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The more AG Barr says, the more skepticism over his actions seems appropriate

REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Attorney General William Barr testifying on the Justice Department’s budget proposal before a House Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday.

At the risk of annoying, I write to express regret about something I wrote previously, relative to the Mueller report. It’s partly inspired by the latest news, from Attorney General William Barr’s congressional testimony yesterday. Barr now says he will release, within a week or so, a redacted version of the Mueller report. He has not been clear or specific about all the categories of material he might withhold.

To the (for me, declining) degree that we believe Barr is acting in good faith, with respect to material for which there are valid grounds to withhold from the general public, we should try to control our suspicions that he might err on the side of withholding things for political reasons, to spare his boss embarrassment or worse.

But Barr still won’t commit to releasing — to the Congress nor to the key committees with oversight authority over these matters, NOR even to the chairs of those committees — a full unredacted copy of the report.

My level of trust for Barr is insufficient to overcome the very reasonable suspicion that Barr will use his self-assigned discretion in order to avoid embarrassing President Trump. That wouldn’t be a good or valid reason. Skeptical Americans should be allowed to figure out whether they agree with Mueller’s decision not to recommend charges against Trump for any high crimes or potentially impeachable misdemeanors.

Of course, I don’t know Robert Mueller personally. But based on everything I know, I trust him. Princeton grad, Marine vet, U.S. Attorney, Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient, FBI director, he has acquired and added to a reputation for ability and integrity at every stage. And, by the way, although this should be irrelevant but isn’t completely so, Mueller is a lifelong Republican, so perhaps Republicans should trust him too.

I hope Mueller testifies about his investigation someday, to a congressional committee.  I don’t expect that to happen, but I would watch every minute. I believe I would learn a lot. And how refreshing would it be to listen someone who you knew wasn’t spinning? Short of that, I hope his full report is made public, with only the most essential deletions for the most important and nonpartisan of reasons.

Short of that, I’m going to reserve judgment on the findings.

I wish I had reserved judgment sooner, specifically right after the short summary of the Mueller report by Attorney General William Barr was released. (Barr apparently didn’t like the term “summary.” Fine. You know what I mean. But I rushed, slightly, to at least a tentative judgment, which is the regret that I mentioned. I regret a piece I wrote two weeks ago, after the short no-indictment summary was released. in that piece,  I expressed surprise that — according to polls — hardly anyone seemed to change their opinion about anything and specifically on the question of whether Trump was guilty of conspiracy or obstruction of justice. (We really need to get out of the habit of using the term “collusion,” which is not the name of a crime.)

Unless Barr is a bigger and more audacious liar than I believe he is, Barr told us that Mueller did not recommend that Trump be charged with either of those crimes. And, to his credit, Barr did tell us that Mueller did not believe the evidence was sufficient to” exonerate” Trump, on the obstruction piece. That’s tantalizing, and we still don’t know what “no-charge-but-no-exoneration” means. We could guess, but why guess? We should find out, eventually, what Mueller meant by not-indicted-but-not-exonerated.

Barr specified that while Mueller did not exonerate Trump on obstruction, he, Barr, did exonerate him. We also learned that this Mueller-does-not-exonerate-but-Barr-does bit bordered on meaningless, because Barr has previously taken the (ahem) unusual position that it is impossible for a president to commit obstruction of justice because the president is the ultimate boss of the Department of Justice (and, I guess, according to Barr’s unusual view, you can’t criminally obstruct yourself).

In his own adorable way, the current occupant of the Oval went way overboard, ignoring the very important caveat on obstruction – that even Barr said that Mueller did not exonerate Trump on the question of obstruction – by tweeting and shouting from the rooftop, along with far too many of his surrogates, that the report (which we haven’t seen yet) constituted “total and complete exoneration” and that the entire investigation (despite producing many indictments and guilty pleas from Trump-associated persons and even more Russians — was, you guessed it, a total witch hunt. What the heck is wrong with that guy?

Last week, we learned (secondhand, through unattributed leaks) that members of Mueller’s team were unhappy with the Barr summary, which they reportedly felt understated some of the troubling findings in the full report and perhaps gave Trump a clearer slate than the public might think if they saw the full report.

I realize that most of you know all this. I’m writing mostly just to walk back that one post mentioned above. Trump has not been exonerated. There’s no rush to decide whether there is serious evidence of at least obstruction. And Barr has lost some credibility, at least with me, by various words and actions and by a general reluctance to commit the report with only the fewest and most necessary excisions to the public (and the full report with no excisions at all should be shared with key members of Congress). And it should happen with all deliberate speed. And until it does, anyone who harbors suspicions that there’s some evidence of serious Trumpian improprieties being withheld and watered down and slow-walked is entitled to harbor those suspicions, subject to a rethink when we know more.

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Comments (129)

  1. Submitted by joe smith on 04/10/2019 - 10:16 am.

    Skepticism.? Barr sites the law with each answer. He is usually correcting some hair brained idea of an elected official who has no idea what the law is.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/10/2019 - 10:22 am.

    Can you say “Coverup”?

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/10/2019 - 10:23 am.

    [Trump is an] “unindicted coconspirator” is a phrase that comes readily to mind, but it’s only a suspicion on my part, based on two years of near-constant lies from the President. I’d much rather see and read the Mueller report myself. I suspect it would simultaneously be amazingly dull and boring, as much legal writing tends to be, and spellbinding, given our (me included) general level of curiosity over what all those months and other indictments and convictions and denials actually amount to.

    The most telling argument I’ve seen so far is pretty simple and basic: If the report “totally exonerates” Mr. Trump, as he (though not even Mr. Barr) says it does, Mr. Trump should be – and, based on his past behavior and language – WOULD be eager to see it released. That he and his administrative underlings are generally resisting such a release suggests that “total exoneration” might not be a reasonable conclusion for most people, but the only way to really tell is for the public to have access to the report and its conclusions.

  4. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/10/2019 - 11:03 am.

    I think the coming year is going to be a particularly bad one for leftists. The Mueller report is a bust, and shifting gears to casting aspersions on Barr is going to sour quickly with the public and is bound to backfire; it is apparent from their talking points last night that even the leftist talking heads know this is so.

    Focusing on the squirrel!! that is Trump’s tax returns is a cringe worthy effort that only Nancy Pelosi, in her desperation, seems willing to put effort into; it’s going to end badly for her, I fear.

    Worse for the left, it’s becoming impossible to deny there is chaos on our Southern border. Fox news is covering it closely. We see officials from DHS and Border Control every couple of hours on camera, expressing frustration with the Democrat House members. Even lefty news crews seeking sympathetic footage to punctuate come away shocked. The public is watching, and is getting more concerned every day.

    Worse still, the economy continues to grow at a healthy clip, denying the left the one actual policy issue it had in their ammo belt.

    Now, let it be said I don’t believe most Democrats have reached the crisis TDS levels the author and some of his ilk have reached, but for the good of the country, and their health, I suggest the fringe left take a little break.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/10/2019 - 03:34 pm.

      ..denying the left the one actual policy issue it had in their ammo belt…

      I heard the GOP had a secret plan for health care that they were going to vote on immediately after the election.

      And wasn’t the latest Trump budget proposing serious, real cuts in Medicare and Social Security? If the economy is so great, why?

      And how about the love affair with Kim ?

      Lots of paths to follow and lots of turns in the economy to go through…

    • Submitted by ian wade on 04/13/2019 - 03:05 pm.

      “I think the coming year is going to be a particularly bad one for leftists”

      You said the exact same thing before the midterms.

    • Submitted by Robert Lilly on 04/15/2019 - 10:30 am.

      The only TDS I see is those who are still defending the criminal in the White House. The Mueller report was a success for the truth coming out. Many indictments will be served once this President is no longer a sitting president. No 2020 is shaping up to be another banner year for Dems at the ballot box, Republicans have made the Democratic party the party of law and order, since it’s obvious Republican values were merely a convenient talking point to be tossed aside when they elect a president who violates ALL of them.

  5. Submitted by Misty Martin on 04/10/2019 - 11:09 am.

    Well, Eric, all I can say is an old saying of my father’s, rest his dear soul, who had quite a few old country sayings and a lot of them that couldn’t be shared w/o a lot of editing, but this one, I feel I can share and if I have shared it before, I apologize: “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” And the Republicans can try, and the evangelicals can try, but we know what we see and hear, don’t we? And if one could only go back far enough, and dig deep enough, I’m sure there’s plenty of dirt to be found. Whether or not that dirt equals crimes – I don’t know. I can imagine, but I don’t know. Some folks can afford a lot of “fall guys”. Poor Richard Nixon! I guess he couldn’t find enough folks willing to take the blame for him. If only Nixon had tweeted instead of recording conversations on tapes! The technology just wasn’t there at that time, and I suppose we held Presidents to a higher standard than obviously we do today. Today, it would seem, at least as far as morals go – anything goes – lies, hush money payments, unreleased tax returns, insults to Patriots and P.O.W.’s, trash talk about women, threats, countless firings of officials for no clear reason, nepotism, children separated from their parents in the name of immigration reform – whatever. But hey, a lot of people in our southern states got their Bibles signed by President Trump, right? That was special.

    • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/10/2019 - 03:15 pm.

      Being a distasteful person is no excuse to try and frame him for something he didn’t do. And having a President who I personally wouldn’t want to hang out with is still preferable to HRC.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/10/2019 - 05:51 pm.

        Frame? Evidently you have an unredacted report in your hand, please share, and yes please share the taxes while you are at it. And, OK, if you are good with a distasteful POTUS, more power too you, provides an insight into the value system!

      • Submitted by George Kimball on 04/11/2019 - 06:53 am.

        Ha! Trying to frame. That’s a good one. If there are violations that warrant impeachment or criminal indictment, then that will happen. If not, then not. It’s pretty simple stuff. There is no doubt Republicans would be screaming bloody murder at any of the potential violations if there was a Democrat in the office. And they would be demanding income taxes and claiming conspiracy if a Democrat refused. This we know.

        And not want to hang out with? How about someone who demonstrates on a daily basis the worst, most rude and obnoxious childish behaviors of teenage delinquents who are constantly in trouble at home and school? This is the president of the United States, for god’s sake. He routinely makes up immature derogatory nicknames for those he disagrees with. Are you among those who laugh at this and encourage? Find a way to out him of the office for that alone. Show our children and the world we recognize the man is the poorest role model and least able man possible to be our president.

      • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 04/11/2019 - 10:41 pm.

        I guess you were asleep when Trump and his aides and family members “framed” themselves – with dozens of publicly known and very questionable contacts with Russians, and all the lies they told about those contacts.

        For example, you had the presidents son eventually admitting, after a series of lies were found out, that he and senior members of the campaign conspired with a group of Russians to get “dirt” on Hillary Clinton and how in his own words he’d “love” to get that dirt.

        He should have contacted the FBI to turn in those Russians – instead he was willing to take conspire with and eagerly take whatever the Russians could give him.

        You’re okay with that apparently – I’m not.

        You try to say the investigators were trying to “frame” the Trump camp – that’s BS – they were doing their jobs and investigating clearly unethical and in my mind, treasonous behavior.

        If this type of behavior was NOT being investigated, well, that’s when we have a worthless and totally partisan FBI and a worthless special counsel too.

        And don’t forget, Mueller’s team DID convict lots of bad players, many of them on the Trump team, who did clearly criminal things as determined by a judge and jury.

        So let’s not minimize this as just personal distaste for Trump’s style –
        as disturbing as the ‘style’ is, the actions are an even bigger problem..

    • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/10/2019 - 03:16 pm.

      I will say it’s interesting the purity we expect from opposition candidates that we are willing to overlook in candidates with whom we agree.

    • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/10/2019 - 04:24 pm.

      And if one could only go back far enough, and dig deep enough, I’m sure there’s plenty of dirt to be found.

      Factcheck: TRUE!

      Context: For everyone currently breathing air.

      Comment: If only, sigh…

  6. Submitted by cory johnson on 04/10/2019 - 11:20 am.

    Eric- are you pretending not to know the laws regarding what information can and can’t be shared from the report? You may not like the laws, but he can’t release “embarrassing” information about people who aren’t under indictment. One can only hope the IG report in May or June will give us more clarity on the abuses of the Obama administration. If either the Mueller or IG report has more on the Clinton campaign collusion with Steele and Russia I’d love to see that as well.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/10/2019 - 03:19 pm.

      “You may not like the laws, but he can’t release “embarrassing” information about people who aren’t under indictment.”

      Citation, please.

      • Submitted by Larry Moran on 04/10/2019 - 04:07 pm.

        Except, of course, the Republicans were glad to do that in 2016.

      • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/10/2019 - 04:08 pm.

        Sigh- it’s really not hard. Even some of the mainstream media will mention the constraints of the recent McKenna vs Barr decision. Try to look beyond the leftist echo chamber once in a while:

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/11/2019 - 08:49 am.

          Sigh – that case doesn’t say that “’embarrassing’ information about people who aren’t under indictment” contained in an independent counsel’s report. The case referenced in the article you linked to talks about grand jury testimony.

          There is a difference between a grand jury and an independent counsel. Sigh.

        • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/11/2019 - 12:23 pm.


          So, a 2-1 decision by one district court contradicts other recent rulings by two district courts elsewhere, that basically hinge on how important the Haldeman case was regarding Richard Nixon and Watergate grand jury materials.

          Not, I would submit, an overwhelmingly convincing opinion, still in the minority even when we count the conservative justices who think no grand jury material should ever be released to Congress, much less the public.

          The law student who wrote the lawfare blog post you cite left a lot of stuff out of his summary, particularly context: We are talking here about an investigation of a sitting president (as with Nixon), not a bunch of people who have long since died and someone worries that a historian with access to the record might, just might, damage their “legacy” by writing a book about what the grand jury found out about them–I kid you not, that’s the bulk of the argument against public release.

          But the Haldeman precedent still sits there, big as a barn. For those less ideologically inclined to maintain secrecy at all costs to the nation.

          • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/11/2019 - 05:30 pm.

            The DC court is the court of jurisdiction over the investigation. It was a three member court. Would you prefer it only count if it’s a unanimous opinion? That’s not have the law works.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/12/2019 - 09:25 am.

          I don’t know if the matter is as settled as your “information” sources would want you to believe. Here is what the Congressional Research Service said about the case three days ago:

          On April 5, 2019, the three-judge panel in McKeever ruled that federal
          courts lack “inherent authority” to authorize the disclosure of grand jury matters in circumstances not covered by an explicit exception set out in Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. It thus appears that, for the time being, the panel’s decision has closed off one potential avenue for Congress to obtain grand jury material in federal court in the District of Columbia (though the decision could always be reheard en banc or overturned by the Supreme Court). That said, as the McKeever decision notes, Congress previously was successful in obtaining grand jury materials pursuant to the Rule 6(e) exception for disclosure “preliminarily to or in connection with a judicial proceeding” on the theory that an authorized impeachment inquiry is preliminary to such a proceeding. That avenue appears to remain available to Congress after McKeever. Furthermore, Congress has in the past taken the position that it possesses independent constitutional authority to obtain grand jury materials regardless of the applicability of any Rule 6(e) exceptions—i.e., that the rule of grand jury secrecy simply does not apply to Congress when it is acting within the “sphere of legitimate legislative activity.” But while two courts have appeared to agree with that position, the Department of Justice (and some other courts) have contested it.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/10/2019 - 06:19 pm.

        Well he can’t site Comey’s letter about HRC, we know that.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/10/2019 - 05:11 pm.

      This does not hold for Congress, who have the right (and duty) to examine all evidence regarding the malfeasance of public officials.

  7. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/10/2019 - 11:21 am.

    “But based on everything I know, I trust him. Princeton grad, Marine vet, U.S. Attorney, Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient, FBI director, he has acquired and added to a reputation for ability and integrity at every stage. And, by the way, although this should be irrelevant but isn’t completely so, Mueller is a lifelong Republican, so perhaps Republicans should trust him too.”

    It’s a fine resume, but it needs to be put in its present-day context.

    First, Mr. Barr came to the President’s attention after writing (as a private citizen) an apparently unsolicited memo explaining why he thought the President could not be guilty of obstruction. This automatic exoneration from Trump’s most pressing federal legal issue is a strong reason to doubt his credibility in this matter.

    Second, Barr was named Attorney General by a President for him personal loyalty to him is the paramount criterion for office, if not the only criterion. Trump had to be certain that Barr would do nothing that would not let him off the hook completely. Contrast that with his disgust over Jeff Sessions’s routine concern for legal ethics that led him to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

    There does not seem to be any particular reason to trust Barr’s findings, or, for that matter, to afford him any doubt on this.

  8. Submitted by Kurt Anderson on 04/10/2019 - 11:36 am.

    “… we still don’t know what ‘no-charge-but-no-exoneration’ means. We could guess, but why guess?” Well, here I go anyway. It may describe the gap between what is likely (more probable than not) and what a prosecutor could prove beyond a reasonable doubt. It also may reflect the reluctance to indict — and possible constitutional bar to indictment of — an incumbent president who has not yet been impeached.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/10/2019 - 03:17 pm.

      It could also reflect the practice of returning the information to the House, to determine if impeachment proceedings should be brought. This was the practice followed by both Leon Jaworski and Kenneth Starr in their respective investigations.

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/10/2019 - 04:38 pm.

        In my experience, it’s always a good idea to take a moment to see if the folks we hope to use to bolster our argument are on board.

        “Kenneth Starr said Tuesday on “Fox Nation” that it will be up to Attorney General William Barr whether the Mueller report is released, and what parts of it can be released.

        Starr said that while his investigation into Bill Clinton, Whitewater and the then-president’s extramarital affairs were governed by a statute, Mueller is governed by newer and different regulations.

        “The regulations have the force of law,” Starr said, “The regulations [require] Bob Mueller to submit to the attorney general a confidential report.”

        “I’m very proud of Bill Barr. He’s a great lawyer. He’s a great Attorney General already in these early weeks under enormous pressure. He is doing what the law requires””

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/11/2019 - 12:25 pm.

          In my experience, it’s always a good idea to understand what you’re talking about.

          Mueller may have declined to make a finding about indicting Trump because he, like other Special Counsel before him, thought this was a matter for Congress to take up,. Nowhere does that imply that the duty to make a report to the Attorney General is any different. You do see that the two ideas are distinct, don’t you, Mr. Senker?

          I could say something about relying too heavily on anything Kenneth Starr says on Fox News, but that one would be too easy. I will only speculate that he was justifying the release of his taxpayer-funded exercise in soft-core pornography before the Attorney General had reviewed it.

      • Submitted by Kurt Anderson on 04/10/2019 - 04:55 pm.

        Agreed, with the caveat (based on the two precedents you cite) that the House should avoid impeachment if the president still has strong public support and is certain to be acquitted in the Senate. The one possible exception would be if the impeachment itself, without removal from office, would be sufficient to open the door to a well-founded criminal prosecution.

      • Submitted by Tom Crain on 04/12/2019 - 01:52 pm.

        You should be careful when comparing Mueller to Starr. Barr had more discretion than Mueller who is not an “independent” special counsel — he is a special counsel within the Department of Justice, appointed by the attorney general (in this case, Deputy AG Rosenstein in 2017) and subject to his supervision, and to supervision by AG William Barr’s, following his appointment.

        Yes, they all work for the president, and that relationship creates the appearance of possible conflict of interest when a special counsel/AG decides that the president is not a criminal.

        The U.S. Congress chose to accept this risk in 1999, when it permitted the Independent Counsel law (which provided for court-appointed prosecutors
        such as Ken Starr) to expire. Congress was avoiding the risk that a court-appointed independent counsel would turn out to be in fact a less-sound decision maker than would an attorney general, whatever his or her possible conflicts of interest. Even assuming everyone’s honesty and talent (big assumption!), no approach will be perfect or satisfying to all in every situation.

        • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/12/2019 - 03:39 pm.

          “Yes, they all work for the president”?

          No, they don’t. the Attorney General,and the Justice Department, are supposed to represent the people of the U.S.

          The trouble with our lawless dictator-in-waiting President today, is that he actually thinks that the DOJ does work for him. Most especially, the AG.

          Big trouble.

  9. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/10/2019 - 11:47 am.

    Barr was hired specifically for the release of the Mueller report.

    Not as the representative of justice, honesty and transparency.

    Even when and if the full report is available for review, the period in which Individual One was able to claim “complete exoneration” was a valuable political service.

    Treat Barr as a “hired gun”, just like any defense attorney.

    • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/10/2019 - 02:52 pm.

      hired gun? he’s worth millions and could make much more if he stayed away from public service.

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/10/2019 - 03:28 pm.

        For your understanding, “hired gun” in the sense that he is brought in for a particular result.

        • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/10/2019 - 04:11 pm.

          As opposed to bringing in Loretta Lynch? He didn’t write the report. I understand everyone’s disappointment at having been misled for the last two years, but this is getting sad.

          • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/10/2019 - 08:39 pm.

            Loretta Lynch–my, you do live in the past glory days.

          • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/11/2019 - 09:16 am.

            ….I understand everyone’s disappointment at having been misled for the last two years, but this is getting sad….

            Says the person who hasn’t seen more than a sentence fragment from a 400+ page report.

          • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/11/2019 - 12:35 pm.

            Barr seems to be re-writing the Mueller report, though.

            Inventing whole categories of material that–horror!–the Congress might see in the Mueller report, and refusing even to follow precedent based on the public interest in finding out what our presidents are doing in office or while “winning” the office.

            Refusing to answer legitimate Congressional questions (yesterday) about his reasoning for deciding–against what Mueller found to be so powerful as to prevent Mueller from “exonerating” Trump and his campaign from charges of obstruction of justice–that Donald Trump was, contra Mueller, “exonerated.”

            Watching and listening to Barr ‘s testimony yesterday made me think the man is slower than perhaps he used to be, not quite up to the game these days. Complete stonewall, then the choice of “spying” over “surveillance.” Wow.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/11/2019 - 03:40 pm.

        He may HAVE millions; he’s not WORTH millions (dollars? rubles?).

        • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/12/2019 - 11:18 am.

          Talk about grasping at straws. Yes I’m sure he ate borsch once so the Dems will be clamoring for his recusal any day.

  10. Submitted by Pat Berg on 04/10/2019 - 12:03 pm.

    And then there’s this:

    • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/10/2019 - 02:55 pm.

      Yeah I’d be worried if I were Brennan and McCabe.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 04/10/2019 - 03:11 pm.

        Hardly. More like Trump and Barr crying “Squirrel!” to detract attention from what’s being hidden by not releasing the Mueller report.

        • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/10/2019 - 04:14 pm.

          Didn’t you read the article you cited? The IG is already currently investigating the issue. And it’s amazing how money people are willfully ignoring the fact that Barr can’t legally just take the report and upload it to wiki page.

          • Submitted by Pat Berg on 04/10/2019 - 08:44 pm.

            “Money” people are not asking that the report get uploaded to Wikipedia. What is expected is that the report be given to Congress – under security restrictions if need be, but not redacted out of all recognition.

            Reluctance to do so only adds to the perception that there’s something in there that Barr and Trump don’t want Congress to see.

  11. Submitted by Brian Simon on 04/10/2019 - 12:10 pm.

    In my reading, it seems AG Barr’s primary takeaway is that he should now investigate DOJ/FBI for (allegedly) allowing individuals’ partisan views (all Dems, of course) to influence their investigations into the Trump campaign.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/10/2019 - 05:13 pm.

      And of course it’s the duty of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (not prosecution) to investigate all federal crimes and provide a basis for prosecution if warranted.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/10/2019 - 06:24 pm.

      And I think it we should investigate Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell for opposing the investigation into a hostile foreign power tampering with our election.

  12. Submitted by cory johnson on 04/10/2019 - 12:20 pm.

    I’m also hoping the Mueller report can shed light on why the Obama administration didn’t warn the Trump campaign that Russians were trying to penetrate the campaign. This should be fun.

  13. Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 04/10/2019 - 12:41 pm.

    I think we have to give Barr the benefit of the doubt at this point in time. Give him the time he’s asked for to produce a properly redacted document. If overly redacted, then do whatever necessary to get the full report and make it public. Needless to say, someone has to see the full report to confirm it’s not overly redacted. Presumably, the House and/or Senate Intelligence committee.

    As Reagan said, “trust but verify”. (Oddly enough, a Russian proverb.)

    Another 2 weeks won’t change the course of history.

  14. Submitted by Mike Chrun on 04/10/2019 - 02:35 pm.

    Well, one should be extremely skeptical of Barr. The words he uses and the timing of them really makes me think that he sees his primary job as protecting Trump rather than doing what an Attorney General is supposed to do; you know, be the head of law enforcement for the country. On top of his bobbing and weaving about the Mueller Report, he now uses the word “spying” to describe the FBI’s investigation into any connection between the Trump campaign and Russia. He tosses that word out while admitting he has no evidence to back that up. He is just curiously “concerned” about surveillance done by the agency whose job it is to carry out that function.

    It’s a conscious choice of a loaded word used to set up attacks by Fox News, Republican congressmen, the White House, and Trump on the FBI. I would hope the FBI was checking into what exactly the connections were given things like contacts between Trump’s cronies and Russians; Trump’s previous business dealings with Russia; and Trump’s very open invitations to Putin to reveal damaging information on Clinton.

    It’s not even amazing that the party that has always claimed the higher patriotic ground isn’t at all interested in finding out what was really going on in regards to Russia. Taking their cue from Trump, they push the narrative of the FBI choosing to side with Democrats so they could take down Trump. And the 13 year old in charge of our country is tossing around words like “coup” and “treason” as part of his usual strategy of muddying the waters as he continues to deflect and distract. With the initial 4 page report; the insistence on a heavily redacted report; and now his revelation that he is looking into the FBI, it’s pretty clear Barr is as slimy and fundamentally dishonest as the rest of the Republicans defending Trump. I mean who cares about Russia when you can get your tax cuts and another Supreme Court appointee?

    • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/10/2019 - 03:27 pm.

      They are only allowed to spy on citizens for very specific reasons that must be brought before a FISA court. There is plenty of evidence the FISA process was abused and FISA judges were intentionally misled. That’s what the IG is currently looking into. He’s not redacting the report because he feels like it- it’s the law.

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/10/2019 - 04:18 pm.

        Back to the same old issue…foreign intelligence intersecting US citizens. it’s already been litigated over and over. Try something else.

      • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/10/2019 - 04:26 pm.

        Too much misinformation here, about the Barr activities hiding from us the full Mueller report. hue is making (in his words, to House Judiciary Committee Chair Nadler) “substantial” redactions to those 400 pages.

        First of all, it takes almost nothing to get a judge to agree to release all the grand jury information in the Mueller report. That’s what was done with Nixon, and with Bill Clinton. Barr has refused even to consider doing that. Why? Most of the “meat” of Muelleer’s work was revealed through close, sworn testimony before his grand juries. Barr is hell-bent on hiding all that from us.

        Second, all counter-intelligence materials in the Mueller investigation can, and must be, revealed to the heads of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Period. no excuse.

        Third, there is no rule at all about hiding the identities of, and the apparent transgressions of, those so-called Third Parties who weren’t indicted by Mueller. That’s Barr’s decision solely. He’s hiding information from us because it reveals the problems with Russia that Trump people have–lots of it, uncovered by independent news sources in the public realm.

        Only some black-outs on on-going investigations can be included in the fourth category that Barr so sanctimoniously states he has to cover up. We’ve seen lots of that, in Mueller’s own court indictments and plea agreements with all the Trump associates who are now in jail, or awaiting jail. Even so, Barr has no right to hide all that from the Congressional committee chairs, or the Gang of Eight that would include Congress in the loop in our growing Trump dictatorship–our lawless presidency.

        What’s problematic is Barr’s stonewalling, his refusal to answer anything about the full Mueller report. And, his admission (to the House committee, yesterday) that he has permitted the White House to know what’s in the full Mueller report. What’s the precedent, and authority, for that?

      • Submitted by Mike Chrun on 04/10/2019 - 04:36 pm.

        Could you cite the “plenty of evidence?” You know, other than repeating what the talking heads on Fox sputter? The FBI knew that the Russians were meddling in the election. It’s their job to find out what was going on. Warrants were sought and issued. You think this lackey doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing when he casually uses “spying” at the same time not providing any basis for using it? Could just call it being irresponsible, but he’s too slimy for that.

        “I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated. And I’m not suggesting that it wasn’t adequately predicated. But I need to explore that.”

        “I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I am saying I am concerned about it and looking into it,” Barr added. “I believe there is a basis for my concern. But I’m not going to discuss the basis.”

        On page one of Trump’s Guiding Principles: when under suspicion, attack and then attack some more.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/11/2019 - 12:27 pm.

        The IG is investigating because Attorney General Barr is Trump’s toady, and Trump wants revenge against those who would dare oppose him.

        • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/11/2019 - 05:25 pm.

          Political opposition is one thing. But if a group of people tried to frame me in order to remove me from office I’d want revenge too. It amazes me how many leftists get indignant when they run into conservatives who actually fight back.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/12/2019 - 09:44 am.

            “But if a group of people tried to frame me in order to remove me from office I’d want revenge too”

            You would think the President of the United States would be above that kind of pettiness, but then again, look at who the President is. Pettiness is his stock in trade.

            • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/12/2019 - 10:50 am.

              This is hilarious. Yet again Republicans are just supposed to turn the other cheek when leftists attack them. Yes it’s petty to expect people to be held accountable when Obama’s national security apparatus is weaponized for political purposes. I guess Democrats were petty when they demanded hearings after Watergate. They really should’ve let it go.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/12/2019 - 11:30 am.

                “Yet again Republicans are just supposed to turn the other cheek when leftists attack them.”

                I don’t suppose it has occurred to you that the purpose of government is not getting revenge, or retaliation? That maintaining the rule of law is a good thing, even if it steps on the toes of Our Beloved Leader?

                There were grounds to investigate President Nixon. That investigation led to his resignation, mooting any question of “revenge.”

                There were grounds to investigate President Clinton. That investigation led to his acquittal, with no retaliation for those who instigated the whole thing.

                There were grounds to investigate President Trump. He claims exoneration, and now seeks to get those who dared put him through this, like some banana republic Caudillo.

                Viva Trump.

      • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/11/2019 - 12:53 pm.

        Barr is not the IG (Inspector General), he’s the AG (Attorney General).

        And we all know, if we’ve followed this at all with an interest in the facts, that the Trump campaign’s repeated and worrisome contacts with the Russians in 2016 and 2016 were discovered through routine surveillance not of Trump, but of the Russians!

        Multiple foreign intelligence services also contacted our intelligence services, with alarming reports they got from THEIR surveillance of the Russians, about multiple, secret contacts the Trump folks were having with Russians.

        This kind of contact between a presidential candidate and the Russians was unprecedented in history, and freaked out U.S. and international intelligence agencies. This was all before the FISA requests to watch Page.

        • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/12/2019 - 10:52 am.

          The fact is vast majority of the contact was initiated by Russians, or FBI informants. It’s almost as though they were trying to bait the Trump campaign….

          • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/12/2019 - 03:46 pm.

            But the Trump campaign folks met those Russian initiatives with enthusiasm. And met with the russians.

            They also, to a man, lied about their contacts with Russians.

            If it was all on the up and up why did they lie? All of them.

  15. Submitted by Tim Smith on 04/10/2019 - 03:33 pm.

    Suffice it to say those on the far left will never be happy with him no matter what he does. They will do whatever it takes to continue their shiny thing aka “squirrel!!” hysteria going for the purposes of their own political power gain.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/10/2019 - 04:21 pm.

      Ahahahaha…TDS…nothing to see here–let’s all move on…

      Oh wait, have we even gotten more than one sentence fragment from the Mueller report yet?

      Thought not.

      But let’s move on.

      • Submitted by Tim Smith on 04/10/2019 - 09:24 pm.

        Predictable self serving irrelevant corner painting by you, no basis in factor procedure, typical dem smear.

      • Submitted by Tim Smith on 04/10/2019 - 09:49 pm.

        Lynch and clinton on tarmac like?

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/11/2019 - 08:15 am.

        No, no need to move on, friend.

        Here’s Barr’s four page summary

        Includes this statement:

        The relevant regulations contemplate that the Special Counsel’s report will be a “confidential report to the Attorney General. See Office of Special Counsel, 64 Fed. Reg. 37,038,2 See A Sitting President’s Amenability to Indictment and Criminal Prosecution, 24 Op. O.L.C. 222 (2000).37,040-41 (July 9, 1999).

        [He’s citing the law that governs his actions, here]

        As I have previously stated, however, I am mindful of the public interest in this matter. For that reason, my goal and intent is to release as much of the Special Counsel’s report as I can consistent with applicable law, regulations, and Departmental policies.

        [He’s spelling out exactly how he intends to comply with the law, and how he intends to satisfy the Democrat House of Reps. The full, redacted report should be ready in time for renewed leftist hair tearing next week]

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/11/2019 - 11:13 am.

          “contemplate” does not mean “require”.
          It’s not a legal term.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/11/2019 - 12:40 pm.

          The summary also contains this item:

          As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

          What do you suppose preceded “[T]he investigation”? Could it be something along the lines of “Although members of the Trump Campaign were aware of ongoing activities by the Russian government to interfere with the election . . .”?

  16. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/10/2019 - 04:58 pm.

    You know, there are some of us that understand the word water can mean many thing’s but one needs to add the descriptor for additional clarification. from this perspective it seems that the “T” crowd has bought into the idea that “T” is selling sewer water in a Perrier bottle, and therefor that makes it Perrier, now they are unable to discriminate between the 2 and get terribly upset when o0ther folks can and won’t accept them at their word! Sorry guys, sewer water in a Perrier bottle is still sewer water.

  17. Submitted by Joe Musich on 04/10/2019 - 07:47 pm.

    According to unverified reports specifically what Mueller team members who seem to be saying off the record it that they prepared public statements to be made upon turning the report over to Barr. They had done the work for him. If true and not one poster here can either prove or disprove those reports. The Barr use of the word exoneration is entirely his. He has even said that. So not having done one piece of investigation on his own one can quite easily conclude he is pushing a political agenda…That agenda does not necessarily have to be what we usually think of as political issues. Things such as how to deal with inequality, government involvement in the economic stimulation, healthcare policy. The political issue at play could be the very definition of the powers of the branches of government. Constitutional structural issues then. Barr clearly has advocated firstly for increased executive power since his ascendency. Certain posters began their grumbling when President Obama took the law into his own hands. Now we have a man in the AG position finding as many ways possible to make that actually happen-a King Postus. Is that what we want ? Or do we only want it for one side of the spectrum should a political spectrum continue to exist.

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/11/2019 - 01:00 pm.

      Barr admitted on April 10 in his congressional testimony that the Mueller team had, indeed, prepared summaries of their work that were intended to be released to the public immediately on Barr’s receipt of the full Mueller report.

      Barr also admitted that he decided to countermand the Mueller team on releasing those summaries.

      Barr also, in his initial four-pager, states the he is quoting directly from the Mueller report on it’s findings that Trump could not be “exonerated” from charges of obstruction of justice. Obstruction, of course, being the charge that got Nixon and that got Bill Clinton.

      I don’t trust Willliam Barr by now.

  18. Submitted by david kemp on 04/11/2019 - 08:51 am.

    I still don’t understand why so many people were compelled to lie to investigators about matters related to the Russians if it’s all very innocently explained. It may be interesting to see what Julian Assange knows. As it appears he’ll soon have more reason to talk to investigators.

  19. Submitted by joe smith on 04/11/2019 - 09:33 am.

    Now the AG Barr has said there was spying from Obama’s Justice Department on Trump campaign, the fun begins. I enjoyed the look on many faces when he calmly said “spying occurred”. Let’s see if the start of the Russian probe had illegal beginnings.
    This simple statement had the Left up in arms. All Americans should be concerned when a political party weaponizes our most powerful agencies (FBI, CIA, IRS) for political purposes.

    • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/11/2019 - 11:20 am.

      As has been said to Trumps so many time “If the Obama JD didn’t do anything wrong then they should welcome an investigation.”

    • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/11/2019 - 12:25 pm.

      At least the Obama JD was able to ruin at least one innocent man:

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/12/2019 - 10:13 am.

        At least the rest of us know that the Mueller investigation was not part of the “Obama JD.”

        • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/12/2019 - 11:15 am.

          Oh here we go again. Who do you think laid the groundwork for the phony “collusion” special counsel investigation?

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/12/2019 - 03:05 pm.

            It must have been Obama, trying to cover up the fact that he is really Barry Soetero, born in Kenya and admitted to college and law school under dubious premises.

            Happy now?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/11/2019 - 12:46 pm.

      “Now the AG Barr has said there was spying from Obama’s Justice Department on Trump campaign, the fun begins.”

      Here’s what he actually said:

      “I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated. And I’m not suggesting that it wasn’t adequately predicated. But I need to explore that.”

      So let’s take the bald assertion by a lickspittle like Barr, and rely on it as proof. Maybe we can destroy a few more careers along the way.

      And, honestly, I don’t see why this would be “fun.” I would think a real patriot would be concerned to see the rule of law upheld, and regard this as a serious matter, rather than a spectacle for his amusement. Then again, we are in the age of Trump.

  20. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/11/2019 - 10:49 am.

    It’s kind of weird to see some Trump supporters here claiming that the report they claim to have exonerated Trump is the product of an diabolical attempt to frame him for something he didn’t do. The clash of incoherent narratives is a sight to see.

    At any rate, I hate to tell Trumpsters this but most of us on the “Left” weren’t expecting THAT much from this Mueller report in the first place. The media is certainly making a big deal out of it, but the rest of just see this as single tread in a large tapestry of a corrupt and criminal regime. The attempt to claim that “lefty’s” are now in some way disarmed is yet another example of a Republican attempt to connect with reality gone wrong. I’m not worried about it, at the end of the day the Mueller Report will have little significance when Trump and Republicans are swept out of power.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/11/2019 - 02:11 pm.

      And the best part is, despite all of the electrons spilled on this issue, no one on this commentary has any idea of what is in the report.

      But, get over it….

  21. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/11/2019 - 11:18 am.

    I don’t believe that Barr said that he had proof that the DOJ in the Obama administration spied (a term usually applied to an action against a foreign power) on the Trump campaign.
    Barr is very good at weasel words.

    • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/11/2019 - 05:22 pm.

      Dude- the FISA court is used to spy on citizens. Pretty well documented that it was done. The issue is wether it was done for political reasons or legitimate reasons. The fact that leftists are seizing on his using of the word “spying” shows their desperation to distract the public from the real issue. Thus far, and perhaps there is more we don’t know, the FISA warrants were obtained using the phony Steele dossier and newspaper articles from reporters based on leaked Steele dossier information. I suppose one could argue that the Steele dossier is evidence of campaign collusion with foreign agents (Russian and former British) but the campaign that colluded in this case was HRC.

      • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/12/2019 - 03:58 pm.

        No, actually the first FISA application for a warrant stemmed from Roger Page’s history as a Russian spy. In New York. In 2013 and after (Page was part of the 2016 Trump campaign). The Steele dossier of raw intellignce data was not the inspiration for it.

        Please note: Some of us try to follow the outlines of right-wing pro-Trump conspiracy theories out there. Those conspirators are the ones who refuse to use the term “surveillance” and pound the erath with the hot term, “spying.”

        Not the left We just reacted to the AG’s thoughtless, biased use of “spying”–the conspirators’ word–to label his “curiosity.”

  22. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/11/2019 - 01:53 pm.

    …I hate to tell Trumpsters this but most of us on the “Left” weren’t expecting THAT much from this Mueller report in the first place.

    Evidently, every other leftist pundit, talking head, activist and psychiatric patient failed to get that memo.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/11/2019 - 07:15 pm.

      While you have seized upon a sentence fragment and made your decision.

      Psychiatric patients might argue your reasoning as being not quite right…

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/12/2019 - 08:50 pm.

        Psychiatric patients might argue your reasoning as being not quite right…

        Well friend, that is something I’m quite used to after having engaged them in debate for as long as I have.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/15/2019 - 08:58 am.

          A man is known by the company he keeps.

          Funny thing, if a liberal referred to rightists in the context of “psychiatric patients,” there would be howls of outrage coming from the right, and a few centrists tut-tutting about how this kind of talk isn’t going to win over the Trump voters. When it comes from the right, a malicious little slur seems to be just par for the course.

          What’s that you say? Leftists have done and said things equally bad?, and it gets ignored? Think that if you like-we all need our coping mechanisms.

  23. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/11/2019 - 07:37 pm.

    Just Amazed, on how the right wingers seem to be upset when the left and center adapt to similar strategies, One would think they would be honored? Fake news, deep state, cover up, Isn’t that what is happening? The incumbent got a cover up artist to work with the deep state he created, to obfuscate any truth, create disinformation and mislead the public, in support of the dictator want-to-be objectives. Dudes you should be celebrating not arguing, folks are playing your Machiavellian game, soon you get your wish with a authoritarian dictatorial leader with 100% disregard for any form of law order, truthfulness, ethics,constitution, etc. crush those lefties! Celebrate your great victory!

    • Submitted by cory johnson on 04/12/2019 - 10:56 am.

      This dictator nonsense only works on fellow leftists. He isn’t doing any more than previous Presidents so please stop the hysteria.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/12/2019 - 01:32 pm.

        Thanks, evidently everything else is accurate. Don’t remember Obama heaping praise on Putin, Kim, Duterte, Xi Jinping, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, etc. for cracking down on their people, killing off the free press, etc. .
        So suspect that one is pretty accurate as well, as mentioned, you guys are getting what you want a trampling of our democracy, disassembly of the governemnt, strongman rule, kick refugees down, big oil and big money rules, trash out the environment/EPA, and on and on, why are you complaining instead of celebrating? .

        • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/12/2019 - 08:53 pm.

          Oddly enough, I clearly remember Obama spending the better part of his first year in office bowing in the presence of, and apologizing to foreign leaders. If he missed a few, I’m sure it wasn’t intentional.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/13/2019 - 08:49 am.

            Well, when you go out and treat others as equals “all men are created equal” read that somewhere, it looks strange to folks that are used to condescending anyone that isn’t like them, think like them, religion like them, skin color like them, etc. So the remark about “apologizing” fits into that dictator style rule the world lexicon. Folks that just hate and defy all that is not like them, they really don’t believe much less practice “all men are created equal” They believe and practice submission of all to their will, whatever it takes, fits the present inhabitant to a “T”, thus supporters believe as well. Thanks for the supporting vision on how the right sees our fellow spaceship earth inhabitants.

          • Submitted by Ed Leitze on 04/13/2019 - 02:16 pm.

            Funny that, treating peers as equals.

            • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/15/2019 - 07:25 am.

              Funny, I don’t recall anyone bowing to Obama. The pecking order was clear to everyone at the time.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/15/2019 - 09:00 am.

              Funny that, following the protocols used in diplomacy.

              It has long been the custom that visitors do not bow to the President of the United States. A certain blowhard now occupying that office may want to change that tradition, and his acolytes will happily take him up on that, but for now, the tradition holds.

              • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/15/2019 - 12:22 pm.

                Obama was not following the diplomatic protocol of America. Our sitting Presidents bow to no one.

                • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/15/2019 - 07:39 pm.

                  Of course, he is emperor of the world, has no equal, just ask him! No such thing as “all men are created equal” in that lexicon. All are and must be lower.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/16/2019 - 09:57 am.

                  When Bush Pere was President, he went to the funeral of Emperor Hirohito. He bowed before his casket.

                  Imagine that: a sitting U.S. President, bowing before the casket of the man in whose name he was shot down and nearly killed. What a sign of weakness, am I right?

      • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/12/2019 - 04:07 pm.

        Trump’s refusal to obey the law is what dictators do–they think they are the law, or are above the law (Trump thinks he can kill someone on Fifth Ave. in New York and get away with it). He ignores court orders. He commands that border agents disobey the law (his latest visit to the southern border, a quote), the says he’ll pardon them if their breaking the law at his command gets them to jail. He ignores Congressional refusal to give him money for His Wall, and takes it illegally from other agencies Congress allotted it to (like the military). He despises the fact that Congress is a separate and equal branch of government.

        He refers to his idea that the military, all law enforcement, even “bikers” and other roughs are on his team, and that he can command them to violence if he wants to. Dictatorial behavior and mind-set.

        He ignores the U. S. Constitution. Pretty much a guy who thinks he should be dictator, and is pushing the envelop of American institutions, to see if they’ll hold our country together or if he can tell “[his] people” in government what to do and when.

  24. Submitted by cory johnson on 04/14/2019 - 08:19 am.

    There are grounds to investigate those who initiated the surveillance of the Trump campaign. If they broke the law they should be held accountable. I’d prefer the FISA process not be abused in the future. Considering the increasingly vicious and baseless attacks on Republicans leftists need to be taught that actions have consequences.

    • Submitted by Ed Leitze on 04/14/2019 - 07:26 pm.

      FISA insinuations aside, after a rereading of these posts, the only one calling for retribution is you

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/15/2019 - 07:34 am.

        Wha? He’s speaking of justice, you and only you spoke of retribution, friend.

        Personally, I’d like to see a little contrition on the part of the last President and his functionaries, but I suppose we’ll all have to settle for punishment.

        For folks so twisted up over collusion, leftists are embarrassingly eager to overlook it when it involves the very top of their leadership and senior officers of our own civilian intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

        • Submitted by Ed Leitze on 04/15/2019 - 02:02 pm.

          Mr Senker,
          I was about to reply to your response.
          On the way I saw the pics Notre Dame burning.
          I can’t.
          My heart is in my bowels, I’m openly weeping for a place that so Awed me.
          You win

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/16/2019 - 09:59 am.

          “Personally, I’d like to see a little contrition on the part of the last President and his functionaries, but I suppose we’ll all have to settle for punishment.”

          Why do conservatives even bother talking about the Constitution?

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