Attorney General William Barr‘s summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s report answered a lot of questions when it came to Russian interference in the 2016 election, but on the subject of whether or not President Donald Trump obstructed justice, it only created more speculation. Former Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney Prett Bharara weighed in on this issue Monday morning on ABC’s Good Morning America. While he spelled out issues where Democrats may still be unsatisfied, he explained why they can’t complain about everything.
“On the issue of obstruction, we’re sort of not done,” Bharara said.
Host George Stephanopoulos asked if Mueller was intentionally passing the matter to Congress.
“That’s what it appears to be,” Bharara said. “So, my first reaction was it seems to be an abdication of responsibility. You give a case to a special counsel for that person to make a prosecutive decision. he did not.”
Bharara then explained what may have happened here.
“It may be, that he thought given how high the stakes were, and how close the question was on obstruction, that that’s a question best left for Congress. So he punts to Congress, and then Bill Barr runs on the field, takes the ball and runs it in for a touchdown for the president.”
Stephanopoulos also noted Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein‘s part, alongside Barr, in determining that there was insufficient evidence for obstruction of justice. The obstruction issue came up after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey during the investigation. Rosenstein himself played a part in that termination process.
Bharara, who himself was fired by Trump in the administration’s infancy, touched on the problem now facing Democrats when it comes to this. While they may be criticizing Rosenstein’s decision now, they didn’t seem to have a problem with him before.
“Democrats were in a position to complain about Rod Rosenstein being involved in the case because he had this conflict. They didn’t do that, because for a year and a half, almost two years, they viewed Rod Rosenstein as one of the chief protectors of Robert Mueller during the course of the investigation. So it’s a little bit hard for them to complain at this point.”
[Image via ABC screengrab]