Confirmation hearings have not traditionally garnered glamorous attention outside the D.C. Beltway.
Unless they have a vested interest, most Americans would rather skip over news about cabinet nominees in favor of something more scintillating.
That has certainly changed in the age of Donald Trump.
If you are unfamiliar with William Barr, Trump's nominee to fill former Attorney General Jeff Sessions' position, read on.
There is a particularly self-serving motive Trump has for tapping Barr to succeed Sessions.
To understand it, we need to go back to December 1992.
Bill Clinton had just defeated George H.W. Bush for the presidency, and in a few weeks a Democrat would be occupying the Oval Office for the first time in 12 years.
But Bush had a problem.
He was looking at potential prison time.
Independent counsel Lawrence Walsh was zeroing in on the 41st president's involvement in the cover-up of the Reagan administration's crimes in the Iran-Contra scandal.
As then-Iranian president Abolhassan Bani-Sadr wrote for the Christian Science Monitor in 2013:
"Ayatollah Khomeini and Ronald Reagan had organized a clandestine negotiation, later known as the 'October Surprise,' which prevented the attempts by myself and then-US President Jimmy Carter to free the hostages before the 1980 U.S. presidential election took place. The fact that they were not released tipped the results of the election in favor of Reagan."
Bush, being Reagan's vice president, played a vital role in his predecessor's perfidy, according to documents from Reagan's former defense secretary Caspar Weinberger.
Walsh knew Bush kept a diary.
Weinberger was all set to testify against Bush, and Walsh needed that diary--the "smoking gun"--to prosecute the president.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).