The Barr letter seems a masterful piece of misdirection which won’t hold up under serious examination once the report is made public. And it must be made public. In an extraordinary statement House chairs Schiff, Nadler, and Cummings said “The shortcomings in [Barr’s] letter are the very reason our nation has a system of separation of powers.” Pelosi and Schumer were even more blunt; Barr “is not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report.” These statements are as blunt as DC ever gets. They are saying Barr is biased in favor of Trump and cannot be trusted.
In a truly deranged twisting of justice, the Barr letter says Trump could not commit obstruction of justice if the underlying conspiracy wasn’t shown to be true. This is complete rubbish. Nixon was forced to resign and members of his inner circle went to prison because of obstruction. Barr also takes a deliberately narrow view of what constitutes the Russian government.
This is headed to the House Judiciary Committee. It and other committees will open massive ongoing investigations into Trump and associates. Schiff says he expects Trump family members will be indicted. At the very least, the investigations will badly weaken Trump if he runs in 2020 (I don’t think he will) and could topple him before that if it can demonstrate Trump’s obvious corruption.
As for Barr’s weasley report:
Special counsel Robert Mueller has submitted his report on the Russia investigation, and Republicans are gloating. They claim a four-page letter from Attorney General William Barr, purporting to summarize the report, exonerates President Donald Trump. They’re wrong. The letter says the Justice Department won’t prosecute Trump, but it reaches that conclusion by tailoring legal standards to protect the president. Here’s a list of Barr’s weasel words and what they’re hiding.
Other contacts between Trump associates and Russians, such as Trump’s Moscow tower project and Michael Flynn’s secret talks about easing sanctions, have been set aside.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.” That’s Barr’s opinion, not Mueller’s.
Barr simply defines whatever Trump did as nonobstructive, as long as an underlying conspiracy with Russia isn’t proved. If Trump asked then–FBI Director James Comey to drop his investigation of Flynn, that’s fine.