The outrage, from certain quarters, directed at Attorney General William Barr following his Thursday press conference is as clear a case of “killing the messenger” as we’re likely to see for some time. While his message won’t please those eager to usher Donald Trump out of office, the messenger’s conduct was admirable.The editorial board, in particular, objected to this line of questioning:
The occasion was the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report of his investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign conspired with Russians to interfere in the 2016 election, and whether Mr. Trump obstructed this investigation. Mr. Barr’s presentation was concise, clear and matter-of-fact.
In particular, much has been made of Mr. Barr’s one-word response to the last question he took: “Do you think it creates an appearance of impropriety for you to come out and sort of, what appears to be, spinning the report before the public gets a chance to read it?”Um, have you seen this?
To which Mr. Barr replied, “No.”
The question is, of course, a double-barreled weapon: It asserts Mr. Barr was spinning his work product rather than explaining his process and, based on this assertion, accuses him of unethical behavior.
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III wrote a letter in late March complaining to Attorney General William P. Barr that a four-page memo to Congress describing the principal conclusions of the investigation into President Trump “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s work, according to a copy of the letter reviewed Tuesday by The Washington Post.Or this?
Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, wrote a letter in late March to Attorney General William P. Barr objecting to his early description of the Russia investigation’s conclusions that appeared to clear President Trump on possible obstruction of justice, according to the Justice Department and three people with direct knowledge of the communication between the two men.A piece which contains this paragraph:
A central issue in the simmering dispute is how the public’s understanding of the Mueller report has been shaped since the special counsel ended his investigation and delivered his 448-page report on March 22 to the attorney general, his boss and longtime friend. The four-page letter that Mr. Barr sent to Congress two days later gave little detail about the special counsel’s findings and created the impression that Mr. Mueller’s team found no wrongdoing, allowing Mr. Trump to declare he had been exonerated.And not to my friends on the Post-Gazette editorial board, I ask: I realize you were only doing your best when you wrote the pro-Barr editorial but considering how, given what's now known about AG Barr's 4 page summary-that's-not-a-summary letter and how Mueller disagreed with it, do you still think Barr "Took the high road" and "provid[ed] transparency" and "handled the Mueller report with class"?
Or did Attorney General William Barr mislead the public about what he knew about the report and what he knew about what the Special Counsel told him about his 4 page "summary"?
Will we be seeing a follow-up editorial explaining/correcting your previous editorial?
I look forward to it.