Opinion| Attorney General William Barr recently sat for an interview with CBS’s Jan Crawford where he gave the American people an update on where his investigation of the Spygate participants stood.
Barr made no direct accusals, choosing to talk in generalities and legal concept. While Americans desire more information, Barr gave them what information he could while respecting the long established legal principle of protecting the privacy of those under investigation, until they are indicted.
Barr, unlike former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former DNI James Clapper, is guided by the presumption of innocence. So Barr mentioned no one he might be investigating by name.
Comey’s name did come up ten times. But, it was Crawford who invoked his name 7 of those times.
Barr limited his comments about Comey to whether the president has the right to terminate his FBI director as a matter of law and that his firing, therefore, wasn’t sufficient grounds to establish obstruction.
Each time Crawford attempted to bait Barr into implicating Comey for potential wrongdoing, Barr deferred. Here’s one example:
Crawford: What suggests to you there was a failure in the upper echelon at the FBI?
Barr: Because I think the activities were undertaken by a small group at the top which is one of the- probably one of the mistakes that has been made instead of running this as a normal bureau investigation or counterintelligence investigation. It was done by the executives at the senior level. Out of head quarters–
Crawford: And you’re talking about James Comey, McCabe?
Barr: I’m just not going to get into the individual names at this point.
Comey should’ve allowed Barr’s well-measured and restrained comments to pass without notice. Instead, apparently suffering an anxiety attack, Comey couldn’t stop himself from tweeting:
Bill Barr on CBS offers no facts. An AG should not be echoing conspiracy theories. He should gather facts and show them. That is what Justice is about.
— James Comey (@Comey) June 1, 2019
Barr did say this:
Barr: … I think one of the ironies today is that people are saying that it’s President Trump that’s shredding our institutions. I really see no evidence of that, it is hard, and I really haven’t seen bill of particulars as to how that’s being done. From my perspective the idea of resisting a democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him and you know, really changing the norms on the grounds that we have to stop this president, that is where the shredding of our norms and our institutions is occurring.
However, Barr even tempered that comment as his discussion with Crawford continued.
Crawford: And you think that happened even with the investigation into the campaign, potentially?
Barr: I am concerned about that.
Jim, if you find all of this too unsettling well, you should’ve considered the consequences before you signed that FISA application.