On Tuesday, as Attorney General William Barr prepared to testify before the House, a new book by House impeachment counsel Norm Eisen hit the shelves.
One of the key points of the book, Eisen said in an interview with Just Security, is that Barr's lies about former special counsel Robert Mueller's report upended Congress' attempts to exert oversight of the president.
"The Attorney General’s out-and-out lies in his summary of the Mueller Report had a devastating effect on Congress’s work," said Eisen. "[it] galvanized the collective wisdom around the idea that Mueller had let Trump off, and it drained the energy out of the Report. Later, when we got the Report and saw the shocking evidence of criminal misconduct, it was too late to recover that public and political energy. To my dying day, I will believe that if the redacted Mueller Report had been released without Barr’s intervention, we would certainly have seen a much earlier impeachment against Trump based on at least five episodes of obstruction of justice."
Contrary to Barr's summary, Mueller had documented ten episodes in which the president had potentially committed obstruction of justice — including his efforts to have Mueller removed as special counsel. Ultimately, when Trump was impeached over the Ukraine abuse of power scandal, a proposed article involving the findings of the Mueller probe was not adopted.
Eisen also documented how Barr's initial claim that the Mueller report exonerated Trump divided legal experts. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) immediately distrusted the announcement, saying "he's lying," while former FBI Director James Comey insisted that Barr "deserves the benefit of the doubt."
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