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Friday, December 18, 2020

UPDATED: Barr's Valedictory Interview

Bill Barr is heading out the door at DoJ, and this afternoon the WSJ's Kim Strassel wrote up an valedictory interview with him. Barr is obviously eager to convince the public that he was a total success as AG, and Strassel and the WSJ are just as eager to assist him. In the process Barr says a lot of great sounding things, but it's difficult to fit it all into a coherent and satisfying whole.

First things first, however. You can read the interview if you're willing to pay the WSJ for the privilege and, as a concession to the less 'pecunious' class, the Journal provides a video at the web version of the article that's free of charge--it features some of the more outrageous assaults on Barr. Here's the link:


William Barr: ‘One Standard of Justice’

The departing attorney general talks about John Durham, Robert Mueller, Hunter Biden, Mike Flynn and the flak he’s taken from both parties.


Barr starts off by explaining why he he came back to take the AG gig after Jeff Sessions had to be put out of his misery:


He reminds me why he took the job in the first place: “The Department of Justice was being used as a political weapon” by a “willful if small group of people,” who used the claim of collusion with Russia in an attempt to “topple an administration,” he says. “Someone had to make sure that the power of the department stopped being abused and that there was accountability for what had happened.” ...

Mr. Barr describes an overarching objective of ensuring that there is “one standard of justice.” That, he says, is why he appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate the FBI’s 2016 Crossfire Hurricane probe. “Of course the Russians did bad things in the election,” he says. “But the idea that this was done with the collusion of the Trump campaign—there was never any evidence. It was entirely made up.” The country deserved to know how the world’s premier law-enforcement agency came to target and spy on a presidential campaign.


A small group of "willful" people abusing the power of the DoJ--how ... regrettable. But, as others have noted, somehow there were no righteous people--either at the FBI or at DoJ itself--who were willing to blow the whistle on these few "willful" people. Why not? I think we know why not--they feared for their careers if they stuck their necks out, which tells you all you need to know about that supposedly small group of people. And the fact that the Horowitz and Durham investigations turned into such prolonged tooth pulling operations confirms that impression. There was no rush of people coming forward to assist the investigators.

That business of "one standard of justice" and stopping the abuse--how did that work out in practice?

In his resignation letter Barr rightly points out to President Trump:


Your record is all the more historic because you accomplished it in the face of relentless, implacable resistance. Your 2016 victory speech in which you reached out to your opponents and called for working together for the benefit of the American people was immediately met by a partisan onslaught against you in which no tactic, no matter how abusive and deceitful, was out of bounds. The nadir of this campaign was the effort to cripple, if not oust, your Administration with frenzied and baseless accusations of collusion with Russia.


And yet President Trump was "impeached", basically, for investigating Biden Inc.'s corrupt activities in Ukraine. At that time Barr was fully aware that Trump had solid reasons for urging an investigation. If Barr had spoken up and simply confirmed that DoJ was actually investigating the Bidens based on highly credible information then an injustice both to President Trump and to the nation might well have been avoided. Yet Barr is unapolagetic for not having spoken up. He even acknowledges that "the Justice Department’s rule against confirming probes involving office-seekers is 'not absolute'". But somehow the principle of "one standard of justice" meant--to Barr--that a President should be unjustly "impeached" while criminals should remain unnamed. Nor would any effective declassifications take place to call out those who were using "abusive and deceitful" tactics, making "frenzied and baseless accusations" that Barr knew to be false. Funny how "one standard of justice" works sometimes.

No doubt Michael Flynn is enjoying a laugh about that "one standard of justice" too. Barr is properly scathing about the treatment of Flynn:


Also outrageous, in Mr. Barr’s view, was the abuse of power by both the FBI and the Mueller team toward Mr. Trump’s associates, especially Mr. Flynn. The FBI, as a review by U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen found, pulled Mr. Flynn into an interview that had “no legitimate investigative basis.” The Mueller team then denied Mr. Flynn’s legal defense exculpatory information and pressured Mr. Flynn into pleading guilty to lying.


And yet, Barr admits--no, he seems to assert as if he's taking credit for some righteousness on his part:


Mr. Barr didn’t order a review of the case until Mr. Flynn petitioned to withdraw his guilty plea in January 2020.


In other words, despite an enormous outcry on Flynn's behalf and well publicized information about the "outrageous" and legally indefensible persecution of Flynn that Barr refers to, Barr sees it as a badge of merit that he held off taking any action whatsoever--by his account--until Flynn got some sense and replaced his conflicted lawyers with Sidney Powell. If that hadn't happened, apparently Barr would have been totally down with an innocent man being saddled with a felony. Will there ever be any of that accountability Barr talks about, justice time for the FBI and Team Mueller persecutors of Flynn? Or does Barr think the pardon was good enough? I have to say, I'm no longer holding my breath.

And speaking of the Flynn pardon, itself a result of gross abuses of judicial ethics by Sullivan and a major injustice to Flynn--well, Barr isn't speaking of it:


Mr. Barr declines to comment on Judge Sullivan’s maneuvering.


One is left wondering whether, if Barr had a mouth full of it, he'd ever say it. At least we know Sidney Powell will say it.

Another major point that Barr harps on is that, basically, DoJ can only hold people to account through intra-departmental administrative procedures or prosecution:


The attorney general also hopes people remember that orange jumpsuits aren’t the only measure of misconduct. It frustrates him that the political class these days frequently plays “the criminal card,” obsessively focused on “who is going to jail, who is getting indicted.”

One danger of the focus on criminal charges is that it ends up excusing a vast range of contemptible or abusive behavior that doesn’t reach the bar. The FBI’s use “of confidential human sources and wiretapping to investigate people connected to a campaign was outrageous,” Mr. Barr says—whether or not it leads to criminal charges.


Yet what specific actions did Barr's DoJ take to remind people of those truths? We've already noted that in the case of the fake impeachment against President Trump justice could have been served short of criminal prosecution if necessary--by a timely disclosure of directly relevant information. Perhaps that would have jeopardized a successful prosecution, but that remains a speculative issue. The important point is that some issues of overriding importance to the nation may justify accepting that risk, in the interests of justice and the health and well being of our constitutional order. The general public could well be excused if they thought that Barr held to the very view that he claims to reject--that orange jumpsuits really are the only measure of misconduct. That impression results from his repeatedly over cautious adherence to standard DoJ norms rather than aggressively seeking justice.

The same considerations come into play with regard to Barr's remarkable statement about the CIA--a statement that is getting top billing in media accounts of the interview:


The biggest news from Mr. Durham’s probe is what he has ruled out. Mr. Barr was initially suspicious that agents had been spying on the Trump campaign before the official July 2016 start date of Crossfire Hurricane, and that the Central Intelligence Agency or foreign intelligence had played a role. But even prior to naming Mr. Durham special counsel, Mr. Barr had come to the conclusion that he didn’t “see any sign of improper CIA activity” or “foreign government activity before July 2016,” he says. “The CIA stayed in its lane.”


To put this in proper perspective we have to bear in mind that Barr is referring to "the CIA" more or less as an institution. In that sense it appears to be true that, especially with regard to the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) which fueled the continuation of the Russia Hoax after President Trump's inauguration and largely justified the Mueller Witchhunt, the CIA analysts played a largely honorable role. The CIA analysts assigned to the ICA project objected strenuously to inclusion of the Steele material in the ICA (at the insistence of the FBI), and they also objected strongly to CIA Director John Brennan's intervention to slant the ICA against Trump. In that sense it's fair to say that "The CIA stayed in its lane."

The difficulty with that statement, however, arises when considering the role that Brennan played. Brennan personally overruled the strong consensus of his analysts, insisting on including dubious assessments of supposed Russian efforts to aid Trump and harm Hillary in the 2016 election. Certainly Barr himself asserts that the notion of actual collusion was "entirely made up."

Now, again bearing in mind that Brennan can argue--and probably did so argue to Durham when interviewed--that his intervention in the ICA was simply an erroneous assessment, that should not be the end of the matter from the standpoint of justice. True, making a mistaken assessment is not something a person can be prosecuted for. Nevertheless, having made that mistake immediately before Trump's inauguration, Brennan has continued to vilify President Trump in the most outrageous terms, in the face of all the evidence that has been brought forward to show how mistaken--and that's giving Brennan the total benefit of every doubt--Brennan was. Indeed, the phrase "frenzied and baseless accusations" that Barr uses in his resignation letter fits Brennan's conduct over the past four years to a tee.

Barr makes much of the danger in focusing solely on criminal prosecution as the sole standard for judging behavior, and he's right to do so. Sadly, in our contemporary society it appears that anything goes--short of behavior that can actually be prosecuted:


One danger of the focus on criminal charges is that it ends up excusing a vast range of contemptible or abusive behavior that doesn’t reach the bar.


In that light, Barr's words of exoneration regarding the CIA--while understandable with regard to the institution, and in particular with regard to the analysts who worked on the ICA--falls short of his own standards when we consider the conduct of the CIA's Director, who is, after all, the public face of the institution. The CIA analysts who worked on the ICA may well have been honorable, but it was Brennan's biased and "mistaken" overriding of their honorable work that ended up being embodied in the ICA and was presented to the world has a highly reliable view based on sound intelligence. In light of that, to say that "The CIA stayed in its lane" really doesn't cover the case. That statement will be used and misused by the same persons whose tactics--as Barr so aptly said in his resignation letter--were "abusive and deceitful", knowing no bounds of decency. Barr knows this as well as anyone in Washington, so to make such an unqualified statement regarding "the CIA", without drawing any distinctions, is a distinct disservice to President Trump--as surely as Barr's premature dismissal of election fraud was also a disservice.

For the rest, Barr says that Durham's investigation is now


tightly focused on “the conduct of Crossfire Hurricane, the small group at the FBI that was most involved in that ...” 

 

In that regard Strassel points out that 


Durham has publicly stated that he’s not convinced the FBI team had an adequate “predicate” to launch an investigation ...


and that the FBI had every reason to know that the Hillary campaign was behind the Russia Hoax.

As John Cleese might say: John Durham--master of the bleeding obvious.

The only hope offered by Barr that Durham might offer up anything in the nature of the Big Picture of what happened to Trump is that Barr says that 


Durham is also looking at as well as “the activities of certain private actors.” (Mr. Barr doesn’t elaborate.) 


One assumes that would include Glenn Simpson. Will it also include other individuals close to the Clinton inner circle, such as Michael Sussmann? Will Durham address the vast range of contemptible behavior that was systematically gaslighted the American people for four years--not just the Hillary campaign itself but the Adam Schiff memo and other notorious examples? I'm not holding my breath. 

In many ways Barr proved to be an exemplary Attorney General. In ordinary times he might have ended his tenure regarded as one of the greatest AGs we've had. Unfortunately, in this time of constitutional crisis he will be judged to have suffered from a too constricted vision of doing justice. He talks of going beyond the limited view of setting the bar for acceptable conduct as criminal prosecution, but in practice he has done little to alter that view. To change public perception is a difficult task, one that cannot be achieved quickly--something like changing the course of a supertanker. Rather than attempting to educate the public, Barr has been content--or so it seems to me--to speak to other lawyers like himself rather than taking on the role of being an educator of the American public. I realize that's asking a lot, but it would have been easier had he exemplified his principles more clearly in the conduct of his high office when the demands of justice required a more expansive view.

UPDATE: With regard to Barr's failure to speak out effectively about Biden Inc. either at the time of the fake impeachment or later, Brett Tolman's words--which can be found here: Brett Tolman Takes Bill Barr To Task--are worth rereading. Partial quote, and note that Tolman speaks of an "absolute duty", in contrast to Barr's seeming self satisfaction with his own behavior:


MACCALLUM: [Returns to Tolman and poses the question--Yes, Barr was cautious in his response a year ago, but did "we" deserve to know more about all this during the election--from Barr? After all, we're now hearing that there are FOUR investigations going on into "the family," Biden Inc.!]

TOLMAN: Well, first of all I think it's great that you had that moment. You were one of the few asking those tough questions. I think by his [Barr'] response we can certainly see, there was some knowledge there. There was something--he was trying to be careful. They have a policy in the Department of Justice to not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, but you hit on the issue that is important, and that is: What we saw happen AFTER that was stories about Russia disinformation, 50 plus former intelligence officers indicating that there was nothing here, that this [Giuliani's information] was from Russia. At that point I believe the Attorney General absolutely had an obligation  to correct the record, to make sure that that was not the case, that there was information to suggest that they were at least going to look into it. And that's OK for the American people to know, that they [DoJ/FBI] had credible leads into potential laundering of money or the movement of money that might have been illegal, involving Hunter Biden. That shoulda been said. There was enough time to do that prior to things ramping up in the election.

MACCALLUM: [If Joe Biden wasn't implicated, could Barr have spoken out sooner?]

TOLMAN: I mean, this is something where the Attorney General, who--Certainly he's 'old school'. He was Attorney General many, many years ago before we were in the political atmosphere that we are. But this called for a different response, and I think what we're going to see now is, a lot of the details coming out, and people are gonna be frustrated, they're gonna be upset. Because let me tell you, it's not just the laptop that triggered this investigation. When you have suspicious activity reports that are being filed by financial institutions, and you have the laptop, and then you have Bobulinski, you have the makings of a fairly large scale investigation into the illegal movement of money that is involving multiple people. That's a conspiracy.


This is from an email that I dashed off earlier this morning. My point, not completely articulated, is that in these extraordinary times standard departmental policies and procedures could not possibly be sufficient to the situation. That's a view that Barr vehemently disagreed with:


My guess is that at some point Barr got cold feet--particularly with regard to CIA and foreign intel services, Brits, Aussies, Italians. It was leaked in a UK paper that UK intel was saying, What's Barr trying to do, bring down the whole intel apparatus? IOW, too big to bring down. I suspect that the FBI was chosen as a handy (and most deserving) scapegoat. Certainly little of this could have happened without the FBI on board--CI pretty much can't happen without the FBI, even if foreign tips are received. However, there was also all sorts of "improper" meddling going on at DoJ, with the embryo of Team Mueller interfering re Manafort even before the election without warrant--Horowitz documented that and other instances.

This is another failing. When he changed the focus of his investigation Barr owed it to the Chief Executive to brief him in on the big picture of how he wanted to proceed--after all, Barr openly acknowledges that this was a "coup", an attempt to bring down an administration using LE and intel agencies, in cooperation with purely political operatives. The president has a need to know, but Barr seems never to have truly shared his big game plan with Trump.


Finally, Jeff Carlson has done an assessment of Barr that's balanced but critical (Where Bill Barr Failed the President). It's a lengthy article, but one portion jumps out at me. Carlson cites Barr's House testimony from July 28:


Barr later continued, saying, “We’re not going to interfere [in the election]. In fact, I’ve made it clear. I’m not going to tolerate it … Any report will be, in my judgment, not one that is covered by the policy and would disrupt the election.”

And he again noted that the investigation wasn’t focused, nor was it expected to focus, on either Obama or Biden, saying “I’ve already made it clear that neither candidate is under [investigation].”


Again we see that Barr places rigid adherence to policies and procedures above safeguarding our constitutional order. His bizarre reasoning seems to have been that such "fair" adherence to rules would convince the Dems to behave with decency. Did this irresponsible position--irresponsible, in view of all that had long been known about Biden Inc.--contribute to encouraging the MSM and Big Tech to ignore and even censor all attempts to draw attention to the Hunter and Joe Biden corruption saga? I have to believe so. Certainly his words can and will be cited in defense of the news suppression that occurred.

Compare that to Tolman's assessment. Barr's conduct was inexcusable. He has disgraced himself.


133 comments:

  1. He didn’t quite work out as planned. Never quite managed to be there when he was needed by the American people. He disappointed me greatly. I’ve no particular interest in his DIY post mortem.

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  2. Apparently, Barr learned a long time ago that the CIA had nothing to do with the meeting between Papadopoulos and Mifsud. That meeting was arranged by FBI Counterintelligence.

    Likewise, the CIA had nothing to do with the meeting between Papadopoulos and Downer. The memo that Downer wrote in July 2016 was provided to the FBI so that the FBI could justify its Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

    The CIA had nothing to do with Steele or, in this matter, with Halper.

    Neither Barr nor Durham were afraid of taking on the CIA if they had found wrong-doing there -- but they did not find any there.

    Sure, the CIA issued stupid assessments about Russian meddling in the USA's 2016 election, but stupid assessments are not illegal.

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    1. "Sure, the CIA issued stupid assessments about Russian meddling in the USA's 2016 election, but stupid assessments are not illegal."

      No...just destructive of a newly-elected Administration and, ultimately, of the country itself.

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    2. FFS, CIA 'stupid assessments' is in a whole different category than a nutty neighbor expounding wild theories of Martians stealing people. I submit the CIA were not just being silly buggers but were actively piling on fuel to burn down the Trump administration. They aided and abetted the FBI deep state actors to destroy the Trump presidency. Aiding and abetting a crime is itself a crime.

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    3. In my UPDATE I quote from an email I sent this morning in which I say I believe Barr got cold feet. To suggest as Barr does that "the CIA" stayed on the straight and narrow ("the rails") is not a sufficient characterization of what went down.

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    4. @Mark

      Great post above. As is regularly the case these days, so many questions!

      Among them:

      "The president has a need to know, but Barr seems never to have truly shared his big game plan with Trump."

      Do we know that? Do we know what Barr and Trump have talked about? Did Barr even have a game plan? Does Trump? Do we know what Trump's 'big game plan' is? I have wondered about this for a long time. Was the Conspiracy merely an attempt to protect the Obama legacy, or Mrs Clinton's criminal exposures? Or as we are seeing today, was it a larger attempt to coverup criminal corruption in China? Does Trump have a game plan to definitively expose these things?

      Regarding Barr's loyalties, I can't help but remind myself of his treatment of Rosenstein. Baffling then. Baffling today. Calls everything into question.

      You are absolutely right that Brennan's behavior has been calculated to bring down Trump. Even if the CIA as an organization somehow stayed 'in its lane', Brennan's behavior has not only been despicable, but also raises numerous 'why' questions, especially if we are told that the CIA was not a party to the Conspiracy. Brennan has called Trump (essentially) a traitor. But he never explains why. Why?

      Kim Strassel has been one of the most courageous reporters over the last four years in exposing the Conspiracy. Then she scored an exclusive with Barr and decided to go soft? Or did she? If so, why? If we can't trust Kim Strassel...

      Do you think Barr really believes that Americans' demand for the truth about the Conspiracy can be satisfied if charges are only brought against McCabe, Strzok and Page? For better or for worse, information cannot be truly suppressed in the internet age. It will come out. Won't it?

      Barr's actions in respect of the Impeachment (where he knew Trump's inquiries regarding Ukraine were legitimate but remained silent), in respect of Biden's candidacy (where he knew Hunter Biden was acting on behalf of his father in business negotiations with foreign state actors but remained silent), and in respect of the 2020 election (where he had to know that there were dishonest election officials but said there was no evidence of election wrong-doing), are all impossible to square with the idea of an Attorney General genuinely interested in true 'justice'. If so, why? Barr is a smart guy. Why did he disappoint? If it was cold feet, why?

      We're over four years into this and the questions keep mounting. Why?

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    5. Re what Trump was told, Trump has indicated that his updates were very general in nature.

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    6. As with "didnt MEAN to do anything illegal" - I wonder if "STUPID" can join the ranks of pleading out of a court case.

      But alas, I am but one of the little people.

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    7. For Barr to claim that "the CIA" stayed in its lane, after Brennan called Trump a *traitor*, is not merely not an insufficient characterization of what went down, but is a laughable evasion of a central issue.
      Even if "the CIA" was OK, when it's ex-boss went full-McCarthy vs. DJT, the current brass of CIA, and DoJ, *owed* it to DJT and the world, to correct the record.
      If Brennan, as a "private citizen", can pop off about "traitors", how could Barr not find "private citizens", to be seen to press him to correct the record, in ways which at least implied, that he knew Brennan's pitch to be BS?

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  3. When Andrew Breitbart said "they will look you in the eyes and tell you what you want to hear", he wasn't lying.

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  4. Mark - I think this the longest article you've written in quite a while. You were more fair to Barr and more balanced than I would have been.

    I think Barr's failing was a lack of realization that the DOJ is probably beyond saving in it's current form. Had he been willing to fire as many as he could and transfer the rest to the back side of nowhere he might have stood a chance of real reform, but that was beyond his mental framework of the problem.

    I know Trump's comments in the media probably got under his skin but that can't justify his own misstatements - which may reveal much about his character.

    It will be interesting to see who Trump chooses for AG if he gets another term.

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    1. Strassel's claim that Barr restored norms at DoJ is totally absurd--we'll find that out shortly.

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    2. When decades of corrupt practices become the norm, what is there to restore? Restoration isn't possible when the whole structure is rotten down to the foundation.

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  5. Right man. Wrong moment. An AG for ordinary times, and these are not ordinary times.

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    1. I really thought he got that, but it seems not.

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  6. Barr suffers from the same terminal disease as a lot of the GOP, unwilling (or unable) to step onto the field of battle where the war needs to be fought. This is a deja vu of Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policy filled with the same self-congratulation.

    When political and judicial systems fail to address the threats to a nation's sovereignty, the fight is forced on the ordinary men and women who must defend what their leaders will not. Donald J Trump is the one man who went to the right battleground and fought alone until the forces of corruption sucked him under. Bill Barr can eff right off with his hollow words. America needed action, he gives platitudes on the nobility of POTUS's efforts. History will remember Barr was handed a sword to join the fight but refused to lift his arm.

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    1. Exactly, and I believe the same applies to Trump. We need a Churchill not a Chamberlain. He has done the right thing to stand up to evil, he has done the right thing to do everything possible within the rule of law. But the evil does not bound itself with the rules, and if Trump backs down now like Barr did, the situation will be worse than before Trump stood up.

      He has to finish the job he started. He has to lead, because there is no one else that can take the lead at this point. If he gets cold feet, there will be nothing left to save.

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    2. Isn't it amazing that year after year, its just a couple bad seeds and not a fundamentally corrupt system that corrupts even the good guys eventually? So, so, ... SO tired of this canard.

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    3. I agree completely with andersm.

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  7. I have my opinion that if Barr was a Patriot, he was merely a Sunshine Patriot. My intuition tells me that he was brought in not to really act as Trumps AG, but more to act as Mitch's Special Counsel with direct limits on what he could examine.

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  8. Barr way too Robert Duval when America needed a wartime consigliere

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  9. Barr's greatest failure was not letting the American people know that they were investigating Hunter Biden before the election. Not doing so allowed voters to support a completely flawed candidate. The outright denials by the Biden campaign regarding the NY Post story, the signed letter by former intel personnel stating that the story was Russian disinformation should have been met by the DOJ with a statement confirming that there was merit to the Post's story and that it was definitely not Russian disinformation. Barr's effort to not influence the election by remaining silent actually influenced the election to our peril.

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    1. That, to me, is an unforgivable failure.

      https://meaninginhistory.blogspot.com/2020/12/brett-tolman-takes-bill-barr-to-task.html

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  10. I hope Bill Barr (under the radar) permanently changed some of the procedures within the DOJ so the next president could no longer weaponize the FBI to spy on their political rivals, which works out well for Biden, should this sham of an election go his way, and I still have hope that Mr. Trump won’t give up the ship. Clinesmith was the only person who technically broke the law, and was the only guy Obama neglected to pardon in secret. Obama either wrote an umbrella forgiveness document or he handed out individual limited pardons for Comey, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Strzok, etc. Maybe that Jan. 5th meeting was the day Obama handed out the free passes. Patrick Byrne certainly suggested that happened to him, so who’s to say Obama didn’t insulate his “Crossfire” team from criminal prosecution. If anyone came up with that moniker, all fingers point to Obama, who was running this show, as Strzok admitted in a text to his married girlfriend, Lisa Page.

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    1. Who’s to say Obama didn’t insulate his “Crossfire” team from criminal prosecution?
      If so, then Barr should've told the *world* of these pardons, and gone full-blast after all those (e.g. in the MSM) who hadn't been pardoned.

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  11. Once a company man, always a company man.

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  12. Doesn't this just sum up why it is so hard to be a Republican?

    Democrats don't have to worry about evidence for criminal investigation, they have other ways to deal with "problems."

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  13. My intuition tells me Barr is aware of information that is so potent it has the danger of wrecking devastating damage to our nation. Some really serious stuff, presently and going back years similar to decision to withhold info on Hunter Biden before the election, he would make this kind of “best interests of our nation” decision and step down. IMHO

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    1. "going back years" as in Bush presidency when Barr was AG again?

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    2. @Frankd06830December 19, 2020 at 8:43 AM

      Your comment is why I keep asking "Why"?

      The words and actions of (almost) nobody in this cast of characters make sense.

      Except, perhaps, Donald Trump. And even he can't show all his cards.

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    3. Cass, the words and actions of (almost) everybody in this cast of characters make sense, if we assume that most US elites had already become pimples on the asses of the ChiComs.

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    4. @Mouse

      Is that where we end up? Maybe.

      All of them: Comey, Clapper, Brennan, Burr, Warner, Rosenstein, Mueller, Weissmann, Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler, Schumer, H Clinton, B Clinton, Obama, Rice, Powers, McCain, Kerry, Biden, Harris...not to mention the NYT, Wapo, CNN, MSNBC...all owned by the CCP?

      Maybe. Maybe you're right...

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    5. Cass, even if only 1/2 of these folks are owned by the CCP, that's likely plenty, for the US to be effectively under the CCP.

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  14. great read - btw, the WSJ article is out from behind the paywall at least as of now ...

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  15. I'm trying to hold my tongue about Barr. And I'm very disappointed in Kim Strassel, formerly a straight shooter, who allows herself to be used as a water carrier for Barr's self-inflating blarney.

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  16. Barr did a great job of saving the establishment, including from their over reach with the mueller fiasco. I now view Barr as a Bush era type. I expected so much more. He was an improvement from Sessions and was probably the best that the GOP senate would confirm.

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    1. "the best that the GOP senate would confirm."
      If so, it's on Mitch, and the whole GOPe (esp. the Bushies).
      When Mueller got to ram thru the Patriot Act, I was "laying odds", that we would live to see the death rattle of Const. governance.

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  17. "But somehow the principle of 'one standard of justice' meant--to Barr--that a President should be unjustly 'impeached' while criminals should remain unnamed. Nor would any effective declassifications take place to call out those who were using 'abusive and deceitful' tactics, making 'frenzied and baseless accusations' that Barr knew to be false. Funny how 'one standard of justice' works sometimes."

    I've only gotten to the above point in this post, but that passage jumped out at me so much I just had to quote it right away.

    Sure does say a lot, and all of it sadly spot on.

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    1. Now that I've read it all, I could quote so many more passages that it's just easier to say the whole thing is excellent and then some.

      One part I do feel compelled to repeat, though, is the conclusion, sad but true:

      "Barr's conduct was inexcusable. He has disgraced himself."

      And woefully failed his country in the process. Our forefathers would weep.

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  18. Barr, in the end, turned out to be a fool. He never understood that what he was trying to accomplish in the DoJ ends the minute the Democrats regain control of the Executive Branch. Indeed, every change Barr made will not only be undone, but the Democrats will further entrench their people in the agency. Just you watch what happens to Trump and his family- the DoJ will persecute them for the next four years, and will secretly investigate and wiretap every other Republican who is a plausible candidate in 2024. They got away with doing exactly this in 2016, so they will double down on it in 2024.

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    1. Barr is an old-fashioned institutionalist. In doing the right thing, he would have had to ruin too many friendships and sully the reputation of the organization he led. For example, rather than using a legalistic pretext to end the Flynn case, he could have slammed Van Grack et al and admitted the overwhelming evidence of prosecutorial misconduct instead. An old man, it's clear Barr decided to take the path of least resistance.

      When the history of this time is written, Barr will be lauded—because history is written by the victors. In truth, Barr's cowardly moral failing will be seen as the final missed chance to stave off the dominion (pun intended) of the corrupt criminal class that now holds all the reins of power. Trump was half right: Barr had a chance to go down as the greatest AG in history. Where Trump was wrong was that the alternative was not merely a "sad, sad situation"-- it is the dissolution of the Constitution and the surrender of country to the implacable radical left’s not so tender mercies.

      Delete
    2. "will secretly investigate and wiretap every other Republican who is a plausible candidate", and everyone (e.g. in media) who could be any major help to such plausible candidates.

      Delete
    3. Here I go again: I totally agree with PD Quig, with the one caveat that I’m not ready in the least to accept that the corruptocracy will be the victors. For right now, yes, but it was just a battle, not the whole war.

      Delete
  19. Hate to say it, but Sundance was right about Barr...

    ReplyDelete
  20. The most important point in this entire post was this observation by Mark- there were no public whistleblowers at the FBI about the inappropriate investigations, literally none.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've seen a tweet by Adam Housley, who said there were some at FBI who stood up, and suffered for it.

      Frank

      Delete
    2. @Frank

      ...suggesting that there is much more at stake, including institutionally, than the prosecution of, for example, McCabe, Strzok and Page for an unpredicated investigation.

      Delete
    3. @Yancey; I'm not surprised that there were no public whistleblowers at the FBI. Same in private business. I see unethical, immoral behavior quite frequently where I work. People skirting guidelines, regulations, policy, procedures... where I'm at it's a culture ask for forgiveness not for permission. It's about saving people's livelihoods, pensions, pocketbooks, and not making waves. If there are no repercussions, accountability held, then who cares. It's even worse in public office.

      Delete
    4. @American Cardigan

      Yes. And I am convinced this is an important element of the division between the Elites (who win in a culture of ask for forgiveness not for permission) and the Deplorables (who are screwed in this culture).

      Winner take all.

      Delete
    5. Cass etc., please elaborate, on how the Elites win (in a culture of ask for forgiveness not for permission), vs. how the Deplorables are screwed in that culture.
      Is it mainly because Elites can more easily pass the buck downhill, or is there *much* more to it?

      Delete
    6. @Mouse: I think what Cass means is that culture defines the environment and if the environment allows for it w/no punitive action by those in authority, then those w/the beef (Deplorables) are left holding the bag.

      Delete
    7. Yes, AC, that's a big part of it. If you can just 'go ahead and do it' without 'permission', you are at a great advantage over others who are more reluctant to break the rules. Compounded over time, that advantage becomes immense.

      In another respect, I cannot shake my memory of a sequence of events that transpired during the Clinton Administration that ultimately contributed greatly to the screwing of who we now call the Deplorables.

      Without any great national debate about the consequences, a globalist and financialist policy was implemented by the Elite. There were some who saw the risk in this (do you remember Brooksley Born, the chairwoman of the CFTC, who saw the risk in unregulated derivatives but was insulted, ignored and shouted down by Larry Summers) but we went ahead anyway. Time Magazine ultimately celebrated Summers, and Robert Rubin and Alan Greenspan, as the "Committee to Save the World" for, among other things, implementing these globalist, financialist policies.

      In this case, the Committee to Save the World and their associates became fabulously wealthy and powerful as investment and employment were transferred to China and other developing countries, while huge swaths of America folded up, rusted out and succumbed to unemployment, mental illness, family breakup and addiction. All of this was pretty predictable but the Elite went ahead anyway and did it...because they could. They had the 'power'. As AC says, the Deplorables were simply left holding the bag.

      Delete
    8. Thanx, AmCard, rings true enough.

      Delete
  21. And you take this one point further along, too- there were no leaks from the investigations into Hunter Biden either until after the election. Given human nature, this tells me that the investigations into Hunter Biden are also being run Democrats in the DoJ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. “being run by Democrats in the DoJ.”

      I’m not so sure there’s any other kind in that place :(

      Delete
  22. I think Barr's assessment of the CIA is par for what was known of that portion of the investigation.

    Meaning they did what they did using the tools they knew they had specifically to skirt the laws they knew could be avoided in using overseas assets and IC practices that have become the norm.

    Immoral, unethical or against policies is irrelevant when you simply set a goal and stay within those lines.

    That is completely par for the course of government and If those rules or laws didn't fit they would do as they have been doing for the past 100 years and change them.

    Many have said through out this whole thing that the main talking point of defense would end up being "there was a legit concern". Manufactured or not would be completely irrelevant, if they could find that point they'd simply stick to it.

    The number one priority of the government is to protect it's own institutions by any means necessary. When that is your goal you will always find a means to make it fit and continue forward, it's incredibly powerful self corrupting system by nature.

    We were warned... We historically removed all of the control mechanism under the guises of "safety and security" over the morals of liberty and law. As america's once proud standing of a republic continues to plunder forward with no cliff being to high to fall from as a dead, bloated and rotting corpse of its former self.

    Mission accomplished and job well done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. “if they could find that point they'd simply stick to it.“

      I’m not saying that is wrong, but for the explanation to hold up would require the actors to admit their “mistakes,” and show real contrition, once it became so blindingly clear the charges ended up being baseless. They instead pretty much doubled down, all the way through, insisting to this day Trump is a Russian stooge, or at least that he hasn’t proven otherwise.

      A DC or other all-Dem jury might buy that, but not any sort of unbiased one (to the extent that exists).

      Delete
    2. @Brad Crawford

      Not necessarily, you are looking at the from your perspective. They didn't admit making a "mistake" to "you".

      That was never part of the cards. From a government perspective, you have no business knowing their business whatsoever.

      The government simply makes no mistakes.

      Delete
  23. Unless something comes out shortly Barr will have taken away the position of “Obama’s Wingman” from Eric Holder. Many words can be written about him, but this is more descriptive of what he did and has become.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I feel like I'm out here by myself on an island; please parse what Barr said CAREFULLY:

    >> But even prior to naming Mr. Durham special counsel, Mr. Barr had come to the conclusion that he didn’t “see any sign of improper CIA activity” or “foreign government activity before July 2016,” he says. “The CIA stayed in its lane.” <<

    [emphasis added]

    Do you see my point?

    If Barr meant that the CIA did nothing wrong throughout the Russian Collusion Hoax, there would be no need for the temporal qualifying phrase "before July 2016."

    So either Barr is subtly suggesting CIA wrongdoing could have occurred, but AFTER the FBI opened CH at the end of July 2016, or he inserted the phrase that had no other purpose in being in that sentence.

    I have to believe Barr inserted it for a reason, and that reason is that he has NOT concluded CIA has clean hands AFTER July 2016.

    I would also point out the CIA Fusion Cell and the ICA all took place AFTER July 2016!

    Ergo, nothing Barr said indicates the CIA has been exonerated of potential Russia Collusion Hoax crimes after July 2016. The ICA in particular is still in play, and was and continues to be, from what little is known, a point of focus for Durham.

    Am I missing something?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. I think the easiest way to read that is that the "before July 2016" refers to "foreign government activity" and not to the CIA. I read and reread that a few times and came to that conclusion.

      As for CIA wrongdoing AFTER July 2016, that would likely involve the ICA--and that would be Brennan's wrongdoing. However, when read together with the "CIA stayed in its lane" my guess is that Durham is continuing to look at ICA from the standpoint of the FBI's insistence on including the Steele material.

      All this fits in with:

      Barr says that Durham's investigation is now
      tightly focused on “the conduct of Crossfire Hurricane, the small group at the FBI that was most involved in that ...”

      My own view is that the CIA--or at least Brennan--facilitated the FBI activity but not in ways that can be prosecuted. However, I may be mistaken in that regard.

      Delete
    2. I see why you interpret it the way you do. As I am temporarily without access to my AP English grammar text, I can't properly research the grammatical interpretation further at present.

      I just wish WSJ's Kim Strassel had been more careful to clarify exactly what Barr said and meant. Since she is quoting sentence fragments of Barr's statements, we do not have the benefit of knowing how exactly Barr structured the grammar of his statement, and thus have no means to be sure Strassel's recasting of the fragments didn't unintentionally inject a meaning that wasn't there.

      Delete
    3. @EZ
      "I feel like I'm out here by myself on an island..."

      I, for one, am all in favor of hearing all sides. I suspect Mark agrees...

      Delete
  25. These last 10 or so comments - all true, all sad....

    ReplyDelete
  26. Mark, appreciate the lengthy summary and much needed. Barr is a man of honor from a former time in America. I still respect him greatly. Keeping the DOJ from being politicized happened between his journey with H.W.'s time in office and 2019. Keeping up with this was simply too much for him. I do believe he brought back some much needed respect to the DOJ however only time will tell with those that remain to understand his influence. Thanks again Mark.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I certainly hope you're right. In his own way I too believe he's honorable, but misguided re how to achieve his admirable goals.

      Delete
    2. There's a time and a place for honor, but not when you have a gun in your face.

      Hard to believe Barr didn't see the gun. Stubbornly holding to principles from the past.

      Frank

      Delete
    3. Hard to believe Barr didn't see the gun, and led those of us who saw the gun, to expect Fireworks (soon) after Labor Day.
      I wonder, did she ask him why he later said zip about that?

      Delete
  27. Barr came a long way back from the "sprawling conspiracy" that he described last year.

    The only doubt I ever really had about Barr was whether he was more concerned about the office of the President than the injustices suffered by Trump. I have to conclude that he must think he has safeguarded the office if he can put a couple people in jail. But the office of the President is the least of our worries.

    I don't agree that Barr walked away from the fight, but I do think that he failed to engage at the core of the battle. He addressed the core issues in a couple of nice speeches, but that's it.

    Other commenters have covered some of the easy, principled things he could have done to support the war effort.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, from 'sprawling' to 'hey, I never thought the CIA was up to anything,' to 'narrowly focused on a small group in the FBI'--that's a long, strange trip.

      Delete
  28. One way of looking at Barr is the way many of us look at Andy McCarthy and others of their ilk. While standing on 'principle' the war is lost.

    As in: Sure, Barr has restored 'principle' to the DoJ. Sure.

    ReplyDelete
  29. What little respect I had for Barr went down the toilet with this interview.

    He is part of the Deep State.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Strassel is now on Fox, on Barr on the CIA "in it's lane".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did he clarify what he did and didn't mean by those comments, and the time frame to which it refers?

      Delete
    2. Where on Fox? What program?

      Delete
    3. On Gigot's show.
      No clarifications, it was a short segment.

      Delete
  31. His ethics keep him using a 19th century muzzle-loader in a 2020 full-auto fire-fight. A wasted moment...he coulda been a champ.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great write-up... it appears that Barr was still focused on preserving the institutions as opposed to protecting the Constitution and rule of law.

    A real shame, on every level.

    p.s., it's Jeff Carlson.

    ReplyDelete
  33. My opinion from afar is that William Barr is a capital B Bureaucrat, he really has no brief related to Republican or Democrat. In this regard he is much more of a feather with CJ Roberts than the other players in the DS. He really has little conviction outside the sanctity of the Process, which is the holy of holies to a bureaucrat. I believe it is demonstrable in his staunch defense of FBI conduct at Ruby Ridge. There he was less concerned that an innocent was killed, for utterly no reason other than the gov't had the power to do it, than that a prerogative of Process should be questioned. How does one rationalize Roger Stone being handed what would in all probability have been a life sentence for no more than being a braggard and a loud mouth while people within the gov't inarguably struck a willful blow against the very foundations of the Republic from "their lane" and not only walk away free but will become rich bragging about it? Because they are within the Process. I sometimes think Mussolini got the idea of Fascism from watching the the day-to-day bureaucracy, the Process is everything, outside the Process is nothing.

    I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Barr volunteered to return as AG because he saw that, wherever he had the chance, Trump was appointing people who were from outside the Process and that a bureaucratic "infidel" might run amuck though the sanctum of the DoJ. He was never there to have Trump's back. He was there to protect the Process first and foremost from Trump, which he did admirably. Trump never touched the DoJ or, except for Comey and even then he was unable to effect substantive change, the FBI.

    My prediction if Harris/Biden is installed Jan. 20th:

    All related to Durham investigation, Biden family investigations, Crossfire Hurricane, and Dominion etc. will melt away and the residue memory holed at the bottom of the Marianas Trench.

    Trump will not run in 2024 because he and his children will be under a half a dozen indictments, if not already convicted, by the State of NY and USASDNY. Contrary to Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham the Process can glide effortlessly to conclusions when given the right impetus.

    It won't matter anyway because Kamala (did I say that right) Harris will garner at least 90 million votes and her EC count will be something north of 300, because she's just that popular.

    LtCol. Vindman will be appointed DNI under special waiver allowing him to keep his day job as Minister of Defense of Ukraine.
    Tom S.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Tom S.

      Your cynicism...and I say this with due respect, and honestly...is inspiring.

      I ordered the abridged version of Gulag today.

      Delete
    2. My "cynicism" I would characterize as flint-eyed realism. I have lived a while, travelled some, and experienced "some people doing something". I look to literature, the real deal not the crap that has been foisted upon us for the last thirty years, as much as hard history to explain the human condition, for humanity is the only unchanging variable in the equation of history.

      The longer I live the more I see that my grandparents were right about most everything. The road to hell is certainly paved with good intentions. While it is straight and broad, each paver is solid gold and lovingly placed under the direction of an "expert", usually under authority of the State and "credentials", the destination is still abhorrent. The Green Briar Path is invariably the best to travel. Though darker, winding, and straightened our guide would never abandon us, even when ours hearts flag thinking of the perils to the left and right, and the destination is the essence of honor. Nothing that is "free" is honored or of value. Judge each man by his strengths. For some those are lies, subterfuge, venality, gratuitous self-satisfaction, in other words wickedness. For others they are forthrightness, moral courage, and openhandedness, in other words humility before God and honor before men (not to the point of self-righteousness). Worldly riches and honorifics are the most unreliable guides to a true or honorable heart.

      In our current situation it boils down to accepting the truth of the Stockdale Paradox. The unvarnished truth that human beings are the very finest creatures on God's green Earth, capable of anything, the most magnificent displays of courage and magnanimity or the most unimaginable viciousness and cruelty. The trick is to not overestimate the one nor underestimate the other. And that the good and just don't always win, most especially if pride gulls them into thinking the short game is the most important, that they can use the road to hell as a short-cut only to realize that they’ve missed the last exit.

      I have for the last year been in something of a dark place mostly because I have immersed myself in the chronicles of Socialism (Reign of Terror, Nazism, Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, Ho Chi Minhism, Khmer Rouge, Allende/Pinochet, did you know that they were both frequent invitees to the salons of the Frankfurt School in Europe while students in the 1930's as were most of those who became political movers and shakers in S. America in the '50's, '60's and '70's, no wonder S. America is such a mess, Baathism) and the sheer weight of moral evil on display is intellectually fatiguing. Solzhenitsyn has the most comprehensive evidence and view on the subject and strongest conclusions. The Readers Digest version, "It happened because we forgot God, and we deserved everything that followed."

      As soon as Jan. 20 has come and gone, win lose or draw, I am probably going to take a long break, do some shooting, take a lot of long hikes, and reread some of my favorites to reestablish some equilibrium, maybe start with Marcus Aurelius, Freeman's "Lee's Lieutenants", "Don Quixote", and my beloved O. Henry, interspersed with the Bible.

      God grant all here a Merry Christmas, especially Mark who has borne the burden of our sarcasm, snark, pomposity, and just plain ignorance with patience and magnanimity. All hold to the truth that we will meet in a better place and time.

      "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Even godless commies, for the day's sake.
      Tom S.

      Delete
    3. @Tom S.

      I have always called it 'flinty-eyed' but thanks for the deeper dive into your thinking. I, too, have lived a while, and seen some stuff happen, so nothing you said surprises me too much.

      I agree the outcome is unclear and the worst may happen. But I can't yet bring myself to accept that the United States of America is done...so I guess I remain optimistic that we are inexorably getting towards the truth and better days lie ahead. FWIW.

      Delete
    4. I don't necessarily believe the end is nigh. However, I can only do what I can do here and now. I can't waste my time or energy wishing because that is not only futile but intellectually and morally retrograde. That is, as nearly as I can distill it, the essence of the Stockdale Paradox, which he had in turn extracted from the Discourses of the Greek stoic Epictetus.

      https://iep.utm.edu/epictetu/

      I will do the best I can with what I have to hand.

      Adm. Stockdale lived it and was convinced it was what allowed him to survive in captivity for 7+years with his honor intact. It's hard to argue with that kind of “hands on” success.

      Having said that, I believe that Tribe Davos is determined to have their collective boot on our collective neck until such time as they feel that they can safely dispense with our collective obduracy.

      Trump was an aberration, one that they will never allow again. Like Thor Trump has been disappointed that he was unable to merely lift a cat. That he actually was able to lift one paw of the World Serpent off the ground terrifies them. I am convinced that their one shared dominant trait is a type of malignant narcissism (a thread that they share with all socialists, which explains why Christianity must be not merely crushed, but expunged from human memory if socialism is to rule unchallenged). This compels them to use any means at their disposal to assure their ascendency and our humiliation, before we are disposed of. I think that Solzhenitsyn would agree that to survive we must be no less ruthless.
      Tom S.

      Delete
  34. What was left out of the Durham probe - or I guess “stayed in their lane”.

    1. Foreign Intel agencies
    2. Senate intel committee
    3. CIA
    4. NSA database access by contractors to spy on Trump


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FBI Contractors if I recall. That should still be in lane.

      Delete
  35. I'm ambivalent on AG Barr, & ironically always would have been, if it hadn't been for Mark's indefatigable defense up until Barr's unforced error talking to the AP about not finding criminal voter fraud to date, words which were twisted.

    0311, I was an Anti-Armor Platoon Leader a little over a decade ago, so I take your point about full auto fire fights both literally & figuratively, even though we paratroopers don't eat crayons ;-). I have to note though that if we're going to use your metaphor--which is apt--& take it to it's logical conclusion, Barr shouldn't have been directing any fire fights at all. The fact that a General had to get down to platoon/company level fighting tells you everything you need to know about how much corruption, incompetence, & cultural rot has set in at the DOJ & it's reporting agencies.

    To expect him to be able to reign that in in only 2 years always seemed unrealistic. The most pessimistic view of the Durham investigation--& inadvertently the best defense of Barr--was that even if you credit his earnestness and integrity, you must remember that it took him 5 years to get convictions in the Boston FBI-Winter Hill Gang Case after Janet Reno appointed him. That's a DOJ w/ no connection to or even knowledge of the corruption of one FBI field office whose senior agents had become mob enforcers for their nominal informants, who framed 4 men for capital murder. Add an FBI HQs undergoing protracted friction w/ the DOJ & after President Bush was elected, a new Director, Robert Swan Mueller, III, who arguably had a role in the scandal as an AUSA, but who wasn't in a position to cover anything up until after indictments had been brought. Other than of course his ludicrous letter to the judge that just because there's proof we framed these convicts for murder doesn't prove they're innocent.

    5 years for a special prosecutor to bring justice for a 4 decade frame job by a single FBI office no one at national HQs had a particular motive or ability to cover up. Needless to say, anyone excited about Durham because he's the only one of our 93 US Attorney's to send an FBI agent to jail, should have figured Trump would need another term to give Durham the requisite time.

    And I can't see how a preelection Durham report or admitting Hunter Biden was under investigation would have helped the reelection. The play is obvious. Mark & Jack would have done the exact opposite of their suppression strategy, shouting to high heaven the DOJ is trumping up make believe charges against Drumpf's political enemies, & the Dems would have believed them. No, the key was to fight the lockdowns from day one. No lockdowns, no 80 million mail in ballots, no impossible to trace, verify, or audit voters, no Beijing Biden...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "the Dems would have believed them".
      Maybe most, but not all.
      "I can't see how a preelection Durham report or admitting Hunter Biden was under investigation would have helped the reelection."
      I can, at least for those (likely numerous) Dems/ MSM not completely in thrall to SJWs.
      Numerous, and becoming more-so, after BLM etc. started to wear out their welcome, with riots and Cancel Culture.
      That a Taibbi dared to write a (July 2020) post "The Left is Now the Right" showed the walls starting to crack.
      Chances were real, that such moves as something big from Durham, or substantial on Hunter, could've much widen such cracks.

      If indeed the key was to fight the lockdowns, did Barr warn DJT that his hands were going to be tied by DoJ tradition etc., such that DJT couldn't expect justice to function as Deplorable citizens expect, and thus needed to take different steps (e.g. vs. lockdowns)?

      Delete
    2. Concur with mark on your points. Must take exception to your remark re. Marines eating crayons...we well know they are writing instruments. At least that's what the DI's told us. ;^)

      It's been 52 years since my last fire fight. Seems like yesterday, especially in my sleep.

      Delete
    3. @Mouse

      "If indeed the key was to fight the lockdowns, did Barr warn DJT that his hands were going to be tied by DoJ tradition etc., such that DJT couldn't expect justice to function as Deplorable citizens expect, and thus needed to take different steps (e.g. vs. lockdowns)?"

      Good question. Would appear the answer is No.

      Delete
    4. And, chances may well be, that such cracks in the SJW "blue wall" could've widened enough, that some participants in the swing states' criminal conduct may've gotten cold feet, instead of busting their asses to stuff ballot boxes etc.

      Delete
    5. @0311
      "It' s been 52 years since my last fire fight. Seems like yesterday, especially in my sleep."

      When I was younger I assumed that you could and would eventually forget stuff, especially stuff you didn't particularly want to remember.

      Now that I lived a long life, I know its not true. You never forget, especially the things you'd rather not remember.

      This may not have been what you meant, however.

      Delete
    6. Fear is rampant these days. Fear of repercussions if you share your thoughts, push back, contest things. BLM, Antifa, and the MSM all brought this about late spring in Minneapolis. If it wasn't the George Floyd episode it would have eventually been something else. The left was looking for any reason to stir the pot and start a fight to intimidate us all. Even acknowledged by the retired Judge from Wisconsin who spoke this past week at the DHS senate hearing.

      Delete
    7. Please name the retired Judge from Wisconsin, if you recall it.

      Delete
    8. https://www.theepochtimes.com/former-wisconsin-judge-our-court-system-has-been-deeply-intimidated-by-the-left_3625725.html

      Delete
    9. Even when my fear of repercussions is trivial, I rarely engage today's "educated" types in person, since the upside of so doing is also trivial.
      I only consider so doing, when I'm confident that they're actually capable of a *conversation*, instead of a (stealth) lecture.
      I assume these folks to be Awoken ones, until they give evidence to a different effect.
      As I never bring up politics to *strangers*, I can "justify" refraining from talking politics (until they show ability to engage in an adult manner).

      Delete
    10. Yeah Mark, thanx. I'm not shocked.
      The females are the worst.
      So many do the drama-queen Victim thing, that the ones who don't are gems to be treasured.

      Delete
  36. Watters now has Navarro on, talking about his election rept.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'm in the dark as to how Trump or the federal government (DOJ) could have intervened in foiling the lockdowns, which were a state matter. But let's say he or they did, and effectively.

    The left would subsequently have blamed him for every single Covid death. Code Pink. It's what they do. It was lose lose for Trump.

    Also, if I recall correctly, a huge number of Biden voters actually blamed Trump for the virus, i.e.., he was slow to act, etc. To paraphrase Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet, the virus was a bullet with Trump's name on it. He really had nowhere to go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sometimes wonder, if there was no Trump, would there have been a virus?

      Frank

      Delete
    2. I don't see how they missed late Feb/early March when the democrats tried to prevent Trump from shutting down flights while they all went to china town to support the China is good narrative. If you got back and look at politics in that time period now in retrospect it it shows tremendous effort on the Dems part.

      Delete
    3. This.
      Trump was the first world leader to shut down flights. He mobilized the war-time PPE production effort. He facilitated rapid testing (Dems co-opted the narrative with so many false positives, but it had to be done). He initiated Operation Warp Speed.

      In short, He did what I hired him to do.

      I have a friend who runs security response for a federal agency that has to coordinate with locals all over the country. Those who insist Trump should have centralized everything have no idea how this country works below the federal level.

      Delete
    4. And, mistcr, had Trump centralized everything, Dems/ MSM would've dissed this as a fascist power grab.
      He did his best in a tough spot.

      Delete
    5. Agreed with @Mouse; the beauty of a smaller Federal gov't is to allow the states to govern and adjudicate appropriately. The people need to rise up and challenge this where possible. Fear of reprisal keeps this in check.

      Delete
    6. Yeah, Am Card, and it's brutal, that legislators weren't deluging the courts, vs. governors' keeping lockdowns going, after passage of the c. 30-day "grace periods" had expired.

      Delete
  38. I've now read Jeff Carlson's excellent summary of Bill Barr's tenure, cited by Mark in his original post above. Very much worth reading:

    https://themarketswork.com/2020/12/17/where-bill-barr-failed-the-president/?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=where-bill-barr-failed-the-president

    ReplyDelete
  39. barr comes across as a "Merry Prankster". his comments early on remind me of fauci in the mask off- mask on debacle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @mg

      He fooled me.

      Because I wanted to believe him.

      Delete
  40. Here's another excellent piece on Barr:
    https://thenationalpulse.com/commentary/the-banality-of-bill-barr/

    My brother used to send me daily pics of the WSJ opinion pages. I've asked him to cease and desist. I used to like Strassel, but it's clear now that she was just a token. She avoided all the meaningful, tough questions. Witnessing the breadth and depth of antipathy and out-and-out venom for Trump in the aftermath of Nov 3rd has been eye-opening. Trump's four years were the equivalent of exploratory abdominal surgery before the invention of imaging technology. The 2016 election was an incision revealing a burst colon and a raging sepsis infection corrupting every organ. The 2020 election was effectively the deep state sewing the incision back up and telling the patient that he was going to hospice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since dropping my subscription I'm a bit surprised at how little I miss it.

      Delete
    2. "another excellent piece on Barr"

      Very well written.

      Farnham also makes a point in another article I often wondered about.

      Republicans always make a point of agreeing that Russia did meddle in the 2016 election. Once that agreement was reached, Dems are perfectly entitled to claim they were only looking out for America by enabling the Russia hoax.

      Every time I watched a Senate session and I heard an R agree that Russia interfered, I wanted to scream at him to shut up.

      They should have pushed back against that completely. That's really self-immolation.

      Just more "going along to get along", but it destroyed the truth of the hoax.

      Frank

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  41. https://www.newsmax.com/politics/brennan-barr-durham-trolling/2020/12/18/id/1002306/

    Whatever the intentions of Bill Barr on assuming the post of AG he has successfully turned DoJ into the official clown act of the Trump admin. Well played Bill, well played.

    That a commie cretin like Brennan should feel secure laughing him down in public; well, words fail.
    Tom S.

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  42. Banana republic citizens [me] watching hacks like barr and swallowell continue to be paid by tax dollars to sleep with our enemies is disgusting.

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  43. Americans used to face controversy with courage. Not so much anymore - with a spineless doj.

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  44. For the short time that he was AG, Barr did a remarkable job. Could he have done better? No doubt. Could he have acted more aggressively in some of the cases that have been offered in these commentaries for criticism. Likely.

    AG Barr approached the open issues directly, calmly and deftly. Barr practiced restraint. Much of the criticism from the conservative side comes from his restraint.

    Restraint should not be confused for lack of resolve or even worse, spinelessness.

    Barr came back to a DOJ that had deteriorated to such an extent that there was a de facto rogue operation calling the shots upstream to the higher-up placeholders.

    He restored control to the office of the AG, articulation for the sense of direction, and an emphasis on balance in the pursuit of conflicting objectives.

    What if Barr had been President Trump's first choice for AG?

    There is much we don't know about the issues that make the headlines today. What we learn in the future will give a better picture on the matters that remain obscured.

    The history has not been set. We are still in the "breaking news" phase.







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  45. Congratulations Mark. Is this the first comment thread to break a 100?
    Tom S.

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  46. I have a high opinion of Barr and Durham's character and it doesn't seem like they would let the nation down. I choose to believe what Durham is going to drop thor's hammer down one of these days and it will become clear why Barr did what he did. Observing interactions between Barr and Trump, I don't see Trump acting like Burr shiv'd him.

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    Replies
    1. Could not miss out on being part of the record setting comments here.
      I sincerely hope that Mike Edmonson judgment about Barr and what is coming is validated. I have stopped counting the number of times the
      hammer was finally going to drop. I suspect Mr. Barr used the DOJ
      non-meddling “policy” to see if Trump won. If Trump wins it all comes out but now why “damage” all those precious institutions? Barr’s leaving now suggests to me he does not have the courage or conviction to see through what needs to be done. His high mindedness appears more important to him that anything else.

      Delete
  47. OT

    I haven't seen this story posted anywhere else on MIH, so I'll just put it up here.

    Many of you might have seen the somewhat strange video broadcast at the end of Maria Bartiromo's show this morning (probably shown while Mark was busy atoning for all the rest of us).

    The video presented Smartmatic's rebuttal to allegations that it was engaged in election fraud. Bartiromo introduced it more or less without comment and when it was finished her show ended. My wife immediately responded: somebody is suing somebody. It was that strange.

    This afternoon the Epoch Times published the backstory. It looks like some legal threats are in the air. Here's an informative link:

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/lawyer-for-sidney-powell-to-smartmatic-ms-powell-retracts-nothing-file-your-lawsuit_3626265.html

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    Replies
    1. I think I saw a story yesterday that Dominion was demanding that Powell retract her various statements.

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    2. But (her lawyer), Lin Wood, is responding to the effect of "Make our Day!".
      I wonder if there's any chance, that Discovery could start before 20 Jan.?

      Delete
    3. https://dailycaller.com/2020/12/17/dominion-voting-systems-reportedly-sends-letter-sidney-powell-retract-false-voter-fraud/

      Her answer should be, "Looking forward to discovery."
      Tom S.

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    4. The last case I was "looking forward to discovery" on was Roger Stones. It SHOULD have been biblical and every request was crushed.

      With these courts and judges today if Dominion filed it would somehow be in DC and magically end up in Sullivan's docket.

      Let's not wish for any hell on her please!!!

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  48. Hmmmmm......interesting perspective.

    https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/12/the_attorney_general_cannot_exonerate_the_cia.html

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  49. Barr won’t appoint a special counsel for Hunter Biden.

    I disappointed, but not surprised.

    After what was done to Trump with Mueller’s special counsel this would have been fair, but one set of rules for gop, and another fir Democrats.

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  50. Here's a really kick in the teeth from Barr on election fraud. WOW at his statement on appointment of a SC.

    https://www.citizenfreepress.com/breaking/william-barr-no-special-counsel-for-hunter-biden-or-election-fraud/

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