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Attorney General Bill Barr's first congressional testimony following the release of the Mueller report is set to begin soon. Follow along for a video thread.
.@LindseyGrahamSC begins the hearing with a self-own, admits he hasn't read the whole Mueller report
Lindsey Graham: whatabout Hillary's emails?
Lindsey Graham just said the F-word
Lindsey Graham also blatantly lied about the Mueller report, saying it found "no collusion." (Mueller found lots of evidence of collusion but not enough to prosecute.)
.@SenFeinstein wraps up her opening statement by calling for Mueller to testify before her committee
Bill Barr uses his opening statement to blame Mueller for the delay in releasing the Mueller report to the public
Barr blames "former government officials" for getting "the body politic" in "a high state of agitation" by "confidently predicting that the president and members of his family were going to be indicted," & cites that as a reason he felt compelled to release his misleading letter.
Barr claims that Mueller was unhappy with press coverage of his letter, not the letter itself
Barr criticizes Mueller for not reaching a conclusion as to whether Trump obstructed justice
Bill says he shares Lindsey Graham's concerns about the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, and agrees with Graham that "the lack of professionalism in the email investigation is something we should look at"
Citing details from the Mueller report about Trump's interactions with McGahn, Feinstein forces Barr to acknowledge there is in fact evidence that Trump obstructed justice
BARR makes painstaking distinctions: "There is something very different between firing a special counsel outright, which suggests ending the investigation, and having a special counsel removed for conflict -- that suggests you're going to have another special counsel."
LOL -- Barr defends Trump for wanting to remove Mueller for "a conflict," but can't at all specify what that conflict was
BARR: "As a matter of law, I think the department's position would be that the president can direct determination for the replacement of a special counsel."

He goes on to say he believes that Trump was "falsely accused."
.@ChuckGrassley uses his questioning time to push conspiracy theories about Democrats and suggests there was "spying" on the Trump campaign. Barr doesn't object to that characterization.
Barr downplays the notion that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia as "a narrative," confirms he's "reviewing" the origins of the Russia investigation
LEAHY: Why did you testify on April 9 that you didn't know about the concerns of Mueller's team, when he had directly informed you of them?

BARR: [dissembles]

L: Please answer

B: [dissembles]

L: Stop filibustering

B: I answered a question.
LEAHY: Did Trump fully cooperate with the investigation?

BARR: Yes.

LEAHY: By telling Sessions to un-recuse himself & shut down the investigation?

BARR: That's not obstruction

LEAHY: That's not what I asked

BARR: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Bill Barr resorts to semantic games as @SenatorLeahy grills him about whether he's troubled that the Trump campaign never reported any of Russia's activities to the FBI. Even Lindsey Graham ends up commending Leahy's questioning.
.@JohnCornyn: whatabout Obama?
.@SenatorDurbin: "I have been listening carefully to my Republican colleagues & it seems they're going to coordinate a 'lock her up' defense... it is really about Hillary Clinton's emails... questions have to be asked about Benghazi."
Barr again resorts to semantic games to explain away his misleading testimony to Congress about Mueller's reaction to his misleading letter
Notable: Barr wouldn't rule out that the Steele dossier isn't "evidence of Russian disinformation," playing into Trump's conspiracy theory that Hillary was the real colluder
Barr suggests that the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign did not in fact begin with Papadopoulos bragging about having knowledge of Russian hacks 🤔
.@SenWhitehouse is left speechless by the hairsplitting Barr does to defend his misleading congressional testimony
BARR on Mueller: "His work concluded when he sent his report to the attorney general. At that point it was my baby, and I was making a decision as to whether or not to make it public... it was my decision how and when to make it public, not Bob Mueller's."
WHITEHOUSE: In your recent testimony, you referred to authorized DOJ activities as "spying." Have you ever done that before?

BARR: I don't think the term has any pejorative connotation. I think spying is a good English word that in fact doesn't have synonyms. It was off the cuff
.@SenJohnKennedy uses his questioning time to push conspiracy theories about anti-Trump bias in the DOJ and FBI, concludes by calling for an investigation into Mueller's team for leaking
.@amyklobuchar reminds Barr that he said during his confirmation hearing that if the president directed someone to change their testimony, that'd be obstruction of justice. Barr flatly denies that Trump's actions as detailed in the Mueller report meet the threshold.
If you didn't know the context of what was going on here it'd be hard to tell whether Barr is the attorney general of the United States or Trump's defense attorney
.@BenSasse calls Oleg Deripaska a "bottom-feeding scum sucker."
Barr seems reluctant to even admit that having people working in US political campaign who are on the payrolls of foreign governments is bad
.@ChrisCoons: Trump asked the White House lawyer to create a false record. Why didn't you include that in the letter you sent to Congress?

BARR: I was focused on releasing the full report at the time.
OMG -- Barr hesitates before acknowledging that presidential campaigns that are offered dirt from hostile foreign governments should probably contact the FBI
NOTABLE: Barr dodges questions from @SenBlumenthal about whether he's been in communication with the White House about ongoing criminal investigations pertaining to Trump and his business
Barr is so transparently bullshitting here
BARR: "I'm not in the business of determining when lies are told to the American people. I'm in the business of determining when a crime has been committed."
WOW -- @maziehirono *goes in* on Barr, says "the American people know you are no different from Rudy Giuliani or Kellyanne Conway, or any of the other people who sacrificed their once decent reputations for the liar and grifter who sits in the Oval Office."
After Hirono calls on Barr to resign, @LindseyGrahamSC interrupts her and angrily accuses her of "slandering" Barr
BARR: "There's no indication that [the Trump campaign] engaged in the conspiracy to hack." (Trump encouraged Russian hackers to attack Hillary Clinton during a news conference! They tried to do so that very same day!)
Barr appears to be unfamiliar with key parts of the Mueller report, such as Trump's campaign manager sharing polling data with a Kremlin-connected oligarch
.@SenKamalaHarris: Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested you open an investigation into anyone?

BARR: ..... ah .....

HARRIS: Seems like something you should be able to answer

BARR: I don't know .......
Barr admits he did no work of his own before deciding to clear Trump of possible obstruction of justice charges
Under questioning by @SenKamalaHarris, Barr admits that career ethics officials within the DOJ weren't consulted about possible conflicts of interest that he and Rod Rosenstein had in handling the Mueller investigation
fatality
Ted Cruz bemoans that Barr has gotten "the Kavanaugh treatment"
Ted Cruz accidentally owns Trump with his line of questioning by getting Barr to acknowledge how unusual it is for a presidential candidate to be the target of a counterintelligence investigation
Barr looks like he's about to cry
Under questioning from @SenatorDurbin, Barr has a hard time explaining why he sought a waiver to get involved in a case involving his former law firm
Klobuchar asks if "the president's actions as detailed in the report are consistent with his oath of office." Barr responds with a verbal shrug.
Whitehouse presses Barr on a discrepancy between what he's saying about Mueller's letter to him (that Mueller was frustrated about press coverage) and what Mueller's letter actually indicates (that he was frustrated with Barr).
The hearing ends on a fitting note -- with Barr stonewalling @SenBlumenthal 's effort to conduct basic oversight of his job performance
Bill Barr has obliterated the line between enforcing the law and serving as the president’s fixer. His Mueller report testimony proved it. vox.com/policy-and-pol…
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