Good grief, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senatorette Lindsey Graham (R- Rhett or Ashley?) rode his high horse on the low road, and opened his committee hearing by going where Trey Gowdy had gone before: BUT HER EMAILS!
I knew we were in for a high dudgeon and low comedy when Graham cited, chapter and verse some of Wingnuttia’s favorite conspiracy theories about Clinton’s email server. Word is that Hair Füror is gonna give Graham a coupon for a half-off omelette next time they play golf.
Graham also vowed to look into the origins of the Russia probe, suggesting that there were surveillance abuses by the F.B.I. and Department of Justice.
“The bottom line is, we’re about to hear from Mr. Barr, the results of a two year investigation into the Trump campaign, all things Russia, the actions the president took before and after the campaign, $25 million, 40 F.B.I. agents. I appreciate very much what Mr. Mueller did for the country. I have read most of the report. For me, it is over.”
And all of this happened before Prznint Stupid’s strategic hire AG Bill ‘Low’ Barr got around to his featured role in this production of Inherit the Windbag.
In case you had any doubt that Low Barr sees his job as protecting The Russian Usurper, Barr’s testimony made clear he’s gunning for the employee of the month special parking spot. Even in a case where Prznint Stupid instructed a White House lawyer (McGahn) to lie on the record (obstruction) to hide the fact that he tried to fire the man investigating him (also obstruction).
And here we enter a master class in the semantics of weasel-speak, taught by the King of the Weasels (and apologies to weasels everywhere; don’t come at me bros):
“You still have a situation where a president essentially tries to change the lawyer’s account in order to prevent further criticism of himself,” Feinstein said, referencing an episode detailed in Mueller’s report involving former White House counsel Don McGahn.
“Well that’s not a crime,” Barr responded.
“So you can, in this situation, instruct someone to lie?” Feinstein asked.
“Barr argued that Trump would have to be “impairing the evidence in a particular proceeding” for it to amount to obstruction of justice and suggested McGahn had taken note of Trump’s requests to remove the special counsel to memorialize that the president was not explicitly asking for Mueller to be “fired.”
“There is a distinction between saying to someone ‘go fire him, go fire Mueller,’ and saying ‘have him removed based on conflict,’ ” Barr said. “They have different results.”
So the request from Comrade Stupid was not to fire Mr. Mueller, it was to remove him. Got it.
Axios gives us additional highlights:
- When asked if he has ever used the term “spying” to refer to authorized department investigative activities, Barr said: “I’m not going to abjure the use of the word ‘spying.’ My first job was in CIA. I don’t think it has a pejorative connotation at all. To me the question is always whether or not it’s authorized and adequately predicated spying. I think spying is a good English word that, in fact, doesn’t have synonyms, because it is the broadest word, incorporating all forms of convert intelligence collection. So I’m not going to back off the word spying except I will say I’m not suggesting any pejorative and I use it frequently, as do media.”
- Barr continued: “We went back and looked at press usage, and up until all the faux outrage a couple of weeks ago, it’s commonly used in the press to refer to authorized activities.” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) responded: “But it’s not commonly used by the department,” to which Barr replied: “Well, it’s commonly used by me.”
- After saying earlier in the hearing that he “can’t fathom” why the FBI did not give the Trump campaign a defense briefing that Russia was targeting them, Barr said: “I have been told during the break that a lesser kind of briefing, a security briefing that generally discusses general threats, apparently was given to the campaign in August.”
- Pressed by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) to answer whether Trump lied, which the Mueller report said he did, Barr said: “I’m not in the business of determining when lies are told to the American people. I’m in the business of determining whether a crime has been committed.”
- Barr told Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) that he’s not sure what he means when he says the Trump campaign “sought to benefit” from material stolen by Russians. When told the campaign shared polling data with a foreign adversary, Barr replied: “With who?”
- Asked whether Mueller reviewed Trump’s tax returns, Barr said he does not know. He told Sen. Klobuchar that she can ask Mueller when he testifies.
- Barr said that there are “multiple criminal leak investigations underway” related to the media’s coverage of the Russia investigation.
Graham said that he has no plans to bring special counsel Robert Mueller before the committee. “It’s over,” he told reporters.
He didn’t add, “Imma enjoy that half-off omelette, Boss,” as a food pellet dropped into his bowl. “Thanks boss!”