Attorney General William Barr held a hotly-anticipated press conference ahead of the release of the Mueller Report to the public on Thursday morning.
He said that the Special Counsel found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, then went on to address how he came to the conclusion that Donald Trump did not commit obstruction of justice—a matter on which the report could not reach a conclusion.
According to Barr, the report lists ten incidents of possible obstruction, however Barr said that Trump didn’t demonstrate a clear intent to obstruct justice and was, rather, frustrated that Americans were skeptical of his frequent claims that there was “no collusion.”
“And as the Special Counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the President was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks.”
Between the portrayal of Donald Trump as a helpless victim to an overreaching investigation and the frequent refrain of “no collusion,” many thought Barr was there to defend Trump, rather than justice itself.
Fox News’ Chris Wallace was among those who noticed this.
Here's the video of Chris Wallace on Fox: "The Attorney General seemed almost to be acting as the counselor for the defense, for the counselor for the president, rather than the Attorney General … I suspect that Democrats' heads on Capitol Hill were exploding." pic.twitter.com/MQOYypMwZ0
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 18, 2019
Wallace said of Barr’s performance:
“The Attorney General seemed almost to be acting as the counselor for the defense, for the counselor for the president, rather than the Attorney General … I suspect that Democrats’ heads on Capitol Hill were exploding.”
Others felt the same.
Barr made a point of defending the President by describing Trump's pressure & frustration b/c of criticism. It's not the AG's job to protect a President who refused an interview by the Special Counsel! Barr is simply continuing his ongoing defense & protection of the President!
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) April 18, 2019
Barr is acting more like Trump’s defense attorney than the nation's Attorney General. His press conference was a stunt, filled with political spin and propaganda.⁰ ⁰Americans deserve the unvarnished truth. We need Special Counsel Mueller to testify publicly in Congress.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 18, 2019
Joyce Vance: "It was a very sobering press conference for people who've watched attorney generals talk about serious cases. This felt a lot like we heard President Trump's defense lawyer explaining Mueller's case to us." https://t.co/CQ9yMCi0pL
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 18, 2019
This looks like something the WH drafted and told him to read.
— Longtime Badger Fan (@jeffheino) April 18, 2019
It was Trump who made the investigation intrusive. All he had to do was HIS JOB! Such BS!
— Debby Watson (@DebbyPepWatson) April 18, 2019
Some one on FOX news with some sense, that was the President’s PR person not an AG serving the people!
— Messay (@AfricanBoy_87) April 18, 2019
Barr is Individual 1’s new fixer
— sherr windy (@sherr_windy) April 18, 2019
That wasn’t the only critique.