It was rather suspicious that Trump flew to his golf resort in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, to celebrate the end of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as obstruction of justice allegations, before anyone knew what was in that report.
The truth, however, is that Attorney General William Barr knew what was in it or had made a decision about his conclusion well before he knew what was in it. During a hearing in front of the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) asked Barr how exactly Trump knew anything before Barr’s summary was released.
Democrats are expected to grill AG William Barr on special counsel Robert Mueller's report during his testimony on Trump's budget request.
Rep. Nita Lowey began her remarks calling Barr's handling of the report "unacceptable." pic.twitter.com/oMWYMNdkWz
— POLITICO (@politico) April 9, 2019
Although the Mueller report clearly stated that Trump was not being exonerated for obstruction of justice, Barr exonerated him anyway, and Trump was already celebrating that decision before Barr spoke a word about it. When asked about that suspicious behavior and whether or not the president was lying about the report’s conclusions, Barr simply refused to answer.
According to NBC News:
‘Lowey pointed out that while Barr’s summary of the Mueller report said that it was inconclusive about whether Trump obstructed justice, it also said that it did not exonerate him. Lowey added that Trump, meanwhile, has stated publicly that it represented a complete and total exoneration.
‘Asked who is factually accurate, Barr demurred. “It’s hard to have that discussion without the contents of that report, isn’t it?” he said.’
This was quite a dodge:
Lowey: Did the WH see the report before you released your summarizing letter?
Barr: I have said what I’m going to say about the report today.
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) April 9, 2019
If Trump isn’t just being Trump and declaring himself innocent despite evidence to the contrary, how does he know anything about what the report says, anyway? The report lists evidence on both sides of the conclusion that Trump did or did not obstruct justice. Does Trump know what’s in the report, and if so, how does he know the conclusions while Congress does not?
‘Did the White House see the report before you released your summarizing letter? Has the White House seen it since then? Have they been briefed on the contents beyond what was in your summarizing letter to the Judiciary Committee?’
BREAKING: Congresswoman Nita Lowey to William Barr:
"I must say it is extraordinary to evaluate 100s of pages of evidence… based on a 22 month inquiry, and make definitive legal conclusions in less than 48 hours… It's more suspicious than conclusive."
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) April 9, 2019
Unsurprisingly enough, the one piece of the argument around the investigation that Barr was perfectly willing to discuss is Trump and his GOP cronies’ insistence that the FBI acted illegally in performing oversight of his team’s actions during the campaigns. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who was forced to recuse himself from the investigation as chair of the House Intelligence Committee for illegally leaking information and working on Trump’s behalf, continues to beat this particular drum. When asked about Nunes’ allegations against the FBI, Barr suddenly had full answers to give.
‘I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counter intelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016.’
“You received a very serious, detailed report, hundreds of pages of high level information…and released your memo in less than 48 hours. To me to do this, it seems your mind must have been already made up. How did you do it?” Rep. Nita Lowey asked Barr. https://t.co/4taiXRZ6rt pic.twitter.com/KSOibbsKDx
— POLITICO (@politico) April 9, 2019
Featured image screenshot via YouTube