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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 3/26/19

Has "Cover-Up General" William Barr Struck Again?

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From Common Dreams

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Barr's history of helping Republican presidents in legal crises may explain why Trump brought him back in to head the Justice Department

Back in 1992, the last time Bill Barr was U.S. attorney general, iconic New York Times writer William Safire referred to him as "Coverup-General Barr" because of his role in burying evidence of then-President George H.W. Bush's involvement in "Iraqgate" and "Iron-Contra."

General Barr has struck again -- this time, in similar fashion, burying Mueller's report and cherry-picking fragments of sentences from it to justify Trump's behavior. In his letter, he notes that Robert Mueller "leaves it to the attorney general to decide whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime."

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As attorney general, Barr -- without showing us even a single complete sentence from the Mueller report -- decided there are no crimes here. Just keep moving along.

Barr's history of doing just this sort of thing to help Republican presidents in legal crises explains why Trump brought him back in to head the Justice Department.

Christmas day of 1992, the New York Times featured a screaming all-caps headline across the top of its front page: Attorney General Bill Barr had covered up evidence of crimes by Reagan and Bush in the Iran-Contra scandal.

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Earlier that week of Christmas, 1992, George H.W. Bush was on his way out of office. Bill Clinton had won the White House the month before, and in a few weeks would be sworn in as president.

But Bush's biggest concern wasn't that he'd have to leave the White House to retire back to Connecticut, Maine, or Texas (where he had homes) but, rather, that he may end up embroiled even deeper in Iran-Contra and that his colleagues may face time in a federal prison after he left office.

Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh was closing in fast on him, and Bush's private records, subpoenaed by the independent counsel's office, were the key to it all.

Walsh had been appointed independent counsel in 1986 to investigate the Iran-Contra activities of the Reagan administration and determine if crimes had been committed.

Was the Iran-Contra criminal conspiracy limited, as Reagan and Bush insisted (and Reagan confessed on TV), to later years in the Reagan presidency, in response to a hostage-taking in Lebanon? Or had it started in the 1980 campaign with collusion with the Iranians, as the then-president of Iran asserted? Who knew what, and when? And what was George H.W. Bush's role in it all?

Walsh had zeroed in on documents that were in the possession of Reagan's former defense secretary, Caspar Weinberger, who all the evidence showed was definitely in on the deal, and President Bush's diary that could corroborate it. Elliott Abrams had already been convicted of withholding evidence from Congress, and he may have even more information, too, if it could be pried out of him before he went to prison. But Abrams was keeping mum, apparently anticipating a pardon.

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Weinberger, trying to avoid jail himself, was preparing to testify that Bush knew about it and even participated, and Walsh had already -- based on information he'd obtained from the investigation into Weinberger -- demanded that Bush turn over his diary from the campaign. He was also again hot on the trail of Abrams.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War (more...)
 
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Lois Gagnon

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Give it up Thom. It's over.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 26, 2019 at 8:33:21 PM

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Terry Y

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So, here we have another Democrat guaranteeing a Trump victory in 2020.

Russiagate: No evidence, no logic, no sense ... from the very beginning.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 26, 2019 at 9:30:48 PM

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Gilbert Jacobi

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"America knew that both Reagan and Bush were up to their necks in Iran-Contra". "America", that is the America composed of those living outside of the Harvard/Yale/Wall Street/Beltway/Wall Street Axis of Evil, was oblivious to "Iran-Contra", i.e., the business as usual of arms peddling in the Middle East and rotating dictators in Latin America. In contrast, the past two years of the attempted coup against the Trump Administration has infuriated and demoralized millions of Americans by diverting massive amounts of the president's energy and time away from accomplishing the will of the 63 million Americans who voted to build the wall and normalize relations with Russia. "Iran-Contra" had zero effect on Americans. In contrast, the Clinton-Obama war on our duly elected President, and their attempted nullification of the 2016 election, has damaged the quality of life for countless Americans who have had to put up with the continued onslaught of alien criminals and the collapse of the rule of law, both on our borders and in our "sanctuary" cities. What Attorney General Barr needs to do next is to declassify the entire Mueller report and hold a press conference, during which Mueller and Rosenstein will be compelled to answer questions, foremost of which should be: Was the FBI aware that the Steele Dossier was written at the behest of the Clinton campaign? What did Obama know about the existence of a politically motivated anti-Trump cabal in his Justice Department and the CIA; and when did he know it?

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 27, 2019 at 1:17:22 AM

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I found the following point in Barr's memo interesting: while Mueller found no prosecutable case for Trump scheming with the Russians to interfere with the election in his favor, he very much didn't find they didn't do it. As to obstruction of justice, however, he punted to Barr, saying there are arguments for and against. Barr summarily decided against, on the theory that since there was no underlying crime--colluding with the Russians--there could be no obstruction of justice. I'm no lawyer but that strikes me as 180 out from what republicans, almost to a man and woman, were arguing during the Clinton impeachment. These included Ken Starr, Brett Kavanaugh and Lindsay Graham. They were arguing it didn't matter whether it was about consensual sex or whether there was an underlying crime (there wasn't, at least none that was ever proven). Perjury is perjury. So unless Barr's judicial philosophy has swayed with the wind even as theVicar of Bray's ecclesiastical philosophy, he would have declined to prosecute Clinton. Of course, that's a huge "unless".

Also, Barr did note in his memo the Mueller report states specifically it does not exonerate him from obstruction, even though Trump is trumpeting it does. Basically the Democrats blew it putting all their eggs in one Mueller investigation Russian collusion basket. On that much I will agree with all you "Russiagate hoaxers". They now have zero credibility to investigate anything else. Does anyone now care, for example, why Deutsche Bank was willing to lend billions of dollars to a serial defaulter when nobody else would touch him?

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 27, 2019 at 3:03:10 PM

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