A reader, Jim, sent me a link to an NRO editorial: Trump's Outrageous Pressure Campaign against Bill Barr. Since I've been an outspoken defender of Barr in almost every situation I can think of, I felt that I should address Trump's recent remarks--including the suggestion that he would consider firing Barr after the election.
First of all, the rhetoric of the NRO editorial seems to me to be over the top--typical of their underlying Never Trumpness. In the first paragraph NRO writes that Trump has been "berating" Barr, that Trump's complaints are "increasingly strident", that Trump has gone "ballistic."
There's no doubt that Trump is upset. The first time Trump publicly questioned Barr's handling of the Russia Hoax investigation, Barr pushed back publicly and insisted that he would follow standard DoJ norms. Fair enough. Trump backed off and Barr and John Durham forged ahead.
Barr is on the same page with Trump in regarding the Russia Hoax as the biggest political crime in our history. There's no reason to doubt that Barr and Durham have made major progress and that, far from giving relative wrist slaps (false statement prosecutions, and such like) to a few agency heads, they are intent on exposing and prosecuting the full extent of this biggest political crime. That progress has been held close to the vest, but we're seeing evidence of it in the revelations, especially, relating to the Flynn case. We have seen at least some of the evidence that ties knowledge of the hoax to both Obama, Biden, and Clinton.
Can anyone blame Trump for being eager to see all this exposed? For all the remarkable accomplishments of his first term, the Russia Hoax--the Mueller Witchhunt, the Fake Impeachment, the daily fake "news" stories surrounding it all--has slowed him down. Trump's concerns, and the control of so much of the media narrative by perpetrators and enablers of this biggest of political crimes, are understandable. It's natural that the President, who is the chief executive of our constitutional order and takes an oath to defend that order, should be demanding results of his Attorney General. Trump's talk of "treason" may be legally inaccurate, but in the common understanding of virtually every non-lawyer in this country it accurately characterizes what occurred.
Barr understands all that, which is why he and Durham want to hold off on prosecution until they're ready to go with a big picture conspiracy case that encompasses that biggest political crime, rather than piecemeal minorish prosecutions. Barr thought the investigation was on track and this summer openly stated that he hoped to have the major case more or less ready to go by "late summer." The latest indication of that, following on the revelations about the Oval Office meetings and Brennan's communications, is that Bruce Ohr was allowed to finally resign from DoJ. Ohr was well placed--the highest non-political official at DoJ--to be privy to much of the plotting against Trump, both in the FBI as well as in DoJ, and even to pick up information from his superiors. His testimony would likely be key in any conspiracy prosecution.
My best guess is that Barr and Durham were counting on what would have been incredibly powerful testimony from Michael Flynn. Flynn's testimony would have been overwhelmingly convincing even to a liberal leaning jury. Unfortunately, the Deep State understood that, too. And here, Barr may have miscalculated. His miscalculation, if such it was, was in believing that DoJ's motion to dismiss Flynn would spring Flynn and make him available for the big prosecutions. Instead, the Deep State pulled out all the stops and induced Sullivan to transgress all judicial norms to keep Flynn tied up--at least until the election, when hopefully for the Deep State Trump would be turned out.
Barr is now in the difficult position of knowing that the Deep State is trying to force him to bring small cases before the big picture conspiracy case is ready. Showing that he, too, has the nerves that Trump has, Barr is gambling on Trump's ability to win the election and enable DoJ to make the case that the nation deserves to see brought to justice.
What alternatives Barr may have had at this point--might he have sought an appeal directly to the SCOTUS?--is beyond my pay grade. Trump, who had trusted Barr's judgment, was understandably perturbed, given the stakes for himself but above all for the country. We're seeing exactly how high the stakes are today in the Big Tech censorship of negative news about Biden. Barr has attempted to deal with this crisis thus far as one that can be handled in the normal course of legal business. But it's clear from what has happened in the courts--in virtually ALL the Russia Hoax related cases--that that assumption is either misplaced or that the courts are incapable of dealing effectively with the Deep State on anything remotely like a timely basis.
Contrary to the NRO editors' rather naive beliefs, the president is not a legal officer of the government. He's the chief executive, the ultimate guardian and guarantor of our constitutional order, and thus--in the positive sense of the term--a political actor. That sets the president apart from the Attorney General, who is a subordinate to the president.
Given the degree of Deep State censorship Trump faces, he has little alternative in communicating the big picture political crisis to the American people than to criticize the lack of visible action by his own administration. Barr is, of course, largely blameless in all this. Trump's must ultimately share some of that blame, due to poor personnel decisions--even if those decisions were constrained by DC politics.
It's a given that Trump would be ill served by attempting to replace Barr. No other AG I can imagine would be capable of facing down the Deep State and the MSM enablers as Barr has shown himself able to do. Trump knows this too. As I've said before, I regard Trump's statements about Barr as mostly political theater--political in the positive sense of attempts to communicate with the American people on a level they can understand.
For his part, Barr is a big boy. Unlike the first time that he was publicly criticized he appears to be taking Trump's criticisms and questioning--not "beratings"--in stride. I take that to mean that Barr knows where he stands and is convinced that his course of action--to wait this out--is the best course at this point. At the same time, I'm sure he will be alert for any action DoJ can reasonably take, including further revelations through declassification.
This situation is unsatisfying for all concerned--Trump, Barr, the American people. Trump and Barr, each in their own way, are doing what they can. This is politics at its highest, with the stakes the continuation of our constitutional order.
and so here we are...I can still remember the reluctance of James Baker to leave his cushy post as SoS to help with GHWB's faltering re-election campaign in 1992 when it was obvious to anyone that if he doesn't use his formidable skills to help his boss win, there is no job for him going forward. Likewise with Barr...what good is it to observe the norms knowing that all your efforts will be in vain if Trump loses the election?ReplyDelete
So, to paraphrase a true warrior: a good prosecution, violently executed now, is better than a perfect prosecution after the election IMHO...but hey, what do I know?
No disagreement with your analysis, Mark.ReplyDelete
My only, hopefully constructive, comment is that there must be some way for Barr to make a status statement...to let some of the pressure which is building escape...which reassures the American people that criminal wrongdoing will be prosecuted.
I think everyone, Trump, Barr, the American people, were all caught off guard about what lengths the DS would go to protect itself; that it really is much more of a "thing" than even Alex Jones would have supposed five years ago.ReplyDelete
Speaking of the Deep State: with the revelation that the FBI has had the Biden laptop since December, sitting on it throughout an impeachment on charges of which it contained pertinent evidence, are we finally at the noose end of Wray's rope.
Actually, this analysis does not recognize that Trump's frustration is with the approach Barr and his team has taken. Barr acts as though everyone in his team of researchers and prosecutors are on board with prosecuting this case. Look at how many have resigned as the case proceeds. And look and the so-called "experts" and "thorough" people, like Huber, who have turned out nothing and have milked the system, along with frustrating the public and Trump even more. Plus, Barr's gamble to turn over a report after the election also means that if Biden wins, everything Barr has going will end and no justice will be served. His gamble will have single-handedly set the system up to burn, and the GOP along with it. I guarantee you that if that happens, I am ending my relationship with the GOP, they will join the ranks of the Democrats as the enemy, and that will be the end of it.ReplyDelete
"Barr's gamble to turn over a *report* after the election also means that if Biden wins, everything Barr has going will end...."Delete
If it turns out to be only a Report, that will be a joke.
But, your larger point stands, that "His gamble will have single-handedly set the system up to burn".
His refusal, to bring *any* charges vs. *any* big fish, is eroding the system's cred.
His failure to foresee what should've been obvious (that the DS would go all out, to press Sullivan to screw Flynn) has left most of the voters *oblivious* to the magnitude of the stakes, such they'll be mostly voting, on the basis of (an understanding of) issues only marginally related to the actual situation.
(Very few non-Righties have any idea of e.g. what happened to Flynn.)
Thus, the Left has huge incentive, to sabotage everything (esp. on election day) that matters, with most voters having no clue as to what's coming.
Has Barr considered the prospect (about which I've been warning for months here) that the Left has huge incentive, to sabotage everything, esp. on election day, via such means as physically stopping Deplorables from casting votes?Delete
Mark are going to post the emails to the Hunter Biden story? Surely they can't block you.ReplyDelete
I'm standing by to report him to the Ministry of Truth if he does.Delete
Anybody know the DCCCP number?
Amazing what Judge Sullivan has done...ReplyDelete
>and induced Sullivan to transgress all judicial norms to
>keep Flynn tied up
All the while NRO is having a fainting spell over Trump voicing his frustration - what a double standard!
Very much so.Delete
Large real estate developers can be very frustrating clients, at times, but they can generate millions of dollars in fees in good years, so their lawyers allow them lots and lots of latitude and suffer a lot of abuse. I'm not sure pushing those same buttons will work on a more altruistic public servant. If I had to guess, I'd guess Barr is fighting a culture that's based on looking the other way for certain people/actions for almost thirty years now, and it's probably an uphill struggle to move the people under him. I give Barr a lot of credit, and am buoyed by the releases so far, the actions in the Flynn case, his public statements, etc. He's definitely all in. The info will be out there, even if Trump loses, and once that's in the open, the right thing will happen, no matter who's in WH. Their cancer only spreads in darkness. I'm sure Trump wants to be vindicated, who wouldn't after all the stuff that's gone on? I'm also sure Barr has his reasons for taking the time he has, and realizes the announcement/report/indictments are only the start of the war, not the end, as Trump probably sees it. I hope the best for both of them- in the end, they're both trying to do the best they can for the country and people, in the best way they can!ReplyDelete
"looking the other way for certain people/actions for almost thirty years now"Delete
Bingo. And look at the little charade Pompeo is playing re Hillary's emails.
My guess is nothing new has been released yet...
That's the charade. There's no reason to expect anything worthwhile. It's just talk.Delete
Another example of this seems to be the Hunter's computer disappearing without a ripple into the FBI some time ago, as did Anthony Weiner's. I wonder if the FBI realized a clone had been made?Delete
"the right thing will happen, no matter who's in WH."Delete
No way in hell will that happen.
The DS has oodles of horses, to ensure (to a Standing O from the MSM) that those who *try to make* the right things happen, after a Biden win, will pay dearly for such Quixotic efforts.
By contrast, most foes of the DS still cling to Marquess of Queensbury - type thinking, e.g. Barr's failure to face the virtual certitude that, of course, the DS would spare no effort to sabotage Flynn.
aNM- hear ya! I meant if a certain critical mass of info is assembled and then gets into general public, the right thing will occur. This is why the DS (and large tech companies! haha) go to such lengths to keep things 'deep'! I'm assuming there's enough info assembled by Barr and Durham already that they could release it somehow, or DJT will just hand it out or something, that it will somehow become public as a last ditch. Your points are all valid, except DJT doesn't know anything about MofQ- not in NTC real estate playbook! that's the wild card...Delete
It is much better to follow what Trump does than what he says. When he criticizes Barr, he is doing what he is excellent at, connecting with individual members of his base.ReplyDelete
You cannot have had the business success he's had in life and not understand that the timing of things is variable and out of your control. He obviously doesn't like it, but the question that he's asking his closest advisors and himself, who could have accomplished the task as good faster?
The answer is nobody. I would be surprised if Trump and Barr talk about public criticism as a necessary evil.
Just an off the cuff response.
I think you may be right here. Trump can't just say nothing about the lack of developments. But I think he will let Barr do what he needs to do at DOJ to get results.Delete
As a member of Trump's "base," I don't like his public criticism of Barr. It's inappropriate. And unless he and the AG are running a psyop on the DS, it's foolish.Delete
So much for "connecting" with me.
Part of the psyop is to show that Barr is not Trump's wingman, not like that corrupt AG of Obama's.Delete
Seems to me the "norms" of the DOJ are rather corrupt. Trump has a point. Now we know the FBI had the Hunter Biden information since Dec 2019. Who are the good guys vs the bad guys in the DOJ?ReplyDelete
Fine. I've called Wray a waste of space. He's a presidential appointee--Trump's pick. Who do you want to fire him, and why hasn't he been fired?Delete
I think that at 11:01 p.m. EST Nov. 3, 2020 President-elect Trump should call Wray's residence and leave a message that he can pick up his personal effects at the J. Edgar Hoover bldg. security office between 8:00 and 8:05 a.m. Wednesday morning. Otherwise, after 8:06, he can find them in a dumpster out back with the rest of his career.Delete
"Fine. I've called Wray a waste of space. He's a presidential appointee--Trump's pick. Who do you want to fire him, and why hasn't he been fired?"ReplyDelete
The way I remember it is that he was the GOP Senate's pick. Wray was who the senators were comfortable with confirming at a time Trump was very much under investigation and completely tied up.
President Trump was in a precarious position and the GOP was ready to humiliate him for anybody they didn't approve of beforehand. If he had nominated someone else [remember, he didn't know many of the players], they could've humiliated him and ended his presidency then and there.
So the question is who in the Senate & his administration was gung-ho on Chris Wray?
It ultimately falls on Trump, but this administration has been full of compromise picks were thrust upon Trump- including much of his original cabinet- by a GOP who have done him no favors. That includes people who probably wish he were gone to supposedly friendly allies (like Sessions&Christie&Pompeo) who have hurt his presidency, intentionally or not.
I remember it a bit differently. what I remember is that Trump confidante Chris Christie recommended Wray. The point is that Barr inherited Wray, Haspel, and Coats. Saying that Trump was in a precarious position hasn't made it any easier for Barr.Delete
I'm quite aware that Trump has had problems getting nominations through the Senate--I've pointed that out repeatedly. Some of the problems were caused by senators like Grassley who now is going around talking about getting to the bottom of things that he seemed to have little interest in for several years.
Could Grassley have goods on Mitch, to push Mitch to see no evil, in Chuck's control of a key committee?Delete