Perhaps the biggest surprise springing from this morning’s memo was Trump’s ongoing references to “upcoming” phone calls from Attorney General Barr to the Ukrainian president This comes out of left field, leaving many to wonder what the hell was really going on. Moreover, the fact that the “transcript” is now called a “memo-summary” leaves some believing that critical context, the part explaining why Barr might be involved, had been left out.
Regardless, the DOJ was very quick to deny that Attorney General Barr did anything with respect to Ukraine, including make any calls. Moreover, the DOJ stated that Barr didn’t even know that his name had come up in Trump’s phone call.
In a statement Wednesday, the Justice Department said Barr was unaware of Trump invoking the attorney general in the matter until “several weeks after the call took place,” when it learned of the whistleblower complaint. DOJ said the intelligence community’s internal watchdog referred the matter to the department as a potential campaign finance violation.
“The President has not spoken with the Attorney General about having Ukraine investigate anything relating to former Vice President Biden or his son. The President has not asked the Attorney General to contact Ukraine – on this or any other matter,” spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement. “The Attorney General has not communicated with Ukraine – on this or any other subject. Nor has the Attorney General discussed this matter, or anything relating to Ukraine, with Rudy Giuliani.”
As Fletch would quip: “So what you’re trying to say is that Barr wasn’t involved?”
Left unexplained is how Barr can be referenced so many times and yet have no idea why, or what Trump might have wanted at the time.
The most sensible explanation that I have run across relates to the fact that Trump referenced Mueller, the “Crowdstrike” thing, Hillary, the last election, and Barr’s promise to “investigate the investigators.”
“They say a lot of it started with Ukraine,” Trump said, alluding to a theory often pushed by Giuliani.
He added: “Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.”
Barr has appointed a DOJ prosecutor to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation, which Trump and his supporters have repeatedly claim stemmed from political bias.
DOJ said Wednesday that team is looking into the role Ukraine played in any counterintelligence activities against Trump’s 2016 campaign, and that Barr had not reached out to Ukraine as part of that investigation but that “certain Ukrainians who are not members of the government have volunteered information” to the head of that probe.
It appears to me that not only did Trump make aid contingent upon investigating Biden – whether he expressly made the “promise” or not, it was inferred – but, perhaps also made the aid contingent upon help in “investigating the investigators,” which Trump referenced as “many believing it started in the Ukraine.”
Add it all up and Barr is uncomfortable today, because he has absolutely no business making any decision now having anything to do with the materials in this investigation, specifically, the Whistleblower complaint. This is a no-brainer in every other world. Obviously, “this” world, Trump-World, bears little relation to the real one, and we will see whether Barr feels any compulsion to recuse himself. We know what Trump thinks of recusal, god damn, if we know anything we know that Trump abhors recusal by those he believes owe him “loyalty.”
Yet another aspect evolving since the memo’s release; We have learned that the DNI’s office referred the matter to DOJ for an assessment as to whether a possible criminal investigation need be opened in light of the whistleblower complaint and the promises/phone call with Ukraine. In mid-August, the DOJ declined to even open an investigation into the matter, upsetting leading Democrats, spinning at the administration’s brazenness.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff called it “absurd” that DOJ declined to open an investigation into the intelligence watchdog’s referral of the whistleblower complaint, and said Barr’s potential involvement added “another layer of depravity” to the controversy. He claimed it was easy to see why the department was blocking it from being turned over to lawmakers.
“Well, that will come as news, or at least it should, to the director of national intelligence who is charged, among other things, with detecting foreign interference in our elections and reporting to Congress about foreign interference in our elections,” he said in a news conference.
Trump is on my TV right now, sitting with the president of the Ukraine, who is making nice, seeing as how sugar-daddy is in the room. Trump smugly talks about the greatest witch hunt of all time occurring under his watch, he’s talking emails (??), he is talking about Hillary, corruption, he’s talking shit, and he’s clearly angry, emboldened, and now “counter-punching” in the manner that Trump believes makes him great.
It is Day One under the “official investigation,” and just another day. It will get much uglier, which sucks, because this is pretty ugly already.
Trump is still talking … “$50,000 a month, this is unheard of … that’s incredible … the ‘Democrat’ party is the most corrupt group in the world …”
It is Day One …
firstname.lastname@example.org, and Twitter @MiciakZoom