Those of you who have watched the video interviews of Brett Tolman on Fox--which I've linked a fair number of times--will know that Tolman is far from being a bomb thrower. He's a former Senate lawyer and US Attorney, and he offers informed, measured, analysis of legal matters--with no verbal fireworks. So, when he offers sharp criticism of someone like Bill Barr--whom he admires--you know that his views are deeply held.
Nevertheless, Tolman doesn't hold back. When AG Barr shot his mouth off about election fraud, making some frankly inexcusable statements after the election, Tolman didn't mince words--This Statement Really Stunned Me:
It almost sounds like someone shooting from the cuff and making some comments without having done any due diligence on his own. I've spoken to folks that are on the ground in several of these states that have been talking to witnesses, looking at what is alleged. It's really hard to believe that the Attorney General came out and-- Look, I'm a fan of AG Barr and I've followed his career for many, many years, but this statement really stunned me,because if you've watched any of the hearings you know that there are people out there expressing their first hand account of issues and irregularities that are concerning and that somebody needs to be digging into and getting to the bottom of.
This morning I came across a Fox segment with Martha MacCallum that covers the new revelations of Biden Inc. criminality:
MacCallum spends nearly half of the segment discussing the matter with Tolman, and MacCallum's focus is all on, What did Bill Barr know, when did he know it, and why didn't he say anything about it?--a question on quite few people's minds.
Now, I want to be clear. Barr has, in almost all respects, been a very effective AG--the raw, unfiltered hatred he generates on the Left tells you that. In what follows you'll see that Barr acted promptly, effectively, and with integrity. Still, Barr appears to have a blind spot, which Tolman points out (below)--Barr is "old school", he doesn't seem to truly 'get' the current state of politics. Or, alternatively, he cherishes a bizarrely naive notion that the example of his own integrity will somehow rub off on the Left--rather than being taken advantage of.
The thing is, Barr and I were born within a few months of each other, and Barr has had one helluva lot more exposure to and experience in the world of high stakes law and politics than I have had. I just can't see a real excuse for his naivete in that regard--I don't suspect him of intentionally seeking to undermine Trump, but his actions have been, in some important respects, mystifying. Tolman clearly feels the same way. He finds much to admire in Barr and, so, is stunned by some of his actions. For that reason I think it's worth reviewing Tolman's comments for all those who are wondering about Barr's role in the election and its aftermath. In what follows I've largely edited out or summarized MacCallum, in the interests of getting to the core issues a bit more briefly.
Let me draw attention to a key point that Tolman is making. Tolman agrees that Barr acted with integrity in not revealing the existence of a Biden investigation. However, he states clearly that--once the Dems began making public misrepresentations that were designed not only to impugn Giuliani but also to impugn Barr's and DoJ's integrity if it was learned that there was an official investigation--at that point Barr had an absolute obligation to speak publicly. But he didn't. He took no action in the face of Dem gamesmanship designed to misinform the public about matters very much within the purview of DoJ. Perhaps Barr was concerned about accusations of playing politics with investigations, but that had already been going on virtually from the day of his confirmation. If that was Barr's concern, he should not have allowed such bad faith to determine his own performance of his duties.
MACCALLUM: [Asks for Tolman's reaction to news that Barr received Giuliani's Ukraine information and assigned it to "officials" in Pittsburgh to investigate re the Hunter Biden laptop and Burisma.]
TOLMAN: Yeah, it's not surprising. Certainly he has an obligation once he receives evidence or information to pass it to someone who might inquire as to the legitimacy of it. That happens all the time, and when I was US Attorney [in Utah] I had from various sources and my first and initial response was to send it to investigators and to prosecutors who could vet the information and see whether there's anything to it. So, I'm not surprised that he did that.
MACCALLUM: [Plays a video clip of an interview she did a year ago with Barr, in which she asked him how he was handling everything we'd been hearing about from Giuliani and whether he was interested in seeing the evidence.]
BARR: [Smiling broadly] The Department of Justice is interested in seeing ALL evidence that could be relevant.
MACCALLUM: [Tries to nail Barr down--does DoJ intend to investigate Joe Biden, Crowdstrike, Ukraine and the DNC server, or Burisma?]
BARR: [Again smiling broadly] I couldn't say one way or the other, but you shouldn't read anything into that.
MACCALLUM: [Returns to Tolman and poses the question--Yes, Barr was cautious in his response a year ago, but did "we" deserve to know more about all this during the election--from Barr? After all, we're now hearing that there are FOUR investigations going on into "the family," Biden Inc.!]
TOLMAN: Well, first of all I think it's great that you had that moment. You were one of the few asking those tough questions. I think by his [Barr'] response we can certainly see, there was some knowledge there. There was something--he was trying to be careful. They have a policy in the Department of Justice to not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, but you hit on the issue that is important, and that is: What we saw happen AFTER that was stories about Russia disinformation, 50 plus former intelligence officers indicating that there was nothing here, that this [Giuliani's information] was from Russia. At that point I believe the Attorney General absolutely had an obligation to correct the record, to make sure that that was not the case, that there was information to suggest that they were at least going to look into it. And that's OK for the American people to know, that they [DoJ/FBI] had credible leads into potential laundering of money or the movement of money that might have been illegal, involving Hunter Biden. That shoulda been said. There was enough time to do that prior to things ramping up in the election.
MACCALLUM: [If Joe Biden wasn't implicated, could Barr have spoken out sooner?]
TOLMAN: I mean, this is something where the Attorney General, who--Certainly he's 'old school'. He was Attorney General many, many years ago before we were in the political atmosphere that we are. But this called for a different response, and I think what we're going to see now is, a lot of the details coming out, and people are gonna be frustrated, they're gonna be upset. Because let me tell you, it's not just the laptop that triggered this investigation. When you have suspicious activity reports that are being filed by financial institutions, and you have the laptop, and then you have Bobulinski, you have the makings of a fairly large scale investigation into the illegal movement of money that is involving multiple people. That's a conspiracy.
MACCALLUM: [Reviews John Solomon's new information from a Hunter Biden email that shows the scale of the money involved. What red flags are raised about this money?]
TOLMAN: Well, the amount is certainly substantial. In the end we could be surprised and this just simply could be a tax evasion or a failure to report income. But I'm highly doubtful that that's gonna be the end result of this investigation. Bobulinski's information seems to be matching up with the fact that a lot of income was coming through, that Hunter was at the helm, that he was guiding and directing that income. And we know that China and other countries were at issue here, so I think this might be just the tip of the iceberg, Martha.
MACCALLUM: As we said: What exactly were they being paid FOR, and who was receiving the money.