William Barr went on CBS’s morning show today, and gave a remarkable interview. You can read the entire transcript by clicking here, and it is eminently worth doing.
But I want to show you this particular segment, which deals with the investigations currently in progress – the ones which, for over two years, mueller and Co. made sure not to conduct and mainstream media made sure to bury any way they could.
The bold print is mine:
JAN CRAWFORD: You’re working with the DNI, the head of CIA. I want to ask you about something- just declassification. But the president has tweeted and said publicly that some in the upper echelon, Comey, McCabe, etc., committed treason. I mean do you agree with that?
WILLIAM BARR: Well, I- as a lawyer I always interpret the word treason not colloquially but legally. And you know the very specific criteria for treason- so I don’t think it’s actually implicated in the situation that we have now. But I think what he–
JAN CRAWFORD: Legally.
WILLIAM BARR: Right.
JAN CRAWFORD: You don’t think that they’ve committed treason?
WILLIAM BARR: Not as a legal matter, no.
JAN CRAWFORD: But you have concerns about how they conducted the investigation?
WILLIAM BARR: Yes but you know, when you’re dealing with official government contact, intent is frequently a murky issue. I’m not suggesting that people did what they did necessarily because of conscious, nefarious motives. Sometimes people can convince themselves that what they’re doing is in the higher interest, the better good. They don’t realize that what they’re doing is really antithetical to the democratic system that we have. They start viewing themselves as the guardians of the people that are more informed and insensitive than everybody else. They can- in their own mind, they can have those kinds of motives. And sometimes they can look at evidence and facts through a biased prism that they themselves don’t realize.
WILLIAM BARR: That something objectively as applied as a neutral principle across the board really you know, shouldn’t be the standard used in the case but because they have a particular bias they don’t see that. So that’s why procedures and standards are important and review afterward is an important way of making sure that government power is being conscientiously and properly applied. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there are people- you know, that people have crossed lines have done so with corrupt intent or anything like that.
JAN CRAWFORD: But it seems like you have a concern that there may have been a bias by top officials in the FBI as they looked at whether to launch and conduct this investigation?
WILLIAM BARR: Well it’s hard to read some of the texts with and not feel that there was gross bias at work and they’re appalling. And if the shoe were on the other–
JAN CRAWFORD: Appalling.
WILLIAM BARR: Those were appalling. And on their face they were very damning and I think if the shoe was on the other foot we could be hearing a lot about it. If those kinds of discussions were held you know when Obama first ran for office, people talking about Obama in those tones and suggesting that “Oh that he might be a Manchurian candidate for Islam or something like that.” You know some wild accusations like that and you had that kind of discussion back and forth, you don’t think we would be hearing a lot more about it?
JAN CRAWFORD: You- I guess when you said that there were things done that were not the typical run of business, ad hoc, small group, it’s not how these counterintelligence operations normally work. I think that maybe Comey and others might say well this was such an extraordinary thing we had to keep it so closely held. So we had to do it differently what’s your response to that? Is that legit?
WILLIAM BARR: Well it might be legit under certain circumstances but a lot of that has to do with how good the evidence was at that point. And you know Mueller has spent two and half years and the fact is there is no evidence of a conspiracy. So it was bogus, this whole idea that the Trump was in cahoots with the Russians is bogus
JAN CRAWFORD: So did you ask the president for authority to declassify?
WILLIAM BARR: Yes.
JAN CRAWFORD: You asked the president?
WILLIAM BARR: Yes and also you know, the direction of the intelligence agencies to support our efforts.
JAN CRAWFORD: So did you discuss this with the DNI and head of the CIA?
WILLIAM BARR: Yes.
JAN CRAWFORD: And what’s their response?
WILLIAM BARR: That they’re going to be supportive.
JAN CRAWFORD: And so you won’t will you declassify things without reviewing it with them it seems like you have the authority to do that?
WILLIAM BARR: Well in an exceptional circumstance I have that authority but obviously I intend to consult with them. I’m amused by these people who make a living by disclosing classified information, including the names of intelligence operatives, wringing their hands about whether I’m going to be responsible in protecting intelligence sources and methods. I’ve been in the business as I’ve said for over 50 years long before they were born and I know how to handle classified information and I believe strongly in protecting intelligence sources and methods. But at the same time if there is information that can be shared with the American people without jeopardizing intelligence sources and methods that decision should be made and because I will be involved in finding out what the story was I think I’m in the best decision to make that decision
JAN CRAWFORD: I know you’ve seen some of the criticism and the push back on- on this. Do you have any concerns that doing this investigation, talking about de-classifying certain materials- that that’s undermining your credibility or the credibility of the department?
WILLIAM BARR: No I- I don’t. I think it’s- actually the reaction is somewhat strange. I mean normally–
JAN CRAWFORD: Strange?
WILLIAM BARR: Sure.
JAN CRAWFORD: Their reaction?
WILLIAM BARR: Well the media reaction is strange. Normally the media would be interested in letting the sunshine in and finding out what the truth is. And usually the media doesn’t care that much about protecting intelligence sources and methods. But I do and I will.
Feel the walls closing in?
I do. And, I have no doubt, so do brennan. And clapper. And comey. And mccabe, and all the others.