They say that “all’s well that ends well” but things are not ending well for Attorney General William Barr as he gets interrogated by Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA).
Representative Swalwell dedicated his portion of the House Judiciary Committee grilling of Barr to focus on Donald Trump’s pardon of Roger Stone — his alleged co-conspirator in arranging for the hacked emails from his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinto during the 2016 election campaign — and Barr’s role in reducing the original Justice Department sentencing recommendations after Stone was found guilty.
It did not take long for Congressman Swalwell to reach the same conclusion that many other Americans have reached: that since Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen pled guilty to illegal campaign finance violations in the payoffs to Trump’s porn star mistresses, Barr “has taken the job.”
As the California representative said in a Newsweek op-ed he published yesterday:
“Unfortunately, Bill Barr already had a job — as Attorney General of the United States, our nation’s top law enforcement official,” Swalwell wrote. “And we must not let him do both jobs at once.”
Once Swalwell had Barr in front of him in a situation in which the AG was forced to answer the congressman’s questions, it didn’t take him long to ask a question that has been asked countless times since the controversial pardon, seen by many as a payback to Stone for refusing to rat on the president.
Swalwell: Are you investigating Donald Trump for commuting the sentence of Roger Stone?
Swalwell: Why not?
Barr: Why should I
Swalwell: Well let’s talk about that pic.twitter.com/UEG8rlc8Yd
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) July 28, 2020
It certainly seems like perjury for Barr to claim that he doesn’t read the President’s tweets, particularly since a good number of them were included in the Mueller report which the Attorney General has examined with a fine-tooth comb.
Barr to @RepSwalwell: "No, I'm not familiar" with Trump's infamous tweet on Roger Stone (tweet provides evidence of Trump's obstruction of justice).
The tweet is IN THE MUELLER REPORT!
DOJ focused on it, redacted it, later unredacted it.
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) July 28, 2020
The most important — and potentially incriminating — point that the congressman managed to get the attorney to admit to was the fact that in no other case before the entire Justice Department did Barr ever intervene to request a reduced sentencing recommendation except in this one instance involving someone who was convicted of lying and witness tampering to help elect Trump and to protect him from an impeachment conviction once he was elected.
Barr seems to have issues again while Rep. Swalwell questions him pic.twitter.com/llvD6Lnt3I
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) July 28, 2020
Barr’s admission certainly makes his refusal to investigate the circumstances around Trump’s pardon of Stone seem to stem from his own culpability in protecting the president’s interests over the interests of the nation as a whole and over the letter of the law he’s supposed sworn to protect.
Democratic legislators on the House Judiciary Committee are continuing their questioning of Attorney General William Barr today. Keep checking in with Occupy Democrats for more coverage of the hearing.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.