DOJ inspector general asked for facts behind conspiracy theory pushed by Trump. He got back nothing

DOJ inspector general asked for facts behind conspiracy theory pushed by Trump. He got back nothing
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz via CBS News.

The report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the origins of the investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016 has still not been released, though every indication is that the core report was completed weeks, if not months, ago. But while that report is still getting some final edits around the DOJ, one thing it’s apparently not getting is any information on the conspiracy theory that has kept William Barr and his hand-picked prosecutor, John Durham, on a round-the-world tour. Because it seems there is no information to add.

As The Washington Post reports, when Horowitz contacted Durham to see if there was anything he wanted inserted into the report concerning the business that had him and Barr hopping across European capitals, he got back … nothing. Which means that, unless Barr and Durham are deliberately keeping their findings from everyone else in their own department, the biggest—and most ridiculous—conspiracy theory Republicans have been pushing about the 2016 election has come up absolutely dry.

In Wednesday’s hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Republican Sylvia Garcia took mock umbrage at the idea that Donald Trump’s “I want to ask you a favor, though” comment to the president of Ukraine had anything to do with Joe Biden. She proceeded to read the lines following that one in the “transcript” to prove that Biden wasn’t mentioned—which she accomplished by stopping her recitation right before Biden was mentioned. But what Garcia did read right through, without any apparent concern, was Trump’s demand that Ukraine look into “the 2016 election” and specifically “CrowdStrike.”

This request is not some amorphous concern about Ukrainian officials who wrote sternly worded op-eds and or made mean posts on their Facebook page. CrowdStrike is as much a demand for smearing Hillary Clinton as requests for an investigation into Burisma is a demand for smearing Joe Biden. It is just as much an attempt to attack a political opponent for personal gain as anything else Trump was pressing on Ukraine.

CrowdStrike is exactly why Barr has been in Australia, and Rome, and London in his efforts to support a theory that exonerates Russia and puts the blame for 2016 hacking back on Clinton.

To build his support of Trump’s big conspiracy theory, Barr tapped U.S. attorney Durham, and he’s been dragging Durham around the world with him in the effort to find something, anything, that would put some evidence behind this conspiracy theory. According to the Post, Horowitz’s office contacted Durham, along with officials in multiple intelligence agencies, in an effort to see what they had uncovered.

But the whole theory collapsed on the very first step of the lengthy string of connections. The start of the theory is that the professor George Papadopoulos met in London was actually a CIA asset put in place, somehow, even before Trump announced his candidacy, expressly to entice Papadopoulos and lure the Trump campaign into a trap. Only none of what Barr and Durham turned up in London or Rome or Australia seems to have provided a single word of support for those claims.

Barr is reportedly unhappy with Horowitz’s report, and is already telling people inside the White House that he disagrees with the findings;—just as he disagreed with Robert Mueller’s evaluation of Donald Trump’s obstruction.

As Fiona Hill said in the first round of impeachment hearings, the entire CrowdStrike theory is “a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian Security Services themselves.” But, sadly enough, it’s not just the Russians who are pressing these ludicrous fact-free claims. The entire Republican Party is working hard both to pretend that there’s something to this conspiracy theory and to insist that a scheme to smear Hillary Clinton and exonerate Vladimir Putin is perfectly okay.

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