tv Elie Honig Hatchet Man - How Bill Barr Broke the Prosecutors Code and... CSPAN October 18, 2022 6:02pm-7:03pm EDT
of politics and press my wife lissa muscatine. we are here with sub routine to talk about his new book "hatchet man" how bill barr broke the prosecutor's code and corrupted the justice department. it coupleen of brief housekeepig notes first post a question at any point click on the q&a icon at the bottom of your screen. in the chat you'll find at place to purchase copies of "hatchet man." the key thing to know the aspect of i his background he highlighs in his book is his experience as a prosecutor. he served 14 years as one based at the federal level in the southern district of new york n from 2004 to 2012 and at the state level in the new jersey division of criminal justice from 2012 to 2016. these days he serves as a legal analyst for "cnn" writes columns
and host podcasts and he works for special counsel at a law firm advising on investigations and trial strategies. it's his time as a prosecutor that he draws on for his book using stories from that era to talk about lessons he learned about the principals of law enforcement. lessons that he says he should have learned had he been a prosecutor.cu to say elie performed as attorney general is an understatement. elie is charged with -- imposing his own legal and philosophical views of how civil society ought to function. that's just in the opening pages of "hatchet man."
a conference of indictment of barr's's indictment and describe the book as a convincing account. on a more forward-looking note elie do with this book with suggestions for post-barr reform which i'm sure he will get to in a minute. elie moving conversation with omar jimenez a "cnn" correspondent based in chicago. elie and omar and the floor is yours. >> thank you. it are t shaded and elie great o see you. elie, great to see you. >> thank you. we have never met in. person but we become fast friends plate coveringie abound and thing would you hearing and what you think of this? i think you are such a talented
person and he stuck with my classes and connected so well so thanks for doing that. >> thanks for having me and for. everyone that's here i am in this conversation mainly because it's rare that you have a book that of course is a text cover to cover but also continues into the world as we move forward in the a very relevant form and bil barr continues after his time as attorney general and after elie's great look "hatchet man. i love it in one of things i want to start with has to do less with the news cycle and more about the style and the approach you had in telling the story. a lot of it is woven into anecdotes as your time is prosecutor.
mainly about how lessons he learned as a prosecutor were blatantly disregarded in bill barr at performing as attorney general so tell me where did the idea come from and tell the story. >> i will take credit for that particular approach. he a came to me and said we thik you'd be a good person to write about it. the way like to do it is tell the story from my time as ase prosecutor and then drying out or to call the prosecutor's core and tie that to -- in my editor said all right right a couple chapters will see all o looks.
in two senses he said i blanking love it keep on doing what you are doing. first of all is that it's entertaining. what happens behind closed doors of the southern district of new york and i tell a lot of stories about my trials but the other thing is it really serves to underscore one of the theamental points i make in book. i'm on the one of two in history tors service attorney general twice. it was 1991 to 1993 under george h.w. bush. but the man never tried a case as a prosecutor and never worked in the u.s. office and never had the upbringing that i have worth of values, the core values of the justice department which we'll talk about.
which you never lie or stretcher credibility and never be sacrificed. he was never made to run most lessons and he trashed those norms and those principals. that's what inspired me to write this book. i thought i could make it more real for the viewers. >> i can tell you as someone who's not with a prosecutorial background that was very trusting and compelling and i've learned so many terms. just going around u.s. attorneys offices that one of my favorite persecutor crossovers is camet from the chapter and all. a little bit of it. the premise of that was about when the body was being dug up
and avalon?? >> avalon massachusetts. >> sorry to anyone who might be watching but it was about the fact that it seems like an exciting thing toin do that you have someone to tell you the location of the body that's been buried foror years and your role as a prosecutor he wrote specifically a bird a -- a good prosecutor knows how to resist that impulse. not a or a forensic anthropologist. you are prosecutor know your role and bill barr never learned that lesson then you exemplify what have been lafayette park when protesters were cleared out. tell me about that dynamic in that relationship in particularr why you felt that relationship was so strong and why you felt bill barr never learned that lesson is you did? >> the avalon story was a mophie case to prosecute where we
charge up into guys with a murder in springfield massachusetts. home of the basketball hall of fame if anybody's been there. one of the guys flips and comes in and tells us and i read about this in the book and i hope we get this right but he said he gives us a name. the fbi agent said oh my that's both guys been missing for years. he said i can show you where. so wee had to get it ready for the fbi did come with the jackets in the backhoe and me and other prosecutors are likely should go. we should go. we wanted to go because it sounded so exciting but we knew in our heart of hearts that was the wrong thing for prosecutor to do for a variety of reasons. most important is you can make
yourself awareness if you're at a crime scene you see something and drop the case and i know the in tvv shows. you do have a lot of powers a prosecutor but you are not in fbi agent or forensic expert so we did the right thing. everybody remembers this incident when the protest is happening around the country and protesters outside the white house and you probably remember the scene where bill barr is an business casual note type walks out after meeting at the white house and gifts in order to someone andhi says something to one of the commanders and they clear out the place using all sorts of of over-the-top force and pepper spray on the assembled crowd. my criticism is thatat it's beyd
his area of expertise. guess he has the attorney general and yes he has the power to do whatever he wants but he overstepped it. i poke fun at them lately because --. immediately it's come out a couple weeks ago where the department said this o wasn't planned by donald trump however it ties directly in order to clear the place so bill barr thinks he'll be exonerated. the report said what bill barr said that a person was are these people still going to be here when the president comes out and couple of minutes? when the attorney general says that in the present walks and i think it's fair to blame him. that's one of the anecdotes but to me that simplifies the
arrogance of bill barr in his lack of humility which i talk about a lot. it's a painful learning process that i had to go through that i talk about in the book. >> no one of the things that strikes me is that we are in the midst of the de smet -- disinformation battle. really concerted efforts to throw off what should the plane information. maybe no more so singly as it laid out than where you talked about the mueller report. especially in d.c. history with regard to politics and specifically talking aboutcs comparisons between the mueller report and the bill barr four page summary that came out after that. i just want to read a tiny quote and how you describe that.
you describe it as the powerfully dishonest document and history should remember it as the moment when he first subordinated the justice department to the presence needs. why did this moment stick out in your mind? >> this was bill barr's original sin in my view. before his nomination about five months before it became obvious jeff sessions was going to get tossed at which he did after the midterms. an unsolicited 19 page memo where hehe lays out to the white house by mueller's investigation of bill barr's is -- so bill barr says i'm going to kill this case and that's exactly what he did. it's so and so dishonest. so the timeline. bill barr is basically the first
person outside off mueller's tem on a friday night i remember "cnn" where we just did this happening march 22. two days later sunday night bill barr issues ail four-page lette. whe and his supporters say it wasn't a summary like that helps him. you can call it what it wants but it's a four-page accounting and is so powerfully dishonest. he leaves out all this stuffa, about how russia and one of the things bill barr cuts a sense of how thin the bridge the backend of the sentence but it cuts out the first half that russia committed crimes in different 2016. the trump campaign knew about this and expected to benefit from it and had dozens of dozens of contacts who are to coordinate and facilitate on it.
that is powerfully dishonest. and to only give us the back half, if i tried that as the prosecutor the judge would tear my head off greatly so. that would be outrageous. you would be fired if you try that y as a prosecutor and theni fold molar for not exceeding on obstruction of justice. but he never said and therefore if lined. he said under the policy can't charge him and i don't want to sully his reputation sullied -- leave it to others. he jumped to the tray instead he left it to me into this day day's bill barr is never substandard plays determined tht on prosecutors assert under -- so that was. here's something that was so
manipulative and. bill barr to two days to read a report and you remember how long bill barr held onto that h repot in tucked it away from the public and congress? 27 daysn and during that key 27 day period the narrative was gone. all of trump's followers said he's exonerated no obstruction and days later everyone's opinions were crystallized and he said he had to redact it and cross out things. i've done it and it takes a little bit of time but you can't command the entire power of doj. by the way the federal judge found it was a bogus pretext and he didn't even redact it properly. that is so manipulative and even
he gave bill barr summaries that they are described. bill barr could have put those out day one. so to remind her how manipulative he was. >> on thatas particular front trump seem to be very goodes ase know and the book lays out he was able to turn a lot of these controversies on their heads. the mueller report became the russia gate witchhunt and in campaign rallies and slogans and so on and so forth. so to borrow your prosecutorial antic. you use a lot of force. if trump is the head of the campaign where does barr fit into this metaphor?
>> ps to be the consiglio air. it's what it translates as an a force are as well. doesn't just give trump advice he carries out some of the various deeds that trump has for him. he said i never spoke with the president about it. president trump's tweeting the very next f day. and look at the roger stone case. roger stone's recommendation comes out from prosecutors. that night donald trump tweets this is not reached and this is a miscarriage of justice and hours later he took the unprecedented step and resigned from the i case and then bill br said i never saw the president's
weight. like the best boxes -- bosses he has an understanding they get into a flow. there is an explicit coordination w between the two. that's the closest analogy i can make to thee mob world and the relationship. >> one of the things they don't want to give away too much so i'm going to stop from pulling too many excerpts that again parter of why i like this book o much is that you see a lot of the current news cycle in the current world and the capsule of the bill barr reign as attorney
general during the trump years. one of the more pertinent news stories that have come out and i'm imagining since you wrote this book was part of the eg peril saga. she accused president trump of the rape during his administration and there was a question over whether that defense would still hold up even though president trump new administration was coming and even though federal court said this is essentially bogus. the merrick garland administration said well because this happened during trump's administration we are going to take this up. the biden administration defending president trump. what does that say to you? >> i've been critical of merrick garland's decision. i'm very critical in the book. dubill barr's determination when trump came to the justice department said i wanted to represent in this matter, his determination. way was explained as a
prosecutor you invited somebody because of something you said in court you are governed by doj. bill barr determined donald trump's comments about the defense was within the scope of the presidency. i was very outspoken that he was a fully wrong while the president had abroad job description i can't be part of it. i felt vindicated months later when the federal judge who i appeared in front of took the same position and he said no, you can't. you can't possibly be within the scope of the president to defend
somebody who was accused of sexual assault. the doj appealed. they decide they are going to continue the appeal. i think that was wrong and merit arlen to miss an opportunity to say we are different. we are doing things this way. we are stretching this extreme in order to protect donald trump. i think the goal of that as he seems to be searching for the path of least resistance the path of least political turbulence. to make his beliefs as possible and make as few fights as possible. i think he needs to more affirmatively and aggressively undo them and not all of them can be undone but the abuses of
the administration. we'll see how comes out on appeal but i think it's a missed opportunity by merrickck garlan. >> i believe you put out an op-ed may be within hours of that decision. >> i was on it. one of the other things i wanted to talk about him as they did with this concept of an endgame. the trump administration officials are toward the end of their time in the administration or after they resigned they say all along i pushed internally and you didn't see it. one of the interesting things is after president trump lost the election and it was clear that he had lost especially in the weeks after it seemed bill barr was changing his tune and
going -- not going along with theid president. specifically we have spoken about bill barr being in the news and there was an article where he was quoted maca saying i had suspicions all along that donald trump's claims of voter fraud were quote despite act in the opposite. my question to you is you initially you in this book that it's too late for that. why is it too late and what can we do if anything? >> i don't criticizeck everythig bill barr. in the book and mother things that was the right thing to do was when finally belatedly and what he did at december 1 2020 he said we could justice department have downed no
evidence of election fraud. it's clear to any rational sane non-rudy giuliani person that his days are numbered in office and t let's remember the famous quote of bill barr when he was asked about michael flynn he did a slight shuffle. he's not going to be writing a history napley is trying to salvage any reputation ande avod being put in with rudy giuliani. the problem with bill barr's rehab tour i talk about that in bill barrey tells the story abot i don't know what happened
behind closed doors but the problem is the article completely omits and we can't forget the months leading up to the election bill barr is one of the biggest cheerleaders for the election fraud conspiracy theory. he was one of the biggest slanders perpetrators amplifiers at the deadline back. i'll give you quickly didn't interview with npr where he talked about the massive threat of fraud and by the way i talked about shortly after downturn started tweeting everyday bill barr picks it up. he talks about the threat and wrote an article shortly after entitled we allow the attorney general to give false hoods on air. i quote and my favorite they were just on npr. i love that.
congress calls them out what is your proof? he said i have none but it's just common sense. if i made this assertion in court and the judge said how do you know that? your honor i it's just obvious. and so three instances and others again first impressions are so powerful. he's out there using doj's seal and is it letter that he took the back later? yes it is but it did so much damage with what he did early on by the way post q&a if people have questions post them in the
q&a and in the last 20 minutes or so will do q&a. >> what two questions in five or six minutes. we will start rattling them off. >> this one is pushing the ball forward. obviously one of the major events that i'm sure you've written about extensively came on january 6 on insurrection day at the u.s. capital. aobviously we have seen hundres of indictment after what happened at the capitol and blame president trump and others that were involved that day and even bill barr at this point notably after being out of the administration said he committed
the trail of his office. .. and unwilling, he crossed an awful lot of lines, blinds thati would never thought i would never seen an attorney general crossed but not everyone freedom willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and that he would've done the right thing and certainly not disappeared i think attorney general has a job to get in touch with the president -like allowed people urging him to do. issuing unequivocal statement to call this thing off. some of the blame for generally six sits on bill barr. in two under his danger level. unlike some the obvious firebrands the rudi's, the donald trump juniors are out there yelling to the crowd from either other context was very
aggressive. soft-spoken manner, supported the veteran lawyer. he is notr. a bomb thrower. but because he carried the weight of the justice department behind what he was doing and hea was so devious patent digs things under the demeanor of intellectualism, a lot of what he did was even more dangerous than the unhinged rhetoric to hear from some of the more visible truck supporters. >> of course. he's working and he wheeled it up position much more powerful. with that last wasn't going to ask you before we get into these questions will serve questions after this one, we have seen the impact of bill barr on the justice department. the question came from the truma
administration what is a blip in history? my question is, how did bill barr impact the justice department as a whole? do you think's impact is permanent or already something in your view we are clawing our way out of it. >> of my hopes in admonitions at the end his future attorneys a general look at what bill barr did in seiji that is not exactly the right way to do things. that's not moral or properer unr prop prosecutorial principles. it was beneficial to him and it was beneficial to the president. a lot of what has to happen is we just need better people int these jobs. one thing is stress in this book is there's two ways to look at there's the word of the laws say i offer up at the end of the
book nine policy prescriptions or illegal things that need to be changed to prevent a future ag from going down the same roadom on committing some the same transgressions bill barr committed. the other thing is the d.o.j. has to get back to whatac he called the prosecutors code. all of us unwritten rules those norms and ethics bill barth never understood never learned because he was never a trial prosecutor. and in some instances you rsrealize prosecutors and i was told this very early, i experienced it. prosecutors are giving a staggering amount of power. he relates i started when i was 29 years old as a prosecutor. at that point i had the power to take away liberty from a human being by doing that to destroy families and finances and businesses and relationships. you learn that when you're in the trenton's. when you're in a t sentencing somebody has their kids there. you realize how much power you have wepe learned to respect tht
and gain some humility. bill barth never had that party ever had to stand face-to-face with witnesses, with defendants, with lawyers, judges. he approaches job at the right lack of humility. on the exemption prosecutors on power's integrity and principles of the people who have those jobs. one encouraging sign that i am seeing with american garland they do seem to be observing a very strict separation between d.o.j. and the whitear house. i think that's absolutely necessary but i'll give you one example just recently that a cup a month or so when they did the search of rudy giuliani's there is a report biting white house was ticked off because that night wasas abide in the first joint address of congress breed they wanted be a big moment but a big check of the news media was diverted to this sensational. great saw that so i thought good, good that's exactly how it should be. the last thing d.o.j. should be
doing is calling the white house as a guys were going to do a big thing today that might takes immediate sensory cool with that? you must hold off? i was glad to see the biting white house was ticked off at that is because that is how it should be. there should be no communication regarding the prosecutorial function of d.o.j. prey m encourage we are making progress amount level but we need policy changes well. >> want to get to some of the viewer questions don't freak out i'm going to use your first name. if he did want to use your first or last name but that in the question. i do not want to say a random user said this. to start, eleanor you're going to get t us started. it beat ag decided to continue this to try to establish the legal limits how broad the presence responsibilities are to happen lose a case. is that a legal strategy that
makes sense to you as part of a prostitute strategy question request it's an interesting question when i heard quite a bit. i do not think so. you have a duty as a prosecutor if you are going to pursue a case. as with any wire to pursue it vigorously present ethical or prosecutors i want to bring this case up so i can lose it. now it is possible a little bit of a variation on that that american garland said let's get a little more definitive guidance from the court. we have a district court ruling which is a trial level corporate me for bring up the court of appeals will have a little bit more definitive nest about where that light is and whether this falls on one side of mine or the other. that could have been a motivation of garlands. that's really closer to it eleanor is asking their parent think that is possible. what he don't think is the case is a more extreme version of that producing some people posit girls doing this because he wants to lose to get a second circuit ruling. if he didn't appeal the case would be over we have judge
kaplan's ruling. not as a powerful court of appeal ruling. but that's possible that's a good thought. part of the questions i want to go to next is from rj. over at abc news. that's where this claims about oh, i didn't think these voter fraud claims were real all along came about. his question is why do you believe he's trying to rewrite history? do you believe he has a future in the future republican administration? >> i think is trying to rewrite history it was to preserve, his legacy, his standing in polite society. bill barr by the way is very image-conscious. he puts on this whole i don't really read the papers during confirmation to put this i don't want this job. there's plenty of evidence out these very image-conscious including with the folks i know who know him.
he will let talk to the media. he knows about my book andws hes not happy which i take it as a good sign. so if you look at that atlantic article it is so one sided it leaves out the whole six months that bill barr was fanning the flames. as i was reading at the day it came out i said this is interesting. i kept scrolling down sink when is he going to come up with the mealy mouth when i said the things npr went i said those things to congress i really didn't mean this i meant it only this narrow way. or even for him to acknowledge i said some things before that turned out to be wrong but when i release they were wrong i collectedea it. i would've been okay with that i would have given them partial credit for that. it is nowhere to be seen in this article. i did not go to journalism school and not exactly sure how you ask him that as they reported there. he is presenting us only that
little sliver of the story that is good for him. there's no other reason for him to do this other than try to preserve his own image. one other thing missing was the postscript. he had a moment of courage on december 1 he said there's no evidence of voter fraud. and then he again in his resignation letter which is this a gross of fawning owed to donald trump and the grades of donald trump. he goes out of his way to say dear mr. president i just consulted with you in the white house. it was a pleasure to advise you that were still investigating the possibility of election fraud. leading that door open. none of donald trump that no he said they're still looking, they are still looking. he did them a favor on the way out. he undermined his own one brief moment of courage. it seems to be very clear the bar did not care but its reputation is like this record could stand on its own but woe to of his way to talk to john carl and give us very incomplete
similar to what he did with the mueller reports prey to the one sliver that was good for whatever position he wanted and he tried to omit the huge body of evidence that went the other way. but the difference is unlikely mueller report he said all the sinks into a microphone on camera we can and should call him out. >> filed the pattern of a lot of former and trump officials who again at the end of their tenure or just after they're done saying you know what i'm going to try to get from this and restart my career. >> another part of that question i don't think he has any aspirations to work in another administration. i think he's about 72 years old now i'm not mistaken. he's made a fortune by the way we dug this up in our research. he was worth at least $40 million when he became ag for the second time pretty set financially think he wants to save his reputation, who would it? we don't have to buy it. ask you brought back again he
served under multiple and you brought under sondra is that bart was ag unders bush. he less about him, why and how did he change? >> we know far less about him. during his first tenure is major controversy he was involved in was departing through the iran-contra defendant. it was a bit of foreshadowing he let off these people who could have potentially flipped or harm the president or vice president in that case. it iss interesting. i think the general tenure of our politics change in those 25 years between 1993 in 2018. what from trump is him too much more extreme version of protect yourself, attack everyone else, and to justify the memes type of politics. think bar is on board for that. in the book i talk about the big question, why?
why did bill barr with this job? he had plenty of money andrm sadness confirmation semi retired and want to spend time with my grandchildren. i came up with three reasons but one of his power the had been out of the public eye and not a politically powerful portion for 25 years but is intoxicating, people in power. that.s nothing wrong with i don't have a probit that the second -- but let's not bey misled by i don't need this stuff. the man saw power and he auditioned for it and he got it. the second thing is bill barr has long had an extreme view of the law but most of the call gthat unitary the president stands alone on a political system. bill barr push that so far he lost consulate in the courts could use constantly arguing the present is entirely above the law by going to court and drying them past the election or until they wenthi away.
the third thing this was an aha moment that we had in researching this book, bill barr is what i call a culture warrior. not just a deeply religious person, that issus fine.t he saw it as his ultimate goal to bring it back to our government. back to her public life. how do i know that? he gave a little hint of it in a speech he made very late in his tenure and it turned some heads he was talking about the role but we dug up a bunch of speeches and articles he had given in the '90s. he says shocking and alarming things. it is good that the only true organizing principle for our laws and our country is religiosity. and dale christian. and secularism non- religious government that is the source of evil. bart wrote one of his papers and i quote god's law.
he decried bigotry against catholics. and he writes this, we are being pushed steadily off the battlefield or have been for the last few decades but occasionally we are jabbing back as we w backpedal off the field. here's the real kicker. herhe larger strategy for preserving the church and seeing it prevail, probably get on the battlefield? militaristic terms the church must prevail. he would go on and otherai writings to rail against what he called social pathologies including and i quote the homosexual movement which he blamed and militant secularism he blamed for all the ills in society homelessness, depression, mental illness, increase in violence. as to quote him again freeta governments only suitable and sustainable for a religious people again this is outrageous
stuff. to bring into your public life free government is only suitable and sustainable for religious people and judeo-christian moral standards are the ultimate utilitarian rules for human conduct. that to me is what ultimately drove bill barr. he sees this asve a battle. it is his own words the church needs to have a strategy for retaking its power away from the secular listed. away from the homosexual movement as he put it. away from the militant i secularists. and this is his last shot. i think he was willing to do anything to make that happen. it's important to know he not or has never been a member at the rumor he's a member of this group i say in the book that is not true. he is however a true culture warrior. >> i think this question goes along well it comes from dorian who says in your opinion what was barr's motivation for serving as attorney general under trump?
brexit is interesting. as we said he had enough money for his interesting question tied in that how did he view donald trump? i will argue based on his words and actions, bart did not see donald trump as this wonderful mystical being to be worshiped i don't know whose biggest believers he is a gifted person who we almost follow. i don't think he viewed in that way. i think he view donald trump they shared similar views of how powerful the president should be. he understood donald trump on to be untouchable is willing and able to make that happen. there is a synergy therebetween build bars views and donald trump who did not phrase it
academically but donald trump said will follow the subpoenas, i'm the president i can doo whatever i want too. bill barr recognize we are simpatico on this. he could implement a lot of his agenda and personal beliefs through donald trump. without donald trump interfering. they both view each other as a means to an end. donald trump looked at bill barr because he'd written a memo's isn't going to clear it from mueller which is exactly what happened and that's all trump hacared about. maybe somewhat witting somewhat unwitting means to barr's own personal ends. >> think that was apparent how trump viewed giuliani and bill barr and almost a similar grouping. don't know what it says more about either trump or bar he was in a position to be viewed in
that manner. or if trump saw him as someone who would go along with everything being a personal attorney more than attorney general. >> is how trump viewed him it's a tear moment how upset a couple times i'm going to have my team connect really anyl say in thebo book there's no evidence bill barr actually did that actually gault ball involved in ukraine. decided tod look for the ag of the president casually thanks of you rudy on the federal payroll. >> and part of that and into this question as well there's a lot of things not just in your book beyond a lot of situations he was insinuated in. a lot he was actually involved in. in situations he could have gotten involved and then he didn'thi. you were writing this book was bar given the opportunity to comment on this book did you reach out?
if not had he reached out to you directly to expresses dismay? i'm really glad that question was r asked. yes, i reached up twice in writing to bill barr and his team. a i was forthcoming. i said i'm writing this book is called hatchet man. and it is very critical. however i would be more than happy to come in and sit down with attorney general and interview him and hear his perspective. they did not respond either time. i gave him a chance to do that. i do want to saynt this i say it in the book, i was a positive on bill barr that his name came out. i was on cnn forgive things happen you're sitting there onset. and his name came out as the nominee or the person trump was about to nominate. got in my ear my ifb and said in a few minutes for going to ask you what you think. i knew he was somebody in the bush administration i did someio
quick research is a pretty good record and reputation. and i asked the producers cnn to pull the clip for me because i want to quote myself. i said is like a serious person he's done the job before he's well-qualified and he's a good pick. they are to shoot later all learned about the addition memod i did not have it out for this guy to the contrary i was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. i quote various other people have been critical of the trump administration who originally said looks like a good pick. later said he's the worst attorney general he had. i think that is important. i absolutelymp did give bill bar an opportunity to come in and speak with me. he could have issuedh a statemet and set i've been a good ag and i disagreed their premise. no one has reached out to me directly from him or on his behalf. but i do think is trying to do a little bit of a pr campaign with the atlantic piece and others. it's part of i think is so
interesting about all these situations or that you remind us of which is really hard to keep up when you look back on four years of the trump administration and how many either scandals or controversies bubble up from different parts of the federal government. this question those in easy when ecit's a variation on somethingi wanted on as well. what you think jeff sessions would have done my variations in the other attorney general would have done with the mueller report had he remained as attorney general during that year? >> that's a very good question. first jeff sessions would accuse himself which caused donald trump to publicly berate him. the 480s i served under. oh under the bush of ministration in eric under the obama administration. mueller made it so easy.
he could not have made it easier to versions of the mueller report. interference by russia and obstruction of justice. at the top of each one robert mueller himself here are my findings. there are described for classified information. they were ready to go. in fact these low details you forget about pressuring my research and said oh yes, robert mueller wrote a letter to bill barr. we put as bogus four-page letter and said i think i'm quoting it, you have mischaracterized the conclusions of myy report. he goes on to say i gave you those summaries. why when to just put those out? so glaringly obvious. so mueller census letter to bart singly misstated my report. up couple weeks later bill barr testifies in congress pretty went down to d.c. to help cover
this for cnn. we do not know about that letter yet o entered acetyl barr's anye on the mueller expressed displeasure to buy your four-page letter? hobart looked right right into the camera and said t no. back in front of congress and said you lied to us. we asked if anyone had expressed displeasure. you got this letter from mueller he essentially goes as a bunch of gobbledygook it's a word salad" in then book. it boiled down to i didn't think robert mueller himself counted as a member of robert mueller'sr team. i was asked about anyone on mueller's team had sent me a letter like this. robert mueller did but he doesn't count is on his team. which is light come on. that's bull. it would not buy that from affect your kids excuse. did anyone at ms. johnson's class have a problem with the
behavior? no ms. johnson wrote you a letter mrs. johnson doesn't count as ms. johnson's class you i get out of. here. you have kids yet but this will happen to you sometime progress i've been around enough i definitely know that dynamic. one of things i want to ask all getting a few more questions for wrap up. one things i want to ask julie hone in on the book is what bill bart decides is important to the public. whether it's voter fraud, law and order or whatever does. what he decides is important for the justice department and forut him. what is interesting you singled out the case out of michigan people or rest of the plot to kidnap and potentially kill governor gretchen wittner. he said that is potentially the most significant criminal charge case in hisnt entire tenure as attorney general. yet he did not quite capitalize
on that reputation wise. my question is where there are other ways they could have elevated his name and stood out as an attorney general and still doing what he was doing for ertrump? >> that's a great question. there are three things that bill bart tried his darndest to never acknowledge or never say never give any oxygen too. when was the idea voter fraud is welcoming talk about that produce very big on pumping the voter fraud narrative and shying away all the evidence is no significant voter fraud.tu white nationalist terrorism. every opportunity to blame nt and black lives matter. anytime domestic terrorist despite all the data all the words and the fbi he refused to publicly acknowledge that. the michigan case was a domestic extremist the fact bill bart did not make a peep on that case.
if they could not go to the press conference and they showed they would issue a written statement. they do some strong thing to say this a major case we feel very strongly about and praise the fbi but he did nothing until we drug is out of him. boilerplate some sentence about hii'd condemn what happened for the third is racial disparity that is holy crab moment when he was asked you acknowledge there is some systemic racism and bill barr said no. that's not a matter of opinion there's data on that. and by that which all three of the things have in common? they were all c related directly to common politicalal talking points then candidate for reelection donald trump. going to be massive voter fraud everything is part of nt per blm there's no racial problems are in the country. bill barr fell right in line and politicizing the talking points.
>> and think it was apparent and i can just say is someone in the media have to do extra digging to find out what is actually important here? usually if you getec a statement from the attorney general you are taken pretty seriously. i do something with usual meats behind it. as an additional level of scrutiny. now the last question the question of when to end on it's a fitting won this comes from the viewers here. and i will add onto this question as well. any thoughts about subjects for your next book? [laughter] if not will throw went right back in. if not with anything you tried to fit into this book you cannot quite get in? >> those are great questions. first so before we conclude thank you omar you did a great job as always. thank avenue check this out.
i used to live in d.c. politics and prose i almost felt like walking into a cathedral. the fact i could ever do an event there was still hard for me too fathom it. was there anything i wanted to fit into this book that it couldn't? no. except the unfortunate physical reality had to go to the printer at some point a few weeks ago. i cannot say how times i tried it. can we add this one thing? i knew the answer was no. it has been printed it is on paper. quite a bit of material for the paperback about stuff that is coming out over the last couple weeks. i definitely want to do another book. it is exhausting but it iss exhilarating. i think for my next book i would like to focus on a specific case i do not know which one. in a big criminal case that has
been underappreciated in ourry history. a great subject this getting a lot moreng attention now is the total set massacre but that's example of the kind of thing i would like to do. to ignore enormously significant but did not getet enough attentn for whatever reason at the time. one strict case with a broader social and public importance. but i am flexible. i want to get a little bit more into reporting. we do a lot of research in this case. i do want to work on the kind of stuff you do every day. i am looking for to doing another book at some point soon. standard a book stuff they have the rights to the next book if they wanted. i would like to continue riding in the criminal justice field. that is the field i know best. it's okay, great and i have a
feeling people will be talking about bill bartz a ten year as attorney general for a longg time. and when they do you provide a useful account that is detailed, lucid, entertaining and ultimately quite devastating. so thanks fororva that. and to everyone watching, thanks for tuning in. a reminder in the chats: you can find a link for purchasing copies of hatchet man. there they are, multiple copies. from all of this year politics and prose, stay well and well read. ♪:
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