Last week, a federal judge nominated by President George W. Bush lambasted Attorney General Bill Barr for seeming to play fast and loose with the facts when he released to the public a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report last year.

Responding to a Freedom of Information lawsuit seeking an unredacted version of the report, Judge Reggie Walton refused to accept Department of Justice assurances that it had blacked out chunks of the document for the right reasons – citing “inconsistencies” between Barr’s early statements about the report and the contents that later emerged. The attorney general’s “lack of candor” calls into question his “credibility and, in turn, the department’s” assurances to the court, Walton wrote.

You don’t say. Recall that Barr released a four-page memo downplaying Mueller’s findings. When the damning, 448-page text finally came out, it was brimming with examples of how Trump had tried to obstruct justice. And plenty of redactions.

The gap between the initial description and the report, wrote Walton, “cause the court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller report.” Which is why he has now ordered the Justice Department to provide him the censored portions so he can independently verify the justification for blocking them from public view.

President Trump will never appreciate that his relentless efforts to distort the truth have lasting, damaging consequences. Here’s hoping a federal judge belatedly teaches that lesson to one of his fiercest defenders.

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