On Saturday, we talked at length about the extent to which the Donald Trump’s legal problems will not end with the conclusion of the Mueller probe. Here, for those who missed it, was the key line from that post:
It is entirely possible that the Mueller probe itself will not end up being the worst of Trump’s legal problems. Rather, the multitude of state charges and parallel probes the special counsel investigation has spawned seem far more likely to haunt him for his remaining years.
Long story short, Trump’s decision to seek (and ultimately find) the presidency has doomed him to spend the rest of his days fighting to exonerate himself, his family, his associates and his businesses. Fair or not, that’s the reality of the situation. The Trump “brand” will never be the same. Generations of Trumps will be burdened by the legal fallout from this presidency.
All of that said, Democrats on the Hill will not be content in the idea that legacy legal issues will haunt Trump’s children’s children’s children. They (Democrats) will move heaven and earth to ensure that the Mueller report itself isn’t swept under the rug by William Barr who, according to some reports (since refuted), will receive the special counsel’s conclusions as early as next week.
To be clear (and it’s important to add this caveat), Barr isn’t Matt Whitaker. Yes, ol’ Bill wrote a memo to Rod Rosenstein criticizing Mueller’s obstruction case. And yes, Barr’s history with special counsels is dubious, to say the least. And finally, yes, he does harbor a rather expansive interpretation of executive power. But he has a personal relationship with Mueller and beyond that, he’s not likely to sacrifice his entire life in the service of protecting Donald Trump.
But that doesn’t mean he’s committed to full transparency when it comes to the Mueller report, especially if there’s a solid legal argument for keeping parts of it away from the public or Congress. His confirmation hearing (and subsequent written answers to questions from lawmakers) made it clear that his commitment to releasing the report was contingent on a number of things, all of which are likely to be relevant.
Well, suffice to say that if Barr does decide to be evasive or otherwise does anything that even smells of a coverup, Adam Schiff is prepared to subpoena the report, call Robert Mueller to testify and, if necessary, sue.
Here’s what Schiff told George Stephanopoulos on Sunday:
Again, Schiff will “obviously” subpoena the report and he will bring Mueller in to testify and if all of that doesn’t do the trick, he’ll sue.
And while Barr has denied that his memo to Rosenstein was a “job application” of sorts (as Democrats contend), Schiff is correct to say that the optics are not great. Between that memo and his history with special counsels, even the perception that Barr is attempting to bury the report would be enough to raise red flags. Additionally – and this is what we were alluding to above – none of that is lost on Barr. If Trump thinks Barr is going to be willing to go down in the history books as the man who helped cover up an investigation into possible treason, the president is probably mistaken.
To be honest, it’s not clear Trump does think that. Rather, it seems more likely that Barr was the most credible person the administration could find who also boasted a “resume” that tipped an inclination to side with the executive in these types of cases.
In any event, Schiff has just served notice that one way or another, he intends to get this report out to the public. Of course he needn’t worry. As we mentioned earlier this week, it’s going to leak anyway.
Finally, we’d be remiss not to mention that at least some of this acrimony could have been avoided had Devin Nunes not made it his life’s mission to humiliate Schiff last year during “memo gate” and had Trump not decided to call call Schiff “sh*t” on Twitter.