Who Will Fall First: Trump or the ‘Praetorian Guard’?

Attorney General William Barr has suggested that top officials in the Obama Administration behaved like a “Praetorian Guard” in their unprecedented and possibly criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

“Republics have fallen because of a Praetorian Guard mentality where government officials get very arrogant, they identify the national interest with their own political preferences and they feel that anyone who has a different opinion, you know, is somehow an enemy of the state,” Barr told CBS News reporter Jan Crawford in May. 

The Praetorian Guard originated in the Roman Empire to protect the emperor and his commanders. The elite cohort quickly grew from a few bodyguards into a massive army, complete with armor, weaponry, and a cavalry. The Guard enjoyed special privileges including a guaranteed tenure and vaunted social status. 

But the Guard became emboldened by its own power. “Over the years, the guard would become a dangerous threat to imperial power and emperors were forced to gain its favour in order to ensure their reign,” according to historian Mark Cartwright. “The body specifically created to protect the emperor’s person had become his greatest liability.”

Sound familiar?

The race is on to see who will survive—the duly-elected president of the United States or a modern-day Praetorian Guard comprised of former law enforcement and intelligence officials tasked with taking down that president. 

As Barr gets closer to the key people involved in concocting the phony Trump-Russia collusion hoax—which included the use of powerful surveillance tools and government informants—House Democrats are escalating efforts in their attempt to impeach Trump before Barr’s department starts issuing indictments. If Trump goes down before Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham, his point man on the investigation, can complete their work, that investigation could be completely discredited if not halted altogether as the by-product of an illegitimate presidency.

The clock is ticking, fast. Two dependable sources of Trump-Russia collusion propaganda—the New York Times and NBC News—nervously reported this week that Barr’s inquiry has expanded, although neither outlet has the foggiest idea why. 

“If U.S. Attorney John Durham is conducting a criminal investigation, it’s not clear what allegations of wrongdoing are being examined,” explained NBC News reporter Ken Dilanian, apparently unaware that the purpose of a criminal investigation is to examine possible wrongdoing. Dilianian then confirmed that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan are targets of Durham’s inquiry. Brennan told NBC News, the outlet where he also serves as a contributor, that the investigation into his activities in 2016 and early 2017 is “bizarre.”

New York Times reporter Adam Goldman shared his colleague’s confusion about how the law works. “Though criticism has been set off by the revelations that Durham is examining politically tinged accusations and outright conspiracy theories about the origins of the Russia investigation, he would naturally have to run down all leads to conduct a thorough review,” Goldman confessed. Goldman repeatedly referred to “right-wing attacks” as fodder for Durham’s inquiry.

It is appropriate to note that neither Goldman nor Dilanian shared any kind of similar skepticism in their three-year reporting binge on the Trump campaign’s imaginary collusion with the Russians in 2016.

But through the spin, both articles disclosed important revelations. Durham has not yet interviewed former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI General Counsel James Baker—both of whom are under separate criminal investigations—or former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who led the bureau’s counterintelligence division. More than two dozen current and former FBI officials have been interviewed, suggesting Durham is building his case before interviewing the main suspects.

That isn’t the only indication that the Justice Department is broadening its scope. Barr and Durham, according to several news reports, traveled to Rome twice in the past few months to speak with officials there about the beginning of the Trump-Russia collusion probe. This is notable for two reasons: Joseph Mifsud, the alleged Russian affiliate who alerted Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos in the spring of 2016 that the Kremlin had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, was based in Rome at the time. Also, Michael Gaeta, an FBI agent stationed in Rome, flew to London in July 2016—the same day his boss, James Comey, held a press conference to clear Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified materials on her private email server—to meet with dossier author Christopher Steele where he passed along his opposition research on the Trump campaign. Steele flew to Rome in September 2016 for the same purpose.

But Brennan must be getting nervous because another reliable collusion mouthpiece, Politico’s Natasha Betrand, weighed in on Durham’s activities, too. 

Betrand accused the Justice Department of “probing a conspiracy theory for which there is little if any evidence, according to several people with knowledge of the matter,” undoubtedly the same several people who concocted the real conspiracy to take down Donald Trump in the first place. Brennan, she wrote, is just a dedicated task master who now is an unfairly maligned political target of a vengeful president.

“Brennan allies and skeptics of the Durham investigation note that the CIA played no role in the probe involving Americans, and was narrowly focused on determining Russian President Vladimir Putin’s motivations and how the Kremlin was carrying out its election attack in 2016,” Betrand continued. That statement, however, is contradicted by Brennan’s own congressional testimony where he admitted his agency became concerned in 2016 about “certain U.S. persons” and their contacts with Russians. Intelligence gleaned from foreign intelligence agencies was collected by Brennan and passed to Comey.

Aside from the Barr-Durham probe, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz has completed his extensive report into potential abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act related to the FBI’s FISA warrant on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. The report is undergoing classification review and should be released soon. It is expected to criticize how the FISA warrant was handled by several Obama loyalists and holdovers in the Justice Department in 2016 and 2017.

The outcome of the multiple lines of inquiry into the conduct of the modern-day Praetorian Guard likely will be very bad news for dozens of Democratic officials, including Joe Biden, who was involved in Brennan’s Situation Room briefings in 2016 about alleged “collusion” right up until Election Day. House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has been an integral part of the collusion hoax since its inception, which is why he is working overtime on his “impeachment inquiry” before he himself is implicated.

House Republicans stormed one outpost of the Praetorian Guard on Wednesday when they breached Schiff’s secret impeachment lair and refused to leave. That move, condemned by the news media and faux “conservative” websites such as the Washington Examiner, which compared the rebellious Republicans to Antifa terrorists, represented a true republican offensive against the Guard. 

Only one side ultimately will prevail. And we should know the victors soon.

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