William Barr Misled the American Public

BarrBenjamin Wittes of the Brookings Institution wanted to give William Barr the benefit of the doubt.

No more.

Here is a taste of this piece “The Catastrophic Performance of Bill Barr”:

When Barr was nominated, I wrote a cautious piece for this magazine declining to give him “a character reference” and acknowledging “legitimate reasons to be concerned about [his] nomination,” but nonetheless concluding that “I suspect that he is likely as good as we’re going to get. And he might well be good enough. Because most of all, what the department needs right now is honest leadership that will insulate it from the predations of the president.”

When he wrote his first letter to Congress announcing the principal conclusions of the Mueller report, I wrote another piece saying, “For the next two weeks, let’s give Attorney General William Barr the benefit of the doubt” on the question of releasing the report in a timely and not-too-redacted fashion.

I took a lot of criticism for these pieces—particularly the second one, in which I specifically said we should evaluate Barr’s actual performance in regard to releasing the Mueller report, and thus wait for him to act, rather than denouncing him preemptively.

Barr has now acted, and we can now evaluate his actual, rather than his hypothesized, performance.

It has been catastrophic. Not in my memory has a sitting attorney general more diminished the credibility of his department on any subject. It is a kind of trope of political opposition in every administration that the attorney general—whoever he or she is—is politicizing the Justice Department and acting as a defense lawyer for the president. In this case it is true. 

Read the entire piece here at The Atlantic.

2 thoughts on “William Barr Misled the American Public

  1. Actually, any time in the future a presidential campaign has members, especially including the candidate’s son, meeting with Russians with ties to the Kremlin, I would accuse our intelligence agencies of dereliction of duty if they DON’T conduct surveillance of that campaign.
    I kind of like America.


  2. During the next six months, the public will learn a great deal about the extent to which the Obama administration spied upon the Trump campaign. The New York Times is trying to limit the political fallout from the coming disclosures by acknowledging that well, yes, there was spying, but that, aw shucks, it was no big deal. Benjamin Wittes is doing his part by launching an hysterical attack against Mr. Barr.

    When Inspector General Horowitz issues his report concerning FISA abuse, your students will have another opportunity to evaluate your intellectual integrity. Will you vigorously condemn unlawful behavior on the part of your fellow Democrats, or will you continue to repeat the party line? Your students will be watching and listening.


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