A Tuesday editorial in the Los Angeles Times by the paper’s senior staffers called on Attorney General William Barr to resign because he has allegedly become a “political partisan” cheerleader for President Donald Trump.
The editorial board, which initially supported his nomination, claimed that Barr has become “a shameless apologist for the president who appointed him.”
When voicing support for his nomination, the LA Times board noted that Barr had pledged to allow then-special counsel Robert Mueller to finish his Russian collusion investigation. Mueller concluded that there was no evidence to support that allegation.
“The attorney general did allow Mueller to complete his investigation,” the editors said.
“But a letter he sent to Congress summarizing Mueller’s conclusions was so misleading that Mueller wrote to Barr complaining that it ‘did not fully capture the context, nature and substance’ of his investigation,” the editorial said.
Since then, Barr has been an “unabashed enabler for Trump’s delusion” that the Russia probe was a partisan witch hunt, the editorial board continued. The writers also noted that Barr also took Trump’s side after inspector general Michael Horowitz found no evidence of political bias on the part of the FBI in the beginnings of the investigation, contradicting his findings.
“Those words are music to Trump’s ears, but they are the comments of a political partisan, not the considered comments of a law-enforcement professional,” said the editors, noting Barr’s comments on other controversies surrounding the Trump administration.
“An attorney general serving in the administration of a president such as Trump must be especially careful and circumspect in his comments,” the editorial added, noting that the AG’s actions come at a time when the United States is politically divided, “when the rule of law is at risk, and rational, independent voices are in short supply.”
Critics attacked the LA Times editorial as intentionally misleading and factually incorrect.
They noted that Mueller’s letter a letter to Barr obtained in March by the Washington Post, said, “The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions.
“There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations,” the Mueller letter continued.
But critics note that the Post also reported that the two men spoke by phone for about 15 minutes the day after Mueller sent his letter.
“In that call, Mueller said he was concerned that media coverage of the obstruction investigation was misguided and creating public misunderstandings about the office’s work, according to Justice Department officials,” the Post reported.
“Mueller did not express similar concerns about the public discussion of the investigation of Russia’s election interference, the officials said. Barr has testified previously he did not know whether Mueller supported his conclusion on obstruction,” the report added. “When Barr pressed Mueller on whether he thought Barr’s memo to Congress was inaccurate, Mueller said he did not but felt that the media coverage of it was misinterpreting the investigation, officials said.”
Critics note that proves Mueller did not actually question Barr’s conclusions.
Also, they point out that a recent report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found 17 errors and illegal acts committed by FBI agents in pursuing the Russian collusion investigation, formally known as “Crossfire Hurricane.”
Those acts included shielding exculpatory evidence from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in order to secure warrants to spy on 2016 Trump campaign aide Carter Page.