Attorney General William Barr unambiguously defined himself as a shameless toadie for President Donald Trump this morning, repeatedly telling reporters that what matters most about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election is that he found “no collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
Speaking at a press conference delivered before Mueller’s report had even been made public, Barr seemed to be performing for an audience of one, parroting Trump’s favorite denials of any wrongdoing in what was reportedly supposed to be a procedural explanation of how and why certain redactions to the report were made.
After a lengthy description of just how—he claimed—the Mueller report cleared the president (and, he added, any other Americans) of colluding with Russia during the election, Barr noted Mueller found 10 instances of potential obstruction of justice by Trump. Nevertheless, Barr said he personally disagreed with most of those conclusions, and so, voila, no obstruction, either.
Insisting that it was “important to keep in mind the context” of the obstruction claims, Barr said the president was simply “frustrated and angered” by the ongoing investigation.
Barr concluded his press conference with a testy question and answer portion, in which he pushed back on claims that his preemptive attempt to spin the report in favor of the president was inappropriate, saying because there is no “precedent” for the Mueller investigation, the same logic applies to his actions.
When asked why Mueller himself wasn’t there to present the findings of the report, Barr insisted that the report wasn’t Mueller’s at all, but his.
What a fucking embarrassment. You can watch Barr’s complete press conference below:
Update, 11:15 a.m. ET: Shortly after the press conference ended, the Department of Justice published the redacted report on its website.