As in his earlier letter, Bill Barr made very specific and technical claims as part of trying to exonerate the President. His argument tied to Wikileaks and the hacked emails is one you need to listen very closely to. He gives a blanket exoneration because he argues – plausible in legal terms – that the only way a Trump associate could have committed a crime is if they had already participated in the hacking of the DNC computers.
Here’s the video …
Another key portion: Listen closely to what Barr says here. He exonerates Trump associates re the emails because they only could have committed a crime if they were directly involved in the hacking. More > https://t.co/puFFJFVdzn pic.twitter.com/powemmq0ve
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) April 18, 2019
And here’s a rush transcript …
In other words, there was no evidence of the trump campaign collusion with the Russian government’s hacking. The special counsel’s investigation also examined Russian efforts to publish stolen emails and documents on the internet. The special counsel found that after the gru disseminated some of the stolen documents to entities that it controlled, D.C. Leaks and guccifer 2, the gru transferred some of the stolen materials to Wikileaks for publication. Wikileaks then made a series of document dumps. The special counsel also investigated whether any member or affiliate of the trump campaign encouraged or otherwise played a role in these dissemination efforts. Under applicable law publication of these types of material would not be criminal unless the publisher also participated in the underlying hacking conspiracy. Hereto the special counsel’s report did not find that any person associated with the trump campaign illegally participated in the dissemination of the materials. Finally, the special counsel investigated a number of links or contacts between the trump campaign officials and individuals connected with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign. After reviewing these contacts, the special counsel did not find any conspiracy to violate U.S. Law involving russian-linked persons and any persons associated with the trump campaign. So that’s the bottom line.
It’s key to see the progression here. Barr argues that what most people would consider collusion of some sort – participating in the dissemination of the hacked emails – is irrelevant. Based on this not being a problem, not being a violation of law, he further argues that the President couldn’t have obstructed justice since he had nothing to hide.