This Reported Trump Attorney-General Pick Has a Special Record on Special Investigations
I have been having my mellow harshed by some folks who see me as a caterwauling offstage Greek chorus reminding folks that the presidency of the late George H.W. Bush was not all sunshine and lollipops, especially if you were a Kurd, or someone living in Central America. So, I'm willing to accept this latest completely horrible idea from El Caudillo del Mar-A-Lago as merely a sophisticated attempt to get me in trouble again.
But, seriously, holy hell, is this ever a bad idea. From the Washington Post:
Barr, 68, a well-respected Republican lawyer who served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush, has emerged as a favorite candidate of a number of Trump administration officials, including senior lawyers in the White House Counsel’s Office, these people said. Two people familiar with the discussions said the president has told advisers in recent days that he plans to nominate Barr. One person familiar with the discussions cautioned that while Barr is the leading candidate, the decision is not final and the president could decide to pick someone else.
OK, to begin, return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, again, when everybody was covering everybody else's ass, and the shredders of Washington were humming like the starting line at Daytona. William Barr was an assistant attorney general and, Lordy lord, could this guy stonewall.
You see, under President Poppy, there was this thing called Iraqgate-which is not to be confused with the Iran-Contra scandal, in which President Poppy also was hip-deep. In this episode, a tangled mess if there ever was one, it was suggested that the Poppy Bush administration was helping to arm Saddam Hussein's Iraq through a complicated scheme involving allegedly misused U.S. agricultural credits and a corrupt bank in Atlanta. This was somewhat embarrassing to Bush, as his administration was being accused of helping build the war machine that he'd sent American troops to destroy in Kuwait. The House Judiciary Committee asked that a special counsel be appointed. William Barr, then the Attorney General, refused to do so.
(Earlier, Barr also had refused to appoint a special counsel to look into the monumental money-laundering operation of the Bank of Commerce and Credit International, a massive scandal that only then-Senator John Kerry had the stones to take on.)
Soon, however, the charges morphed into accusations that the CIA and the Justice Department had meddled in the investigation into the aforementioned Atlanta bank. Now enmeshed in the controversy himself, Barr stepped aside and agreed to appoint a special prosecutor to look into that specific aspect of the situation. Nobody was satisfied and nothing ever came of the investigation. Once Bill Clinton became president, his DOJ closed the book on Iraqgate. It is not unfair to say that Barr's record is that of a Republican retainer, and not a disinterested law-enforcement official.
If you need more recent proof, consider Barr's role in hyping the Uranium One nothingburger even after the 2016 campaign. From the New York Times:
"I don't think all this stuff about throwing [Clinton] in jail or ... that she should be prosecuted is appropriate, but I do think that there are things that should be investigated that haven't been investigated."
It is true that Barr and current Special Counsel Robert Mueller worked together at the Justice Department back in the day. But Barr also has unburdened himself of some interesting thoughts regarding how Mueller's been doing his job as well.
Barr shares at least one of the president’s views on the probe being conducted by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. In 2017, when asked by The Washington Post about political donations made by lawyers on the special counsel’s team, Barr said “prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party” and added: “I would have liked to see [Mueller] have more balance on this group.”
Barr also wrote last year that the administration’s decision to fire James B. Comey as FBI director was “quite understandable” because, in his view, Comey had usurped the power of the attorney general when he publicly announced his recommendation not to charge former secretary of state Hillary Clinton during the investigation of her private email server.
The emails live forever, and so, apparently, does the instinct for ass-covering.
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