From The Nation
William Barr, a Washington fixer whom conservative columnist William Safire referred to as the "Coverup-General" when Barr previously served as the nation's top lawman, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
Democrats on the committee asked Barr pointed questions about his latest cover-up project: an attempt to protect President Trump and his associates from legitimate and necessary legal and congressional scrutiny. At issue was Barr's deliberate mischaracterization of a report from special counsel Robert Mueller that examined concerns about pro-Trump interference with the 2016 election and pointed to evidence of wrongdoing by the president's aides and allies and obstruction of justice by the president himself. Republican senators tried to distract from a burgeoning scandal involving Barr -- which blew up with the revelation that Mueller had written a letter expressing detailed concerns about Barr's statements regarding the report, and about mounting evidence that Barr has lied to Congress -- by asking lots of questions about Hillary Clinton.
Wednesday's hearing was an empty exercise characterized primarily by Barr's attempts to obscure his own wrongdoing with regard to the Mueller report: "I'm not really sure" and "I cannot recapitulate" and "I would analogize it" and "What do you mean by receptive?" Barr actually claimed that the memo he wrote to "summarize the principle conclusions reached by the Special Counsel" was not a summary.
At some turns, Barr sounded as if he was engaged in a desperate maneuver to avoid a perjury charge based on his previous attempts to deceive Congress. At other turns, he came off as Sarah Sanders with a law degree -- a shambling propagandist seeking to create confusion.
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, a senior member of the committee, described the messaging game engaged in by Barr and his Republican collaborationists as "totally unresponsive to...what the American people want to know." Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a former US attorney and state attorney general, identified Barr's testimony as "masterful hairsplitting."