Here is the Mueller Report Summary Bill Barr Should Have Written, If He Weren’t a Trump Sycophant
Just after Attorney General Bill Barr released his now infamous 4-page summary of the Mueller Report, I wrote two columns expressing serious skepticism about how credible that letter really was and befuddlement over how most of even the anti-Trump media was blindly accepting what he said as reliable. When the report finally came out, those suspicions were validated and, yesterday, with the news of a scathing letter Robert Mueller wrote to Barr in reaction to the summary, this point of view has now been thoroughly vindicated.
I now believe if Barr had portrayed the report in a way which was fully truthful, as opposed to just barely theoretically accurate, that the chances of Trump being impeached would be significantly higher than they currently are. Here is my crack at what, in a world where truth and ethics still mattered, Barr should have written to summarize the Mueller Report…
Dear Chairman Graham, Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Ranking Member Collins:
As a supplement to the notification provided on Friday, March 22, 2019, I am writing today to advise you of the principal conclusions reached by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller and to inform you about the status of my initial review of the report he has prepared.
On Friday, the Special Counsel submitted to me a “confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions” he has reached, as required by statute. This report is entitled “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election”
Although my review is ongoing, I believe that it is in the public interest to describe the report and to summarize the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel and the results of his investigation.
The report explains that the Special Counsel and his staff thoroughly investigated allegations that members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, and others associated with it, conspired with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election, or sought to obstruct the related federal investigations.
Look, as much as I would like to, I am not going to sugarcoat this thing. Most of the report is bad. Some of it is really awful and, frankly, rather scary and downright embarrassing. If Mueller had really been on a “witch hunt,” which, based on the report he very clearly was not, it is pretty obvious that President Trump would already be indicted.
The good news is that, at least from a very technical standpoint, there is no proof that there was a “conspiracy” between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. However, all that really means is that the investigation didn’t find a written agreement to “collude” between Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin, which, since Trump doesn’t even use email, really should not come as much of a surprise to anyone.
The bad news is that there were plenty of contacts between Trump campaign associates and the Russians, the Russians did attempt to influence the campaign on Trump’s behalf, that effort was focused directly on the states which decided the election, and the Trump campaign was aware of them, encouraged them, and inexplicably failed to inform any intelligence agency of this covert operation.
Probably the most significant event that you really need to understand is that President Trump was using the Republican presidential nominating process, and perhaps the nomination itself, as leverage to try and finally consummate his longtime dream of building a Trump Tower in Moscow. He was also publicly lying about that effort throughout the campaign.
No matter how many times I read that in the report, I still can’t believe he got away with it, and that, to this day, only a small minority of the American public are even aware it happened. We should all be thankful that Trump’s lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen, was just too darn dumb to actually pull the whole thing off.
In short, I would not really put too much stock in the lack of a “conspiracy” finding because to say that Mueller was able to even finish his investigation is a bit of a stretch (BTW, there are still a dozen ongoing investigations related to the Mueller’s work!) It turns out that communication between key subjects had been destroyed, multiple people took the 5th amendment, and the president himself backed out of giving an interview, providing written answers in which he said he could not remember significant events 37 times and that Mueller declared to be “inadequate.”
As the report’s second part, devoted to the issue of obstruction of justice, details, it is quite possible that there was so much attempted obstruction going on that Mueller simply was not able to find out everything which may have happened. After all, as former White House counsel Don McGahn is quoted in the report, there was some “crazy shit” going on (and just wait until you finally see parts of the report that I still have to redact!)
The report outlines about a dozen episodes where Trump may have obstructed justice and some of them are pretty much a slam dunk. On a few of the most compelling examples, Mueller really gives Trump a very generous pass, seemingly out of sympathy, or perhaps just plain exhaustion.
I could probably claim that Mueller decided not to indict Trump because of the lack of evidence, rather than due to DOJ policy on not indicting a sitting president, but that would be super disingenuous. This is especially the case since I got hired solely because I wrote a memo to Trump claiming that a president can’t be indicted for obstruction for conduct that is within his duties as president, so there really should not have been a lot of drama regarding how this was all going to turn out (particularly since Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, I can now report, handed over his testicles to President Trump last Fall in a desperate attempt to keep his job).
However, this report is even worse than I had anticipated, and that is why I have decided, going forward, to recuse myself from this entire situation. These circumstances are just too serious and the stakes too high for me to turn the attorney general’s office into a political vehicle to enable the president of the United States to get away with a whole bunch of “crazy shit.”
Consequently, I am just going to hand this whole crap sandwich over to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and let him deal with it. Since the president is now very likely to fire me, please do not trust anything Rosenstein does, as he has not stopped watching Fox News Channel since I started on this job.
William P. Barr
Soon to be Ex- Attorney General
John Ziegler is a senior columnist for Mediaite. He hosts a weekly podcast focusing on news media issues and is documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud or email him at [email protected]
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This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.