CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin wrote a scathing op-ed over the weekend eviscerating Attorney General William Barr for covering up the Mueller report to protect President Donald Trump.
Barr claims that the report clears Trump of conspiracy and collusion but did not exonerate him on obstruction of justice. However, Barr chose not to pursue charges against Trump based on his previous argument that it’s impossible for a president to obstruct justice.
Obviously, a four-page summary of a 400-page document by a Trump sycophant is unacceptable to Congress and the American people, 75 percent of whom want the full report released.
Republicans in Congress have demanded that Democrats impeach Trump if they want to see the full report, and Barr has already been going through the document to redact whatever he doesn’t want anyone to see, not exactly the kind of action someone takes if the document is truly one of exoneration.
In an op-ed for the New Yorker, Toobin explains how Barr is rigging the report.
Barr erected a quasi-legal structure that gives him enormous leeway to censor much of the Mueller report. According to a letter he sent to congressional leaders, Barr established four categories that were off limits for public disclosure. They are: “Material subject to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) that by law cannot be made public”—that is, matters subject to grand-jury secrecy; classified information; matters relating to other pending investigations; and, finally, “information that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.”
“The fourth category is an invention on Barr’s part,” Toobin continued. “There is no law or regulation prohibiting disclosures of this kind. Moreover, the words are subject to wide interpretation.”
What does “unduly” mean in this context? Who is a “peripheral” third party? What counts as an infringement on someone’s reputation? It’s all, apparently, up to Barr. And this category also raises the most provocative question. As is now well known, Justice Department policy prohibits the indictment of a sitting President. Thus, because Mueller cannot indict Trump, the President, by definition, becomes one of those third parties mentioned in the regulation. Considering this scenario, is it possible that Barr could also prohibit disclosure of any information about the President? This would be an outrage, but it’s a potential outcome of Barr’s four-part test.
Clearly, Barr is engaged in a cover-up to protect Trump, which makes it clear that the report is more damaging to Trump than Barr previously claimed, which matches up with what members of Mueller’s team have been telling the media.
“In all, Barr has taken every possible step to lessen the sting of the Mueller report—and, so far, to block it from view altogether,” Toobin concluded. “The fix is in.”
Again, if the report truly exonerated Trump, Barr would not be trying so hard to bury it. If Barr is protecting Trump from answering for his crimes, he should be prosecuted for aiding and abetting. Innocent people do not act this way and that should tell the American people everything they need to know heading into the 2020 Election. The president is a crook and Barr is his new fixer.
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