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Opinion Barr and the GOP cannot handle the truth

President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Sept. 9. (Erin Scott/Reuters)
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Attorney General William P. Barr, who mischaracterized the Mueller report in writing and in a news conference and has proffered a series of bad-faith arguments rejected by the courts, is at it again. Now he reportedly takes issue with the exhaustive investigation by the Justice Department’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who found no evidence of bias against Trump at the highest levels of the DOJ and the FBI and furthermore found sufficient basis for opening an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Post reports: “Barr has not been swayed by Horowitz’s rationale for concluding that the FBI had sufficient basis to open an investigation on July 31, 2016. … But the prospect of the nation’s top law enforcement official suggesting the FBI may have wrongly opened an investigation into a presidential campaign, even after the inspector general announces the agency was justified in doing so, will probably generate more partisan battles over how the Justice Department and the FBI operate.” It will in short demonstrate the attorney general’s utter lack of credibility and the degree to which political hackery now dominates the DOJ.

Barr embodies the Trumpian edict that facts that undermine Trump’s defenses and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories are facts to be ignored. Somewhere, somehow, there are other “facts” out there that prove Trump’s innocence.

That mentality has enveloped the entire GOP, as we saw in House Republicans’ insistence on discredited allegations that Ukraine interfered in our election or that former vice president Joe Biden stopped an investigation into his son.

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The believe-no-facts mind-set operates even when Republicans do the fact-finding or Republicans report the facts. The administration’s undersecretary of state for political affairs, David Hale, testified Tuesday that there is no doubt Russia interfered with our election and the accusation Ukraine did the same is fraudulent. And Politico reminds us of a Republican investigation that has gone down the memory hole:

President Donald Trump’s allies have defended his demand for political investigations from Ukraine by claiming that the government in Kyiv tried to sabotage his candidacy and boost Hillary Clinton in 2016. …
But the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee thoroughly investigated that theory, according to people with direct knowledge of the inquiry, and found no evidence that Ukraine waged a top-down interference campaign akin to the Kremlin’s efforts to help Trump win in 2016.

Although House Republicans keep raising the name Alexandra Chalupa in the impeachment hearings, “an interview that fall with the Democratic consultant at the heart of the accusation that Kyiv meddled, Alexandra Chalupa, was fruitless, a committee source said, and Republicans didn’t follow up or request any more witnesses related to the issue.”

Yet that has not stopped Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) from making the ludicrous claim that Russia’s stealth campaign against Hillary Clinton is equivalent to individual Ukrainians’ public criticism of Trump. In an NBC interview on Monday, Burr asked: “Every elected official in the Ukraine was for Hillary Clinton. Is that very different than the Russians being for Donald Trump?” Yes, actually. Millions of people around the world had a preference for Clinton, but that does not mean they interfered with our election.

Burr blathered on: “You considered Russia meddling with just the preference they had before you knew the rest of it. Apply the same standard to Ukraine. The President can say that they meddled because they had a preference, the elected officials, that’s not the current people.” But Russia had more than a preference, as multiple intelligence agencies found. They had a Putin-directed plot to disrupt our election, a plot for which 13 Russian companies and nationals were indicted. And Burr’s own committee found no Ukrainian interference, something Burr chooses to ignore in favor of a specious comparison between Russia and Ukraine, something straight out of the Kremlin propaganda book.

Republicans’ contempt for truth will prevent a bipartisan vote on impeachment and removal despite the absence of any exonerating evidence to support Trump. The only remedy for the likes of Barr, Burr and House Republicans is a devastating defeat for Republicans in 2020, followed by professional discipline for Barr. In the meantime, keep in mind that every lie and every refusal to recognize undisputed reality confirms the GOP’s unfitness for public office.

Read more:

Jennifer Rubin: A dozen reasons why Republicans’ impeachment defense makes no sense

The Post’s View: If Trump has a substantive defense, he should send advisers to testify

Greg Sargent: Laughable new GOP report: Yes, Trump did it. But his motives were pure!

Max Boot: A definitive guide to 64 Republican impeachment excuses

Ruth Marcus: Impeachment feels a lot like Kavanaugh 2.0