This column last argued that the time to impeach President Trump is now. This is also the time to impeach Attorney General (AG) William Barr.
AG Barr, in testifying about the Mueller Report, committed perjury, an impeachable offense. When asked at a hearing before the House Appropriations Committee if he knew what members of Mueller’s team were complaining about in a letter stating they were upset about Barr’s representation of their findings, and whether Robert Mueller supported his conclusion of no collusion, he lied.He said: “I do not” to the former, and “I don’t know whether Bob Mueller supported my conclusion.” In fact, prior to that testimony, he had received a letter from Mueller stating that Mueller disagreed with Barr’s conclusion which threatened the “full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”
If there was any doubt about the perjury, it was cleared up by Robert Mueller’s press conference where he reiterated that the only reason he did not indict the president was “[Because of the Department of Justice (DOJ) policy against indicting a sitting president] we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct. If we had confidence the President did not commit a crime we would have so stated. Accordingly … this report does not exonerate him.“
What calls out for Barr’s impeachment is that he had read the voluminous evidence condemning Donald Trump of obstruction. And, he knew Mueller’s adherence to DOJ policy was why he did not indict the president. Yet, he chose to usurp the 458-page report with a four-page summary that flatly changed the entire tone of the Mueller Report by stating: “Deputy General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.” He then waited three weeks to release the report, prefacing the release with a press conference again “exonerating” the president of obstruction. These two characterizations exist in entirely different universes — Mueller’s, in the context of overwhelming evidence of obstruction by the president; Barr’s, in the Trump universe characterized by lying and obfuscation.
The Mueller Report was the most important investigation of our time. AG Barr, our chief law enforcement officer, knows this. Consciously (and corruptly) he changed the report’s conclusion. If we are to preserve the rule of law, his actions have to be High Crimes and Misdemeanors worthy of impeachment.
What is all the more insidious about the AG’s actions is that he knew it was a legal document, full of case law and statutory analysis, which even a first year law student much less the general public would find hard to digest.
While the evidence in the report that proves Trump’s obstruction is too voluminous to put in a column, there is one quote that both captures what it says and exposes Barr as a propagandist:
“[When] the President became aware that his own conduct was being investigated in an obstruction of justice inquiry … [he] engaged in … conduct involving public attacks on the investigation, non-public attacks on the investigation, non-public efforts to control it, and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation.” The report goes on to lay out with specificity 10 different acts by our chief executive to obstruct the investigation into his conduct.
While impeachment is in the air, it does not seem likely the Democratic House of Representatives will impeach the AG. With the 2020 election fast approaching it is becoming doubtful they will impeach the president before being overwhelmed by the election. This is tragic for our democracy. These two men sworn to uphold and protect the Constitution have trampled on it in the worst possible way. They should both be impeached.