The only thing that really matters about Bill Barr’s testimony today

By all accounts, Attorney General Bill Barr is actually going to show up and testify to the House Judiciary Committee today. Based on the prepared opening statement he submitted, Barr is going to use his testimony to tell lies, to demean good natured Americans, and to do Donald Trump’s corrupt bidding. But none of that is going to matter.

Bill Barr’s lies and propaganda today won’t help the Trump regime one bit. They won’t gain Trump a single vote in November. Barr is just going to say whatever he thinks Trump wants to hear, in the hope that Trump will pardon Barr for felony obstruction of justice on his way out the door. Just ignore Barr’s pandering. The part that’s going to matter is the part where Barr is forced off script.

The Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee will use their allotted time to try to corner Barr on key issues, with the goal of accomplishing one of two things. The main prize will be if they can fluster Barr into blurting out ugly truths that make him and Trump look bad, which can then be used in campaign efforts against Trump. The consolation prize will be if they can goad Barr into telling easily disproven lies under oath, thus nailing him for felony perjury. This could spook Barr in terms of his agenda over the next few months; he just might rein himself in, for fear that the pardon may not be coming, and he’ll have to face these charges in court after Trump loses.

There’s nothing to be gained today by sitting back and seeing how outraged you can feel about whatever lies and smears Bill Barr ends up saying. And when Barr starts making threats during his testimony, there’s also nothing to be gained by taking those threats at face value and interpreting them as a sign that Trump and Barr are somehow magically winning. Barr has failed in the majority of stunts he’s tried.


Today won’t be some victory lap for Bill Barr, no matter how obnoxiously he preens. The only thing that will matter is whether House Democrats can fluster him and get him to say something self-inflicting that he wasn’t planning on saying. That’s the only point of today’s hearing, and everyone on both sides knows it.

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