Mueller’s complaint that the attorney general’s initial public letter describing the investigation’s findings did not capture its full context.

  • In a letter from the special counsel to the attorney general, released on Wednesday, Mr. Mueller wrote that Mr. Barr’s summary of his office’s work failed to capture “the context, nature and substance” of his report and had left the public confused about “critical aspects of the results.”

  • Democrats pressed Mr. Barr on why he had not publicly acknowledged concerns about his original summary when asked about them and why he asserted that President Trump had cooperated fully with the investigation when he tried to thwart it. Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused him of being an advocate for the president.

  • Republicans focused their questions not on Mr. Trump or Mr. Mueller’s report but on Hillary Clinton’s emails and the former F.B.I. officials who opened the Russia investigation.

  • The House Judiciary Committee voted on Wednesday to allow staff lawyers to question Mr. Barr at a hearing scheduled for Thursday. Mr. Barr has said he will not appear under that format.

 


Barr testimony spotlights the role of the attorney general.

 

Several moments of Mr. Barr’s testimony highlighted tensions over the role of the attorney general: whether as the chief law enforcement officer, an attorney general is supposed to render independent judgments based solely on the facts and the law without taking politics into account, or whether, as a political appointee in an administration, he or she is supposed to function as part of the president’s team.

 

In explaining his handling of the investigation, including his decision to pronounce Mr. Trump cleared of obstruction of justice, Mr. Barr repeatedly put forward the best interpretation of events from the president’s point of view, playing down episodes that Mr. Mueller had spotlighted as potential obstruction of justice.

 





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  # 2229224 2-May-2019 09:55
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I loved this doublespeak by the the Attorney General (AKA Trump's lawyer on the inside)

Donald F. McGahn II, then the White House counsel, told the special counsel’s team that the president called him twice in the summer of 2017 and told him to tell the Justice Department to remove Mr. Mueller on the grounds of supposed conflicts of interests.

“Mueller has to go,” he quoted the president as telling him.

Mr. McGahn, who considered the conflicts cited by the president to be “silly” and “not real,” refused to go along.

Mr. Barr told senators that the president’s request did not constitute an illegal effort to impede the investigation. “There is a distinction between saying to someone, ‘Go fire him, go fire Mueller,’ and saying, ‘Have him removed based on conflict,’” Mr. Barr said.

and

Mr. Leahy also took on Mr. Barr over his assertions that Mr. Trump had “cooperated fully” with the investigation, asking him about several of the president’s actions to thwart the inquiry, including his refusal to be personally interviewed by prosecutors.

Mr. Leahy cited an instance when Mr. Trump directed Corey Lewandowski, his former campaign manager, to tell Jeff Sessions, who was then the attorney general and had recused himself from the investigation, to unrecuse himself and impose limits on the special counsel that would effectively take its focus off the president.

“Is that fully cooperating?” Mr. Leahy asked.

“Well,” Mr. Barr said, pausing, “I don’t see any conflict between that and fully cooperating with the investigation.”

I loved this quote from Speaker Nancy Pelosi

The attorney general should be the attorney general of the United States of America and not the attorney of the president of the United States.


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  # 2229238 2-May-2019 10:27
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The Washington Post - Attorney General William Barr declines to testify before House panel

 

BREAKING NEWS

 

May 1 at 6:15 PM

 


Attorney General William P. Barr told a House panel on Wednesday that he will not testify about special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report, raising the prospect that Democrats will hold the nation’s top law enforcement official in contempt of Congress.

 

Barr had been scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday about his handling of Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

 

But Barr balked as the committee wanted a counsel to question him alongside lawmakers, a snub of the congressional panel that angered Democrats. ...

 





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  # 2229241 2-May-2019 10:37
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The Washington Post - 6 takeaways from William Barr’s tense hearing

 

May 1 at 4:52 PM

 

Below are highlights and lessons from the hearing.

 


1. Barr is unrepentant - and still presenting things favorable to Trump

2. ‘I didn’t exonerate’ Trump

3. [Barr's] allegedly misleading previous testimony

4. A rift with Mueller?

5. Graham’s misleading preamble  "Lindsey Graham’s stunningly fact-free, pro-Trump spin of the Mueller report"

6. Barr is better at this than Senate Democrats

 





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  # 2229242 2-May-2019 10:39
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Sideface:

 

The Washington Post - Attorney General William Barr declines to testify before House panel

 



Considering this is all a fake news witch hunt, and the Mueller report was a total exoneration, there sure are a lot of people unwilling to testify as to their roles in either of these.


 
 
 
 


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  # 2229246 2-May-2019 10:42
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Sideface:

 


6. Barr is better at this than Senate Democrats

 



Yep. I think the problem the Democrats are facing is that they think they can deal with Trump using traditional political tools. But these tools don't work when someone is so corrupt as Trump, and has the buy-in from so many institutions that are meant to be there to provide the much lauded checks and balances (which I'm beginning to think are as real as unicorns).

The Democrats need to fight fire with fire. They should be impeaching both Trump and Barr. Impeachment may ultimately fail at the Senate, but the mere process of doing so will bring so much more information into the public sphere.


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  # 2229378 2-May-2019 13:07
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dclegg:

 

... I think the problem the Democrats are facing is that they think they can deal with Trump using traditional political tools.

 

But these tools don't work when someone is so corrupt as Trump, and has the buy-in from so many institutions that are meant to be there to provide the much lauded checks and balances ...



 





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  # 2229386 2-May-2019 13:14
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https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/01/opinion/william-barr-testimony.html

James Comey: How Trump Co-opts Leaders Like Bill Barr


Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive this president.

New York Times
By James Comey, former F.B.I. director.

People have been asking me hard questions. What happened to the leaders in the Trump administration, especially the attorney general, Bill Barr, who I have said was due the benefit of the doubt?

How could Mr. Barr, a bright and accomplished lawyer, start channeling the president in using words like “no collusion” and F.B.I. “spying”? And downplaying acts of obstruction of justice as products of the president’s being “frustrated and angry,” something he would never say to justify the thousands of crimes prosecuted every day that are the product of frustration and anger?

How could he write and say things about the report by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, that were apparently so misleading that they prompted written protest from the special counsel himself?

How could Mr. Barr go before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and downplay President Trump’s attempt to fire Mr. Mueller before he completed his work?

And how could Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, after the release of Mr. Mueller’s report that detailed Mr. Trump’s determined efforts to obstruct justice, give a speech quoting the president on the importance of the rule of law? Or on resigning, thank a president who relentlessly attacked both him and the Department of Justice he led for “the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations”?

What happened to these people?

I don’t know for sure. People are complicated, so the answer is most likely complicated. But I have some idea from four months of working close to Mr. Trump and many more months of watching him shape others.

Amoral leaders have a way of revealing the character of those around them. Sometimes what they reveal is inspiring. For example, James Mattis, the former secretary of defense, resigned over principle, a concept so alien to Mr. Trump that it took days for the president to realize what had happened, before he could start lying about the man.

But more often, proximity to an amoral leader reveals something depressing. I think that’s at least part of what we’ve seen with Bill Barr and Rod Rosenstein. Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from. It takes character like Mr. Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites.

It starts with your sitting silent while he lies, both in public and private, making you complicit by your silence. In meetings with him, his assertions about what “everyone thinks” and what is “obviously true” wash over you, unchallenged, as they did at our private dinner on Jan. 27, 2017, because he’s the president and he rarely stops talking. As a result, Mr. Trump pulls all of those present into a silent circle of assent.

Speaking rapid-fire with no spot for others to jump into the conversation, Mr. Trump makes everyone a co-conspirator to his preferred set of facts, or delusions. I have felt it — this president building with his words a web of alternative reality and busily wrapping it around all of us in the room.

I must have agreed that he had the largest inauguration crowd in history because I didn’t challenge that. Everyone must agree that he has been treated very unfairly. The web building never stops.

From the private circle of assent, it moves to public displays of personal fealty at places like cabinet meetings. While the entire world is watching, you do what everyone else around the table does — you talk about how amazing the leader is and what an honor it is to be associated with him.

Sure, you notice that Mr. Mattis never actually praises the president, always speaking instead of the honor of representing the men and women of our military. But he’s a special case, right? Former Marine general and all. No way the rest of us could get away with that. So you praise, while the world watches, and the web gets tighter.

Next comes Mr. Trump attacking institutions and values you hold dear — things you have always said must be protected and which you criticized past leaders for not supporting strongly enough. Yet you are silent. Because, after all, what are you supposed to say? He’s the president of the United States.

You feel this happening. It bothers you, at least to some extent. But his outrageous conduct convinces you that you simply must stay, to preserve and protect the people and institutions and values you hold dear. Along with Republican members of Congress, you tell yourself you are too important for this nation to lose, especially now.

You can’t say this out loud — maybe not even to your family — but in a time of emergency, with the nation led by a deeply unethical person, this will be your contribution, your personal sacrifice for America. You are smarter than Donald Trump, and you are playing a long game for your country, so you can pull it off where lesser leaders have failed and gotten fired by tweet.

Of course, to stay, you must be seen as on his team, so you make further compromises. You use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values.

And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul.

Lock him up!
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  # 2229477 2-May-2019 14:13
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Wow. Spoken by someone who has been there. 

 

I have come to fear for the worst. I have serious doubts that America can survive Trump. I think those who oppose him cannot cope with someone who doesn't play by the rules. They don't have the mechanisms, or experience, or sheer meanness to stomp on such a person. We see this now with the dancing in congress. Barr says he won't be back. Trump says he won't release financial information. Congress fumes and threatens subpoenas. The administration responds with the courts. It goes on and on. There is never a resolution. Trump gives everyone the fingers and dares them to do anything about it. The House of Representatives needs to assemble the military, march up to the White House, and have him arrested. That is the only way there will ever be an end to this misery.

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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  # 2229492 2-May-2019 14:39
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Politico - Comey has harsh words for Barr and Rosenstein: Trump has 'eaten your soul'

 

05/01/2019

 

 

Former FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday claimed President Donald Trump has eaten the soul of Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, writing in a New York Times op-ed that the Justice Department’s top officials lack the moral character to stand up to the commander in chief.

 

Comey, whom Trump fired nearly two years ago, described a process by which he think the president pulls his advisers and associates into “a web of alternate reality,” where they are forced to - at least publicly - appear to support Trump’s every move. ...

 

 

 

 

I was pleasantly surprised to find this topic covered even by Fox News, who ran an unusually accurate summary of Comey's NY Times op-ed :

 

James Comey pens scathing Trump op-ed: 'He eats your soul in small bites'

 

The response from readers was the usual rabid pro-Trump stuff ...   😖





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  # 2229663 2-May-2019 18:47
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William Barr's Master Class on Hair Splitting

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Stephen attempts to capture the substance, nature,and context of William Barr's incredibly hard-to-watch testimony.


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  # 2229667 2-May-2019 18:59
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Shipped

 

Roll on the next golf day! or beer day, or any day!


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  # 2229894 3-May-2019 08:23
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The New York Times - Democrats Threaten Barr With Contempt After He No-Shows House Hearing

 

May 2, 2019

 


WASHINGTON — House Democrats, decrying what they called an erosion of American democracy, threatened on Thursday to hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress after he failed to appear at a hearing of the Judiciary Committee and ignored a subpoena deadline to hand over Robert S. Mueller III’s full report and evidence.

 

They seized on a letter from Mr. Mueller to the attorney general in which he took Mr. Barr to task for the way he had characterized the special counsel’s conclusions on whether President Trump had obstructed justice.

 

At two hearings, before the House and Senate, Mr. Barr indicated he had been unaware of such discontent.

 

“What is deadly serious about it is the attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday, referring to a House hearing in which he said he was unaware that the special counsel had protested his portrayal of his conclusions. “That’s a crime.” ...

 


In a private meeting with members of her leadership team, Ms. Pelosi called Mr. Barr a “lap dog” for President Trump and an “enabler” of his obstruction of justice, according to a congressional aide in the room. ...

 

 





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