William Barr Confirmation Hearing Wrap-Up: At Least He's Better Than The Dumbf*ck We Have Right Now!
Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee is meeting to hear from witnesses on the character of William Barr, Trump's nominee to be his next former attorney general. Hopefully, he will be the last one too, serving until the end of Trump's presidency, which at this rate should be over by next week.
Tuesday's confirmation hearings were interesting. The man knows the right answers, and if you were just listening casually, you probably heard a guy who says he's not going to screw with the Robert Mueller investigation, and maybe he won't. They are friends, after all, and Barr says he has mad respect for his bro. Barr said that if Trump ordered him to change the special counsel regulations or fire Robert Mueller without cause, he would resign rather than carry out the order. He also said he can't possibly imagine what his good friend Bobby could possibly do that would warrant that.
Barr told the committee that he is very old and that he didn't want this job in the first place, and that he was looking forward to spending some time with his wife like a couple of retired old people, which we imagine involves seducing her at the Cracker Barrel country-biscuit-style during the Early Bird special. (It is obviously that.)
But at the same time, Barr was full of weasel words about the Mueller investigation and also about everything else.
Hell, the thing Barr probably said most yesterday was that HE NEEDS TO KNOW THE SPECIFICS and cannot possibly answer your question, which, incidentally, was "Would you like fries or potato salad with that?" On whether or not he'll recuse from the investigation, based on his earlier stated opinions on how the obstruction of justice probe into Donald Trump is bad and wrong, and based on the unsolicited 19-page memo he wrote to that effect, which many view as his audition for the AG position, the short answer is that he won't do it. He says he'll listen to ethics lawyers at the Justice Department for guidance, but that ultimately, it'll be up to him, and if they come back saying he should recuse, he will make his own decision, which we guess means he'll tell those so-called "ethics" people to eat it.
Barr was also weasel-y about what will happen to Robert Mueller's final report. Again, he says he really wants the public to know what Mueller finds, but when it comes down to details, he talks a lot about how Mueller will send him a report, after which he will submit some kind of report to Congress and to the general public. Did America ask for a book report on the Mueller investigation written by Bill Barr? No, they did not. The only "summary" America has expressed a desire for is the Wonkette "summary," where we add the dick jokes and the WHOA IF TRUE and the ALL OF THEM KATIE. Anything other than that exhibits an abject disregard for the American institutions that sustain us, like the rule of law, and for Wonkette's really gross jizz jokes that come out of nowhere, haha we said "come."
Then there were the kinda creepy things we learned about William Barr. For instance, he actually thinks Trump's Muslim ban was about national security, and he therefore thinks it's OK to discriminate against people based on their religious beliefs because of Trumped up "national security" reasons. That was weird. He's also super-creepy on immigration.
Through Barr's cute answers, what we saw was a smart guy whose wingnut nonetheless slips out on a regular basis. He seemed to genuinely think there is a BIG SCANDAL STORY involving the text messages of former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, we guess because Sean Hannity told him that is a BIG SCANDAL STORY. Also, this is a guy who, for real, thinks Hillary's Russian uraniums need to be investigated, no he's not kidding, he thinks that's a thing, even though it's been debunked so hard -- by the Justice Department! -- it's difficult to believe it was ever bunked in the first place. Seriously, read this:
Questions have been raised about what Bill Barr told us for a story in 2017. Here is his full email from then respo… https://t.co/nxq7wAbYMd— Peter Baker (@Peter Baker) 1547591007.0
AIYEEEEEEEE HOLY FUCK WOW YUCK EW.
But toward the end of the hearing, Barr said he does not go in for this "lock her up" stuff, so maybe a terrified Trump will pull his nomination by lunchtime.
Look, the guy is going to get confirmed. He has the votes, and he knows it. And we think it could be much, much worse. (You know, like the current guy in there, the original Meatball.) Barr is a DC insider and an institutionalist, after all, and both of those things spell roadblocks for Donald Trump getting the AG he really wants, i.e. a Roy Cohn-like figure who will use Justice to carry out Trump's personal whiny ass titty baby vendettas.
But it could also be much, much better.
The best case scenario is that Barr wasn't lying about not wanting the job, and that he really wasn't trying to audition for the job when he wrote that unsolicited 19-page memo about how Mueller's obstruction investigation into Trump is misguided and gave it to everybody but his good friend Bob Mueller. We hope he respects our institutions enough to let them stand. Maybe he sees himself as a William Saxbe-style character, if you remember your Watergate history. (Saxbe was Nixon's last AG, plucked from the Senate, who ultimately allowed the investigations to proceed, which led directly to Nixon resigning in shame.)
And again, dude is not stupid. He knows if he does anything wildly illegal, he's going to get caught.
So let's just hope for the best, and if the worst comes, we'll be right there to liveblog it when Jerry Nadler hauls the fucker's ass in front of the House Judiciary Committee and pants-es him.
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