Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti told CNN that attorney general William Barr’s hastily-called press conference in advance of the release of the Mueller report will be an exercise in “spin” as Barr continues to “take heat” for what many expect to be a report redacted to the point of a whitewash.
“‘Light redactions,'” said host Chris Cuomo, teeing up the conversation. “That was put out last night to counter all the heat that was on this process. ‘Don’t worry, they are only going to be light redactions.’ What does that mean to you?”
“I will be very surprised if there’s light redactions in the collusion,” Mariotti said. “There, there’s much more justification.”
“I frankly don’t think there’s much justification for any redactions in the obstruction section,” he continued. “Frankly, I’m surprised there’s any redactions there, that struck me as spin because Barr has been taking some heat.”
“I wonder whether the press conference has changed,” Mariotti added with a chuckle. “Originally it was framing the report, now it’s framing what Barr did because they’re getting some pushback, and rightfully so.”
Consequently, Mariotti said, Americans “should be skeptical” about Barr’s results, and gave an example of how the attorney general may try to deceive the public.
“One of the things I will look for is the sentences that Barr quoted half of in that letter,” he said. “What’s the full sentence and why didn’t he include the full sentence in his letter? What is the full picture? That’s what I think people should be looking for today.”
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GOP strategist walloped for urging Dem lawmakers to leave Trump alone and worry about being re-elected instead
On CNN Saturday, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona and Republican strategist Doug Heye clashed after the latter suggested Democrats should value their re-election over holding President Donald Trump accountable for wrongdoing.
"We have to remember, this is not a trial as we think of trials in courtroom," said Heye. "This is a political process. It is designed to be a political process, and that's why this whole process is played out the way that it has so far. I would say to Maria, the Republicans aren't spending money to shore up Republicans per se. They're spending money to go after vulnerable Democrats who are going home and then coming back and telling Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leadership, I'm getting killed back home."
GOP lawmaker scrambles for excuses after being cornered with McConnell’s promise to rig Trump impeachment
On CNN Saturday, anchor Martin Savidge confronted Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), one of Trump's biggest defenders on cable television, about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's claim that he was "coordinating" the impeachment strategy with the White House.
"Where is the impartiality there?" asked Savidge. "And it has to be a concern because, as you point out, you are an attorney and you would be worried if a member of the jury had already stated how they were going to consider."
"Yeah, we heard those comments yesterday, as everyone did," said Johnson. "You know, I've actually talked about this with some of my Democrat [sic] colleagues, those who are very much in favor of impeachment. I said isn't it a fair description of what he said? The way I heard that, Mitch McConnell is talking about the scheduling of the trial, what length of trial or what would be involved with that, with the White House, which is not unprecedented. That's what happened in the Clinton proceedings as well, they coordinated with the White House on scheduling. I don't think he's talking about the merits of the case. I think he's talking about how long will be allowed for this to go forward so I don't think there's anything inappropriate about that."
McConnell’s impeachment collusion admission handed the Democrats a powerful new weapon to damage the president
Mitch McConnell's admission on Fox News that he is working behind the scenes with the White House to stack the Senate impeachment trial gives Democrats a potent weapon against the GOP, wrote Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman in the Washington Post.
"If Democrats play their procedural cards right, they can pressure Republicans to allow for a much fairer and more open trial that could actually produce new revelations — and if they refuse, extract a political price for it," they wrote.