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Why Would You Believe Anything William Barr Said?

From Esquire, by Jack Holmes:

At this point, there is really no reason to believe anything that anyone associated with the current regime says about anything until it can be independently verified. That ought to be the case with any administration, really, but the sheer volume and audacity of the lies coming out of the crew assembled by Donald Trump, American president, has brought things to a new level. This is government by used car salesmen, whose only job is to sell the notion that The Boss hasn’t already removed the muffler.

So on Thursday, Barr prepared a whole shtick about how independent he is, and how the president “has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.” (Strangely, he was not so forthcoming when Senator Kamala Harris asked him a similar question under oath: “Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?” Barr hemmed and hawed.) The attorney general even debuted a new act wherein he is Very Frustrated with the president’s behavior on the Tweet Machine, something he could never have foreseen when he took the job multiple years into Trump’s presidency. The tweets, he said, “make it impossible for me to do my job.”

The fact of the matter is that William Barr would not have this job if he did not accommodate Trump’s regular interference. Jeff Sessions lost the job because, while he was down with the racism and the private prisons and all that, he refused to completely corrupt the Department of Justice and reconstitute it as an arm of presidential power. The acting attorney general in the interim between them, Matthew Whitaker, was a former Big Dick Toilet Salesman who got the president’s attention by defending him on television. As historian Douglas Brinkley once told me, “It’s by nature almost impossible for Trump to build an administration of quality…It’s not about good governance or ethics or even dead-rock patriotism. It’s about full-bore allegiance to him, to Trump.”

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Cartoon by John Cuneo

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That Was a Matinee Performance of Bill Barr Covers the Royal Ass

From Esquire, by Charles P. Pierce:

“The last stanza of the morning’s performance of the low farce that is William Barr Covers the Royal Ass had the Attorney General of the United States telling Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, that when, at an earlier hearing, he had talked about the possibility that the Obama administration had spied on the Trump campaign, it was just a word that is a word and it just popped right out of his mouth. Bing! Like that. Whitehouse stared down at him as though Barr had grown a second head, and then everybody went out to vote and have a little lunch.

The morning’s performance was shadowed, of course, by the revelation in Wednesday’s Washington Post that Robert Mueller was agitated and upset with the way that his report had been summarized in Barr’s four-page memo released at the end of March. In response, the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee decided to talk about the Steele Dossier, Strzok and Page, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and, god help us all, Her e-maillllzzzzz!

On the other side, the Democratic members of the committee insisted on talking about what Barr has been talking about ever since he put out his memo and pretty much poisoned the well with regard to what Mueller found and what should be done next. Barr tried to tap dance, but he’s not very good at it, and his arguments kept colliding with each other. For example, he kept trying to deny that his four-page summary was actually meant to summarize anything, which, I think we all can agree, is a hard argument to make: that the purpose of a summary is not necessarily to summarize.

In addition, Barr had no answer for the fact that, a couple of weeks ago, while testifying before another congressional committee, he had said he didn’t know of any problems Mueller had with how he’d summarized the counsel’s work. By that time, Barr had received Mueller’s letter expressing those very problems, and he had spoken to Mueller on the phone. Of course, when the chairman of the committee, Senator Huckleberry Graham, starts things off by stating flatly that he hasn’t read the whole report, anything goes, I figure. William Barr is another figure in the Trump Organization wax museum, and he’s melting down like all the others.

 

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William Barr Reads “Moby-Dick,” Finds No Evidence of Whales

From The New Yorker, by Andy Borowitz in “The Borowitz Report”:

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Attorney General William Barr has just read the classic American novel “Moby-Dick,” by Herman Melville, and found that the book contains “no evidence whatsoever of whales,” Barr stated on Tuesday.

The Attorney General issued his statement on the absence of whales in the Melville classic in a two-paragraph book report released to the news media.

“Those who read ‘Moby-Dick’ looking for whales will be sorely disappointed,” Barr wrote. “There are no whales here.”

To illustrate his point, Barr quoted the book’s first sentence: “Call me Ishmael.”

“As you can clearly see, that sentence does not have a whale in it,” Barr wrote.

The Attorney General indicated that he hoped his report would put an end to “reckless speculation” about the existence of whales in “Moby-Dick.” “It’s time to move on,” he wrote.

Barr disclosed that, after waiting years to read “Moby-Dick,” he was able to finish reading it in approximately fifteen minutes.

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