The war of words between Attorney General William Barr and former FBI Director James Comey escalated this morning after Comey sent out a tweet highly critical of the attorney general’s responses during an interview with CBS News that aired yesterday.
Bill Barr on CBS offers no facts. An AG should not be echoing conspiracy theories. He should gather facts and show them. That is what Justice is about.
— James Comey (@Comey) June 1, 2019
In the interview to which Comey responded, Attorney General Barr made a series of false claims about the Mueller report that merely parroted President Trump’s denials of all of the criminal activity that the report reveals and proved that he sees his role more in terms of protecting the president than in serving justice.
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Barr’s CBS interview has been called “terrifying,” with Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine having this to say about it:
“After the legal Establishment had granted him the benefit of the doubt, Attorney General William Barr has shocked his erstwhile supporters with his aggressive and frequently dishonest interventions on behalf of President Trump. The spectacle of an esteemed lawyer abetting his would-be strongman boss’s every authoritarian instinct has left Barr’s critics grasping for explanations. Some have seized on the darker threads of his history in the Reagan and Bush administrations, when he misled the public about a secret Department of Justice memo and helped cover up the Iran-Contra scandal.”
“But Barr’s long, detailed interview with Jan Crawford suggests the rot goes much deeper than a simple mania for untrammeled Executive power. Barr has drunk deep from the Fox News worldview of Trumpian paranoia,” Chait opines.
Like Comey, Chait slams Barr for providing a deeply misleading account of what Robert Mueller found. While Comey politely dances around Barr’s deliberate lies with the passive accusation that the attorney general “offers no facts,” Chait goes straight to Barr’s own agency in the deception by labeling Barr’s purposeful propaganda as “wild” lies.
Given the attorney general’s propagation of the tin foil hat conspiracy theories claiming that Trump was the victim of a “deep state” plan to foment a coup against his presidency of which Comey was among the instigators, one would think that Comey would be more forceful in his reply than his rather matter of fact tweet reflects.
Comey instead avoids histrionics and states the obvious quite plainly — that justice demands truth and that the attorney general’s wholesale adoption of right-wing paranoia — including malicious fables invented to prevent President Trump from being held accountable for his now proven misdeeds — has as much relationship to the truth as any of the president’s more than 10,000 other lies.
Barr’s tactic of ignoring the facts, rather than presenting them, and doing everything in his power to mislead the American public about the true contents of the Mueller report to protect the president through the denial of reality only demonstrates why he is as worthy of impeachment as the corrupt president he that serves so deceptively.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.