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Presidential Historian: Barr's Four-Page Letter Is A 'Press Release'

"Maybe it accurately reflects what's in the Mueller report. Maybe it's something that is a gloss that's intended to make it took more pro Trump than it is," presidential historian Michael Beschloss said.
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I'll give Morning Joe credit for giving us exactly what we needed to hear this morning -- namely, the historical context of yesterday's partisan whitewash of the conclusions of the Mueller report. Almost every one of the guests took great pain's to say that Trump's self-declared "victory" was only one of perception.

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss even dismissed Barr's letter as a "press release."

"Michael, obviously comparisons have been drawn throughout the process. What's so fascinating about where we are now is, you have one side declaring victory and the other playing death dirges. Investigations continuing in the Southern District of New York. We had Jonathan Turley on this show a year and a half ago saying forget about Mueller, the threat to President Trump and his freedom comes from the Southern District of New York. A lot of people following that. So Donald Trump can certainly exhale, but then the battles begin again," Joe Scarborough said.

"The battles may even begin before that," Beschloss said. "I've been waiting for 22 months to read the Mueller report. Have you read it?

"So far, we've read basically a four-page, what amounts to a press release from William Barr, maybe it accurately reflects what's in the Mueller report. Maybe it's something that is a gloss that's intended to make it look a lot more pro Trump than it is."

He said it was likely Barr would be called to testify before Congress. "That's the whole idea of a democracy. Are you willing to delegate your right of choice as a citizen to William Barr, who came into this as a partisan of Donald Trump, a critic of the investigation? I'm not.

"And you were talking about Richard Nixon. I think Tom (Brokaw) will confirm this -- how much Richard Nixon would have given to have an attorney in 1974 who was his partisan. William Saxby was Nixon's attorney general, who was forced on him after the Saturday Night Massacre because he was the Republican in Congress who was the toughest critic of Nixon on Watergate. Saxby, his own attorney general, was not going to let Nixon get away with even the slightest infraction. At the moment, we've got almost the opposite."


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"Tom Brokaw, I want to show you from that same broadcast that we show with your report, David Brinkley's journal from that same broadcast and we'll get your take on the other side. Take a look," Mika Scarborough said.

BRINKLEY: A few random thoughts of coming out what President Ford called a nightmare. Richard Nixon was elected to the White House in our greatest landslide, and in less than two years, he left crying and wondering how he could pay his taxes. Regrettably few countries in the world could have gone through the turmoil of changing government like this and got it all settled while its military remained quietly in its barracks, minding its own business, playing checkers and drinking beer.

If, as President Ford mentioned, nobody voted for him either as vice president or president, then nobody voted against him either. And so he takes office with few enemies and he can count on some period of operation all around. He will make enemies only when he begins doing things. He can't wait as long as he might like. If Watergate is over, the inflation is not and it's as destructive to a stable society as political scandal, if not more so.

And the constitution prescribes no remedy for it. Neither does it prescribe a remedy for the arrogantly powerful presidency that began long before Nixon, unless Congress can find the energy and will to control it. This time, the Constitution worked and the country has got through it. But if the Washington establishment, particularly Congress, cannot learn from this and do better in the future, not even Madison, Jefferson, and Hamilton can save it."

A democracy, if you can keep it.

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