, 10 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Barr just confirmed that the presidential pardon power is not absolute, and that it is possible for a pardon to be a criminal act (e.g. obstruction) and that (if so) that pardon cannot legally be issued. That was my understanding of his answer, at least, and it seemed a good one.
2/ I'll say—perhaps contrary to expectation—that I think media hyped this hearing overmuch. CNN suggested pre-hearing that Barr could be a major threat to Mueller's probe, and I'm not sure we had any evidence of that. By and large his answers have been... in the acceptable range.
3/ I'm not saying Barr is who I would've picked. I'm not saying I *don't* think he should recuse himself. But the case for his recusal is weaker than it was for Sessions—and by far—and we have to acknowledge that. Barr acknowledging his memo was rank speculation helps him a lot.
4/ I see folks online who want this hearing to be an outrage—wall-to-wall evidence Barr is going to shut down Mueller's probe. Candidly, I don't think we have that—I think we have evidence the Barrs and the Muellers are friends and Barr is a better pick than certain alternatives.
5/ Of course Barr could be lying—under oath—in his answers. But if you think an AG candidate can't or shouldn't be confirmed because (without evidence) you think he's lying under oath, what candidate *would* be acceptable? We can always claim that a job candidate might be lying.
6/ Did Trump hire Barr hoping he'd obstruct Mueller's work? Of course. Do we have evidence Barr made that commitment, either from his answers or other info? No. We have evidence he's a Republican I wouldn't have picked, who nevertheless doesn't aim to impede (his friend) Mueller.
7/ Never assess a nomination like this against the AG you wanted—assess a nomination like this in the context of the GOP having 53 Senate votes and Trump therefore being able to nominate nearly anyone he wants. In that context, uh, yeah, I'll take a family friend of the Muellers.
8/ Whoever Trump nominated, he was going to try to tamper with—try to obstruct or intimidate. So I would rather have an old dude like Barr who's been at DOJ and is at the end of his career—giving him the freedom to act independently—than a young buck who's trying to please POTUS.
9/ Upshot: the Democrats *aren't* super upset about this nomination. Media and certain folks online got us amped up over it because they wanted a day of drama. What I've always tried to be is a straight shooter—even when/as I know readers might want to hear something different.
10/ If confirmed, Barr will be fighting off Trump daily. He'll face pressure from Trump aides, allies and associates to violate his oath. He'll be enticed to bend to Trump's will. But that was always going to be so. Barr might be better able to withstand pressure than most. /end
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