We know that onetime campaign head Paul Manafort exchanged private campaign data with an agent who likely passed it on to the Russian intelligence teams looking to aim their anti-Clinton propaganda campaign toward the specific states and demographics Trump needed to sway. We know that a meeting in Trump Tower featured a quid-pro-quo request, with a Russian cutout naming a specific set of US sanctions that the Russians wanted Trump to lift if he gained the presidency. We know Trump ally Roger Stone was fervently trying to get in contact with the active Russian espionage operation so that the campaign could better coordinate with it. And we know that numerous officials on the campaign and in the fresh administration were seemingly freely ignoring US laws in their efforts to trade favors and influence the planned Trump administration for big, fat foreign checks.
Elie Mystal is on Daily Kos’ The Brief podcast today
That’s pretty bad, all the way around! But the Trump administration’s plan, upon all of this being revealed, was nothing more than the Republican ground game for every other recent scandal, both those in the general neighborhood of treason and those that weren’t. Trump’s allies rushed to mete out all possible retaliation against any witnesses who had come forward. Those in government jobs faced firings. Those who Trump had less direct control of got the John Durham treatment: a special “investigation” ordered by Bill Barr himself to look into whether anyone involved with exposing the Trump camp’s collusion attempts could be thrown into prison for doing so.
It has been a humiliating bust for Durham since the beginning, and the retaliation effort was, in the end, reduced to filing a few petty charges that had legal observers largely (but angrily) mocking both their filings and their flimsy evidence. The latest of Durham’s high-profile trials ended with a jury telling him to get out of here with this nonsense, speedily acquitting Democratic lawyer Michael Sussmann after Durham’s claims of supposed wrongdoing crumbled in the face of, well, his own assembled witnesses.
Not to worry, says Bill Barr. The point of the Durham investigation was not to convict anyone; Its “far more important” role was to be the springboard for the countless conspiracy theories that would be used to convince the public that the Trump camp’s attempted and actual collusion with Russian agents did not happen.
Yeah, he pretty much said that. He took to Fox “News” to boast that even if Durham couldn’t find a damn thing and wasted $ 40 million not finding it, he’s still quite satisfied because he “brought out the truth” of “Russiagate” being a Clinton campaign “dirty trick “rather than an actual national intelligence crisis. Barr spent his Fox appearance boosting the conspiracy theory that supposes that every one of Trump’s many documented Russian connections was, in fact, somehow manufactured by anti-Trump enemies.
Please, please never forget what a crooked man William Barr was as attorney general. Barr covered up crimes on Trump’s behalf, threw himself in front of federal efforts to investigate the contacts between a US presidential campaign and the Russian espionage programs designed specifically to boost it, eagerly assisted Trump’s purging of those who did Investigate both those Russian connections and his subsequent blockading of military aid headed for Ukraine so that he could demand the Ukrainian government do him a crooked personal favor. By the time Barr headed for the door, Donald Trump and his administration allies were actively planning an attempted coup. That’s his legacy.
William Barr’s corruption brought us to the brink of democracy’s collapse, and now he’s back on television to prop up some of the same Trump-boosting fascist hoaxes that led us to that point.
While Barr was on television to lie to the American people about a national security crisis at the highest levels of our government, another report was released that completely flattened one of the other top Republican conspiracy theories used to deflect from the Mueller report’s conclusions of Trump camp collusion and obstruction. “Unmasking” was the buzzword used by probable actual Russian agent (and man who doesn’t know how to use an Uber) Devin Nunes, and by other Republican lawmakers and allies trying to block the Mueller report and other federal reports on Trump campaign collusion. from ever seeing the light of day. There’s “unmasking” afoot! Members of the Obama administration, upon receiving reports that Russian intelligence services were engaged in an ongoing effort to tamper with a US presidential election and that Russian government agents had come into contact with the presidential campaign their spies were attempting to assist, became alarmed and asked. for the “unmasking” of the names of the American citizens the Russian agents had been in contact with! Unmasking!
Yeah. Newly released, previously top-secret documents now reveal that the review of those “unmasking” claims ordered by the very same William Barr found that the “unmasking” claims amounted to absolutely bupkis. They were invented. Fiction. Nobody did a single thing wrong, and nobody tried to “unmask” Trump sidekick Michael Flynn in particular — the conspiracy theory that topped all the others in House Republican claims. It was all invented, and the now-revealed Justice Department report thoroughly dismantles the Republican claims.
No, it turns out that Michael Flynn was caught lying to federal investigators about his for-profit foreign lobbying efforts fair and square, without any tricksy Obamas or Hillarys tricking them into it. Barr ordered an investigation not into Trump camp corruption, but of the government officials who learned of it; The result yet again turns out to have been a witch hunt premised more on stifling probes of Trump’s corruption than on finding any actual wrongdoing. The guy’s record of doing Trump’s bidding for the sake of Republican hoaxes remains sturdily intact.
There you go. Once again, you’re caught up. Two of the hoaxes most central to Republican efforts to deflect from raging Trump camp corruption are yet again disproven …
… while Barr himself returns to the television cameras, post-attempted Republican coup, to boast that while putting Trump’s self-declared enemies in prison would have been nice, what’s really important here is that he got the government to spend many, many millions of dollars propping up Republican retaliation efforts against anti-corruption figures in our government.
He’s a crook! As crooked as a bedspring, this one! Corruption-protecting, hoax-promoting, public lie-telling, and sedition-adjacent William Barr remains the most crooked attorney general we’ve had in a good, long time. It takes a lot to top previous Justice Department figures who promoted the torture of war prisoners and who covered up the extent of that torture once discovered, but guiding a known-corrupt president to the very edge of an insurrection will be a tough act for any future crook to follow.