A federal judge in Washington accused the Justice Department under Attorney General William P. Barr of misleading her and Congress about advice he had received from top department officials on whether President Donald J. Trump should have been charged with obstructing the Russia investigation and ordered that a related memo be released.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the United States District Court in Washington said in a ruling late Monday that the Justice Department’s obfuscation appeared to be part of a pattern in which top officials like Mr. Barr were untruthful to Congress and the public about the investigation.
The department had argued that the memo was exempt from public records laws because it consisted of private advice from lawyers whom Mr. Barr had relied on to make the call on prosecuting Mr. Trump. But Judge Jackson, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011, ruled that the memo contained strategic advice, and that Mr. Barr and his aides already understood what his decision would be.
“The fact that he would not be prosecuted was a given,” Judge Jackson wrote of Mr. Trump.
She also singled out Mr. Barr for how he had spun the investigation’s findings in a letter summarizing the 448-page report before it was released, which allowed Mr. Trump to claim he had been exonerated.
“The attorney general’s characterization of what he’d hardly had time to skim, much less study closely, prompted an immediate reaction, as politicians and pundits took to their microphones and Twitter feeds to decry what they feared was an attempt to hide the ball,” Judge Jackson wrote.
Her rebuke shed new light on Mr. Barr’s decision not to prosecute Mr. Trump. She also wrote that although the department portrayed the advice memo as a legal document protected by attorney-client privilege, it was done in concert with Mr. Barr’s publicly released summary, “written by the very same people at the very same time.”
I wish I thought that this would be remembered as Barr attempts to return to Respectable Elite status.
Perhaps the most farcical moment of the anti-anti Trump “left,” granting the exceptionally tough competition, was when these alleged opponents of the Deep State seamlessly transitioned to “if the Iran-Contra fixer guy says it, it has to be true! CHECKMATE LIBS!”
GREENWALD: If Barr’s summary isn’t accurate, then why doesn’t Mueller’s team speak up?
*Mueller’s team speaks up*
GREENWALD: Eh, those are just anonymous sources pic.twitter.com/7V9VeB0vqQ— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 4, 2019