Bill Barr Was Just As Bad As We Thought And Maybe Worse

INSIDE: Marjorie Taylor Greene ... Ron Johnson ... Ryan Zinke
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: U.S. Attorney General William Barr testifies before the House Judiciary Committee in the Congressional Auditorium at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. In his ... WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: U.S. Attorney General William Barr testifies before the House Judiciary Committee in the Congressional Auditorium at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. In his first congressional testimony in more than a year, Barr faced questions from the committee about his deployment of federal law enforcement agents to Portland, Oregon, and other cities in response to Black Lives Matter protests; his role in using federal agents to violently clear protesters from Lafayette Square near the White House last month before a photo opportunity for President Donald Trump in front of a church; his intervention in court cases involving Trump's allies Roger Stone and Michael Flynn; and other issues. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.

Call It What It Is: Corruption

Yielding to a FOIA lawsuit by CREW, the Justice Department has released a key memo that gave Trump Attorney General Bill Barr Barr everything he needed to whitewash the Mueller Report.

It’s difficult to capture what a compromised and disturbing document this is without going back in time and reliving those fraught days in the spring of 2019 when Barr bamboozled the press corp and shamelessly dragged DOJ into the business of protecting the incumbent president.

Let’s put it this way: This memo by Steven Engel, the head of the Office of Legal Counsel, and Ed O’Callaghan, the principal associate deputy attorney general, never gets written if the answer it gave was anything other than exculpatory of Trump. The conclusion was baked in from the beginning, and the poor quality of the legal analysis is just one tell that the fix was in.

But let me yield the floor to the experts on this:

The NYT’s Charlie Savage has an excellent thread on Twitter expressing the appropriate level of skepticism about the memo’s convoluted legal reasoning, misleading recitation of some of the facts, and overall weakness.

I should note that a lot of the news coverage of the memo treats it with a lot less skepticism. Even the NYT article that Savage co-authored reads like the memo is a somber legal analysis made in good faith – until about the eighth paragraph, when it finally lowers the boom:

Outside specialists in white-collar law greeted the disclosure of the memo with some skepticism, describing its tone as essentially that of a defense lawyer in a trial rather than an even-handed weighing of the law and evidence.

The most worked-up commentator was understandably Andrew Weissmann, a former DOJ lawyer on Mueller’s team:

Neal Katyal gets it:

Randall Eliason weighs in too:

Let’s Take A Peek At The Election Prognosticators

NY-18 moves from Toss Up to Leans Democratic

NY-19 moves from Leans Republican to Toss Up

OH-Sen moves from Likely Republican to Leans Republican.

Flip The Script

The conservative reaction to Biden’s student loan forgiveness program has mostly been a curdled mix of complaining about bailouts and deep animus toward any collective action to help others. Here’s how Biden responded when a White House reporter gave voice to the grumps:

Run By WHO???

A new federal criminal case against alleged participants in the Jan. 6 attack:

Federal authorities have arrested and charged five members of a militia alleged to be run by a former candidate for Congress in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

NBC News identified the former candidate for Congress as Jeremy Liggett, a Florida man who ran in the GOP primary for the FL-07 this year.

Not Cool

Police in Georgia are investigating a “swatting” at the home of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA):

According to a Rome Police Department report, police officers responded to a 911 call on Wednesday at 01:03 a.m. that led them to initially believe a man who had been shot multiple times was in the bathtub at Greene’s home. The caller also stated there was a woman inside the home and possibly children with her. When officers arrived, Greene assured them there was no issue at the home.

“After we cleared the call and went back in service, Rome-Floyd 911 received a call from the suspect, claiming responsibility for the incident and explaining his/her motives,” the report stated. “It was a computer generated voice. They explained they were upset about Ms. Greene’s stance on ‘trans-gender youth’s rights,’ and stated they were trying to ‘swat’ her.”

How Are Things Going For Ron Johnson?

He’s just a victim, y’all.

I’m up against massive amounts of spending. I’m up against the media. They’re very good. They are very good at assassinating people’s character, playing class envy, distorting things beyond any reasonable recognition of things I say.

Please stop persecuting Sen. Johnson.

IG: Zinke Lied

Trump Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke lied to investigators, the department’s inspector general concluded in a new report. Zinke, a former Republican congressman from Montana, is poised to return to the House this fall.

Must Read

Sorting Out Some Confusion Over The Inflation Reduction Act

TPMCafe: Inflation Reduction Act Won’t Get Around SCOTUS Climate Ruling. But It Strengthens EPA’s Future Abilities

Ukraine Updates

  • The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, captured by Russian forces in March, continues to be the scene of fighting that risks a catastrophic incident. “Anybody who understands nuclear safety issues has been trembling for the last six months,” one expert told the AP.
  • The death toll rose to 25 in a Russian strike on a train station on Ukraine’s independence day.

Art Heist!!!

Facing the other side of the camera for a change, celebrated portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh is captured on film next to his famous large image of Sir Winston Churchill, taken in 1941, during the preview of his 80th birthday exhibition at London’s Barbican Art Gallery. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)

On original print of perhaps the most famous photograph of Winston Churchill was swiped from an Ottawa hotel around Christmas and replaced with a fake. The hotel, where the photographer Yousuf Karsh lived for many years, discovered the theft last week.

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