Not exactly surprising, although late last night ABC released the transcript of the Bill Barr interview. A review of the transcript compared to the broadcast shows there was significant interview material left on the editing floor.
Approximately two-thirds of the interview was never broadcast. Additionally, major sections of answers were completely cut out (chopped up/edited) after the question(s) was/were asked.
Below is actually the full transcript of the interview (including parts not broadcast), along with the full, raw, 25 minute video of the interview:
[Transcript] – ABC NEWS CHIEF JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT PIERRE THOMAS: General Barr, thank you for your time.
ATTORNEY GENERAL BILL BARR: Thank you.
THOMAS: This specific is actually initially we’re hearing via you since the Roger Stone story erupted. At minimum, there appears to be an appearance problem. Trial prosecutors recommended 7 to 9 years on Monday evening. The president tweets at 1:48 AM Tuesday morning calling the recommendations – quote “horrible, unfair along using a miscarriage of justice.”
Then word comes out via DOJ headquarters Tuesday morning that will the recommendations are too severe along with suggests a lesser sentence is actually more appropriate. Four of the trial attorneys resigned via the case. One of them quitting the Justice Department altogether.
What happened, sir, along with what was your role?
BARR: Well, as you know, the Stone case was prosecuted while I was attorney general. along with I supported This specific. I think This specific was established, he was convicted of obstructing Congress along with witness tampering. along with I thought that will was a righteous prosecution. along with I was happy that will he was convicted.
The issue then became the sentencing. A brand-new U.S. attorney had just started off in Washington D.C. along with the week before the filing, he engaged in conversations with senior staff here who raised some questions about the sentencing because he was concerned that will the so called guidelines, the sentencing guideline formula, was indicating a sentence between 7 along with 9 years.
Which, he felt along with all of us immediately felt was very, very high along with excessive in This specific case. along with so he wanted to discuss that will along with over quite a few days This specific became clear that will the prosecution team wanted to recommend to the judge, along with by the way, sentencing is actually a function for the judge along with not the Department of Justice, we’re not the decision maker. although they wanted to advocate for a sentence that will was, at the top, between 7 along with 9 years.
along with, in those discussions here at the department, you know, I came to the view as my colleagues did that will I wouldn’t support affirmatively advocating what I thought was an excessive sentence.
So, what I wanted to do what to provide dis — defer to the discretion of the judge, let the judge make the determination.
THOMAS: You wanted to do that will via the outset?
BARR: Yes. along with then point out different features of the case that will she should consider if she wanted to go below the 7 to 9 years. along with I won’t get into the wires on that will, although there were a lot of, I think, very legitimate arguments to be raised, there are points to be raised there. although at the end of the day, we deferred to her. Or, along with that will was what the approach was, I thought, we were going to take.
THOMAS: So the US attorney for the District of Columbia signed off on, his name is actually on the recommendation that will went in there.
THOMAS: How did that will happen?
BARR: On Monday, he came by to briefly chat with me along with say that will the team very much wanted to recommend the 7-9 year to the judge. along with, although he thought that will there was a way of satisfying everybody along with providing more flexibility.
along with there was a brief discussion of that will. I was under the impression that will what was going to happen was very much what I had suggested, which is actually deferring to the judge along with then pointing out the various factors along with circumstances. On Monday night, when I first saw the news reports, I said, “Gee, the news is actually spinning This specific. This specific is actually not what we were going to do.”
MORE: A timeline of the extraordinary turn of events from the Roger Stone case
THOMAS: So you were surprised?
BARR: I was very surprised. along with once I confirmed that will that will’s actually what we filed, I said that will night, to my staff, that will we had to get ready cause we had to do something from the morning to amend that will along with clarify what our position was.
So the following morning — along with by the way, I don’t look at tweets, I don’t read tweets unless they’re brought to my attention. So early the next morning I was you know, putting that will in motion along with directing that will be done when someone walked in along with told me that will, about the president’s tweet.
that will sort of illustrates how disruptive these tweets can be for the Department of Justice, because at that will point, I had made a decision that will I thought was fair along with reasonable in This specific particular case along with once the tweet occurred, the question is actually, Well, today what do I do? along with do you go forward with what you think is actually the right decision or do you pull back because of the tweet? along with that will just sort of illustrates how disruptive these tweets can be.
THOMAS: So you’re saying you have a problem with the tweets?
BARR: Yes. Well, I have a problem with some of, some of the tweets. As I said at my confirmation hearing, I think the essential role of the Attorney General is actually to keep law enforcement, the criminal process sacrosanct to make sure there is actually no political interference in This specific. along with I have done that will along with I will continue to do that will.
along with I’m happy to say that will, in fact the president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case. However, to have public statements along with tweets made about the department, about our people from the department, our men along with women here, about cases pending from the department, along with about judges before whom we have cases, make This specific impossible for me to do my job along with to assure the courts along with the prosecutors from the department that will we’re doing our work with integrity.
THOMAS: Mr. Barr, the president does not like to be told what to do. He may not like what you’re saying. Are you prepared for those ramifications?
BARR: Of course. As I, you know, said during my confirmation, I came in to serve as Attorney General. I am responsible for everything that will happens from the department, although the thing I have most responsibility for are the issues that will are brought to me for decision.
along with I will make those decisions based on what I think is actually the right thing to do along with I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody. along with I said, whether This specific’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards, or the president. I’m going to do what I think is actually right. along with, you know, the, I think the — I cannot do my job here at the department using a constant background commentary that will undercuts me.
THOMAS: Why does This specific make This specific so difficult for you to do your job along with if he keeps doing This specific, what are you prepared to do?
BARR: Well you know I think—
THOMAS: Commenting specifically on criminal investigations?
BARR: Well again if some examples would certainly be if you tweet something about, someone should be investigated just for This specific or someone should go to jail along with This specific turns out you are investigating them at that will point, let’s say, This specific is actually a hypothetical, then what do you do? Because people might think that will if you proceed with the investigation, This specific was prompted by the tweet. This specific’s the same kind of thing that will happened here. So, along with there are different examples where if you have a case before a judge to be attacking the judge, you know, This specific is actually not helpful or productive at all.
along with also, you know, I think attacking- for people to attack people here from the department or from the FBI in general terms is actually unfair along with, you know, I think I came back into government because I love the department along with I believe strongly in This specific as an institution along with I think we have great people here. along with I can – along with so, you know, This specific makes This specific difficult to be a leader here if —
THOMAS: How strongly do you feel about This specific?
BARR: Well I feel strongly about This specific.
THOMAS: So just to be clear, did you talk to the President at all about your decision regarding the recommendations?
BARR: The recommendations on This specific case? Never.
THOMAS: Anybody via the White House call you to try to influence you?
BARR: No. Nope. [crosstalk] have not discussed the Roger Stone case at the White House.
THOMAS: At all?
BARR: At all.
THOMAS: Lisa Murkowski, Senator via Alaska. Here’s what she said This specific week,“I think most people in America would certainly look at that will along with say hmm that will just doesn’t look right.” along with then she goes on to say, “I don’t think the President needed to jump from the middle of This specific from the first place.” along with Lindsey Graham, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, strong defender, supporter of the president, he defended his frustration with all that will’s happened to him in Washington. He added This specific, “I don’t think the President should have tweeted about an ongoing criminal case.” So you share their position?
BARR: Yes. I do. [crosstalk] This specific makes This specific very hard. You know, This specific doesn’t affect the decision. This specific doesn’t affect my decision. As I said at the beginning during my hearing, I don’t pay attention to tweets. If the President has something to say, I expect that will he will talk to me directly along with call me. So I don’t pay attention to tweets along with I – I’m not going to pay attention to directions along with do something that will I think is actually wrong.
I’m going to handle each case as I think the law requires along with is actually fair, along with even-handed. although I think Senator Murkowski is actually right that will people who see these tweets can get a misimpression that will they… that will the work of the department is actually being influenced by This specific.
THOMAS: So when you heard him or you saw him say, “Congratulations to the Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that will was totally out of control along with perhaps should not have been brought. Evidence today clearly shows that will Mueller- the Mueller scam was improperly brought along with tainted, even Bob Mueller lied to Congress.” He criticized the judge, as you mentioned earlier. How does that will impact the department? The people that will work here. along with the impression of the American people?
BARR: Well I think the people who know me, know me here from the Department, know me in town along with have worked with me, know that will that will stuff has no effect on what we do here. that will we’ll make our decisions, as I say, based on the merits. although most people from the country don’t have that will kind of exposure, along with I think I can understand why people are concerned that will This specific could influence the work of the department.
THOMAS: You’re telling the American public that will had absolutely nothing to do with This specific?
BARR: Absolutely. along with just, I, I’ve heard very few people actually suggest that will 7 to 9 year sentence would certainly be appropriate in This specific case. Very few people. Even the people who were criticizing me. This specific was very excessive. along with I didn’t want my department to be behind that will. Because I believe that will each individual as unsavory as they may be, along with I’m not a fan of Roger Stone, although he’s entitled to the particularized along with careful application of the law to his case.
along with as I say, I could not support the 7 to the 9 year- along with I didn’t need anybody to tell me that will 7 to 9 years was an excessive sentence. You think I need the president’s tweet to tell me that will 7 to 9 years is actually excessive? that will was the reaction of you know the senior staff here that will, you know, there’s not genuinely a comparable situation where that will kind of sentence has been used.
THOMAS: along with so, I guess I’m confused as to how that will recommendation could get filed when you clearly were indicating that will shouldn’t go down like that will.
BARR: Yeah well, This specific’s, I’m afraid This specific’s one of those situations, I’m confused too. along with I think This specific genuinely was a situation of miscommunication. This specific was a very brief meeting, This specific was actually in between two meetings I had along with the U.S. Attorney stuck his head in along with described what he, how he thought he could reconcile things. along with I thought that will he was saying, was in accord with my view that will we should not affirmatively recommend 7 to 9 years.
although we should allow the judge or say that will we defer to the judge, you know, there appears to have been something lost in translation.
THOMAS: Do you feel like you still have confidence in U.S. Attorney Shea?
BARR: Yes I do. I mean I’ve known Tim Shea for a long time as you know he was with me here at the department last time I was Attorney General producing sure that will was many years ago. He includes a great a great record so – along with he was just- to be fair he had just entered into that will office along with you know I think we’ll establish better communications.
THOMAS: I just wanted to go back to the 4 prosecutors who resigned. Were you surprised that will they stepped away via the case, including one who quit the department altogether?
BARR: Yeah. My understanding is actually one left the department although the different three did not resign via the department.
THOMAS: Just resigned via the case?
BARR: I, I thought — I was a little surprised because at the end of the day, what This specific was about was whether we — This specific was a sentencing decision that will a judge was going to make — going to be producing. This specific wasn’t, you know, the department wasn’t the decision maker.
along with the difference of opinion was whether we should affirmatively advocate a 7 to 9 year sentence, or whether we should let the judge decide along with explain why a lower sentence could be justified. along with, I’m not, I’m not sure why that will would certainly prompt anyone to resign. On the different hand, again there may have been a communication problem because of the way the information leaked out.
THOMAS: today, some people would certainly say, look, they worked the case. They know the case best. They’re just wrong in your eyes?
BARR: No, This specific actually gets to a very important point about the Department, which is actually, you know, what different industry allows you know, life or death decisions to be made by the most junior level of the, of the business, so to speak. We at the department, we want people using a lot of energy along with commitment. along with so we express — we desire for a lot of, of that will energy along with commitment.
At the same time, when people are working on one case, along with devoting a lot to This specific, they can sometimes lose perspective. along with that will’s exactly why we have a, a system of checks along with balances within the department with multiple level of reviews that will fan out with people with broader along with broader responsibility. along with most cases don’t come up to the attorney general, because people are doing a great job from the department.
along with, a lot of the work doesn’t involve much controversy. although every once in a while, there are disputes or arguments over cases along with those are the ones that will come up. along with the AG has to make the decision. So, some people say, you know, the AG intervening in a case.
that will’s preposterous, we have an escalation system that will tries to get the difficult issues that will are, you know, people are arguing about, to get them up for resolution along with This specific’s the attorney general’s responsibility to resolve This specific.
THOMAS: along with you know, people have pride, though, along with you could see how they would certainly see as a public rebuke. You think that will’s part of why they resigned in protest? via the case?
BARR: I don’t know why they resigned.
THOMAS: So you’ve not had a chance to talk to them?
THOMAS: along with do you expect any different resignations, are you getting any hint of any different resignations in regard to This specific case? People tied to the case?
BARR: I desire, I desire there are no more resignations. We, we like our prosecutors along with desire they stay.
MORE: William Barr: Everything you need to know about Trump’s controversial attorney general
THOMAS: You’re known around town as someone who believes that will the president vast authority, broad authority, to do the job, to execute the wills of the state. Does the president contain the authority to just direct you to open an investigation along with you have to do This specific? Can you help people at home understand? Can he do that will?
BARR: Well I discuss This specific in detail in my confirmation hearings. I think in many areas such as- that will don’t affect his personal interest-
BARR: Terrorism or fraud by a bank or something like that will where he’s concerned about something, he can certainly say I think someone should look into that will. that will’s perfectly appropriate. If he were to say, you know, go investigate somebody because – along with you sense This specific’s because they’re a political opponent, then an attorney general shouldn’t carry that will out, wouldn’t carry that will out.
THOMAS: Democrats on Capitol Hill have said they believe that will you were somewhat misleading in how you described the Mueller Report initially, before the full report became available. You said openly that will you thought the president was spied on from the congressional hearing. You expressed skepticism about the launch of the origins of the Russia investigation. So they would certainly say that will you have maybe let the president feel like- that will he can contain the latitude to say those things. What would certainly you say to them?
BARR: I would certainly say that will- that will is actually not a valid conclusion, obviously the whole point of the Muller exercise was to determine if there was collusion. There wasn’t. along with frankly I think you recognize, having looked at the material directly, that will I didn’t mislead anyone about Mueller’s conclusions, although in terms of the Durham effort, which is actually to take a look at what happened that will’s a legitimate area of investigation.
along with you know starting a legitimate investigation as to what happened is actually- that will’s the work of the Attorney General along with Department of Justice. that will- that will’s not like a- you know, like a running commentary via someone on the outside about what we’re doing.
THOMAS: brand-new York Times reported that will John Bolton wrote in his book that will after the president’s July 25th phone call with the Ukrainian president, he raised concerns about Guiliani along with that will he was pursuing the Ukraine with you. is actually that will true?
BARR: I don’t – I don’t recall that will that will was the exact quote. I’m not going to get into, into Bolton although, yeah, just not going to get into This specific.
THOMAS: Were you surprised when the president mentioned you on the — when you heard that will he mentioned you on the July 25th call along with he did so 5 times along with kind of created the impression that will you were working with Guiliani?
THOMAS: Your reaction when you heard This specific?
BARR: I was a bit irritated by This specific. although, you know, the conversation jumped around, so, I’m not sure what he meant by some of what he was saying.
THOMAS: along with This specific sounds like This specific’s from the same vein as creating the impression that will you’re doing exactly what he wants you to do when he wants you to do. is actually that will what frustrated you?
BARR: Well, I think that will This specific’s very clear, along with I’ve always said This specific publicly along with I think people know This specific, that will what I am dealing with is actually the review of the 2016 election. that will’s what I’m looking at. I’m not looking, you know, at different more general things about the Ukraine. along with I think mixing them together created confusion in people’s minds.
THOMAS: along with so today we have Guiliani, who’s gone to the Ukraine, come back, he’s presenting information along with you told me earlier This specific week that will he would certainly go through the appropriate channels.
although he worked with two men to get This specific information who currently under indictment from the Southern District. Can you ensure- can you ensure that will to the American public that will the Justice Department is actually not going to be used as a weapon in a highly charged political season?
BARR: Absolutely. along with as you know, Pierre, one of my passions is actually the feeling that will we have to ensure that will the Department of Justice is actually not used as a political football. along with one of the things I’m distressed about is actually the increasing use of the criminal process to achieve political results. along with I want to- I want to get away via that will.
As you know, I put out a memo to make sure that will any investigation that will could have these kinds of political effects during an election year have to be approved at the very highest level of the FBI along with the Department of Justice.
THOMAS: Do you think the Democrats will accept you as the messenger though?
MORE: Pelosi accuses Trump of abusing power by interfering in Roger Stone case
BARR: I don’t know. [crosstalk] They, many of them didn’t vote for me for confirmation.
THOMAS: Right. along with they held you in contempt.
BARR: We live, unfortunately, you know, one of the things that will makes This specific difficult is actually the hyper-partisan age we live in. that will makes This specific very difficult.
THOMAS: You know, having known you along with covered you for years, you’re not a person that will responds a lot to criticism. although I am wondering, in This specific design of the job, you from the job, along with when you hear people on Capitol Hill saying “Barr is actually acting more like the personal attorney to the President rather than the chief law enforcement officer,” how irritated does that will make you along with what do you say to those people?
BARR: Well, This specific goes back to the fact we are in a very polarized situation. along with so in that will kind of situation, I expect a lot of low blows, along with there are a lot of low blows.
although I don’t respond to that will, as you say. although I do think that will from the current situation, as I’ve said, you know, the fact that will the tweets are out there along with correspond to things we’re doing at the department sort of give grist to the mill along with that will’s why I think This specific’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.
THOMAS: How would certainly you describe your relationship with the President in general terms. I know you don’t talk specifics, although in general terms, how is actually the relationship?
BARR: I think our relationship is actually not bad. I support his program, I think he’s doing great things for the country. I feel that will, you know he’s faced a lot of resistance along with he’s still able to accomplish a lot of not bad things. along with we have a not bad working relationship.
THOMAS: You’re clearly setting some parameters for that will relationship. Do you have any expectation of how he’ll react to some of the things you’ve said today?
BARR: Yeah. I desire he will react.
THOMAS: along with respect This specific?
THOMAS: I thank you for your time.
BARR: Thank you.