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Contempt For Barr: ‘Mind-bendingly Bizarre’

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Democrats are failing the Barr exam.  While Bill Barr grapples with the cerebral acrobatics of time-tested law, Democrats clown around in the political circus.  Barr functions in the real world.  Dems live in partisan bubbles that float inside fragile anti-Trump echo chambers.  


The two worlds are clashing.

When the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress and threatened to do the same to former White House Counsel Donald McGahn after his no-show on Tuesday, they screamed to the world that they’re not serious people.  

Barr is dead serious.  And he smells a rat.

“I’ve been trying to get answers to questions, and I’ve found a lot of the answers have been inadequate,” Barr told Fox’s Bill Hemmer.  “I’ve also found that some of the explanations I’ve gotten don’t hang together.”

Comments like that are causing the rats to scatter. Obama’s wicked disciples – James, John, Peter, Andrew, James and others – are now betraying each other.  Unhinged Democrats are digging to find “high crimes and misdemeanors” to impeach Trump with; they’re smearing, discrediting and defaming Barr and they’ve executed a secret “Memorandum of Understanding” to plot ways to keep the wagons circled around Trump.

William Pelham Barr – you’ve now entered the Twilight Zone.   

At one point during Barr’s Senate hearing, he described the thunderclaps of criticism over his summary of the Mueller Report’s conclusions as “mind-bendingly bizarre.” Senate scavengers were still plucking at Barr’s summary after the full report had been released.  It made no sense. It was like nitpicking over a movie trailer after the entire movie had been released, said one TV pundit.  


But things got even weirder.   Barr’s “mind-bendingly bizarre” comment came before Rep. Steve Cohen’s fried chicken spectacle; before Nancy Pelosi said he lied under oath; before Hillary Clinton accused him of paving a “road to tyranny”; before pundits described him as Trump’s trained seal; before Adam Schiff described declassifying documents related to the 2016 spying as “a cover-up”; and before a symphony of Chicken Littles chirped to the top of their lungs that the new attorney general should be put in jail.  

Now Barr, crouched under the umbrella of the law, is calmly scribbling notes while frantic Democrats rain insults on him.  Their recklessness offers a big clue to what sparked the collusion mess in the first place: contempt for Trump.  

The fact that Barr is experiencing that contempt firsthand is useful.  The vitriol that’s driving rabid Democrats to call for his political crucifixion is the same stuff that drove a cluster of corrupt high-level conspirators to plot a bloodless coup against Trump.

“If we’re worried about foreign influence,” Barr told Hemmer, “we should be worried about whether government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale.”

Barr was worried about that abuse long before he became attorney general.  In a 19-page June 2018 memo to then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Barr – “deeply concerned with the institutions of the Presidency and the Department of Justice” – explained why he believed Mueller’s obstruction theory was “fatally conceived” and “premised on a novel and legally insupportable reading of the law.”


Back then Mueller wanted to interrogate Trump because of his comment to James Comey to “let go” of the Flynn investigation and on his firing of Comey.  Barr wrote that Mueller was pursuing an obstruction case predicated on Section 1512(c)(2), a residual clause of the obstruction law, which he said was never intended to be applied in isolation “as a free-standing, all-encompassing provision prohibiting any act influencing a proceeding if done with an improper motive.”

Section 1512(c) of the obstruction law criminalized “bad acts” that had a particular kind of impact – acts that sought to subvert the integrity of a proceeding such as witness or jury tampering, or destroying, altering or falsifying evidence.  Because the president went to such unprecedented lengths to cooperate with the investigation, Barr wrote, it doesn’t make sense that the president was looking to impair the availability or integrity of evidence, as the plain language of the statute criminalizes.  

“… the President’s motive in removing Comey and commenting on Flynn could not have been ‘corrupt’ unless the President and his campaign were actually guilty of illegal collusion,” Barr wrote.  “Because the obstruction claim is entirely dependent on first finding collusion, Mueller should not be permitted to interrogate the President about obstruction until [he] has enough evidence to establish collusion.”  


Rather than running around like chickens with their heads cut off to outright accuse Trump of obstructing justice, Democrats should be basing their disagreements on their reading of the obstruction law.  But today’s Democrats don’t operate in that world. Their knee-jerk reaction is to bully, demean, discredit, distort and create a spectacle.

They operate in a world of “bread and circuses,” a metonymic phrase coined by the Roman poet Juvenal critiquing the superficial appeasement during Rome’s decline.  To keep citizens happy, emperors gave citizens free food and staged big spectacles in the Roman Colosseum.  The Colosseum was Rome’s version of television – an invention created for pure entertainment.

“Give them bread and circuses,” Juvenal wrote, “and they never revolt.”  

That’s what Democrats are doing.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with the “Colosseum,” but when it’s used to burn good men at the stake to appease blood-thirsty crowds, the serious business of governing becomes mind-bendingly bizarre.

Democrat politicians, like snitty “bottom-feeding scum-suckers,” appease their base – not by debating fine points of the law – but by leeching off the most vulnerable groups in the body politic. They promise free medical, free college, reparations, income without work; and they stage huge spectacles – like Russia Collusion and Barr Contempt – to keep their base from revolting.  They know it’s all impossible, but in the mind-bendingly bizarre world of bread and circuses, truth doesn’t matter.  


Thankfully, truth still matters to Bill Barr; and thanks to him, truth – which has been crushed to the ground – is rising.

Given the grave consequences of using the criminal justice system and America’s intelligence apparatus to take down a duly elected president, Barr is cobbling justice from the quarry of sober reason in a carnival atmosphere to protect the Presidency and the Department of Justice.  The DOJ’s review about how the collusion investigation got started, for Barr, is not about Trump.

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