unsolicited opinions
March 25, 2019

Television producers received an email Monday from President Trump's campaign director of communications. The note questioned the credibility of certain guests — nearly all of them Democratic lawmakers.

Tim Murtaugh's memo came on the heels of Attorney General William Barr releasing his summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report about alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia ahead of the 2016 election. Barr wrote that Mueller didn't find evidence Trump or his associates coordinated with Moscow, and Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice. Immediately after the summary's release, Trump falsely claimed he had been "completely exonerated."

In his memo, Murtaugh calls out Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), former CIA Director John Brennan, and Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, accusing them of "vigorously and repeatedly" making up stories about connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. There "must be introspection from the media who facilitated the reckless statements," Murtaugh scolded, "and a serious evaluation of how such guests are considered and handled in the future."

Swalwell responded on Twitter, declaring that the "only person who has been caught lying about Russia is Donald Trump. If he thinks I've made a false statement, he can sue me. And I'll beat him in court." Catherine Garcia

December 20, 2018

In June, President Trump's pick for attorney general, William Barr, sent Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein a memo declaring that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's reported investigation into potential obstruction of justice by Trump is based on a "fatally misconceived" theory, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Journal reviewed the 20-page document, which Barr sent, unsolicited, while working as a lawyer in private practice. In the memo, Barr said he's "in the dark about many facts" surrounding the Mueller investigation, but "as I understand it, his theory is premised on a novel and legally insupportable reading of the law. Moreover, in my view, if credited by the Justice Department, it would have grave consequences far beyond the immediate confines of this case and would do lasting damage to the presidency and to the administration of law within the executive branch."

Mueller, he continued, is taking a "grossly irresponsible" approach, and "should not be permitted to demand that the president submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction." Barr, who served as attorney general during the George H.W. Bush administration, is expected to be formally nominated in January, and Democrats will likely bring the memo up during confirmation hearings. If confirmed, it's possible Barr would oversee the Mueller inquiry, taking over for Rosenstein. Read more excerpts from the memo at The Wall Street Journal. Catherine Garcia

May 8, 2018

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has appointed himself the arbiter of all guest lists, and he isn't happy that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) doesn't want the man who mocked him for being a POW at his own funeral.

Hatch said it's "ridiculous" that McCain, who is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, has reportedly said he would like President Trump to stay away from his funeral, preferring Vice President Mike Pence attend. "Well, he's the president of the United States and he's a very good man," Hatch said on Monday. "But it's up to [McCain]. I think John should have his own wishes fulfilled with regard to who attends the funeral." Presumably, McCain is super grateful for Hatch's blessing.

Hatch wasn't finished gabbing about McCain, revealing that he has been told McCain, who is at home in Arizona, won't return to the Senate. "I hope he does," Hatch said. "I hope he can." Later, a spokesman for Hatch told CNN he spoke "out of turn about Sen. McCain's status. He's been pleased to hear reports that Sen. McCain is in good spirits and hopes to see him back in Washington soon." Hatch, 84, is retiring at the end of this year, giving him tons of free time to spread more rumors and critique funeral plans. Catherine Garcia

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