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Trump's New Attorney General Pick Is Poised to Restrict the Mueller Investigation
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=48680"><span class="small">Frank Dale, ThinkProgress</span></a>   
Friday, 07 December 2018 14:27

Dale writes: "William Barr wants to investigate Hillary Clinton and has echoed much of the president's anti-Mueller rhetoric."

William Barr, shown in 2003, was attorney general under President George H.W. Bush. (photo: Chris Kleponis/Bloomberg)
William Barr, shown in 2003, was attorney general under President George H.W. Bush. (photo: Chris Kleponis/Bloomberg)


Trump's New Attorney General Pick Is Poised to Restrict the Mueller Investigation

By Frank Dale, ThinkProgress

07 December 18


William Barr wants to investigate Hillary Clinton and has echoed much of the president's anti-Mueller rhetoric.

t has been one month since President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the day after the midterms.

Sessions’ interim replacement, acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker, has been an outspoken critic of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

But Trump’s administration still hasn’t provided official confirmation of Whitaker’s acting appointment. And now, they’re trying a new strategy to undermine the ongoing Russia investigation, selecting a new attorney general who is poised to restrict Mueller’s probe, should he be confirmed.

Whitaker — whose business history and qualifications are questionable at best — reportedly never passed a Justice Department (DOJ) ethics review or provided answers on whether he would recuse himself from matters regarding Mueller’s investigation, which has racked up more than 100 criminal charges against dozens of people, including guilty pleas from Trump’s former national security adviser, former campaign chair, former attorney, and multiple former campaign advisers since it opened in May 2017.

Trump knew the clock was ticking on that temporary arrangement and became increasingly panicked over Mueller’s probe. As a result, the president on Friday selected former attorney general William Barr as his pick to lead the DOJ.

“He was my first choice since day one,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “He’ll be nominated.”

Barr, who served under the late President George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993, has echoed much of the president’s rhetoric on Mueller, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former FBI director James Comey. He has claimed a debunked conspiracy theory about Clinton and uranium is deserving of more DOJ attention than Trump’s connections to Russia, and that the former first lady should face additional investigations.

Barr has also defended Trump’s firing of Comey and the president’s ability to personally order DOJ investigations.

The former attorney general, who urged Bush to issue pardons over the Iran-Contra scandal that occurred while the latter was vice president, has also echoed Trump’s rhetoric about the partisan makeup of Mueller’s special counsel.

Since Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation in March 2017, just a month into Trump’s presidency, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has overseen Mueller’s probe. But Senate confirmation of Barr would put a Trump ally in charge of the special counsel for the first time since it was launched just over 18 months ago.

In the past, Trump has signaled his willingness to use staff appointments as a counterweight against the Russia investigation.

In June, Trump, still upset that Sessions had recused himself from the probe the year prior, tweeted that he would have selected a different attorney general if he had known Sessions’ plans ahead of time.

“The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn’t tell me he was going to recuse himself,” he tweeted. “I would have quickly picked someone else. So much time and money wasted, so many lives ruined…and Sessions knew better than most that there was No Collusion!”

Again, in August, Trump suggested he would fire Sessions after the midterms, over his refusal to remain loyal to the president. “Even my enemies say that ‘Jeff Sessions should have told you that he was going to recuse himself and then you wouldn’t have put him in,’” Trump told Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt that month. “He took the job and then he said I’m going to recuse myself. I said, ‘what kind of a man is this?’”

Congressional Republicans recently blocked efforts to protect Mueller’s investigation should a move be made to fire the former FBI director and end the Russia probe.

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+12 # chapdrum 2018-12-07 16:55
Perhaps this is too obvious, but while Congress sits and watches, people like this and Brett Kavanaww pass the smell test, and then do what they're asked (or told) to do.
Clearly, Congress is all right with this, and as a result, is selling out the majority of the American people - week in, month out.
 
 
-23 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-12-07 18:37
There is nothing wrong with criticizing Mueller and his Probe. I've done it myself. There's nothing wrong with criticizing Trump as this article does. Criticism is part of free expression which we all value. But this author tries to make us think there is something sacred about Mueller so that he is above criticism and above all laws. This is just hokum. If you like Mueller just say you do and say why. Don't try to make others seem illegitimate for saying they don't like Mueller and what he is doing. It is just frankly dishonest.

I was a big critic of Ken Starr. These are political witch hunts and destroy politics in the US. Starr and Mueller are the same kinds of people, though Mueller is a lot crueller.
 
 
+3 # Caliban 2018-12-08 01:03
"Crueller" is this instance appears to mean "smarter" and more focussed on getting the facts.
 
 
+4 # SusanT136 2018-12-08 07:18
Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov:
There is nothing wrong with criticizing Mueller and his Probe....this author tries to make us think there is something sacred about Mueller so that he is above criticism and above all laws...Don't try to make others seem illegitimate for saying they don't like Mueller and what he is doing. It is just frankly dishonest.

I was a big critic of Ken Starr. These are political witch hunts and destroy politics in the US. Starr and Mueller are the same kinds of people, though Mueller is a lot crueller.


Hmmm let’s see - equating Mueller with Ken Starr, hmm. Well Ken Starr’s investigation produced 0 criminal charges/ findings of wrongdoing, whereas Mueller has uncovered oodles of both. Investigating politicians is NOT, by its nature, a witch hunt. Investigations that are bogus and produce nothing are not only bogus they waste taxpayer money. Like the debunked theory of Clinton’s uranium conspiracy, and Barr’s declared intention to investigate Clinton further. (Not a Clinton fan, but don’t you think if there was any meat on that bone it would have seen the light if day during the Presidential election?)

And just how is anyone saying Mueller is above the law? What he’s doing is actually trying to hold very powerful people accountable, people who believe THEY are above the law.
 
 
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-12-09 07:23
ST -- your memory is a little weak. Ken Starr's investigation resulted in about 18 people actually going to trial. About 14 were convicted and received jail time. None of them were convicted for anything that was connected to the Clintons. They were just friends or associates of the Clintons that Starr wanted to turn agianst the Clintons -- just like Mueller.

Uranium One is far from debunked. It is still being covered up by FBI and DOJ. Mueller was part of it. That's probably one big reason why Rosenstein and Comey picked him.
 
 
+4 # Texas Aggie 2018-12-08 07:53
Actually the author says nothing about Mr; Mueller being sacred. The reasons that people respect Mr Mueller and his group is that they have been honest and trustworthy in the past and have conducted themselves in this investigation within the highest standards of probity.

On the other hand, Individual 1 has conducted himself exactly opposite. He has tried to interfere with the investigation by asking Comey to let Flynn go, by firing people whose allegiance was to the country and the Constitution rather than to Individual 1 and by putting in place his minions that will protect him rather than the country. Given those conditions, it isn't too difficult to decide which side deserves support.

And the recently revealed information that one of the Russian oligarchs has donated several million dollars to a fund that McConnell was in charge of may have a lot to do with why Yertle is refusing to protect Mr. Mueller's investigation from interference by the minions of Individual 1. And what else does that Russian have on Yertle that we haven't found out about yet?
 
 
0 # chapdrum 2018-12-07 18:58
Evidently, Congress wouldn't have it any other way.
 
 
+3 # James Klimaski 2018-12-08 05:03
If you while around in the muck long enough you can find the garbage you need. Trump found Barr.
 
 
+2 # MPCicerchi 2018-12-08 10:41
This man must not be confirmed. Clearly he has no integrity. Another Trump political hack.
 
 
+2 # lfeuille 2018-12-08 19:21
That's why he was nominated and why he will be confirmed.
 
 
0 # Anne Frank 2018-12-10 20:11
God forbid! If the Mueller circus ends, the masses might demand bread.