This paragraph from the Times, similar to a report from CNN and likely relying on the same sources, shows a big problem with the biggest US media operations and their continued validations of Bill Barr’s intentional deceptions.
Mr. Barr, who began his career at the C.I.A., did not intend to imply that spying was inherently wrong, according to a person who has discussed the matter with him but was not authorized to share their conversation. Mr. Barr sees no technical difference between that term and surveillance. He indicated that at issue was not the act of surveilling but whether officials followed proper procedures when they decided to gather intelligence on Trump’s associates in 2016.
Barr is not simply using his job to defend the President. He’s repeatedly playing word games like this. He issues a supererogatory exoneration of President Trump and then claims he had never meant to do that. He’d like to release the whole Mueller Report. But the rules just make it really hard for him to do that. He very clearly used the word “spying” and then said he needed to make sure it hadn’t happened. That was to give the President his talking point. Then he or his staff tell the Times that he didn’t mean to imply anything by that. He just meant “spying” as a synonym for surveillance, which of course judges authorize law enforcement to conduct routinely. This is obviously not true. Yet the Times passes it on as though it were a good faith explanation of what Barr was thinking.
Here we have Robert Costa of the Post saying that Republicans are themselves wondering what Barr is up to. The explanation they’re being given? Well, it turns out he’s actually not a career prosecutor. So he’s just not really in tune with DOJ practices and policies and traditions.
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) April 11, 2019
They simply can’t grasp their way toward the obvious explanation. He’s a bad actor, using his office for the purpose of defending the President as opposed to enforcing the law. He’s a crook. But he’s a smart one. And at least as far as we know so far he’s using his legitimate powers in creative ways to take corrupt actions.