There has been quite a bit of consternation among the left recently about “doctored” and deceptively edited videos, with the latest outrage stemming from a normally edited compilation video of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stammering and stuttering her way through a news conference that was shared on Twitter by President Donald Trump.
Given the left’s stated rejection of “doctored” videos — there were even outraged demands for Facebook and Twitter to intervene and take the Pelosi video down — imagine everyone’s surprise when a former Democratic special counsel for the Department of Defense was caught sharing a deceptively edited video of Attorney General William Barr.
New York University law professor Ryan Goodman — who according to his NYU bio served as special counsel to the general counsel at the Department of Defense from 2015-2016 — attempted on Friday to prove that Barr had contradicted himself in a recent interview with “CBS This Morning” compared to testimony he delivered to Congress on May 1.
Goodman tweeted, “Barr vs. Barr May 1 to Congress: ‘We accepted the Special Counsel’s legal framework for purposes of our analysis … in reaching our conclusion’ May 31 to CBS: ‘We didn’t agree with … a lot of the legal analysis in the Report … So we applied what we thought was the right law.'”
Barr vs. Barr
May 1 to Congress: “We accepted the Special Counsel’s legal framework for purposes of our analysis…in reaching our conclusion”
May 31 to CBS: “We didn’t agree with …a lot of the legal analysis in the Report…So we applied what we thought was the right law.” pic.twitter.com/l6xFvNT7m6
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) May 31, 2019
Following the tweeted video that purported to show Barr caught in a contradiction, Goodman added a second tweet with an excerpt from Barr’s May 1 testimony to help bolster his case that Barr had initially accepted the “legal framework” of the special counsel’s final report.
In his written testimony to Congress, Barr said, “we accepted the Special Counsel’s legal framework for purposes of our analysis and evaluated the evidence as presented by the Special Counsel in reaching our conclusion.”
However, an eagle-eyed Twitter user by the name of Frank Hart noticed that Barr’s CBS interview had been cut-off mid-sentence, conveniently leaving out words.
While the video may not have been edited by Goodman, it is clear he failed to read the transcript of Barr’s interview, in which he would have discovered the missing words from the interview. Instead, Goodman quoted Barr as the video portrayed his interview and ended his sentence at the word “law.”
Hart tweeted, “This is an outright intentional misrepresentation of what Barr said yesterday. The period at the end is an intentional lie designed to fool the masses who won’t actually read the transcript.”
This is an outright intentional misrepresentation of what Barr said yesterday. The period at the end is an intentional lie designed to fool the masses who won’t actually read the transcript.
But you know this now don’t you, you lying leftist hack. pic.twitter.com/WwQYmFGvZx
— Frank Hart (@FrankHartII) May 31, 2019
Hart included a transcript excerpt from the “CBS This Morning” interview, which in context and with complete sentences provided a different picture than Goodman had painted by quoting the deceptively edited video, and showed that Barr had not contradicted himself as Goodman asserted.
What Goodman left out was that Barr said that the special counsel’s legal analysis “was the views of a particular lawyer or lawyers and so we applied what we thought was the right law but then we didn’t rely on that.” (Emphasis to cut-off portion added.)
Thus, while Goodman was correct in that Barr’s team rejected the special counsel’s analysis and formulated their own, they “didn’t rely” upon that, at least not solely, as the very next line spoken by Barr made clear.
Barr said in the interview, “We also looked at all of the facts, tried to determine whether the government could establish all of the elements and as to each of those episodes we felt that the evidence was deficient.”
In discussing the “legal analysis” put forward by the special counsel team, Barr did say “we didn’t agree” as Goodman had noted, though what Barr “didn’t agree” on was the interpretive legal analysis of the laws put forward by the special counsel team, not the agreed upon basic legal framework presented by the special counsel team, two distinct, if related, terms.
This NYU law professor and former Obama administration Department of Defense attorney had no real reason to post a deceptively edited clip of the attorney general unless he was purposely attempting to discredit and smear him by falsely asserting a contradiction. So much for the left’s loud rejection of “doctored” and deceptively edited clips.
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