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Wednesday Edition: The lowering of the Barr

The Preface
Wednesday Edition: The lowering of the Barr
By Samuel Wonacott • Issue #40 • View online

The Takeaway: In tense hearing, Barr says he didn't review evidence before clearing Trump
Andrew Harnik/AP/REX/Shutterstock
Andrew Harnik/AP/REX/Shutterstock
Attorney General William Barr has had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad 24 hours—or, at least, that’s how it appears.
On Tuesday night, hours before Barr was scheduled to field questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Mueller investigation, the Washington Post released a crisp, previously unseen letter sent to Barr at the end of March by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
In the vaguely admonitory letter, sent weeks before the report was made public, Mueller states that Barr’s 4-page letter to Congress summarizing his investigation “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions.” Mueller goes on to say that widespread confusion over the findings could undermine “full public confidence in the outcome of the investigation,” and ends by encouraging Barr to quickly release summaries of the key findings written by the Special Counsel team to allay the public’s misconceptions.
According to the Washington Post, Mueller specified to Barr over the phone the next day that “media misrepresentation,” not Barr’s summary to Congress, had created the confusion. However, there’s probably a reason Mueller put his complaint into writing.
Barr, of course, did not release the summaries; instead, he released the full report in April.
On Wednesday, with Mueller’s letter percolating around the Capitol, Barr woke up and plopped himself in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, taking questions and listening to jeremiads from Senators throughout the morning and afternoon.
Much was said in the course of the hearing, but one admission from Barr, elicited by Kamala Harris (D-Calf.), is all but guaranteed to haunt him in the coming weeks, as some Senate Democrats mull impeachment.
In a blistering interrogation, Harris, a presidential primary candidate, asked Barr if he had “personally reviewed all of the underlying evidence” before determining not to charge Trump with obstruction of justice.
Barr said he had not.
“We accepted,” Barr said, referring to himself and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein,“ the statements in the report as the factual record. We did not go underneath it to see if they were accurate. We accepted it as accurate.”
Barr is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, but his appearance is up in the air after House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y) said he would allow Democratic and Republican lawyers to participate in the hearing. According to a Justice Department spokesperson, Barr agreed to take questions from members of the House, not their legal counsels.
Scoops and Tidings
Do Married Millennials Cheat on Each Other? - The Atlantic
This woman turned her tree stump into a Little Free Library fit for magical elves. It went viral - The Washington Post
Why the Wall Won't Work - Cato Institute
Quote of the Week
“To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control, that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something very important about the condition of the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertain and on a willingness to be exposed; it’s based on being more like a plant than like a jewel, something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from that fragility.” 
― Martha Nussbaum
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Samuel Wonacott

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