Attorney General William Barr, the Mueller Report, and the Problem of Truth


Truth is an essential unnecessary condition of justice, and those charged with doing justice ought to revere truth. That notion is central to the logic and understanding of the Constitution, a fundamentally Enlightenment document, itself the product of a basic intellectual movement that always began with and prioritized truth. In a DOJ concerned with justice, basic lies defeat the possibility of justice, as the requirements of fair and neutral treatment place truth at their foundation. This Article highlights the importance of truth in the legal system through a discussion of Attorney General William Barr’s handling of the Mueller Report. That report documented Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 United States presidential election, allegations of conspiracy between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, and allegations of obstruction of justice. The problematic implications of Barr‘s actions are discussed through the lens of moral theory and a detailed analysis of Enlightenment reasoning. The author explains that in a series of letters, speeches, redactions, and testimony, Barr fundamentally lied about what was contained in the Mueller Report, what was examined, what was found, and what was concluded. These considerations make it clear that the entire structure of the DOJ was undermined by an irresponsible disregard for truth, while the fundamental goal of the Enlightenment-rooted document was ignored.


Attorney, General, William, Barr, Robert, Mueller, Special, Counsel, President, Donald, Trump, Russia, Report, DOJ, Department, Justice, Enlightenment, Constitution, Election, Interference, Truth, Lies, Dishonesty, Redactions, Testimony, Obstruction, Disregard, Fair, Impartial, Neutral



Joel Levin (Case Western Reserve University)



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