Dispatch April 18, 2019

Barr’s Spin Means Nothing. Here Are the Facts That Haven’t Changed.

Attorney General Bill Barr did what Trump hired him to do. His press conference was little more than an effort to spin Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

But his spin does nothing to change what we’ve already seen. The Trump campaign was complicit in Russia’s attack on American democracy—and Trump’s accomplices, including now Barr himself, have done everything in their power to mislead the public about that attack and that complicity.

The Trump campaign knew before anybody else in America that Russia was attacking American democracy—and actively sought to assist the Kremlin.

  • Less than a month after the GRU hacked John Podesta’s inbox, a Kremlin-linked professor told George Papadopoulos that Russia had “thousands of emails” from Clinton’s campaign and was planning to release them to help Trump.
  • Rather than telling the intelligence community, law enforcement, or the public, the Trump campaign kept contacting their Russian counterparts and did everything they could to keep those contacts secret.
  • Then, when Russia began releasing those emails, the campaign actively created a backchannel that they could use, apparently successfully, to make the most of Russia’s attack on their mutual opponent.

This is already the biggest political scandal in American history.

  • At least 16 people involved in the president’s campaign had at least 102 contacts with representatives of the Kremlin, including at least 28 meetings, during the 2016 campaign and transition. Another 12 knew of at least one of those contacts.
  • Members of the president’s inner circle, including his campaign chairman, deputy campaign chairman, national security adviser, and personal lawyer, have all been indicted or pleaded guilty to lying to authorities about those contacts.

The American people deserve to see as much of the report as possible. Congress deserves to see the whole thing.

  • Attorney General William Barr has given us no reason to trust him, and plenty of reasons to believe that he will once again act as the partisan operative he’s always been and help the president cover up his crimes and avoid accountability.
  • None of Barr’s justifications for redacting the report—grand-jury secrecy, classified information, and protecting “peripheral third parties”—hold up:
    • He could have easily requested a waiver of grand jury secrecy, but has steadfastly refused to do so, telling Congress they’ll have to go to court;
    • Members of Congress routinely deal with classified information, and it’s in the public’s interest that as much of the report be declassified as possible;
    • And, given the Department of Justice’s stricture against indicting the president, protecting “peripheral third parties” is merely a license for Barr to cover up any information that may be damaging to the president and his inner circle.
  • DOJ officials reportedly met numerous times with the president’s defense team after Mueller submitted his report, giving them plenty of opportunities to coordinate their spin once Barr released his version.

It’s time for the American people to learn the full truth—not a heavily-redacted version of the truth, the full truth. Already, we have abundant evidence that the Trump campaign aided and abetted an unprecedented attack on American democracy. Now, Congress must take whatever legal steps are necessary so that the American people can read the full report as Mueller delivered it, not a politicized document designed to cover up the president’s wrongdoing.