In the beginning moments of Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Chairman Lindsey Graham ill advisedly let it be known that he had read most, but not all, of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. As if that news weren’t stunning enough, later in the hearing, Attorney General William Barr upped the ante when he admitted that he, too, hasn’t read the entire report.
While that may strike most as unbelievable, it only became more evident as the hearing went on. Later, when Senator Ben Sasse began speaking and mentioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska by name, an individual well known in Mueller’s probe thanks to his relationship with Paul Manafort, Barr claimed he didn’t know of Deripaska. Then, when Konstantin Kilimnik’s name was mentioned, an alleged Russian spy named in the Mueller report as the recipient of the Trump campaign’s internal data, Barr appeared to be caught off guard.
Unfortunately for Barr, it continued to get even worse. At one point Senator Kamala Harris was able to get Barr to admit that he hadn’t reviewed the underlying evidence in the Mueller probe before he reached the decision that Trump didn’t commit obstruction of justice.
Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up, folks. I suppose it’s possible that Barr was simply playing dumb about what’s in the Mueller report, but the longer the hearing went on, the more convincing it became he must not have read it. For his sake, I hope he didn’t read it. Otherwise, Barr’s intentional misleading could result in perjury charges.