Martha MacCallum again proved she’s not the straight news anchor Fox claims when she deliberately disparaged Rep. Eric Swalwell’s criticism of Attorney General William Barr for not reading the evidence he (mis)characterized in the Mueller report.
One of the big takeaways from Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Barr was the attorney general’s admission that he never bothered to read the underlying evidence of the Mueller report - one of the most important investigations in U.S. history - despite announcing his conclusions about it. As Sen. Kamala Harris pointed out during the questioning that prompted Barr’s startling reply, his letter to Congress stated the evidence was not “sufficient to support an obstruction of justice offense.” When Barr responded that it was special counsel Robert Mueller’s job to review the evidence and prepare the report, Harris shot back, “But it was you who made the charging decision, sir. You made the decision not to charge the president.”
But in MacCallum's conversation with Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee (and a 2020 candidate for president), MacCallum seemed determined to dismiss the matter as a nothingburger. This from the woman Fox touts as wonderfully suitable for hosting a Democratic primary debate because she embodies “the ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism.” (Transcript excerpts via Fox News):
SWALWELL: But also, what concerns me a lot Martha is that Barr testified today that he didn't even review the underlying evidence to make a decision.
So. I mean, as a former prosecutor that really bothers me because I would never make a charging decision without reading the entire evidence file. And for him to say he didn't review the evidence, shows me that he was more interested in protecting Donald Trump and being his lawyer, than upholding the rule of law and making sure that we're all protected.
First, MacCallum suggested Swalwell was not telling the truth about Barr's testimony, when she almost surely knew otherwise. (The clip of Barr’s testimony to that point is below). Then she insisted it didn’t mean a thing and that criticism of him is unfair:
MACCALLUM: Well, that -- you know, let's just assume for a moment that that's true. It does doesn't change --
SWALWELL: Well, he said it. So, I should assume it's true.
MACCALLUM: It doesn't change the underlying finding. He wasn't the investigator. Robert Mueller had a huge team, 19 attorneys, who are -- you know some of the best people in the country at what they do. They were the people who looked at all the underlying evidence. The burden was on them to do that.
MACCALLUM: Prosecute or not prosecute. That's all he had to say, but instead, they made every single thing public.
MACCALLUM: So, I guess this whole -- you know, sort of jump on Bill Barr thing is a little bit hard for I think some people in the country watching all of this to figure out.
But Swalwell got the final word and it was a good one:
SWALWELL: Well, the reason that we're jumping on him is because the Mueller team identified 10 instances where the president obstructed justice. In part, they said they could not indict because he was a sitting president. And then, Barr testifies today. He didn't even review with the underlying evidence.
I mean that's maddening that the person making the final sign-off here makes a decision without reviewing the evidence.
See why MacCallum should never be considered a “straight news” anchor below, from the May 1, 2019 The Story with Martha MacCallum.
Barr admits he did no work of his own before deciding to clear Trump of possible obstruction of justice charges pic.twitter.com/6bBQj90rru— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 1, 2019