Criminal Justice & the Rule of Law

Bill Barr’s Low Moment

Benjamin Wittes
Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 11:42 PM

Attorney General Bill Barr’s statements today on supposed “spying” by the FBI on the Trump campaign before the Senate Committee on Appropriations were indefensible. They were at once indecipherable and contentless, on the one hand, and incendiary, on the other hand.

Bill Barr is sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts. (Photo: Department of Justice)

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Attorney General Bill Barr’s statements today on supposed “spying” by the FBI on the Trump campaign before the Senate Committee on Appropriations were indefensible. They were at once indecipherable and contentless, on the one hand, and incendiary, on the other hand.


I am not one of the many people looking to think ill of Barr. Indeed, I have taken a lot of heat recently for being willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on the specific issue of his production of a redacted version of the Mueller report. That said, his comments today were reckless. They will play into gross conspiracy theories. They are also unfair to the individuals who Barr suggested had engaged in some sort of unspecified wrongdoing.


Here are the comments themselves:



Benjamin Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of several books.

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