We’re barely an hour into Attorney General William Barr’s testimony about the Mueller report for the Senate Judiciary Committee, and it’s already gone further off the rails than even we were expecting. Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham’s profane, lying, incoherent opening statement was an embarrassing disaster, and yet things have only gone further downhill now that Barr is speaking.
The Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are doing their best to prop up William Barr and allow him a soft landing, but even they can’t seem to help Barr find a way to justify his handling of the Mueller report. Barr is claiming, with a straight face, that he released his four page “summary” of the Mueller report because he didn’t think it was appropriate to release a “summary” of the Mueller report. Barr also appeared to claim that Trump shouldn’t have been investigated at all because a sitting president can’t be indicted.
Barr also clearly has no idea how to respond to the new revelation that Robert Mueller wrote a letter calling him out for having grossly misrepresented the Mueller report. For that matter, Barr hasn’t been able to explain away the multiple counts of perjury he’s committed during his previous congressional appearances. But the real story of the day is that the lying on the part of Barr and the Republicans is so severe, NBC News keeps feeling compelled to break in and call out those lies in real time.
William Barr has been on the defensive for most of the day, even when the questions have been coming from his allies. Barr is in over his head. It doesn’t appear that he was expecting Robert Mueller’s letter to ever see the light of day, and he has no idea how to defend himself. What’s remarkable is that this was supposed to be the easier of the two hearings this week for Barr. We’ll see if he even shows up for tomorrow’s House Judiciary Committee testimony. If he does, it’ll be a complete disaster for him. If he doesn’t, he’ll be held in contempt of Congress.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report