CAFE Insider 05/06: Bill Barr: The Politics of "Snitty"
Hey, folks, another week and no sign of the new slowing down. Bill VAR is coming under increasing scrutiny for his handling of Muller's investigation. There's been a flurry of letters to make sense of including the letter the president's personal attorney Emmett flood sent a bar. There's the question of Bob Muller testifying and and your time story about an undercover FBI investigated that has fueled allegations of campaign spying. I talk about all this and more on the cafe insider podcast where each week and milligram joins me to break down the news and take stock of what's happening. The podcast is part of the cafe insider membership today, we're making a clip from the most recent episode available in the stay tuned feed to listen to our full conversation and access all other cafe insider content, including a weekly newsletter and bonus content from stay tuned. Become a member have cafe dot com slash insider. That's cafe dot com slash insider. A couple of other exchanges that now maybe look a little different in light of the back and forth between Bob Muller and Bill bar, those letters that became public whereby mother clearly on multiple occasions wanted the Justice department to put out the special counsel's own summaries that didn't need to be redacted to the public as opposed to the four page letter the Bill bar sent on March twenty fourth and one of those is an exchange from back in April between Charlie Crist democratic Representative from Florida and Bill bar where Charlie Chris reports have emerged recently that members of the special counsel team are frustrated at some level. With the limited information included in your March twenty four letter, do you know what they are referencing with that not the greatest question in the world. But you know, I think ordinary people would understand it and Barr says, no, I don't know. I don't I think I think and then he says I suspect that they probably wanted more put out, but in my view, I was not interested in. Putting out summaries which we've already discussed this bizarre because he put out a summary. And that's maybe why he doesn't want to call his own thing a summary. So he could say this thing with a straight face was that was that perjury. There's a couple of questions here, and obviously he's under oath. And so I thought about this actually Moore's one thousand and one where you lie to someone conducting an investigation which could be part of we've talked about this in the context of lying to FBI agents. Could you, you know, you're lying to a member of congress about a material fact is. It goes back to my view that he sort of he slides around or tries not to answer directly the questions, and I did read this as you know, when you're a lawyer. And again, this is why people hate lawyers. So let me acknowledge that I like, lawyers I do too. I love lawyers. But, but it's the sort of if you read the question, do you know, what they are referencing with that? They is the press. There's an expression of frustration with the limited information and then bars saying, no, I don't know. And he could be saying I don't know what the press is talking about. And again, I'm parsing here. Which is what I think he was doing. But to me at the end of the day, it's completely false. And it is a lie. Now. Would it be a prosecutable? Why in my mind, I would not charge. I would not charge this crime right as a crime for lotteries. But here's what I think each has. No, I don't he kind of closes it down. Like, he doesn't know anything about any issues. Right. So and then he says I suspect that they meaning Muller's team probably wanted more put out. But he didn't suspect anything he knew he knew it four occasions in which Mahler there's one before the report comes out remorse saying here, my summaries. We would like us are summaries. And then there's three times after the report comes out to in writing one by phone call. There's no way he doesn't know that they thought that there was an issue with the summer he did. And they wanted their summaries out. What what do you think would you prosecute this repurchase or false statement? No, I would not for various reasons because you can see a jury might look at it differently because you have to get to intent. But what I don't get is. I mean, I agree completely false. If someone in your family dissemble that way about something if your kids said that what would you do you would say come on? You're not going off. What's also weird to me? It's totally unnecessary. You know, you have to know at that point that the letters at some point may come out look on other occasions Bill bars perfectly capable of saying a flat. No in ways. It also make him. Look knock very good when he's asked. Will you recuse yourself? Will you follow the? Elections of the ethics officials. He says he says, no, very forthrightly, actually, frankly doesn't make him look good. Because because I'm decider and on other questions to is very forthright. You know to a fault when he wants to assert his power and his progress as attorney general so what I don't get is. Why couldn't you here to say? Yeah, I think I do know what they're talking about. They wanted to put more out. I didn't want out for all these very good reasons that I'm reciting to you that you may disagree with. So I don't get the point of it. Do you think he got just caught? It feels weird to me that he would not have been prepared for that question. Because you, and I we actually haven't even had a chance to talk about this. But knowing who Bob Muller is he's pretty conservative. He's deeply respectful of the chain of command for Bob Mueller to put something in writing. It's like he screaming at belvoir. And and so for most people they might say, oh, the guy wrote a letter. No like, he papered him, which means he put on paper as a record for all time. You did something wrong to Bill bar. You're not representing this. And by the way, you're defeating the whole. Purpose of the special counsel, which is to bring the truth to the American public and to do a good investigation. So, you know, it might not seem like that big a deal, but it is literally like shouting by Bob mall. It is an memorable bar said about the letter then snitty say. That's that's. As an underused were. Yeah. That he thinks he may apply to a lot more things, by the way. I've read the letter snitty, it's not it's actually very straightforward. It was a weird moment in the hearing because bar generally, actually retains his composure. He can be infuriating because he doesn't answer everything completely forthrightly. He's com. Pretty calm. And with respect to this letter. He said, you know, Bob Muller was a political appointee. And he was a political appointee. With me at the department Justice. I don't you know, the letter is a bit snippy. And then he says, and I think it was probably written by one of his staff people. Do you think Bob Muller didn't have the power of the pen over this letter that you describe as a, you know, something that's shouting missive? It doesn't matter who wrote the first draft. Bob Muller signed it just like, do you think Bill are wrote that four-page summary himself? No, I thought that was kind of snitty. Yeah. And. The word was snitty. But somebody else drafted it. And then he probably edited it and made it his own. It's a silly silly thing to say who would reminds me of something else. Rudy Giuliani say there's many things you can say about Muller among them. You could say war hero. And did a thankless job. But of all the criticisms he is not an uncomfortable. He's person he's extraordinarily careful. And so I saw similar to this Rudy Giuliani. When talking about some aspect of the Muller report. And how Muller came to this conclusion about or lack of conclusion about obstruction? I heard really Honey say yet that section of the report, I bet Muller didn't read it, very carefully. There's no way. There's no way. And times to the point where he was probably blurry eyed at three o'clock in the morning, but there's no question. There's one other thing from the hearing to there's we have a listener Jesse who wrote in and asked us why Bill bar wasn't pressed about Senator van halen's questions of Bill Barr. From a previous hearing, quote, and I will discuss that decision after Muller. Support your conclusion, I don't know other. Bob Muller supported my conclusion, and Jesse writes, it seems like van halen's question and answer are harder for bar to dance around. What I think Jesse is asking is why didn't the senators push more on that. Because this is consistent with the conversation. We're having which is it's incredibly clear that bar knew exactly what Muller thought of his summary. And that Muller was not a fan of it. I agree. I think this is also clear dissembling is also trying to make it seem like there was not, you know, huge amount of daylight between bar and Muller on this particular. Score. So I don't get it. It wasn't necessary. Clearly, you know, an ordinary person understanding the question would say, yeah, I think there are probably some disagreements in fact, they Bill bar said at the press conference before the release of the report rod Rosenstein, and I disagree with an disagreed with and continue to disagree with some of the analysis. Bob muller. Especially in the law and how expansive executive authorities. So I don't I don't get why you would sort of leave a misimpression here. But I do think that if you're if you're looking at the question of perjury or the crime of lying to congress that this is even more ambiguous than the exchange with Krist, and it would be difficult to trust the kennel. But it's this thing we keep coming back to both with respect to the president and other people in the White House. And now with the attorney general we should expect something more than behavior that comports with the criminal standard. Yeah. That shouldn't be the question is the question shouldn't be the attorney general it's fine as long as he didn't commit crime. If a judge asked you any of these questions when you were allying prosecutor, or if any of the people you've supervised gave this kind of answer repeatedly during a court hearing that a congressional hearing turned court hearing, I would expect to get a call from the judge and say, you know, you had a prosecutor in here. No doubt who was being too cute by half. You need to talk to that person. And make sure that doesn't happen again. And that person would lose credibility in that courtroom for the rest of that proceeding that trial and maybe for the rest of their career. That's the kind of thing that the tens of thousands of lawyers who Bill bar overseas have to hold themselves to what do you think this means for a, you know, the men and women in US attorney's offices who are out there. And what you I'm sure trained as a as a United States Turney is, you know, you act with integrity, and truthfulness. And then you see the boss the head of the organization doing the exact opposite. It's a terrible thing. Yeah. So I I don't know there have been other occasions most notably in my experience when. Gonzales was the attorney general I think a lot of people they just do their jobs doesn't sort of matter. You know, what what the head of the agency is thinking or saying it probably doesn't help. But I'd like to think that the rank and file folks were prosecuting in a public Russian cases and robbery cases and all the kinds of things that they do keep the country safe and the individual districts safe and hold people accountable that it's like sort of a thing that they can ignore and keep their head down. Just do their jobs. I hope so I hope you enjoy the sample of the cafe insider podcast to listen to the full episode. Head to cafe dot com slash insider and become a member. That's cafe dot com slash insider to the many of you who have chosen to join the insider community. Thank you for supporting our work.