Attorney General William Barr in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday was a living, breathing representation of the Constitution of the United States.
At one point during five hours that included a shower of insults from Senate Democrats, he put it all in a nutshell: special counsel Robert Mueller’s “work concluded when he sent his report to the attorney general,” Barr said, pointing out that as AG he “effectively overrode the regulations, used discretion, to lean as far forward as I could to make that public.”
As Barr added, “The job of the Justice Department is now over; that determines whether or not there’s a crime. The report is now in the hands of the American people. Everyone can decide for themselves. There’s an election in 18 months. That’s a very democratic process. But we’re out of it. And we have to stop using the criminal justice process as a political weapon.”
In the resulting hysteria on MSNBC and CNN, Barr was slandered as a liar. Prominent Democrats – including Joe Biden – called for his resignation. The reactions amount to their concession of defeat, that the obstruction of justice witch hunt against Donald Trump is over.
Mueller and 2020
The opposition party can now, if it chooses, spend the next 18 months before the presidential election whining that Trump falsely claimed fired FBI director James Comey requested to have dinner with him in January 2017; that Trump told this aide to fire Mueller – a lawful action Trump, as President, could have taken at any time. (The former star of The Apprentice probably tells an aide to deliver a pink slip every other day.)
Democrats can indeed spend the presidential campaign brandishing Mueller’s 448 pages about an investigation the public was already thoroughly sick of for many months before their publication, and which found no presidential criminality. Doing so will confirm that they’d rather wade through the wreckage of a Republican presidency than try to win the White House by selling their policy ideas.
Bulletin: the voters already know Trump can be a vulgar streetfighter who often bends or breaks rules. That doesn’t mean he’s a criminal or a traitor, and they elected him knowing full well about the behavior of a man they’ve been familiar with as a celebrity for decades.
It might send constitutional law professors into a rage to hear it said, but for all practical purposes the House of Representatives can impeach for anything it fancies to be a high crime or misdemeanor. They can make it the American equivalent of a parliamentary no-confidence vote.
What Barr did Wednesday was push the Constitution in his critics’ faces and tell them: if you’re going to try to remove the President before is term is finished, you’re going to do it the way the Framers prescribed. You’re not going to misuse the criminal justice system to make impeachment more doable.
Flop of the Chart
The inadvisability of what the Democrats are up to was illustrated by the ludicrous “Evidence that Donald Trump Obstructed Justice” oversized chart Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) had a staffer briefly raise up during his questioning of Barr. Apparently intended to simplify what Mueller’s 2,800 subpoenas retrieved, it featured red, yellow, blue and light blue boxes categorizing the supposed levels of evidence for 14 convoluted instances of conduct, and three patterns of behavior, “intent,” “nexus,” and “obstructive act.”
As Einstein is purported to have said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
Barr was hissed at as a deceitful flunky by Sen. Maizie Hirono (D-Hawaii), raved at incoherently by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and interrupted incessantly by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). Throughout, he was unflappable. On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee will grill Barr some more, but in absentia because he rebuffed the invitation to be interrogated by staff lawyers. Apparently House Democrats thought they could get away with mimicking the Watergate hearings.
The term “public servant” is thrown around a lot. A government official who loves the law enough to weather lies aimed directly at his own reputation for the sake of defending the law truly is someone who serves the public.
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