CNN Suggests WashPost Story Spells Doom for Barr, Ignores Mueller Contradiction

With The Washington Post publishing select excerpts of a letter Special Counsel Robert Mueller purportedly sent to Attorney General William Barr expressing some level of displeasure with the original four-page memo to Congress, CNN was off to the races on Tuesday night with all sorts of speculation and doom and gloom soothsaying at it pertained to the fate of the AG.

In the middle of Anderson Cooper 360, Watergate-era bloviators John Dean (via telephone) and Carl Bernstein popped on to give their best negative spin.

After Dean suggested the letter exposed a “rift” between the longtime Justice Department friends, and without evidence, Bernstein went on to claim is exposed something darker about Barr and his motivations (click “expand”):

So, there clearly is an attempt by the special prosecutor, who says very clearly as well, that this action by the Attorney General has undermined public confidence in the special prosecutor's investigation and, in fact, notes that Mueller does, that was the purpose of the investigation was to have public confidence.

And he accuses even though the language may be polite later on in the letter, he seems to accuse Mr. Barr undermining that public confidence. So this is an extraordinary and stunning development, and the other aspect of it is that like those who saw the report when it was released in the press and said, “wait a minute here, this report has nothing to do that is consistent with the way that Barr characterized it four weeks earlier”. Mueller, now, seems to be saying the same thing.

But what went underreported on CNN was the part of The Washington Post report that contradicted their initial accusations. “When Barr pressed Mueller on whether he thought Barr’s memo to Congress was inaccurate, Mueller said he did not but felt that the media coverage of it was misinterpreting the investigation, officials said,” the paper said.

 

 

If Mueller told Barr over the phone that the memo to Congress wasn’t inaccurate, then what’s is the letter and the media talking about?

Continuing to push the ridiculous narrative that Barr was flushing his long career and reputation down the drain to protect President Trump, Cooper teed up Bernstein with this slanted pitch:

Isn't the public's perception of the report though already kind of baked in at this point? I mean, wasn't that the whole point of Barr releasing the information the way that he released the information, which was to – to shape the way most people will see this? Most people haven't read the 448 pages.

Though he started off by saying he couldn’t know what was going on in Barr’s head, Bernstein agreed with Cooper’s premise and suggested it “fit into that pattern of polarization” from the Trump administration.

“But what is clear is that in terms of what the facts are, that the special prosecutor has taken the unprecedented and extraordinary step of saying that the Attorney General of the United States misrepresented the nature and context of the most important investigation – federal investigation of the last 40, 45 years,” Bernstein continued, longwindedly.

Despite the AG and the White House already saying they were fine with Mueller testifying before Congress, Cooper fueled unfounded fears that someone would try to intervene in a question to Dean. “It’s clear that we need both men on the record under oath to flush out what’s going on. And I suspect that Mueller is on the high ground on this one and needs to be clarified that that’s the fact,” Dean proclaimed without evidence.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360
April 30, 2019
8:31:44 p.m. Eastern

ANDERSON COOPER: John, first of all, your reaction to this reporting. How big of a deal is this?

JOHN DEAN (via phone call): I think it's a pretty big deal. It certainly shows a rift between the men if not their staff. And it shows that Mr. Barr is going to have some serious questions to have to answer that he may not have anticipated when he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow and possibly the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

COOPER: Carl, a, what do you make of this? And the timing of it, obviously, coming on the eve of that testimony.

CARL BERNSTEIN: The timing is extraordinary as is the substance of the letter. I mean, the letter could not be more definitive in saying that Mr. Barr misrepresented not just the letter of what is -- of the Mueller investigation was but the context, the nature, and the conclusions is the language that Mueller uses in his letter to Mr. Barr.

So, there clearly is an attempt by the special prosecutor, who says very clearly as well, that this action by the Attorney General has undermined public confidence in the special prosecutor's investigation and, in fact, notes that Mueller does, that was the purpose of the investigation was to have public confidence.

And he accuses even though the language may be polite later on in the letter, he seems to accuse Mr. Barr undermining that public confidence. So this is an extraordinary and stunning development, and the other aspect of it is that like those who saw the report when it was released in the press and said, “wait a minute here, this report has nothing to do that is consistent with the way that Barr characterized it four weeks earlier”. Mueller, now, seems to be saying the same thing.

COOPER: John, how unprecedented is it that Mueller took this step and wrote a letter on the record objecting to conclusion and this is leaked – or gets out the night before he's supposed to testify?

DEAN: It’s very unusual. And The New York Times on their [inaudible] on the story have a little different nuance pointing out that the Barr and Justice Department people were very unhappy with the fact that Mueller did not end his investigation with a clear finding of guilt or innocence, rather, he offered this nuanced position that since a sitting president can't be indicted it's unfair to come down one side or the other cause there's no way he can respond to it, as a normal defendant would in a speedy trial.

Well, according to special prosecutor, they knew exactly what they were doing and seems that the Barr people and Mr. Barr himself do not like nuance. They want black and white and now they have a muddy pile they've collected here.

COOPER: Carl, I mean, it’s clearly problematic for Barr. He'll, obviously, face, you know, at least, tough questions from Democrats about this on the Hill tomorrow when he talks to the Senate. Isn't the public's perception of the report though already kind of baked in at this point? I mean, wasn't that the whole point of Barr releasing the information the way that he released the information, which was to – to shape the way most people will see this? Most people haven't read the 448 pages.

BERNSTEIN: I can't be inside Mr. Barr's head, but there certainly, are appearances that that might have been his purpose and that there was that interregnum of four weeks, during which a certain perception was allowed to form, including the President of the United States claiming total exoneration, both on obstruction and, quote, “collusion”. And, in fact, the report goes out of its way to talk about the fact that collusion is not a legal term, et cetera, et cetera.

What we have here is we need to hear from Mr. Mueller. And I can't predict what the American people are going to do and how they're going to process this information. We have a polarized country and so far everything having to do with the Mueller report has fit into that pattern of polarization, whether this is going to figure in the same way who knows; but what is clear is that in terms of what the facts are, that the special prosecutor has taken the unprecedented and extraordinary step of saying that the Attorney General of the United States misrepresented the nature and context of the most important investigation – federal investigation of the last 40, 45 years.

And that is going to stick as part of the national record and presumably, Americans are going to debate it in a serious way.

COOPER: John, I mean, the Judiciary Committee chairman in the House, Jerry Nadler, obviously a Democrat, tweeted that in light of this reporting Mueller must be allowed to testify. Do you think that's actually going to happen? Do you think Congress will get to see the letter? Can Mueller be stopped from testifying?

DEAN: I don't think you can stop him from testifying. I think if the Senate doesn’t invite him first, that Nadler will certainly invite him, if not, issue a subpoena for him. It’s clear that we need both men on the record under oath to flush out what’s going on. And I suspect that Mueller is on the high ground on this one and needs to be clarified that that’s the fact.

COOPER: John Dean, Carl Bernstein. Gentlemen, thank you very much.

NB Daily Events Mueller Report Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Political Scandals Trump-Russia probe Cable Television CNN Anderson Cooper 360 Washington Post Video Robert Mueller Anderson Cooper Carl Bernstein John Dean Donald Trump Bill Barr

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