Thursday, May 2, 2019

UPDATED: Barr On The FBI's Failure To Provide Trump A Defensive Briefing

Thomas Lifson at American Thinker draws attention to a key but underreported part of Barr's testimony yesterday, which occurred in an exchange with Sen. John Cornyn. In his usual laconic style, the exchange begins with Barr providing terse one word (or just a few word) answers. However, toward the end he expresses his views at more length. Remember, Barr had formative influence in the CIA as well as dealing heavily with national security issues at the DoJ, before going into private practice. Therefore, when he says that he "can't fathom" why a defensive briefing regarding purported Russian influence efforts--which should have been standard procedure--wasn't provided to the Trump campaign, that speaks volumes. This is a guy who understands these things, and knows that such a failure does NOT have an innocent explanation--which is exactly why Paul Sperry singled out Barr's pointed refusal to back off from using the word "spying":

BREAKING: AG Barr testified today that "I'm not going to back off the word spying" to describe covert intelligence operations launched against the Trump campaign and presidential transition, particularly when such secret surveillance is "unauthorized and inadequately predicated."

And just in case the meaning of his words was somehow missed, Barr laid it right on the line:

Paul Sperry‏

AG Barr: "The evidence is now that the prez was falsely accused of colluding w the Russians & accused of being treasonous & a Russian agent & the evidence now is that that was w/o a basis & 2 yrs of his admin have been dominated by the allegations that have now been proven false"
9:50 PM - 1 May 2019

This is also why Lifson (Barr laid it on the line with the simple question the Russia Hoaxers can’t answer) stresses the importance of Barr's carefully chosen words--going forward:

Attorney General William Barr scares the wits out of the Democrats who bet their party’s political future on removing President Trump from office. Now that The Mueller Report revealed no collusion with the Russians, they are living in fear that the coup plotters will be held accountable for their misdeeds in courts of law. Barr has indicated that prosecutorial investigations are underway, and his willingness to speak plainly and directly, such as his use (and defense of his use) of the word “spying,” demonstrates that that he and his associates can make their cases in convincing language. 
But William Barr is a man who is not intimidated or distracted by the chaff thrown out by Democrats, and during the hearing, he addressed the question that cannot be answered without revealing the intent of the coup project’s agents, telling Senator Cornyn, that “I can't fathom” why the Obama administration did not tell the Trump campaign about the FBI investigation into Russian interference in 2016

UPDATE: Michael Goodwin provides a fuller transcript of Sperry's shorthand quote (they're substantially identical - William Barr exposed the rampant desperation of Trump’s foes):

It was politics at its most dishonest as they tried to argue that up is down and black is white. Barr was mostly stoic, but allowed himself a brief moment to brilliantly summarize the outlandish effort to twist reality.
“How did we get to the point where the evidence is now that the president was falsely accused of colluding with the Russians, accused of being treasonous and accused of being a Russian agent, and the evidence now is that that was without a basis?” he asked. “And two years of his administration have been dominated by allegations that have now been proven false. But to listen to some of the rhetoric, you would think the Mueller report had found the opposite.”
At one point, he talked of possible “overreach” by top officials, then added: “But what we have to be concerned about is a few people at the top getting into their heads that they know better than the American people.”
At another point, he said, “We have to stop using the criminal justice process as a political weapon.”
The references are unmistakable and the strongest sign yet that Barr suspects wrongdoing in very high places. It’s also a sign that the worm is turning.

As Scott Johnson puts it:

Attorney General Barr’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday offered a preview of coming attractions. He means to get to the bottom of the “spying” conducted by the Obama administration on the Trump presidential campaign. How did it begin? What’s it all about? What was going on? Did it involve abuse of the FISA system? 
Of course, you had to tune out the Democratic static and listen to Barr’s exchanges with Republican members to pick up the preview, but it was unmistakably there. The Democrats’ hysteria reflects something more than motiveless malignity; Barr is the Attorney General Democrats should fear.


  1. I agree with your analysis 100%. If AG Barr is not a threat, why the attack on him yesterday. Kamala Harris looked very wary of engaging him.

    This is a man not to be trifled with. He swats away the Dems and media as if they were flies.

    Why did Comey have a NYT editorial about Barr saying that Trump corrupts those around him, including Barr?

    Because Comey is worried. And he's right to be worried.

    The AP described Barr as backpedaling and knocked off of his heels. I thought that he was angry and it was all that he could do not go off on the Dem senators.

    Just my opinion; I've never met the man. But I'm liking what I'm seeing.

    1. No, I don't think he was back on his heels at all. Those unfamiliar with law might get that impression from some of the exchanges, but in reality what we saw was the Dems mostly avoiding engaging with Barr. Comey's friend Benjamin Wittes @ Lawfare was openly frustrated that some Dems tried to engage in a losing battle on obstruction. Jack Goldsmith, also @ Lawfare essentially said the same--Barr had the legal high ground, not Mueller.

      Re Harris, you kind find the exchange here: Kamala Harris calls on William Barr to resign. Some might think that Harris somehow scored against Barr. In reality Barr brushed her off for the lightweight she is. She wisely withdrew: "We can move on.” Rather than inviting Barr to slap her around any more.

  2. One more thing and then I'll quit monopolizing your comments section.

    My favorite exchange with Blumenthal asking for AG Barr's notes and asking why he can't have them.

    "Why should you have them?" he (Barr) asked.


    1. It was delightful, but there was also a serious point to Barr's rejoinder. He will stand on his privileges unapologetically. And, as he said in his confirmation hearings, he won't be bullied.

    2. Harsanyi:

      "Sen. Kamala Harris (D–CA) actually accused Barr of failing to revisit the underlying evidence in Mueller report before making a decision on obstruction. The same Democrats who acted apoplectic when Barr took a couple of weeks to go through redactions in the 400-page report, want Trump’s AG to sift through the underlying evidence of a two year, $35 million investigation and make his own recommendations … when, a year from now? What was the point of the Mueller report, then?"

      Harris is a total lightweight.

  3. There are two good stories for you to read.

    First the Federalist has a story about the NYT Times admitting that the Obama administration deployed multiple spies on the Trump campaign.

    Second, Will Chamberlain has a great theory about how the Trump legal team outfoxed Mueller.

    1. Tx. It may take me a while--I was at the eye doctor and my vision is still blurry. :-(

    2. OK, I'd seen Chamberlain already, but I just went through the Fed re the NYT. Basically confirms that Papadopoulos has been telling the truth. It also seems to be saying that the FBI op against Trump was bigger than we've known--not just FBIHQ people but also NYO. Interesting. There's more going on here.

  4. Seems Barr has grounds to be disgusted with Mueller's use of his power for political purposes.
    From the transcript:


    1. And Barr isn't really hiding his disgust. Apparently he said to Mueller on the phone, hey, what was with that letter? Why didn't you just pick up the phone?

      It wasn't as if Mueller had to write letters to an old acquaintance, so Barr knew Mueller was up to no good pretty much from the start.