Jack Goldsmith’s defense of Attorney General Barr’s handling of the Mueller report is typically thoughtful but ultimately unpersuasive. While certain aspects of Barr’s behavior could be defensible if they stood alone, taken as a whole his course of conduct—what he said, how he said it and what he didn’t say—shows that Barr is not merely “defen[ding] the presidency” institutionally, as Goldsmith argues, but defending this particular president politically.
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The House Judiciary Committee will consider a contempt citation against Attorney General Bill Barr on Wednesday, May 8. The citation involves Barr's failure to comply with the committee's subpoena for an unredacted version of the Mueller report and underlying evidence. The full draft citation resolution is available here and below.
I’ve been in a cave for several weeks crashing to complete my new book and am only now emerging to read Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report and the commentary on it. I’ll hopefully have more to say on the report, especially on its legal analysis of criminal obstruction of justice as applied to the president.
On May 2, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made an accusation: Attorney General William Barr, she said, had lied to Congress. And the speaker emphasized: “That’s a crime.”
On April 19, Emmet Flood, special counsel to the president, sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr expressing concerns about the Mueller report. Flood argues that the report, particularly regarding obstruction of justice, "fails to comply with the requirements of governing law." The letter is available here and below.
Attorney General William Barr will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. at a hearing regarding the Justice Department's investigation into election interference in the 2016 election.
His prepared testimony is available here.
Watch the testimony below (via the Washington Post).
Consider the affirmative dismay with which lawyers are likely to view the actions of Attorney General Bill Barr. Even leaving aside the atmospherics of his recent performances (for example, the almost palpable disdain with which he treated the press at his press conference and the almost cloying way in which he defended Trump's actions as the product of "frustration and anger"), Barr's actions over the past month have left any reasonable observer with a number of questions about the quality of his legal performance.
Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, and he did not conclude that President Trump had obstructed justice. But he did not exonerate the president either.
Editor’s Note: Below are the executive summaries of the two volumes of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's final report. Volume I deals with links between Russia and the Trump campaign, while Volume II deals with potential obstruction of justice by President Trump. This article is available in audio format on the Lawfare Podcast: Special Edition:
The wait is almost over. The Mueller report is set for release on Thursday morning. It’s already a number-one bestseller on Amazon. Congressional staffers are stockpiling booze and drafting take-out orders, anticipating a long night of reading.