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AG William Barr: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in the Attorney General’s CBS Interview

12/06/2019

Here is an interesting article at Lawfare written from a broadly pro-Barr perspective, but one that makes some very worthwhile points which need to be considered

No extract will do the piece justice, but

Jan Crawford’s extraordinary CBS interview with Attorney General William Barr was released on Friday, May 31. In it Barr said some good things about why his investigation of the Trump campaign investigation is needed. He also said some bad things about his attitude toward his investigation that reveal the depressingly ugly state of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement institutions.

Read the article, it is worth reading

Here is the interview transcript

JAN CRAWFORD: Mr. Attorney General, thank you very much for sitting down with us. So, obviously we saw the special counsel yesterday make that statement, he analyzed 11 instances where there were possible obstruction and then said that he really couldn’t make a decision- conclusion on whether or not the president had in fact committed obstruction because of the existing OLC opinion in the legal counsel’s office. Do you agree with that interpretation that that legal opinion prevented him from making a conclusion?

WILLIAM BARR: I am not sure he said it prevented him. I think what he said was he took that into account plus a number of other prudential judgments about fairness and other things and decided that the best course was not for him to reach a decision. I personally felt he could’ve reached a decision but—

JAN CRAWFORD: Was there anything that would’ve stopped him in the regulations or in those … that opinion itself, he could’ve — in your view he could’ve reached a conclusion?

WILLIAM BARR: Right, he could’ve reached a conclusion. The opinion says you cannot indict a president while he is in office but he could’ve reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity but he had his reasons for not doing it, which he explained and I am not going to, you know, argue about those reasons but when he didn’t make a decision, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I felt it was necessary for us as the heads of the Department to reach that decision. That is what the Department of Justice does, that is why we have the compulsory powers like a grand jury to force people to give us evidence so that we can determine whether a crime has committed and in order to legitimate the process we felt we had to reach a decision.

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