On Monday, Donald Trump took his victory lap in response to the summary issued by his handpicked attorney general and even suggested that he was planning to retaliate against those who had begun the Russia investigation, telling reporters:
“There are a lot people out there that have done some very, very evil things, very bad things, I would say treasonous things, against our country. Hopefully the people that have done such harm to our country — we’ve gone through a period of really bad things happening — those people will certainly be looked at.”
Here’s someone else that’s going to be looked at closely: Attorney General William Barr, who may well have lied his way into hot water with that infamous four-page summary of the Mueller report he presented to Congress on Sunday afternoon. Because it’s beginning to look like some of what Barr claimed in that letter is just flat-out incorrect.
As attorney and author Scott Turow notes in an article he wrote for Vanity Fair, Barr’s suggestion that obstruction of justice by Trump cannot be proven simply doesn’t hold water:
“In judging whether a suspect had a corrupt intent to obstruct justice, a reasonable prosecutor would look at the potential gain to the defendant by engaging in the questionable behavior. In most cases, if the target didn’t commit an underlying offense, he would have no reason to hinder the investigation.
“But that is not true in Trump’s case. Throughout his election campaign and long after, Trump denied that Russia as responsible for the massive interference in our election that Mueller has now concluded occurred.”
And the case against Barr is even more damning when you consider that he may well be covering for Trump, meaning he’s part of a larger conspiracy to assure that this president isn’t held accountable for his actions, no matter how treasonous they might be. Barr would then be allowing a man he knows to be guilty to walk free, and that would make Barr an accomplice to every crime Trump has committed. As Turow rightly concludes:
“To argue that no underlying crime means no obstruction is therefore nonsense. That is fallacious reasoning and it impugns Barr’s integrity and his reputation as a lawyer. Worse, it represents a troubling effort to paper over the acknowledged evidence that Mr. Trump committed a crime in public view.”
Barr is about to be questioned under oath by multiple congressional committees, and he’d better not lie to them or he can add perjury to the list of crimes he may well have already committed on behalf of the illegitimate president he so willingly serves.