In this final act of the Trump presidency, even the most loyal deputies are guilty of “disloyalty” because they won’t take a last fateful step into pure fantasy. Rudy will do it. Sidney Powell will do it. True-blue populists will do it. But the Attorney General of the United States, who served Trump so faithfully so many times?
There are some lines he won’t cross. He wouldn’t order the arrest of Hunter Biden or whatever the hell Trump wanted him and Chris Wray to do as an “October surprise.” He wouldn’t force John Durham to issue a report on his Russiagate investigation prematurely so that Trump might benefit on Election Day. And he won’t lend credence to wild claims of voter fraud just because it would make the president feel better.
In that sense, this is the perfect sequel to the last post about Doug Ducey. So many Republican officials have shown an alarming, corrosive degree of loyalty to Trump over the past four years but that loyalty still isn’t as absolute as the president demands. Ducey and Brian Kemp won’t obstruct the election certification process for him. Barr won’t lie about voter fraud for him. The difference between Barr and the two governors is that they’re in no danger of being fired before the day is out and Barr now is. At the very least, he’ll end up as a whipping boy for Trump on Twitter.
Imagine that. Bill Barr, the upgrade at AG from Jeff Sessions, is going to end up getting the Sessions treatment himself. And for having committed the same sin, really, insisting on behaving ethically when doing so would undermine the president’s interests.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Barr said U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but they’ve uncovered no evidence that would change the outcome of the election.
“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” Barr told the AP.
Barr didn’t name Powell specifically but said: “There’s been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that,” Barr said…
He said people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said such a remedy for those complaints would be a top-down audit conducted by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.
“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all, and people don’t like something they want the Department of Justice to come in and ‘investigate,’” Barr said.
“People” want to use the DOJ as a solution to all of their problems, even when criminal investigations aren’t warranted?
I wonder if he had any particular “people” in mind when he said that.
What’s interesting about the quotes in the excerpt is that they came from an interview, not from testimony before Congress. Barr didn’t have to speak to the Associated Press about the state of the DOJ’s voter-fraud investigations. He chose to. The question is why. Why get himself into trouble with his boss by making a comment which he knew would infuriate Trump?
Perhaps … the president made a comment of his own recently that infuriated Barr?
Trump here suggests the FBI and the DOJ are involved in the giant conspiracy to steal the election from him.
Alrighty, then. https://t.co/3Cg80ptXQZ
— S.V. Dáte (@svdate) November 29, 2020
Maybe Barr’s done with Trump and this AP interview debunking his voter-fraud conspiracy was his parting shot. In fact…
After telling the Associated Press there is no evidence of fraud that would change the outcome of the election, Attorney General Bill Barr just arrived at the White House.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) December 1, 2020
There was no Trump/Barr meeting on Trump’s public calendar today. Is Barr resigning? Is he being fired? Are he and Trump just yelling at each other? If Barr is out, which crony will be installed as “acting” Attorney General to do the president’s bidding by dropping dark hints about a stolen election?
Only two possibilities right now. One: The Chavistas in Venezuela who rigged the vote got to Barr somehow. Two: There was no voter fraud in the election, there’s never been any voter fraud in the election, and Barr’s reached his limit on how willing he is to sit by and let this mass gaslighting operation continue when he knows better. Either way, he must pay. Stand by for updates on how their meeting went.
Update: The “elite legal strike force” that’s sitting on a mountain of fraud evidence but somehow still hasn’t been able to prove its case in court nearly a month after Election Day has something to say.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) December 1, 2020
Barr’s never been a fan of Giuliani, now Giuliani’s repaying the kindness.
Update: This is the correct lesson:
If Trump fires Barr for failing to stoke baseless conspiracy theories, it will be perhaps the defining proof that embracing Trumpism ultimately leads to ruin if you aspire to ever be your own person. Barr threw away his entire legacy to defend Trump—only to have it end like this. https://t.co/iVUdrJHx2I
— Heath Mayo (@HeathMayo) December 1, 2020
If you’re going to sign up with Trump and he asks for “loyalty,” he means loyalty with respect to an-y-thing he needs. You don’t get to draw a “red line.” And you don’t get to say “no” just because you said “yes” to the last 100 favors he asked for. Either you’re in all the way or you’ll be the villain eventually.
Update: This should make Trump happy, at least:
AP: AG Barr appoints Durham special counsel to keep investigating Russia probe origins under new administration.
— Jesse Rodriguez (@JesseRodriguez) December 1, 2020
Update: Schumer’s enjoying this:
Senate Minority Leader Schumer: "In response to Attorney General Bill Barr, I guess he's the next one to be fired since he now too says there's no fraud." pic.twitter.com/8rJjEHw26X
— The Recount (@therecount) December 1, 2020