Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating President Donald Trump for obstruction of justice relating to General Michael Flynn, but a book by former Congressman Bob Barr shows Mueller himself used remarkably similar language when speaking to Barr about a Congressional investigation of the Waco tragedy.
According to a Washington Post report, which President Trump has challenged, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Trump for obstruction of justice over comments made to then FBI Director James Comey. Comey’s testimony before Congress included Trump saying, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
However, during his tenure as FBI Director, Mueller made a very similar request to Congressman Bob Barr during congressional hearings on the Waco siege. According to Barr, Mueller said, “don’t go too hard on these guys. We know most of them, and they’re good people.”
Barr documented the conversation in his 2004 book, The Meaning of Is: The Squandered Impeachment and Wasted Legacy of William Jefferson Clinton. Although his book is primarily about Clinton’s impeachment, it does include a chapter about the Waco hearings. Barr describes the conversation in detail within that chapter:
The extent to which federal law enforcements stuck together to protect their own regardless of right and wrong was also quite disturbing. The most vivid example of this phenomenon occurred one morning before a day of hearings on Waco. We were scheduled to question some of the agents responsible for the events that occurred at Waco. I was convinced — and still am — that some of these federal officials had falsified important evidence.
When the phone rang in my Washington office that morning, the voice at the other end of the line belonged to Bob Mueller, now the Director of the FBI under President Bush. I knew Bob from his service in the Department of Justice while I served at the United States Attorney in Atlanta. His message was clear.
“Bob,” he said, “Don’t go too hard on these guys. We know most of them and they’re good people.”
Barr recalled this interaction in an interview with Breitbart News. His initial reaction was puzzlement. Barr said, “From a procedural standpoint, it was inappropriate. He was experienced with the FBI and Department of Justice, both of which are familiar with how you conduct investigations, whether criminal or congressional. You don’t get to the bottom of controversial issues by going easy on good guys.”
Barr felt at the time that the federal government’s primary job with the hearings was to “show the American people we care about transparency.”
Transparency is still a concern to Barr. Although he has a high regard for Robert Mueller professionally, Barr said, “The one thing anybody who wants these issues looked into should care about is fairness and transparency. One of the things you wouldn’t want is people with questions right off the bat.” He added, “It is very difficult to answer if Mueller can be impartial. Mueller and Comey have a relationship, they were colleagues.”
Commenting on the controversy surrounding Mueller’s decisions, such as his recent hires, Barr said, “Everything Mr. Mueller is doing is raising more questions, more controversy for no reason. There are all sorts of qualified attorneys out there to investigate this.”
Barr also discussed the Comey hearings, which documented the facts that led to Mueller’s hiring as Special Counsel. “I was flabbergasted by the Comey hearings, what he admitted to is almost nonsensical. He felt uncomfortable that something wrong was going on, but the only thing he did is make a ‘note to self’ and then leak it out through friends.”
He added, “It’s like a teenager coming up with an excuse for taking the family car out and wrecking it.”
Breitbart News asked Barr if he felt Trump’s comments were evidence of obstruction of justice. His answer was clear, “No, it isn’t obstruction. It is potential evidence of an intent to obstruct, if it was part of a much larger set of evidence. If I was a prosecutor and an assistant presented that to me and asked if I would authorize an investigation, I would not.” Mr. Barr agrees with Newt Gingrich on that issue.
Bob Barr does believe that the Special Counsel should investigate the Department of Justice under previous administrations. He told Breitbart News, “One of the fundamental problems in America is a lack of faith in government generally and the Department of Justice in particular. People don’t trust the DoJ and that didn’t start in January of 2017. They ought to be investigated if we want to regain the credibility lost over decades.”
Robert Mueller may not recall his fateful phone call during the 1995 Waco hearings, but it adds to the growing cloud of controversy that surrounds his investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Colin Madine is a contributor and editor at Breitbart News and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org