The Story Begins to Emerge: Barr’s Theory of How to Stop Mueller & How it May Have Backfired

So one of the mysteries of how the Mueller investigation ended is whether or not Barr stopped the probe. The hearing revealed a clue that Maddow has picked up on which sheds light.

Barr/Rosenstein wouldn’t let Mueller indict Trump b/c of the OLC memo. Barr then told Mueller, since you can’t indict, you can no longer investigate. Barr then wanted Mueller’s report to be limited only to a list of ‘prosecutions and declinations’ and not the type of broad impeachment referral doc that Mueller delivered.

Barr to Grassley at the hearing:

“I think that if he felt he shouldn’t go down the path of making a traditional prosecutive decision, then he shouldn’t be investigating. That was the time to pull up.” As Maddow notes, “Then less than 3 weeks later, Mueller’s report was in.”

In the twitterverse, Barr is rumored to have used the phrase ‘pencils down’ to Mueller. The actual phrase appears to have been “time to pull up” as Barr “landed the plane”. But this now looks more clear. Barr and Rosenstein had a rationale to force Mueller to stop.

  • Barr/RR felt comfortable that btwn the OLC memo & OSC regs that they could fire Mueller w/Trump/GOP backing and survive a court challenge. His basis for doing so was that if Mueller didn’t indict, he was within his rights to force him to stop investigating.

  • Of course, that’s a circular, self-serving ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ argument. On the one hand, Barr & RR said, ‘you can’t indict a sitting POTUS’ and then they said, ‘oh btw if you’re not indicting you can’t investigate.’

  • Unfortunately, over the same time period, Speaker Pelosi negotiated against herself, voicing that she was not inclined to impeach based on her own political analysis that impeachment w/out removal was a conundrum that she couldn’t spend capital on. Agree or disagree with Pelosi, the timing of such statements was foolish. (I’m pro-impeachment btw). She could’ve waited, held on to the credible threat of impeachment and perhaps short circuited Trump/Barr’s move. Instead, she panicked a bit after the explosive Cohen hearing, indicated a clear reluctance to impeach, which had the effect of emboldening Trump & Barr.

  • With no help coming from the @HouseDemocrats, Mueller was stuck. His goal was to preserve and memorialize his work product and get it to Congress. He couldn’t let Barr see it for fear of tampering. So Mueller agreed to shut it down, but then locked Barr/RR out and made the report as expansive & readable a review of his investigation as possible. He also farmed our all the key cases and listed them in the exhibits as a way to inform Congress and keep Barr’s hands off of them.
    Barr was likely shocked when he saw the report. He wanted a short bullet list which would say ‘decline to prosecute’. He didn’t want detailed summaries which aired the collusion/obstruction.

  • Mueller surprised Barr/Trump/RR by providing an impeachment referral w/out calling it that. Mueller correctly read the OSC regs as allowing him to cover everything in the mandate authorized by Rosenstein.

  • Barr/RR had huddled for weeks on how to whitewash the report and now had to take the risk of misleading the public, which they did.

  • However, when the WAPO leaks from the OSC came out and Mueller’s letters, Barr/RR blinked. RR always bends to that which most threatens him personally. They hurriedly released the report and provided redactions though more limited than they had hoped.

  • Mueller, therefore, succeeded in getting the bulk of his report out and starting a real discussion on impeachment. The obstacle is now convincing @SpeakerPelosi, who remains a stumbling block, to move forward.

  • Now in deeper trouble, Trump/Barr have focused on stonewalling the House Democrats. That has had the effect of turning Democratic voters in favor of impeachment. 5 of the top 6 Dem candidates are pro-impeachment to varying degrees. A clear majority want to start hearings to determine if Trump should be impeached. So when Trump/GOP front like impeachment would be good for them, they’re bluffing and playing on traditional Dem skittishness for doing anything that is not self executing and requires investment of political capital. The GOP is scared to death of impeachment. That’s why they stall.

  • But something happened along the way. Trump/Barr lost Rosenstein. Either they cut him out of overconfidence or he didn’t want to be a part of it any longer. W/out RR, Barr was clueless and was gutted like a fish in a Senate hearing led by Graham!

  • Rosenstein is likely the source of the Mueller letter. He ‘resigned’ just a day or two before the hearing, and then on the eve of said hearing, the Mueller letter appears (one of them anyway). That focused the Dems in a way that leadership has been trying to tamp down for the past 2 months. Now Pelosi/Schumer are saying ‘yay team!’ when both have been MIA to date.

  • Rosenstein (or someone in that circle) dropped that bomb on Barr, and the GOP took a big blow b/c more of the opposition party led by front runner Biden, Warren and Harris are embracing impeachment like they’re literally playing with House money.

  • Now, it looks like Mueller may testify in public, which would shed further light on Barr’s cover up, but more importantly on his key findings. We’re at the point where we can ask Mueller, 'but for the OLC memo, would you have recommended an indictment for Trump? If his answer is ‘yes’, which is the clear implication of his report, then Trump, I dare say, is permanently damaged.

  • That said, we’re now at a point where the Dems have it within their power to hold Trump accountable by opening a formal impeachment inquiry. When that happens, power and leverage will shift to the Dems & the Republic. #impeachtrump

Impeachment of Trump will fail in the Senate. Administration mega-stonewalling will likely make House hearings a dud with the public because of the lack of drama.

The next step is to lay the groundwork to impeach Barr or another Cabinet official. Barr would provide the greatest schadenfreude. Barr may or may fall in an impeachment trial. But either way, the voters get the story in spades and then go to the polls. Even if Barr is not convicted, Trump will not have any Senate verdict delivered on him.

The best way for Barr to have buried the SCO report is for Barr to have directed the investigation to continue.

You will lose everything in 2020, we will end abortion, we will end immigration, we will deport all illegals. We will rid our education system of democrats.

Let’s just say for argument:

If Barr is ever to face any Impeachment hearings…or is impeached, it isn’t because the Democrats have accused him of lying during the Judiciary Committee. Because Nadler had him “held in contempt”, right?

And because, he was exposing what he had been all along, what Americans already knew about Trump…does that also mean, there will be any accountability?

The OP is pure fantasy.


Thanks for your great work here @khyber

I think that you are correct that Barr shut down the effort. I also think that you are correct that Barr did not expect a comprehensive and fact based report. I believe that Barr planned to redact it beyond recognition and it is not particularly redacted. This may be, as you postulate, when they lost Rosenstein. Barr has shown willingness to obstruct and did not obstruct the report. He threw mud at it. He incorrectly summarized it, He delayed it for a month of propaganda. I think that there is a story about how it got past him.

Mueller’s letter suggests that the entire report would make it to the public, so this was likely established by the time Barr was writing his misleading summary. There is some reason behind Mueller thinking this. I find it surprising because, as Barr said, he had the ability to suppress the report in toto.

One idea is that the SC took the step of putting the report, and other evidence, in the hands of the DC Court (per a Grand Jury referral). If this were the case, Barr had to release the report because he would get a shot at some redactions, and he thought that this was better than no redactions. We see the letter from Flood objecting to the release of the report.

In time, we will learn if the SC took precautions about placing evidence in the hands of the District Court.

My guess is that Barr was unprepared for how comprehensive, and just plain large, the report ended up being. He was expecting a summary of the findings, and then it would be easy enough to redact all the damaging paragraphs and leave the “determined not to prosecute” parts intact. Shrug your shoulders and say something about grand jury confidentiality and ongoing investigations, nothing to see here, move along.

Barr, being a political apparatchik, maybe didn’t realize that a dedicated, thorough, experienced public servant like Mueller of course would have a large chunk of his work already written up and ready to go. They did not create that report, close to a full ream of paper, by starting after Barr said “OK, wrap it up now”. It was mostly already loaded in the launchers.

With that much info delivered, it would have been unacceptably damning to release 400 pages of blacked-out text, even if they did have the time to do so.

Just my uninformed speculation, of course. But given how many players in this sorry saga apparently still haven’t read the whole thing, I do think the sheer size of the report is part of its survival strategy – you know, kind of like the ocean sunfish, which is just too darn big for lots of potential predators to want to tackle.

You have it ass backwards, its not that they ( Barr/Rosenstein) wouldnt let Mueller indict, the OLC rule does not allow Mueller to indict , the OLC is following the law

maybe she was smart to realize that impeaching Trump without removing is a waste of political capital

so explain to us why Mueller left it up the AG to go after Trump?

yes a chicken shit way of saying it , why not just say it ,if he was a man of his good integrity he would have said so that Trump did obstruct even though he couldnt indict he could have broken protocol and tell the AG what he found ,but instead he hinted, obfuscating and left in on the lap of the AG

yeah and who leaked it??? and who benefited from the leaks?
there were so many leaks that people should have worn Depends

Bottom line is the Mueller report confirmed it, it was a political witch hunt and revenge