It looks like “Attorney General” William Barr may have just committed his most grievous error yet while giving testimony to the US Senate on Wednesday, and it took some of us a little while to catch what he inadvertently did. Barr gets the specialty quotation marks because it seems at this point that we’re all just calling him the Attorney General out of respect for the office — everyone has now come to understand that Barr works for Trump, not for the Department of Justice.
During a rapid-fire question and answer session before the Senate, just before the conclusion of the Judiciary Committee’s hearing, Senator Amy Klobuchar — one of the myriad presidential contenders for 2020’s Democratic nomination — seemed to corner the well-worn lawyer into ostensibly permitting the release of Donald Trump’s tax returns by former special counsel Robert Mueller, almost by accident.
In an exchange in which she quoted the President sarcastically saying that “for $35 million” (the cost of the special counsel investigation) he was sure Mueller had combed through his tax returns, which he has fastidiously kept under lock and key, using excuse after excuse to avoid having to release them, she pointedly asked Barr whether that was true — had Mueller seen Trump’s tax returns?
Barr told her as casually and quickly as possible that he didn’t know, and she pressed him: “Can you find out if I ask later in a written question?”
Without even thinking, Barr responded,
Uh, I — yes, or you could ask Bob Mueller when he comes here.”
So that’s “Attorney General” William Barr, on the record, telling Senator Amy Klobuchar that she should just go ahead and open that line of questioning directly with Robert Mueller. Barr is clearly uncomfortable with her question, knowing full well that it leads to answers neither he nor President Trump wants to provide, and in the heat of the question, he basically punted: Take it up with the golden boy himself, if you want to know so bad. Or at least, that’s the tone Barr struck throughout the hearing.
Oh, one more thing, Mr. Attorney General:
I’ll do that too, but I think I’ll also ask you — and then obviously we would want to see them as underlying information.”
She moves on. He says nothing. He’s now on record being totally fine with Robert Mueller bringing Donald Trump’s tax returns into a Senate hearing with him to provide as “underlying information” in the case.
I don’t think that went the way he meant for it to.
Watch the exchange here:
Featured image is a screen capture.