The latest hew and cry in Washington is over the appointment of U.S. attorney John H. Durham, to head up yet a third investigation of the FBI counterintelligence investigation of ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. People are all up in arms about the rule of law, and while that’s a legitimate concern, here’s the bottom line, in my opinion: Barr is instigating an unnecessary investigation for the sole purpose of deflecting from Trump’s massive real world problems, i.e., the China trade war, escalating tensions with Iran, his tax returns, and over twenty ongoing investigations into his and his family’s corruption. Therefore, see this for what it is and don’t make too much of it.
The origins of the Mueller report are not inscrutable, they are well known. George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, told an Australian diplomat that he was informed that the Russians had stolen emails from the Democrats, and that kicked things off. New York Times:
“It would have been highly, highly inappropriate for us not to pursue it — and pursue it aggressively,” James Baker, who was the F.B.I.’s general counsel in 2016, said in an interview on Friday with the Lawfare podcast.
As part of the early Russia inquiry, the F.B.I. investigated four Trump associates: Mr. Papadopoulos; Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman; Michael T. Flynn, the president’s first national security adviser; and Carter Page, another campaign foreign policy adviser.
Mr. Flynn and Mr. Papadopoulos later pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. as part of the inquiry; Mr. Manafort was also convicted of tax fraud and other charges brought by the special counsel, who took over the investigation in May 2017, and pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not making light of this. This administration is the textbook definition of chaos and dysfunction, and launching this specious investigation is only going to make things worse. And this does not bode well for democracy, this is banana republic behavior. It undermines faith in our institutions and that, in turn, does undermine the rule of law.
Trump's strategy is so much corruption everywhere while he fights any and all oversight, that he overwhelms the House Committees. This is how democratic institutions buckle. https://t.co/LSunznmxkf
— Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) May 14, 2019
Perhaps this was the matter that Barr wanted to avoid discussing in response to the question by @KamalaHarris asking him whether the White House had “suggested” that he open any investigations. https://t.co/ZSUFuTl9Qq
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) May 14, 2019
The only reason this is taking place is to give Fox News fodder to counter all the real emergent news stories arising out of the ineptitude of the Trump administration — even they can’t obsess on Hillary’s emails forever. It’s better than Sean Hannity having to cut to a car chase.
The origins of the Mueller investigation are contained in the Mueller report. There really is nothing to see here, except for the further degeneration of what is already the most corrupt administration in history, and the personal degeneration of an attorney general who has made it clear he doesn’t work for the people, but rather is the president’s personal lawyer. This might be a good time to seriously talk about impeachment of both Barr and Trump, because this development makes clear that this band of crooks will stop at nothing. Their sole interest is to obfuscate and deflect away from Trump’s misdeeds and incompetence by cobbling together a case for those exact same things and making Trump the victim. They have to make Trump the victim of the Deep State. Otherwise, he is exposed as the poseur and buffoon as he is.
The dynamic you will see in the run up to the election is to present heroic Trump as the victim of a Deep State plot, carried out by Robert Mueller. My opinion is that it won’t work. But it will be time consuming, expensive, and annoying — and at the end of the day the rule of law and our democratic institutions will be the worse. And that is the price that we are paying for this travesty of the democratic process, the election of Donald Trump.