After receiving his senate confirmation on February 14, 2019, William Barr became the nation’s attorney general later that day. Within a week, journalists noted Mueller would suddenly deliver a report and watched as files from the Special Counsel’s Office reportedly went to federal courts across the east coast. We got Barr’s version of the Mueller Report on March 24, 2019. According to sources speaking to the Daily Beast, Mueller had told Barr about his findings in early March, about three weeks before the Barr summary. For all intents and purposes, Mueller and his team had been closed down within two weeks of Barr’s nomination.
Barr’s reign as attorney general played out exactly as expected. Trump nominated him to shutdown and minimize the investigation into his treason and obstruction of justice. The senate confirmed this plan—well known at the time—with a 54-45 vote (three democrats joined the yes votes). Majority Leader McConnell’s long history of ensuring any investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election continued and he blocked senate efforts to release the full Mueller report the day after the Barr summary. The House unanimously passed (420-0) a similar measure to release the full report.
Mueller reportedly had received a terabyte of data (that’s a lot of data) from key player Roger Stone only weeks before Barr started. He never got to interview Trump and other people involved were still cooperating with him. He was 22 months into an investigation that spanned numerous countries and involved a Shakespearean cast of corrupt men. There was no indication prior to Barr’s arrival that Mueller was finished, then suddenly he was. In fact, all indications were he would take much longer to reach his findings.
It is obvious the White House knew about Barr’s summary and portions of the Mueller report weeks beforehand and had a media messaging campaign lined up for it. Our national slide into authoritarianism continued as the Trump administration threatened anyone who dared mention the word “collusion” or “obstruction” with capital crimes and as being part of a “coup” against him. These are phrases and tactics a dictator uses, to include pressuring the media to no longer allow certain representatives and former government agency leaders from appearing anywhere, which Trump did that day.
Barr used 64 words from Mueller’s report for his summary. The rest was his characterization of it and used a lot of minimizing language to cover what is likely more damning material in the real report. Further, the amount of information already in the public sphere suggests something far more nefarious and subversive than what any unfinished report or tampered investigation produced. If Mueller’s goal was simply to lay out the evidence for someone else, Congress, then we already have a pretty good idea what that evidence looks like given what people like Mike Flynn, Carter Page, and Paul Manafort have done.
As many have noted for a year or more, Mueller or any one man or woman, will not save us. Our institutions will help but ultimately may crumble from pressure above. Only we can save ourselves by holding our representatives in DC accountable and demand that we, the voting public, get the best and clearest version of how Trump became president in 2016 and what he has done with his power since then. It is not “Mueller Time” it is “Our Time.” If we abandon the sacrifice and effort the founding fathers made to protect this nation from a threat like Trump then we deserve the fate that awaits us.