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Barr reminds Mueller: If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog

Dana Milbank on

WASHINGTON -- Eight-year-old Liam Daly became an internet sensation when he penned a letter to his grandfather, William Barr, while sitting in the front row at Barr's confirmation hearing in January.

"Dear Grandpa," he wrote. "You are doing great so far. But I know you still will."

Alas for Liam, and for all of us, it was not to be. Now, just weeks on the job as President Trump's attorney general, Grandpa has disgraced himself. The speed with which Barr trashed a reputation built over decades is stunning, even by Trump administration standards.

Before, Barr was known as the attorney general to President George H.W. Bush and an éminence grise of the Washington legal community. Now he is known for betraying a friend, lying to Congress and misrepresenting the Mueller report in a way that excused the president's misbehavior and let Russia off the hook.

Three weeks ago, Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., asked Barr about reports that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's team complained that Barr's four-page summary of their work didn't "adequately or accurately" portray their findings. "Do you know what they're referencing?" Crist asked.

"No, I don't," Barr replied under oath, speculating that they "probably wanted more put out."

 

Grandpa was fibbing.

Thanks to The Washington Post's reporting, we now know that two weeks before Barr denied knowledge of the Mueller team's displeasure, he received a letter from Mueller complaining that Barr's summary "did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office's work and conclusions" and resulted in "public confusion."

Barr, caught in flagrante delicto in his deception, told senators Wednesday that "the question was relating to unidentified members" of Mueller's team, not Mueller himself -- a technical answer that might get him off for perjury but doesn't avoid the conclusion that he deliberately misled Congress and the public.

Why didn't Barr disclose the Mueller letter when Crist asked the question? Barr replied that Crist had posed "a very different question."

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