Attorney General Bill Barr breezily explained away President Trump’s habitual interference with the federal Russia investigation in Wednesday testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Because Trump felt “falsely accused” by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which he felt was “propelled by his political opponents,” it was only natural that he would try to stop it, Barr testified.
As the attorney general put it: “That is not a corrupt motive.”
This rationalization basically gives the President carte blanche to interfere with any probe he feels unfairly targeted by. It echoes Barr’s previous sympathetic statements about Trump trying to alter witness testimony and urging officials to fire Mueller because he felt “frustrated.”
The new remarks came in questioning from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) about Barr’s crucial determination that Trump didn’t obstruct justice with these sorts of moves.
Barr told Feinstein that the President was within his right to try to get Mueller ousted as special counsel because he felt that the entire investigation was flawed.
“If the President is being falsely accused—and the evidence now suggests that the accusations against him were false—and he knew they were false, and he felt that this investigation was unfair, propelled by his political opponents, and was hampering his ability to govern, that is not a corrupt motive for replacing an independent counsel,” Barr said.
“That’s another reason that we would say that the government would have difficulty proving this beyond a reasonable doubt.”