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May 03, 2019 11:02 AM UTC

William Barr's Crash and Burn Singes Cory Gardner Too

  • by: Colorado Pols
AG William Barr, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-ole boys).

As the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports, the state’s two senior Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate are calling for the resignation of Attorney General William Barr, as a standoff between Barr and the House over what’s become generally recognized as a brazen cover-up of damning evidence in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian support for Donald Trump in the 2016 elections rapidly escalated this week with Barr’s defensive (and abortive) testimony:

“To see the attorney general of the United States behave not like the leader of the Justice Department, but like the president’s criminal defense lawyer, is shameful,” Bennet said.

Rep. Diana DeGette, another Denver Democrat, made similar criticisms Wednesday, saying all attorneys general must enforce the law evenly and equally. “Attorney General Barr has shown over and over that he is either unwilling or unable to do that when it comes to evaluating the actions of the president and, for that reason alone, he should resign immediately,” DeGette said.

These calls to resign come as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jerrold Nadler makes one more attempt to get cooperation from the Justice Department:

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler on Friday sent his latest offer Attorney General William Barr to try to reach an agreement in his effort to obtain the unredacted special counsel report and the underlying evidence before Nadler moves forward with holding the attorney general in contempt of Congress…

“The Committee is prepared to make every realistic effort to reach an accommodation with the Department,” Nadler wrote in the letter, which was obtained by CNN. “But if the Department persists in its baseless refusal to comply with a validly issued subpoena, the Committee will move to contempt proceedings and seek further legal recourse.”

Barr’s testimony to Congress this week took place just after a major development broke that Special Counsel Mueller had written to Barr to complain that the summary released by Barr “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions.” Barr’s answers to questions about this and other aspects of his handling of the report in testimony severely undercut both Barr’s credibility as attorney general and the Trump administration he in appropriately acting as de facto counsel for. Whether an impeachable offense or a political question to resolve in the 2020 elections, it’s clear now that the President knowingly benefited from a foreign intelligence operation, and ordered actions that were in the best case not obstruction of justice only because subordinates refused to carry them out.

Jason Salzman wrote yesterday and Wingerter reports in his story today on Sen. Cory Gardner’s worthless response:

“I think Mueller should testify,” Sen. Cory Gardner, a Yuma Republican, told KOA Newsradio. “I’m fine with that. But I think the (Barr) testimony really revealed what we’ve seen in the (Mueller) report that’s been released and I think it’s important that we focus on the findings of that report.” [Pols emphasis]

The first thing you have to do here is not be driven to distraction by Gardner’s circular rhetoric. Because maddening though it is, it serves a purpose: Gardner isn’t praising Barr as much as doing everything he can to avoid definitive conclusions and downplay the larger scandal. Gardner wants to create a fictional third position where he is against “Russian interference,” but can still back the President against the “revenge majority” Democrats.

It’s not a tenable position. After voting to confirm this attorney general, Gardner has an obligation to state clearly whether he thinks Barr was truthful in his original summary, his defensive pre-release press conference, and this week’s interactions with the House. And Gardner needs to say once and for all whether he believes Trump obstructed justice. Then there should be lots of follow-up questions–about, for example, why the Russians supported Trump for President.

Unless he is willing to give straight answers to these straightforward questions, Gardner’s evasions make him part of the cover-up–and party to the same offenses fellow Coloradans say AG Barr should resign for.


2 thoughts on “William Barr’s Crash and Burn Singes Cory Gardner Too

  1. Gardner increasingly in a position where voters are looking at what he does, not what he says.

    Unless he has some legislation to shore up the election process and limit foreign intervention, it doesn't matter what he says he is in favor of.  Unless he supports efforts to obtain the unredacted Mueller report and acts on the findings of that report, it won't matter what he says he is in favor of.


    1. It did work for a long time, though. Reporters took him at face value and never cared if his words were put into action. Now that's changed and I think he's screwed in 2020.

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