It’s still an open question as to whether disgraced Attorney General William Barr will show up for tomorrow’s Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee hearing, or if he’ll roll the dice on being held in contempt. But we’re expecting Barr will show up for today’s Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, if only because it’ll be the less daunting of the two hearings for him. Here’s what to expect from today’s chaos.
Today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing will begin with an opening statement from Chairman Lindsey Graham, which based on his recent track record, should consist largely of histrionics, incoherent rambling, and random grunting noises. Then Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s ranking member, will have the opportunity to make her own opening remarks. Look for her to zero in on Robert Mueller’s newly exposed letter accusing Barr of having lied about the Mueller report, as well as the perjury that Barr recently committed before the Senate.
From there, each Senator on the committee will get a few minutes to ask William Barr questions. Interestingly, three of the Democrats on this committee – Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Amy Klobuchar – are running for president. We’ll see how they each approach things today. But after a Washington Post reporter hinted last night that Senate Democrats might already have a copy of Mueller’s letter, the big question is when and how they might reveal this. Will Feinstein bust it out during her opening remarks, or will the Democrats give Barr a chance to further perjure himself about the letter before revealing that they’re holding it?
While the Senate Democrats will be the only people on this committee looking for the truth today, the questions asked by the Senate Republicans should at least be morbidly entertaining. There’s Chuck Grassley (angrily confused), Ben Sasse (likes to pretend he’s the good guy), John Kennedy (brainless), Thom Tillis (retiring), and Ted Cruz (has problems not easily described in a parenthetical). And whenever various committee members clash today over how the rules should be applied to the proceedings, it’ll be decided by Chairman Lindsey Graham – presumably after consulting with his Trump bobblehead doll.
Of course today’s hearing isn’t funny, considering that it’s centered around a sitting Attorney General who got caught committing serious crimes while trying to cover up a Special Counsel’s investigation into a sitting President who got caught committing serious crimes. William Barr will try to use today’s hearing to exonerate himself so that he can bail on tomorrow’s much tougher hearing, but we don’t see it working out that way for him. More realistically, Barr will spend today trying to fight off his own inevitable impeachment, and future potential criminal charges. Barr can’t play offense for Trump while he’s playing defense for himself.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report