Once again, the New York Times and the Washington Post are breathlessly reporting on anonymous bombshell allegations that Attorney General Bill Barr, who was confirmed by the Senate in February, is keeping information about the Mueller report from the public, and that parts of the report could be devastating for President Trump. For his part, Mueller has not refuted a single part of Barr’s explanation of the lengthy report. Meanwhile, publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post, who spent the last two years using anonymous sources to take down Trump, then being forced to wipe the egg off their faces as it the Trump-Russian collusion fairytale fell apart, are once again, quoting anonymous sources who were allegedly part of the Mueller witch hunt team.
The Washington Examiner reports – Members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team say Attorney General William Barr has soft-pedaled their investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election and whether the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offense, according to the New York Times and the Washington Post.
Be wary of these reports. We have spent the last two years watching similarly momentous Russian collusion “scoops” fall apart and from the exact same newsrooms.
The Times’ report, titled “Some on Mueller’s Team Say Report Was More Damaging Than Barr Revealed,” doesn’t include any actual quotes, anonymous or otherwise. Rather, the entire story revolves around the authors paraphrasing nameless “government officials and others familiar with [the Mueller team’s] simmering frustrations,” anonymous “government officials familiar with [Attorney General William Barr’s] thinking,” and anonymous “government officials familiar with the investigation.”
The Post’s headline reads, “Limited information Barr has shared about Russia investigation frustrated some on Mueller’s team.” Unlike the Times, the Post provides quotes, though they are also anonymously sourced.
Like the Times, the Post’s article doesn’t directly quote or even paraphrase members of Mueller’s team. Rather, the article attributes its findings to “people familiar with the matter,” “two people familiar with their reactions,” and “people familiar with their responses.”
The Daily Caller reports- White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders brushed off reports that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team are troubled by Attorney General Bill Barr’s summary of their report in a Thursday interview on Fox News.
“Democrats continue to show day in and day out, they’re nothing but sore losers. At some point, they have to realize that they have been beat by President Trump in the 2016 election,” Sanders declared. “They’re getting beat … on issues that actually matter, and I think they’re a sad excuse for a political party right now. At some point, they have to decide if they want to govern.”
Sander’s blasé dismissal comes after The New York Times and The Washington Post reported that associates of some investigators on Mueller’s team are troubled by Barr’s declaration that they found that President Donald Trump did not obstruct justice during the course of the Russia investigation.
Barr announced on March 24 that the special counsel had failed to “establish that the members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Barr also said the investigation’s 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants, and 500 witness interviews could not find enough evidence “to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
Whatever complaints Mueller’s underlings may have, that there will be no further prosecutions speaks volumes. Also, Barr’s track record for accuracy is at least better than the Post or the Times. The Attorney General has put his name on his assessment, taking on reputational risk, whereas the Times’ and the Post’s sources remain anonymous. Moreover, I’m leery of the fact that the allegations are just vague enough as not to be open to obvious and easy refutation, but not so vague that they don’t sound like a major, scandalous development.