If you like the prospect of the United States becoming a banana republic dictatorship where the rule of law doesn't apply to the Supreme Leader, you'll applaud Attorney General William Barr's trumpian display of arrogance, bad faith, and misleading testimony today at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
But being part of the majority of Americans who want our democracy to remain intact, I found one statement by Barr rose to the top of the OMG! I can't believe the head of the Justice Department just said that! pile, which was teetering precariously by the end of the hearing, the crap Barr said being so voluminous.
Here it is, highlighted in a Slate piece, "William Barr thinks Donald Trump is above the law."
Then, in response to questions from Sen. Dianne Feinstein about why it was that Trump ordered former White House counsel Don McGahn to end the Mueller probe, Barr seems to have again taken the legal position that the president’s anger and frustration over press reports that he had instructed McGahn to fire Mueller somehow made this directive permissible.
Barr seemed to be saying that Trump could not have committed obstruction by asking McGahn to fire Mueller, so long as he was attempting to forestall further negative press. As Barr put it:
If the president is being falsely accused, which the evidence now suggests that the accusations against him were false, and he knew they were false, and he felt that this investigation was unfair, propelled by his political opponents and was hampering his ability to govern, that is not a corrupt motive for replacing an independent counsel.
This is an astonishing claim—that if the president feels that the investigation is unnecessary and is resulting in him being harassed or misrepresented in the media, then the president is justified in taking any action he sees fit to stop it without running afoul of the obstruction laws.
It’s also a claim that was refuted in the Mueller report itself. It’s Nixonian in scope to imply that anything Trump wants to do in order to push back against the media and protect his reputation is legal and justified.
So Barr's right-wing-wacko legal theory is that if President Trump feels he's been falsely accused of something, he can fire those who are investigating the possible wrongdoing without fear of being guilty of obstruction of justice.
This is the dream of every criminal -- to be able to get rid of the police, prosecutors, judge, jury, and anyone else who threatens to bring them to justice.
Your honor, it is my distinct pleasure to inform you that your services are no longer needed in this case, along with the jury, district attorney, and all of the witnesses. In accord with the view of the Attorney General of the United States, I feel that I've been falsely accused and I don't like how newspapers have been covering my trial. So I'm ending this farce.
Before I heard Barr say what he did today, I would have thought it impossible that the Attorney General would hold that if a president thinks he is being falsely accused, he can fire those investigating the accusation with no fear of punishment.
But Barr said exactly that. Which is why I consider this to be the most shocking thing William Barr said today. Unfortunately, tomorrow is another day.