The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Snitty Committee

Attorney General Barr called a letter from Mueller criticizing Barr’s characterization of the investigation “a bit snitty.” Plus: Who remembers Roger Stone?

Andrew Harnik / AP

What We’re Following Today

It’s Wednesday, May 1.

AG Barr

Barr vs. the Mueller Report: Attorney General William Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

+ Republicans highlighted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe did not find collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, and asked about the origins of the Russia investigation, which Barr said he is actively looking into.

+ Democrats on the committee questioned Barr about the letter that Mueller wrote to Barr on March 27, saying that the attorney general’s memo “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s final conclusions.

“The letter’s a bit snitty, and I think it was probably written by one of his staff people,” Barr told Senator Richard Blumenthal when asked about it.

+ Calls for the attorney general to resign have grown louder in the past 24 hours. Barr, who has already served as attorney general and spent decades carefully building up a reputation as a respected Republican lawyer, is at risk of ruining that reputation. Why did he want the job in the first place? “Perhaps he believed that the president was getting an unfair shake and needed someone who could help him out while remaining, in his words, independent,” writes Russell Berman. “Perhaps, as his critics allege, he had no intention of being independent at all.”


Here’s what else we’re watching today:

Remember Roger Stone?: The veteran GOP operative and longtime confidant of Donald Trump made his first major appearance since the release of the Mueller report during a court hearing in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. His hearing—while sparsely attended—was a reminder that, even though Mueller’s final conclusions have been made, the investigation still has myriad bits of unfinished business.

Chaos in Venezuela: On Tuesday morning, the Trump administration thought that, with the help of the United States and other allies, the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó had finally ousted President Nicolás Maduro from power. But then, reports Uri Friedman, it all came crashing down. What went wrong?

Game of Sanctions: The U.S. is turning up the heat in its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. Here are five things to know about what’s happening.

2020 Watch: Pete Buttigieg has been busy criss-crossing the country making a name for himself in the 2020 presidential race. But Mayor Pete also has responsibilities back home in South Bend, Indiana—and he’s often doing his mayoral work remotely, reports Edward-Isaac Dovere.


Chairman Senator Lindsey Graham holds up a copy of the Mueller report in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, during which Attorney General Bill Barr testified on the Mueller report. (Andrew Harnik / AP)

Ideas From The Atlantic

Hate Invades the Quotidian (Franklin Foer)
“Anxiety is the mind’s alert system, a mechanism guarding against the possibility that terrible things will repeat. Anxiety can linger in physical spaces long after the threat recedes, perhaps never really fading. What makes this fact so bitter is that these confines were designed for contemplation and vulnerability, and they now carry an association with harm. The mental toll of an era—of a presidency incapable of mustering opprobrium for neo-Nazis—has woven itself into the quotidian.” → Read on.

The Amazon-Owned Doorbell Company That’s Selling Fear (Joshua Benton)
“That’s right: A doorbell company wants to report crime news. It already is, actually. Several people on LinkedIn describe their jobs as ‘news editors’ at Ring. I hope a really thoughtful person gets that job, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this is a really bad idea.”  → Read on.

Barr Misled the Public—And It Worked (David A. Graham)
“By the time anyone outside the Justice Department saw the Mueller report, they’d already been exposed to Barr’s misleading letter and press conference. He had, by Mueller’s reckoning, allowed incorrect interpretations of the report’s findings to circulate in public for two weeks.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

DHS to Start DNA Testing to Establish Family Relationships on the Border (Priscilla Alvarez and Geneva Sands, CNN)
How Taxpayers Covered a Liquor Bill for Trump (Derek Kravitz, ProPublica)
On Tour With Candace Owens and Charlie Kirk, Where the Winning Never Ends (Anne Helen Petersen, BuzzFeed News)
They’re Haunted by ‘Ghost Warrants’ Years After Their Arrests (Eli Hager, The Marshall Project)

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