I don’t want to make this all Trump’s-stooge’s-brief-tendentious-summary-of-the-Mueller-Report all the time, but any story that reports Barr’s decision not reject obstruction charges without mentioning this is being completely irresponsible:
Recall that Barr sent an unsolicited 20-page memo last June to the DOJ that excoriated Mueller's probe of whether Trump obstructed justice, saying it was based on a "fatally misconceived theory," per @sgurman @aviswanatha. Trump tapped Barr as AG in Dec. https://t.co/jTAvQ7rgKm
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) March 24, 2019
Gee, if THIS guy concluded within a few hours of receiving the report that Trump is innocent of obstruction that settles it!
Also note that his underlying reasoning is completely illogical:
The summary of Robert Mueller’s report, given to Congress by Attorney General William Barr, asserts that President Trump engaged in a number of actions that impeded the investigation. At the same time, it concludes that Trump’s campaign did not criminally conspire with Russia during the 2016 campaign. Barr seizes upon the latter point — no criminal collusion — to dismiss the former point. While Mueller punted on whether Trump broke the law, Barr decided to deem his conduct not a crime. “The absence of such evidence bears upon the President’s intent with respect to obstruction,” write Barr. No underlying crime, he argues, means no obstruction.
Barr’s logic is upside-down. He is saying the finding of no criminal collusion undermines the findings that Trump obstructed justice. In fact, the obstruction undermines the findings of no criminal collusion.
Mueller has apparently found no criminal collusion between Trump and Russia, a finding that is hardly shocking. As Trump’s defenders have pointed out, collusion is not a crime. There are crimes that fall under the category of collusion — many former prosecutors have theorized that Mueller could indict Trump or his campaign under a conspiracy charge. Mueller did not find evidence strong enough to prove in a court of law, and possibly not at all.
It is bizarre, however, to spend two years insisting collusion is not a crime and then turn around and call the absence of crimes proof that there was no collusion. Of course Trump colluded with Russia. He literally went on camera and asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, promising that Russia would be rewarded by the American media, and Russia responded to this request by attempting a hack to steal Clinton’s emails that very day. Trump’s campaign aides repeatedly welcomed and sought out Russian assistance. His campaign manager passed on 75 pages of intricate polling data to a Russian operative during the campaign. And he did all this while secretly pursuing a lucrative business deal with Russia.
To define this nexus of communication and shared mission as something other than “collusion” is to define the term in a way that nobody would have accepted before this scandal began.
Wheeler has much more. And, of course:
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) March 24, 2019