May 2, 2019

WSJ EDITORIAL: A Real Attorney General: Bill Barr gets smeared for refusing to duck and cover like Loretta Lynch.

Washington pile-ons are never pretty, but this week’s political setup of Attorney General William Barr is disreputable even by Beltway standards. Democrats and the media are turning the AG into a villain for doing his duty and making the hard decisions that special counsel Robert Mueller abdicated.

Mr. Barr’s Wednesday testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee was preceded late Tuesday by the leak of a letter Mr. Mueller had sent the AG on March 27. Mr. Mueller griped in the letter that Mr. Barr’s four-page explanation to Congress of the principal conclusions of the Mueller report on March 24 “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the Mueller team’s “work and conclusions.” Only in Washington could this exercise in posterior covering be puffed into a mini-outrage.

Democrats leapt on the letter as proof that Mr. Barr was somehow covering for Donald Trump when he has covered up nothing. Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono, the Democratic answer to Rep. Louie Gohmert, accused Mr. Barr of abusing his office and lying to Congress, and demanded that he resign. The only thing she lacked was evidence.

Well, that’s been their main weakness all along. Plus:

Contrast that to the abdication of Loretta Lynch, who failed as Barack Obama’s last Attorney General to make a prosecutorial judgment about Hillary Clinton’s misuse of classified information. Ms. Lynch cowered before the bullying of then FBI director James Comey, who absolved Mrs. Clinton of wrongdoing while publicly scolding her. That egregious break with Justice policy eventually led Mr. Comey to re-open the Clinton probe in late October 2016, which helped to elect Mr. Trump.

All of this shows again the risks of appointing special counsels. They lack the political accountability that the Founders built into the separation of powers. Mr. Mueller, in his March 27 letter, revealed again that like Mr. Comey at the FBI he viewed himself as accountable only to himself.

This trashing of Bill Barr shows how frustrated and angry Democrats continue to be that the special counsel came up empty in his Russia collusion probe. He was supposed to be their fast-track to impeachment. Now they’re left trying to gin up an obstruction tale, but the probe wasn’t obstructed and there was no underlying crime. So they’re shouting and pounding the table against Bill Barr for acting like a real Attorney General.

It’s as if all of this was just a hastily-concocted sham designed to distract attention from Obama Administration wrongdoing.

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