On Thursday, President Donald Trump ordered the intelligence community to submit to Attorney General William Barr’s investigation of why the FBI investigated Russia and the Trump campaign — and announced that Barr will have full authority to declassify any sensitive information that arises from this investigation.
The move marks yet another attempt by the president to undermine public confidence in the Russia investigation, which recently concluded with special counsel Robert Mueller outlining ten potential acts of obstruction of justice for Congress to review.
In no time, social media exploded with outrage over Trump’s push to weaponize the Department of Justice and retaliate against a legal threat to himself:
Whoa. So Barr has the sole authority to declassify info related to the Trump investigation over the objections of the original classifying authority – CIA, NSA, etc. A huge accumulation of power and discretion to the AG that I believe is unprecedented. https://t.co/xDTiurMyff
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) May 24, 2019
Trump, who is telling his administration and former aides not to cooperate with Congress, orders the intelligence community to cooperate with Barr https://t.co/uXOxO3IJ5w
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 24, 2019
Basically AG Barr can selectively declassify any bits he chooses about the origins of the Russia investigation, but he can’t declassify portions of the Mueller report? Am I understanding this correctly?
— Clint Watts (@selectedwisdom) May 24, 2019
Some cool things about this:
1) Selectively declassifying things can be very misleading
2) Barr likes to deliberately mislead the public to help Trump
3) Reporters are aware of (2)
4) When (1) happens then despite (3) Barr’s deceptions will generate credulous headlines. https://t.co/UDJnrpfcSs
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) May 24, 2019
So you have to wonder, why is Barr doing a review at all? Huber, Horowitz and Durham are already running inquiries. What is the need for Barr to intervene exactly?
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) May 24, 2019
National security takes a back seat to Trump demands that Barr gin up an investigation into public servants at DOJ & FBI. Also today, Trump called prosecutors killers & accused people by name of treason after a reminder the punishment is execution. There’s no way this ends well. https://t.co/6cGLtPzbXq
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) May 24, 2019