Waiting for the Mueller Report and Its Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Redactions

As I write, we have seen the morning Barr show but have not yet seen the report—that would be the one with the itsy, bitsy, teeny, weenie redactions.

A Good Lawyer Making a Bad Case

The Barr performance this morning was that of a good trial lawyer making an opening statement to the judge and jury, with respect to a very bad case.

The Theology of Conspiracy

I was an antitrust lawyer, so inevitably that’s one of the perspectives I bring to the situation. In antitrust, we were forever dealing with complicated, messy, ambiguous fact patterns and deciding whether those complicated fact patterns should or should not be called a conspiracy. To that end, we applied legal criteria—legal criteria that are, themselves, the subject of much legal debate and “refined” analysis.

Having that perspective, I wait to see what legal criteria Mueller employed to look at a complicated fact pattern and find insufficient evidence of an illegal conspiracy. I can guess and speculate, but of course I won’t, especially at this hour.

A Man is Presumed to Intend the Natural Consequences of His Acts

Applying this well known legal maxim, one thing we can say for sure is that William Barr has acted in a way calculated to generate many, many headlines proclaiming that he has joined the Cult of Trump and become the complete toady.

William Barr knows that his conduct is generating these sorts of headlines.

Therefore William Barr intends that these sorts of headlines will be generated.

If it Walks Like a Duck and Talks Like a Duck …

Or, to change the metaphor, if it looks like a strawberry shortcake and smells like a strawberry shortcake and tastes like a strawberry shortcake, then it’s very probably a strawberry shortcake.

Therefore, it’s entirely understandable that if Bill Barr walks like a Trump toady and talks like a Trump toady, then he’s really a Trump toady.

I still don’t believe the act, though the acting is really good, and the act is becoming more convincing. Maybe even good enough to yank the wool over the Trumpster’s eyes, if such is the intent.

Is He an Actual Toady, or Does He Just Play One on TV?

Generally, it’s a sign of insanity when you see a pattern that has eluded every smart person in the world but yourself. So if you detect a sign of insanity in me, that’s fine. But I still see what I see.

Among the commentariat, the consternation and puzzlement over Barr’s toadying behavior grows from day to day. See supra.

Right now, folks are perseverating, bigly, on how much Barr is going to redact from the Mueller report. The question is important, and the perseveration is understandable.

But as important as the coming redactions may be, of equally great importance is what part of the Mueller report will NOT be redacted. What will we see? And how bad will it be for Trump?

So, here is what I think may have happened. I think Trump got wind of what the redacted Mueller report will look like. I think he threatened to fire Barr’s sorry ass on twitter, and that right speedily, unless Barr would gin up some headlines about the purportedly rotten oranges of the Mueller report. Thus, when the redacted but still bad report comes out, Trump and his minions will be able to jump up and down with distracting claims about rotten oranges.

And I think Barr did what he had to do.

As you know, I also think Barr came back to Washington to do an as yet unidentified Task X. Barr would have known that he had no hope in hell of accomplishing Task X without sticking around for some months. And you cannot stick around Trump for some months without your reputation going to hell.

Sometimes, to get the job done, a good lawyer has to take a bullet.