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Attorney General: Trump’s critics, not Trump, are ‘shredding our norms and our institutions’

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Which is exactly what the treasonous Democrats want to do – shred our norms and institutions.

William Barr: Trump’s critics, not Trump, are ‘shredding our norms and our institutions’

Attorney General William Barr blamed President Trump’s political rivals for “shredding our institutions,” dismissing critics who argue the commander in chief is to blame for a lack of normalcy.

Soon after gaining new powers to declassify documents in his review of the origins of the Russia investigation, Barr told CBS that Trump’s naysayers clamoring for the takedown of a democratically elected president are the true disrupters.

“I think it’s important that we not, in this period of intense partisan feeling, destroy our institutions. I think one of the ironies today is that people are saying that it’s President Trump that’s shredding our institutions. I really see no evidence of that,” Barr said in an interview that aired Friday. “From my perspective, the idea of resisting a democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him and, you know, really changing the norms on the grounds that we have to stop this president, that is where the shredding of our norms and our institutions is occurring.

Ever since he took office, a common refrain for Trump’s critics is “This is not normal,” referring to the president’s free-wheeling governing style and confrontational demeanor. Talk of resistance among federal officials against the president has become a well-worn theme.

Special counsel Robert Mueller was unable to find criminal conspiracy by Trump’s campaign, but refused to clear Trump of obstruction in his 22-month Russia investigation, and rank-and-file Democrats and 2020 presidential candidates have escalated calls for impeachment proceedings against Trump. Even a hesitant House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., acknowledged, “Nothing is off the table.” And those Democrats have received a boost from the people at the center of Barr and DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s inquiries, who are rattling off about Trump. Former FBI Director James Comey called the president “a liar who doesn’t care what damage he does to vital institutions” in a Washington Post op-ed. Former CIA Director John Brennan argued Mueller’s public address on Wednesday amplifies “cry for impeachment.”

Barr is now engaged in an effort to “investigate the investigators” and has acknowledged there was suspicious behavior by top officials in charge of intelligence and examining ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, including Comey, Brennan, and ex-FBI special agent Peter Strzok, who exchanged anti-Trump text messages with a colleague.

Trump has accused Comey, who oversaw the beginning of the counterintelligence investigation into his 2016 campaign, of committing “treason,” a crime that is punishable by death in the U.S. Barr said he disagrees with Trump’s “treason” accusation as a legal matter.

[Related: James Comey: Trump’s treason talk is a ‘dumb lie’]

Although GOP investigators have high hopes for uncovering a deep net of high-ranking officials who sought to undermine Trump, expecting charges for crimes lesser than treason, Barr warned his findings might not be so clear-cut, as it can be difficult to determine motives.

“When you’re dealing with official government contact, intent is frequently a murky issue,” Barr said. “I’m not suggesting that people did what they did necessarily because of conscious, nefarious motives. Sometimes people can convince themselves that what they’re doing is in the higher interest, the better good. They don’t realize that what they’re doing is really antithetical to the democratic system that we have. They start viewing themselves as the guardians of the people that are more informed and insensitive than everybody else. They can, in their own mind, they can have those kinds of motives. And sometimes they can look at evidence and facts through a biased prism that they themselves don’t realize.”

“That something objectively as applied as a neutral principle across the board really you know, shouldn’t be the standard used in the case but because they have a particular bias they don’t see that,” he added. “So that’s why procedures and standards are important, and review afterward is an important way of making sure that government power is being conscientiously and properly applied. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there are people, you know, that people have crossed lines have done so with corrupt intent or anything like that.”

Asked about the text messages from Strzok, who was the lead investigator of the Hillary Clinton emails inquiry and opened the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in the summer of 2016, Barr admitted it is difficult not to think there was bias.

But he suggested that if the same discussions were being had about President Barack Obama, then the situation would be viewed from a different lens.

“I think if the shoe was on the other foot, we could be hearing a lot about it. If those kinds of discussions were held, you know when Obama first ran for office, people talking about Obama in those tones and suggesting that ‘Oh that he might be a Manchurian candidate for Islam or something like that,’ you know some wild accusations like that, and you had that kind of discussion back and forth, you don’t think we would be hearing a lot more about it?” Barr said.

 

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