The Washington Resistance to Mr. Trump is portraying this as an attempt to protect his political allies. Mr. Berman has prosecuted Mr. Trump’s former associates, including attorney Michael Cohen, and the hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels. He’s also said to be investigating Deutsche Bank’s business dealings with the Trump Organization before Mr. Trump was President.
But our Justice sources say Mr. Berman’s active investigations don’t involve Mr. Trump’s allies, except a minor one related to Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani. Replacing Mr. Berman with Mr. Clayton or anyone else won’t make investigations go away. The minute anyone moved to shut one of them down, the news would leak and career prosecutors would resign. Mr. Barr’s Saturday letter to Mr. Berman said he tasked Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz with examining any “improper interference” with current investigations. If this is a coverup, it’s the most inept in history.
The shame is that all of this wastes more of Mr. Barr’s political capital. The AG is trying to clean up the Justice Department after its 2016 campaign abuses, and U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating what happened and why. But the media and the FBI and Justice officials who spied on Trump campaign officials, promoted the false Steele dossier, and lied to the FISA court are desperate to tarnish Mr. Barr before Mr. Durham reports. That’s what’s really behind all the outrage over what should be a routine replacement of a U.S. Attorney.