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Why’d Mueller’s Team Let Themselves Get Snookered?

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May 31, 2019 7:31 p.m.

I’ve wondered about this a bunch myself. Barr’s bad faith was telegraphed far in advance. Why’d Mueller and his lawyers allow themselves to get snookered? Initials of TPM Reader withheld …

I have known and worked with Mueller and many of the folks over the course of the last quarter century.

[REDACTED: Discussion of TPM Reader’s professional working relationships at DOJ with various top lawyers involved in the larger Russia probe and Special Counsel investigation.]

They’re all great and careful lawyers. I don’t disagree with the bottom line that given DoJ policy and the Special Counsel regs, they could lay out evidence of Trump’s crime but not accuse him or formally recommend impeachment.

That said, I’m surprised they didn’t anticipate the kind of bad faith snookering we’re now seeing from Barr. They had every reason to know, based on his history and the public record of how he became AG, that he wouldn’t serve as an honest gatekeeper for their report. And they had a perfectly plausible opportunity to preempt his manipulation.

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