Trump claims that the Russia investigation was an attempted coup. Barr will make that 'true'
We’re going to need a bigger alphabet. Because Donald Trump has torn past the outlandish claims of the “Q” conspiracy theorists and zipped right on to a position that’s somewhere past “Z” in his claims about the “deep state” lurking within the Department of Justice. In fact, Trump has made so many claims about the actions of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, “the lovely” Lisa Page, Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton, and an imaginary cast of thousands that his followers are on the edge of their seats, just waiting for those lines of paddy wagons to come to haul the whole DOJ—except William Barr—off to Guantanamo.
But the problem is, no matter how fantastical Trump’s ravings may be, William Barr is well-positioned to turn those claims into “truth” and satisfy every right-wing conspiracy theorist no matter what secret letter feeds them their information.
As Politico reports, Trump supporters are now focused on the upcoming reports from the inspector general and the completely overlapping report from the Barr-appointed John Durham for proof that the deep, deep staters launched a coup against Trump, a coup that was only halted because Donald Trump was simply too smart and too popular to be caught in their traps. The IG report could be coming soon. Or not. Neither investigation has a deadline. In fact, unlike the report from the special counsel’s office, neither investigation has any set commitments at all. They could end with an encyclopedic report, or with a shrug behind the closed doors of Barr’s office. And there’s one other thing they have in common—no real evidence that either investigation is necessary.
Neither the DOJ nor the FBI has been secretive about the origins of the investigation into Trump campaign adviser, and subject of four previous investigations, Carter Page. They also haven’t hidden how that investigation into Page was extended to involve a broader look at the alarming number of foreign contacts by the Trump campaign, or how Mueller was appointed directly because of Trump’s actions in attempting to thwart that investigation. Unlike the investigation into the Trump campaign, where it was already clear that there had been multiple significant attempts to make a connection with the Russian government, and absolute very public proof that Trump had stepped in to block justice, there is a grand total of no evidence that anyone in either the FBI or DOJ did anything illegal in establishing the investigation.
But Trump is ramping up the expectations to the point where “lock her up” is becoming “lock them all up” and even outside his rapid rally attendance, Republicans are anticipating that the pair of reports will confirm every claim that’s been made on Twitter, Fox, or wherever-the-heck Q statements originate. And Barr may just give it to them.
After all, for many—possibly most—Americans, their view of Robert Mueller’s special counsel report is really just what Barr provided in the three pages he scribbled down for Congress. In those pages, Barr demonstrated an absolute skill for selectively omitting everything harmful to Trump and turning everything less than absolute condemnation into absolution; even if it took a speedy and unprecedented bit of hand-waving to generate a dismissal of an airtight case on obstruction.
There’s absolutely no reason that Barr can’t do the same with the IG report, and with any report that arrives from Durham. And there’s even less reason to believe that Barr will ever produce complete material to either Congress or the Public. After all, he’s already thrown a blanket of “executive privilege” over all the evidence behind the Mueller report. That decision has been made much worse by Barr’s repeated denial of congressional subpoenas for testimony or materials. Any findings now are … whatever he says they are. He can cut, splice, paraphrase, and make up out of whole cloth. Because there is no one, and no way, to counter any claims he makes.
Matt Gaetz of Florida, Trump’s favorite congressman, had this to say about the “report” that then House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes was about to produce in January of 2018. “I think that this will not end just with firings. I believe there are people who will go to jail.” But Nunes’ report died the ignominious death it well deserved, having failed to deliver on a single one of the cow-suers’ claims of judicial malpractice. Don’t expect that to happen again.
The Mueller report is in. Mueller has delivered his testimony. Despite the ongoing actions in Congress, the substantive investigation into the connections between the Trump campaign and the Russian government are over. For now.
But the IG report and Durham’s report are hanging out there. No matter what’s actually in them, expect Barr to deliver a letter to Congress that frames his own department’s actions in the worst possible way; a way that supports Trump’s tweets and the most furious conspiracy theories on the right. Expect it somewhere … around October 2020.