American lawyer George J. Terwilliger III recently penned a piece in Journal Star that praises Attorney General William Barr’s handling of Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. In particular, he suggests that Barr is facing unjust criticism that is being used for political purposes.
“Barr did this nation a great service by volunteering to take the job of attorney general — something others were unwilling to do. I hope virtue is its own reward, because I doubt he will see any other return for this extraordinary gift to the country.”
Terwilliger highlighted the fact that Mueller’s investigation did not follow the standard practices of the Justice Department whereby there is an investigation followed by a judgment as to whether the person or entity in question should be charged. He added that in standard cases there is no commentary to “exonerate” and it’s not the role of the prosecutor to “exonerate” or hear other speculation, opinions, or commentary on the matter.
But in special counsel investigations, Terwilliger claims that the special counsel must report to the attorney general and explain his decisions and rationale. Afterward, the attorney general decides what to make available from the report while keeping public interest in mind. Terwilliger suggests that Barr was always planning to make as much of the report available as possible and faced a lose-lose situation from the outset of his appointment.
“Many of these attacks are irresponsible and shameful. Accusations that the attorney general is flying air cover for the president; that, in summarizing the Mueller report before disclosing it, he was insulting Congress; that the redactions process is an artful cover-up. But the facts show Barr has followed the letter and the spirit of the law.”
A defense of AG Barr from George J. Terwilliger III https://t.co/VUiIfxwDD5
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) April 19, 2019
As The Inquisitr reported, not everyone agrees — NYU law professor Ryan Goodman suggests in a Just Security piece that Barr has a history of misleading the public about legal documents. In particular, he points to Barr’s testimony before Congress in 1989 about his Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memo. During the deposition, he refused to give his full opinion on the memo, although he eventually released a 13-page summary that was backed by James Baker, secretary of state at the time.
But when the full OLC memo was made public, it was clear that Barr’s summary didn’t cover the main conclusions of the opinion and omitted the most significant findings. However, Barr had already left office by the time the full memo was released.