Attorney General William Barr told Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that if President Donald Trump really and truly thought he was being falsely accused of collaborating with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election, that it was “not a corrupt motive” for firing Robert Mueller, a stunning statement from the nation’s highest law enforcement officer.
“As a matter of law, I think the department’s position would be that the president can direct the termination or the replacement of a special counsel,” said Barr. “And as a matter of law, the obstruction statute does not reach that conduct.”
“What makes this case very interesting is that when you take away the fact that no underlying criminal conduct and you take away the fact that there was no inherently malign instructive act,” he went on, “that is that the president was carrying out his constitutional duties, the question is what is the impact of taking away the underlying crime?”
“The report suggests one impact is that we have to find some other reason why the president would obstruct the investigation, but there’s another impact,” Barr said. “If the president is being falsely accused, which the evidence now suggests that the accusations against him were false, and he knew they were false, and he felt that this investigation was unfair, propelled by his political opponents and was hampering his ability to govern, that is not a corrupt motive for replacing an independent counsel.”
“So that’s another reason that we would say that the government would have difficulty proving this beyond a reasonable doubt,” he added.
Watch the video below.
‘Mulvaney lied’: CNN panel breaks down ‘incredibly damning’ White House confession
On Thursday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," a panel discussed how White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's press briefing was a disaster for President Donald Trump.
"Can I just point out why this matters?" said CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. "I mean, this is not just some gotcha thing because we all want to get something on the chief of staff. Here we have congressionally appropriated money. Congress says give this money to the Ukrainians. Taxpayer money. And what the White House has done and what they admitted today was, you only get the money if you help us win the election. Not because you help us [with] national security, international relations. The only thing we want from you is help to defeat Democrats. That is wrong. That’s why this matters."
Sondland may have refused to be ‘the fall guy’ — but he’s still complicit: CNN security analyst
On Thursday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," CNN security analyst and Lawfare editor Susan Hennessey pointed out that even though EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland turned against President Donald Trump in testimony, it should not be forgotten he was a willing participant in much of the Ukraine scheme.
"In his opening statement today, Sondland wrote he was 'disappointed by the president's direction that we involve Mr. Giuliani in the Ukraine policy,'" said anchor Wolf Blitzer. "In his actions, though, did Ambassador Sondland actually advance Giuliani's goals here?"
"Yes, and to the extent that he was disappointed in what the president asked of him, he took the ball and ran with it," said Hennessey. "He was trying to facilitate Giuliani's efforts, trying to introduce him to Ukrainian officials, and Sondland himself was carrying the same corrupt message, including they needed to be investigating the Bidens for the president's personal political interest. This is Sondland saying, I'm not going to be the fall guy. So I don't know how strong of a message it is that he was saying, I knew it was wrong, but that's the message that he's not willing."
Trump’s lead counsel disavows Mulvaney’s admission the president engaged in Ukraine quid pro quo
On Thursday, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney stunned reporters by effectively admitting President Donald Trump demanded a quid pro quo from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for foreign aid appropriated by Congress.
According to CNN's Jim Acosta, Mulvaney's speech was so out of left field that the president's chief attorney immediately disavowed it.
"Mulvaney's performance blindsided the president's outside legal team, as the president's lead attorney, Jay Sekulow, said on the record to CNN, the legal team was not involved in the acting chief of staff's press briefing," said White House correspondent Jim Acosta. "That is pretty telling when the chief counselor to the president is saying, we did not have anything to do with this."