Attorney General William Barr is now just a few days away from having to testify before the House Judiciary Committee about his handling of the Mueller report, and it’ll be a de facto first step in the impeachment process on the part of House Democrats. How does Barr feel about having to go under oath and defend his actions? He’s panicking – and he just gave it away.
Palmer Report has never hesitated to point out when the “source” for a newspaper article was rather obviously the subject of the article. For instance, when newspaper articles surfaced in late 2017 and early 2018 which documented Don McGahn’s attempts to prevent Donald Trump’s obstruction of justice antics, it was immediately clear that McGahn himself was the source of these articles; they were merely being credited to “sources familiar with the situation” or similar verbiage. Now the same thing is happening with William Barr.
Take this sentence in a new Washington Post article published last night, which attempted to explain William Barr’s rationale for how he handled the Mueller report: “But senior Justice Department officials took a more skeptical view, which informed Attorney General William P. Barr’s later conclusion that Trump could not be charged with obstructing justice, according to people familiar with the thinking.” Numerous pundits, including Rachel Maddow were quick to point out that the source for the article was actually Barr himself. This isn’t a knock on the WaPo. Like it or not, this is often how newspapers operate with regard to sourcing, and it’s often fairly easy for the trained eye to spot.
In any case, the real upshot here is that William Barr is so worried about how his upcoming testimony will go for him, he’s planting stories in the media aimed at getting the public to see his decision-making in a more sympathetic light. Moreover, he’s panicked enough that he’s doing it in rather transparent ways that are being quickly traced right back to him. Barr clearly expects his testimony to go poorly, and to be received poorly by the public, or else he wouldn’t be resorting to these desperate antics.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report