“They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men.” —John Adams (1775)
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- This just in: Trump did not collude with the Russians, or obstruct justice.
- Daily Features: More Analysis, Columnists, Headlines, Opinion in Brief, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
Attorney General William Barr held a press conference this morning to discuss the release of a slightly redacted version of Robert Mueller’s 400-page report on his two-year investigation into “Russian collusion.” In a Friday afternoon news dump on March 22, Mueller sent his report to the Justice Department. Two days later, Barr issued his four-page executive summary of it, showing that Mueller concluded two things: First, Donald Trump did not collude with Russia as Democrats have alleged for more than two years, and, second, it was inconclusive whether Trump had obstructed justice in the process of the investigation. The latter provided Democrats all the opening they needed to move into Phase Two — obstructing the MAGA agenda.
Naturally, Democrats and their Leftmedia outlets also spent the intervening time insisting that Barr is hiding something and that Mueller’s report is actually incriminating against the president. Heads they win, tails Trump loses. Their goal is painfully obvious: Keep Trump on the political ropes with churned fake news through the 2020 election. After all, this collusion narrative propelled Democrats to victory in the 2018 election — ensuring that Vladimir Putin did interfere with American elections.
Even before Barr’s press conference, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it “pre-damage control” from Barr, who “is acting more like a Trump campaign spokesman than an independent agent of the law.” In a joint statement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chuck and Nancy complained about Barr’s “regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller report.” And they’re just objective bystanders.
With that setup, Barr faced America today and said, “As the Special Counsel’s report makes clear, the Russian government sought to interfere in [the 2016] election. But thanks to the special counsel’s thorough investigation, we now know that the Russian operatives who perpetrated these schemes did not have the cooperation of President Trump or the Trump campaign — or the knowing assistance of any other Americans for that matter.”
Moreover, in the matter of the hacked DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign emails, Barr noted, “The special counsel’s report did not find any evidence that members of the Trump campaign or anyone associated with the campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its hacking operations. In other words, there was no evidence of Trump campaign ‘collusion’ with the Russian government’s hacking.”
The bottom line, says Barr: “After nearly two years of investigation, thousands of subpoenas, and hundreds of warrants and witness interviews, the special counsel confirmed that the Russian government sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election but did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those schemes.”
On the question of obstruction, Barr noted that Mueller “recounts 10 episodes involving the president” to consider a possible obstruction offense. Mueller was inconclusive, but Barr said, “After carefully reviewing the facts and legal theories outlined in the report, and in consultation with the Office of Legal Counsel and other Department lawyers, the Deputy Attorney General and I concluded that the evidence developed by the Special Counsel is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
Barr explained that decision:
In assessing the president’s actions discussed in the report, it is important to bear in mind the context. President Trump faced an unprecedented situation. As he entered into office, and sought to perform his responsibilities as president, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office, and the conduct of some of his associates. At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the president’s personal culpability. Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion. And as the special counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks. Nonetheless, the White House fully cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims. And at the same time, the president took no act that in fact deprived the special counsel of the documents and witnesses necessary to complete his investigation. Apart from whether the acts were obstructive, this evidence of non-corrupt motives weighs heavily against any allegation that the president had a corrupt intent to obstruct the investigation.
Let’s emphasize one line: “The White House fully cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims.” That utterly undercuts the Left’s obstruction claims.
Finally, addressing the question of what was redacted and by whom, Barr asserted that only DOJ attorneys working with the Special Counsel’s Office determined all redactions under four categories — grand-jury information, classified information, information related to ongoing investigations, and information that would violate privacy of individuals. President Trump and his lawyers did not request redactions or claim executive privilege in seeking to block the release of any part of the report. That release, by the way, is not the norm. These reports are not created for release.
Barr emphasized, “We will make available to a bipartisan group of leaders from several Congressional committees a version of the report with all redactions removed except those relating to grand-jury information.” The more redacted version has been released to the public.
Now, stay tuned for the foreseeable future as pundits and armchair lawyers comb through Mueller’s report looking for something — anything — to support their presuppositions. Indeed, the questions Barr fielded were largely demanding that he answer for Democrat talking points designed to cast doubt upon Barr or Trump. What else would anyone expect from the real collusion partners — Democrats and their propagandists in the Leftmedia?
ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY
- Barr: No Bail for Asylum Seekers — AG orders DHS to enforce the law as written, which means no bond for illegals crossing the border.
- Google’s Blatant Bias — From search results to advanced technology, Silicon Valley is bent hard left.
- Trump Veto — The Best Choice for America and Yemen — Foreign policy rarely consists of easy choices, and aiding Saudi Arabia is complicated.
- Speech and Trademarks on Trial — Justices consider constitutionality of a law prohibiting “scandalous” and “immoral” trademarks.
- American Spirit: Teens Go Above and Beyond With Elderly Man Who Fell — Unbeknownst to them, the teens’ act of kindness was witnessed and posted online.
- Video: Mainstream Media Really, Really Like Mayor Pete — A hilarious — or sickening — montage of the love affair sweeping the media.
- Video: 3D-Printed Guns — John Stossel says the media often scare us about 3D-printed guns without reason.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
- KIM’S SABER-RATTLING: “North Korea said Thursday that it had test-fired a new type of ‘tactical guided weapon,’ its first such test in nearly half a year, and demanded that Washington remove Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from nuclear negotiations. … It said Pompeo’s continued participation in the negotiations would ensure that the talks become ‘entangled’ and called for a different counterpart who is ‘more careful and mature in communicating with us.’” (Associated Press)
- OFF THE HOOK: “Amazon, Netflix, General Motors, Chevron, JetBlue, IBM and U.S. Steel were all among the companies that avoided taxes last year using a diverse array of loopholes and tax breaks, according to a new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonpartisan think-tank. … In total, the 60 companies paid no federal income tax on $79 billion in U.S. pretax income, according to the study. And instead of paying $16.4 billion in taxes at the 21 percent corporate rate, the companies received a corporate tax rebate of $4.3 billion. … According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the tax law is set to save U.S. companies $1.4 trillion by 2027.” (Fox Business)
- ST. PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL ATTACK THWARTED? “A man was taken into custody in New York Wednesday night after entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral carrying two canisters of gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid and two butane lighters, authorities said. … It is too early to consider terrorism but ‘I think, if added to that the events at the iconic location of Notre Dame and all of the publicity around that, I think this is an indicator of something that would be very suspicious,’ John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence & counterterrorism of the NYPD, said.” (Fox News)
- HUD’S ILLEGAL-IMMIGRATION CRACKDOWN: “The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) plans to crack down on illegal aliens who are taking advantage of public house assistance programs. … The new rule would prevent illegal aliens from living in homes that receive HUD funding, even if they’re not the ones actually receiving the assistance. Those who are caught with illegal aliens living in their homes will have to comply with the new rule or move to a different non-HUD location.” (Townhall)
- NEW CONSTRAINTS ON CUBA: “The Trump administration announced Wednesday that the U.S. will tighten restrictions on travel to Cuba, allowing only family visits to the island. … [National Security Advisor John] Bolton also announced that money sent to family members in Cuba would now be limited to $1,000 per person every three months, a change from the Obama administration policy that allowed unlimited remittances. ‘In no uncertain terms, the Obama administration’s policies toward Cuba have enabled the Cuban colonization of Venezuela today,’ Bolton said. ‘These new measures will help steer Americans dollars away from the Cuban regime.’” (National Review)
- DC’S HOMELESS SCHEME BACKFIRES: “D.C. lawmakers, in all of their wisdom, determined that poor, homeless people should be entitled to better housing than most middle-income earners. It went as well as anyone could have predicted. … The sudden inflow of poor D.C. residents into one pricey apartment complex has led to new complaints of ‘panhandling, marijuana smoke in the halls and feces discovered on a landing in the stairwell,’ according to the [Washington Post].” (Washington Examiner)
- FIRST, DO NO HARM: “Dozens of medical professionals in seven states were charged Wednesday with participating in the illegal prescribing of more than 32 million pain pills, including doctors who prosecutors said traded sex for prescriptions and a dentist who unnecessarily pulled teeth from patients to justify giving them opioids. The 60 people indicted include 31 doctors, seven pharmacists, eight nurse practitioners and seven other licensed medical professionals.” (The Washington Post)
- POLICY: An idea for student loans: Get rid of them (National Review)
- POLICY: The myth of the population bomb (American Enterprise Institute)
- HUMOR: Everyone who attended Bernie Sanders’ town hall has reported their wallet missing (The Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Victor Davis Hanson: “Unchecked tribalism historically leads to nihilism. Meritocracy is abandoned as bureaucrats select their own rather than the best-qualified. A Tower of Babel chaos ensues as the common language is replaced by myriad local tongues, in the fashion of fifth century imperial Rome. Class differences are subordinated to tribal animosities. Almost every contentious issue is distilled into racial or ethnic victims and victimizers. History always offers guidance to the eventual end game when people are unwilling to give up their chauvinism. Vicious tribal war can break out as in contemporary Syria. The nation can fragment into ethnic enclaves as seen in the Balkans. Or factions can stake out regional no-go zones of power as seen in Iraq and Libya. In sum, the present identity-politics divisiveness is not a sustainable model for a multiracial nation, and it will soon reach its natural limits one way or another. On a number of fronts, if Americans do not address these growing crises, history will. And it won’t be pretty.”
Upright: “Speech is not violence — and violence is not speech. Equating the two is the hallmark of a tyrannical worldview: If I can treat your speech as violence, then I am justified in using violence to suppress your speech. And yet that obvious fallacy has become the rallying cry in defense of execrable Rep. Ilhan Omar.” —Ben Shapiro
Non sequitur: “There are charities that we’ve donated to that we’ve recorded and itemized, others that we’ve donated to that we have not. I’ll tell you, I’m doing everything I can right now, spending this time with you, not with our kiddos, not back home in El Paso, because I want to sacrifice everything to make sure that we meet this moment of truth with everything we’ve got.” —Beto O'Rourke on why he gave less than 1% to charity in 2017
Braying Jenny: “Our GND [Green New Deal] rollout was really difficult. And it was done in a way that … it was really easy to hijack the narrative around it. It was, like, too fast. … I actually think the resolution itself is very solid, but … there were, like, competing documents that were rolled out, some prematurely, that muddied the waters. … It was just frustrating. Just intensely frustrating.” —Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Braying Jackass: “I think ‘Abolish ICE’ is a call to action on several levels. One is the literal interpretation of all abolishing ICE, which I support… I don’t believe that an agency that systematically and repeatedly violates human rights … can be reformed.” —Ocasio-Cortez
Demo-gogues: “Most Americans don’t want the conservative agenda that we’re now seeing, the extreme agenda that we’re seeing in Washington. In fact, it is precisely for that reason that they have to interfere with democracy, with things like voter suppression or clinging on an Electoral College that overrules the will of the American people. It is precisely because the American people, by and large, don’t want what they’re selling. … They are relying on manipulations of our political structure in order to keep their agenda in play.” —Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Race bait: “I’m saddened that the beautiful cathedral in France was damaged. But this is a prime example of privilege. … I’m also saddened that Black churches in Louisiana were burned down. I’m sure they held significance as well. They were barely acknowledged.” —Cincinnati councilwoman Tamaya Dennard
And last… “Where’s the outrage for the pressure that we put on a 17-year-old to borrow $100,000 [for college]? So much of that pressure comes from their mom and dad. It’s well-intended, but it’s kind of tragic. And where’s the outrage for the guidance counselors who continually say the best path for the most people just happens to be the most expensive? And the politicians and the lobbyists who exacerbate the same myth and the employers who still insist on only interviewing people with a four-year degree? … College is expensive because we’ve freed up an unlimited pile of free money and told an entire generation they were doomed to fail if they didn’t borrow it, and that’s happened in every single tax bracket, not just the top one. … Seven million jobs are available now. Most of them don’t require a four-year-degree. They require training. And yet we’re obsessed, not really with education, you know. What we are obsessed with is credentialing. And so people are buying diplomas. And they’re buying their degrees. It’s a diploma dilemma, honestly. It’s expensive. It is getting worse. It’s not just the kids holding the note. It is us.” —Mike Rowe
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher