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It was a shocking acknowledgment from a fierce (and profane) Russian collusion propagandist.
“The Democrats have a clock ticking,” warned CNN analyst Phil Mudd on Tuesday. “If they can’t get things underway before the Department of Justice says, ‘here’s our report on how the [Trump campaign] investigation was initiated, they’re in trouble because the Department of Justice is gonna say, ‘when this thing got started, about the Trump campaign, it was pretty ugly.’ And then we’re off to the races.”
As if that revelation wasn’t enough to panic CNN host Don Lemon, Mudd continued. “I’m going to bet a paycheck when [dossier author Christopher] Steele gets in front of investigators and they say, how can you confirm to us that the information you acquired in that dossier is true, that he is not going to be able to answer.”
Here, Mudd admits two things: One, the attempt by House Democrats to harass Bill Barr over the Mueller report and threaten the attorney general with contempt charges are diversions from the real scandal—the corrupt origin of the Trump campaign probe largely based on a garbage political document. (Calls for impeachment also are a smokescreen intended to distract the attention of the American people.)
And two, the results of the investigation into how James Comey’s FBI launched and handled his agency’s counterintelligence probe into alleged Russian election “collusion” will not be pretty. In fact, it will be ugly.
This is why Democrats and the news media (I know, I repeat myself) want to delay the investigation and discredit Barr. Since his confirmation in February, Barr has publicly expressed his alarm at how the Obama administration weaponized powerful surveillance tools, along with other methods, to target political foes.
Barr last month appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to take on this task after numerous delays and empty promises from Barr’s predecessor; this is welcome news as Trump’s base is eager for action.
Barr compared former FBI Director James Comey and his top officers to the Praetorian Guard in an interview last week.
“I just think it has to be carefully looked at because the use of foreign intelligence capabilities and counterintelligence capabilities against an American political campaign to me is unprecedented and it’s a serious red line that’s been crossed,” Barr told CBS News reporter Jan Crawford.
In what can only be described as legitimate obstruction of justice, unlike the vague allegations against Donald Trump in the Mueller report, Democrats are frustrating Barr’s investigative efforts with a number of procedural maneuvers coupled with public ad hominem attacks against the attorney general.
Panicked over a White House directive that would permit the declassification of key documents related to the FBI probe, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) encouraged top intelligence officials to quit rather than submit to Trump’s request.
“If it gets to a point they are asked to do things that are unlawful or jeopardize the men and women that work within the I.C., they should speak out,” Schiff told the New York Times on May 30, referring to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel. “And, if necessary, follow the example of Secretary Mattis.” (Trump’s former defense secretary resigned in 2018 amid a dispute over troop levels in Syria.)
Schiff, who for more than two years assured Congress and the American public that solid evidence of Russian collusion existed, then made a series of demands in a May 31 letter to the head of each intelligence agency, including the FBI and NSA.
Exceeding his congressional oversight boundaries, Schiff instructed the chiefs to notify his committee prior to any declassification move and provide in-person briefings to disclose which documents have been flagged for declassification.
“The President and Attorney General have engaged in a public campaign to further a conspiracy theory about the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election,” Schiff wrote.
Schiff continues to call Barr “the second most dangerous man in the country” and unfit for office.
Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee which still is investigating Russian collusion and recently subpoenaed Donald Trump, Jr., is really on a rampage against Barr. Warner wants Barr to resign or be impeached by House Democrats; he told intelligence community chiefs he will “have their back” if they intend to thwart Trump’s declassification orders, and also warned that their actions could endanger the lives of confidential sources and “damage relations with foreign intelligence agencies.”
”Mr. Barr has very little credibility with me and I think the vast majority of not just Democrats but many Americans because he time and again is not acting as our attorney general but as a personal advocate for Donald Trump,” Warner said on “Face the Nation” Sunday.
(Important to remember that the security chief of Warner’s committee, James Wolfe was caught leaking classified documents to his journo-girlfriend in 2017 to smear Trump associates and convicted of lying to federal investigators about it.)
Barr also has been attacked by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Former Attorney General Eric Holder tweeted that Barr’s investigation into the investigators is “the height of irresponsibility and politically interferes with both the DOJ/the Intelligence Community. This is a dangerous precedent.”
It’s bad enough that Democrats who are guilty of lying to the American public about Russian collusion for more than two years now want to block Barr’s investigation, but the targets of the inquiry also are speaking out. Comey accused Barr of “echoing conspiracy theories.”
Comey, who said he has no idea where Barr got the idea that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign even though Comey signed a warrant to ask a secret court in October 2016 to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page, also accused Barr of acting dishonorably.
“I think he has lost most of his reputation with the way he’s conducted himself,” Comey told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last month.
Comey’s former deputy Andrew McCabe is hitting the cable news circuit, insisting that the Mueller report vindicates the FBI. McCabe recently claimed that Barr “misrepresented” the Mueller report in his four-page summary. (When he served as acting attorney general after Comey was fired, McCabe opened another investigation to determine whether President Trump was a Russian agent.)
Former CIA Director John Brennan, also a potential subject of Barr’s investigation, is doing his part to discredit the attorney general. Brennan laughed off Barr’s characterization of spying and told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that he’s been “very disappointed in Attorney General Barr. I had higher expectations of him. He [acts] more like a personal lawyer for Donald Trump rather than the attorney general.”
So, for two years, we were told that any criticism of Robert Mueller met the legal threshold for obstruction of justice. The commentariat class insisted that any harsh tweet, comment, or facial expression by Trump about Mueller or his team was intended to thwart his investigation. Even a casual conversation allegedly documented by Comey about former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn is contained in volume two of the Mueller report as possible evidence of obstruction of justice by the president.
But now Democratic lawmakers are openly smearing the attorney general and no one objects?
The very subjects of a criminal investigation into abuse of power, illegally leaking classified information, misleading a federal court, and violating the rights of private citizens are permitted to publicly denigrate the man in charge of the investigation, and that’s not obstruction of justice? Imagine if Republican lawmakers had made the same comments about Robert Mueller: the outrage would have been nonstop.
Let’s hope Barr—or John Durham—gets the last word.
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Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images