Remember the good old days of Matthew Whitaker? He does not seem so bad in retrospect.
As it turns out, I was completely wrong about William Barr. I had written (The Mueller Report: Paula Duncan, William Barr, and the American People):
We know how Paula Duncan reacted when she was exposed to the truth. What will Barr do when he has his OMG moment? What will Barr do when he learns that the slimiest and sleaziest real estate developer in New York operated and operates identically when he moved his business to the White House? Barr is a career officer of the court who will have taken an oath to the Constitution to serve the American people. He knows that he will not have taken an oath to be loyal to the President. So when he has his OMG moment will he like Paula Duncan vote to convict, that is, release the report or will he put the wishes of the President first? There is no way to know for sure but I suggest that it is quite likely that when the OMG moment occurs justice will trump loyalty.
It would be hard to have been more wrong about William Barr and his moment of truth although he did release the Mueller report.
So far the reaction has tended to focus on how he let the American people down. There has been little attention directed towards how he blindsided the President. One wonders if it ever occurred to him how he will be remembered in history for his decision not to tell either the American people or Individual #1 the truth.
Consider the situation before the report went public. At that point, it is reasonable to conclude that Barr had read the entire 448-page report with no redactions. That means he know what the report contained.
That Individual #1 never told the truth.
That Individual #1 instructed others not to tell the truth.
That for Individual #1 t law is irrelevant in his decision-making process.
That the White House was dysfunctional.
That White House staff and “friends” of Individual #1 routinely disobeyed instructions from “the Boss” or simply ignored such instructions.
That there were at least 10 examples of obstruction of justice by Individual #1.
That the only reason Individual #1 had not been indicted on obstruction or specifically charged with obstruction in the Mueller report was because of department policy.
That the Mueller report invites Congress to do what it could not do and charge Individual #1 with obstruction.
That there are multiple additional investigations (unidentified to the public but not to Barr) underway that guarantee a steady stream of bad news for Individual #1 for months to come possibly right through to the election.
Finally, that We the People shortly would know all of the above after the report was released.
So how did Individual #1 learn about the contents of the Mueller report?
He did not learn about it from reading the report itself.
He did not learn about it from just reading the summaries.
He apparently did not learn about the devastatingly negative portrayal of himself for his lack of character, morality, and management skills from Fox.
His actions and words during the morning and into the early afternoon were those of a person who had won, who had been completely vindicated, and who was having once of the best days of his presidency.
Then while basking in the glow of his complete and total triumph, he began to watch the Fake News shows.
SURPISE! SURPISE! SURPISE!
Suddenly and without any warning and preparation, he was exposed to the truth of the Mueller report. Since that moment of revelation, he has not attacked the Fake News stations or the Fake News reporters or analysts who have appeared on those shows. Even though he himself has not and will not read the actual report, he takes for granted that Fake News outlets like CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post have accurately reported what is in the Mueller report even though it contradicts what William Barr had told him.
Barr knew the truth of what the Mueller report contained and he chose not to inform the President of the United States about it. Forget about how he misled the American public and concentrate on that shirking of his duty and responsibility. He chose to spin the President. He chose not to disclose what the report really said about him. He chose not to prepare the President for the firestorm to come once the report was made public. He chose to allow Individual #1 to bask in the sun for hours enjoying the glory of his triumph while knowing that at some point later that same day, the truth of report would become known. In so doing, he failed the President.
For a subordinate to bring bad news to a boss always is difficult. It is particularly difficult with our immature child-president who inhabits an alternate reality. One can easily understand and indeed sympathize with the challenge Barr faced with he became aware of the truth of the Mueller report. Even in the best of times, it would not have been easy to inform a boss of such a report. It was a report about to go public and become part of the historical record. It was a report that documented that Individual #1 was a dishonest, immoral, and incompetent person who was saved (for now) from removal from office and jail time because his staff and friends refused to follow his instructions and department policy prohibited indicting a sitting President (but might indict him once he left office!).
Putting aside all the political polemics, Barr was not in an envious position. While he never will be a profile in courage it is understandable why he would throw the President under the bus and not tell him the truth about what the Mueller report contained. Better to let CNN and MSNBC be the bearer of bad news than for him to be. Barr correctly gauged that when the truth came out, Individual #1 would direct his ire towards the people he knew who had told the truth to Mueller rather than be loyal to him. And, of course, to the 18 angry Democrats engaged in a witch hunt who should have been investigating Crooked Hillary and the cover-up of her collusion with the enemy… not that asking for information from the Russians is wrong, mind you. Better to be a coward and deceive the boss then be the one to tell him the truth.
Barr’s CYA helped himself but did not do Individual #1 much good. True, it allowed Fox and its Congressional Friends to demand an apology for the witch hunt and call for moving on. That would work if the Republicans were still the majority in the House and Nunez the Clown was still in charge. But Individual #1 did a superb job in helping Democrats take back control of the House. The result is a guaranteed steady beat of bad news. There will be public testimony by people Individual #1 does not control, new evidence, and new charges. The immature child will fixate on all these goings on and never move on.
I am not suggesting that Barr could have prevented this from happening. The only way he might have was to suppress the report in its entirety. I am saying that given the release of the Mueller report, he failed the President of the United States by not informing him of the truth. All this makes one wonder how often government people choose not to tell the President the truth out of fear he can’t handle the truth except to have a tantrum.
Now is the moment for Congress to demonstrate it can handle the truth. The eyes of the world are still upon us.
At a polling station in central Jakarta, Trianasari Arief… said the ex-general [Prabowo], known for his quick temper and unpredictable behavior, reminded her of President Trump and his upset victory in 2016. “I don’t want what happened in the United States to happen in Indonesia…and [we] get the orange-skin guy into office.” (Richard C. Paddock and Muktit Suhartono, “President of Indonesia Re-elected, Polls Indicate,” NYT 4/18/19)