The timing of Bill Barr’s announcement was curious.
Over the weekend, it became clear even to those of us without a security clearance that President Obama was involved in the surveillance of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. He had to be. We know through Sally Yates’ testimony that on January 5, 2017, with just a couple of weeks left in office, Obama already knew all about the incoming national security adviser’s call with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He and then-FBI Director James Comey had a conversation about it while Yates just stood there, amazed.
And that call wasn’t “unmasked,” as has wrongly been reported over and over. Now that the complete list of unmasking requests has been declassified and turned over by acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell, we know there was no such request that would have applied to that particular call before January 5.
It means either that the CIA had been spying on Flynn, Obama’s most serious political nemesis, when he was in the Dominican Republic and somebody had briefed Obama on the call with Kislyak, or that Obama himself, as President, had ordered Flynn surveilled. IG Horowitz has testified that there was no FISA warrant on Flynn, so, really, what else is left?
Over the past several days, we’ve examined other evidence as well –- the Strzok/Page texts, for example --- that shows Obama was well aware this was going on. HE DID IT.
But now, just as we’ve seen the evidence and are able to put it together for ourselves, we hear from Attorney General Bill Barr, as reported in Law and Crime and discussed in this commentary by Victoria Taft, that the DOJ is “unlikely” to charge either Obama or Biden in the get-Trump spying scandal.
We have a lot to sort out. Unlikely to charge them?? Why would he say that at this particular time? Keep in mind, this is the same Bill Barr who called the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation “a grave injustice, unprecedented in American history.” The same Bill Barr who said the “Russian collusion” narrative used as a pretext for investigating Trump was “false and utterly baseless.” The same Bill Barr who called the spying operation “abhorrent.” The same Bill Barr who said there were “two different standards of justice” and that “we can’t allow this to ever happen again.”
"The Durham investigation is trying to get to the bottom of what happened,” he says simply.
Here’s what Barr had to say when the IG report on the spying came out. It was scathing.
Barr seems to want to safeguard the upcoming November elections from any consideration of this scandal, saying it’s “critical” that in 2020 the American people have a chance to vote based on “robust” policy debate –- not criminal debate. And he said he wouldn’t use his office for a political “tit for tat.”
Hey, if we’re going to have a “robust policy debate,” how about debating the policy that apparently lets an outgoing President spy on the incoming one?
And note that one of the people Barr is talking about, the former Vice President, happens to be running against the very incumbent they were trying to sabotage.
I realize that only in banana republics are incoming presidents allowed to subject outgoing presidents to criminal trial. But we’ve had a situation in which an outgoing president subjected the advisor of an incoming president to criminal trial. How is that better? We are way into banana republic territory here.
I guess that’s just part of the wonderful “Obama Legacy” we’ve heard so much about.
As Pete Hegseth commented on Sean Hannity’s TV show Monday night, “[Obama] called himself ‘the least corrupt administration in American history. He will go down as the most corrupt. And I believe that John Durham and Bill Barr are gonna get their day. They’re digging, they’re finding, the truth will come out, and...this President [Trump] will be exonerated for being someone who fights for people...Obama fights for the elite and the establishment…Their corruption will be some of the worst our country has ever seen.”
But there’s a terrible irony, as it does seem that Barr, in trying to save our system of justice from politics, is, in effect, caving to the politicized “two systems” that were a reality under Obama.
No President is above the law. How do we know this? Because Trump’s political opponents have been saying it nonstop since he took office –- since even before he took office. But when it comes to Obama, well, THAT President does seem to be above the law. Just as Hillary was.
"I have a general idea of how Mr. Durham’s investigation is going,” Barr said. “THERE’S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ABUSE OF POWER AND A FEDERAL CRIME” [emphasis mine]. Not every abuse of power, no matter how outrageous, is necessarily a federal crime. Now, as to President Obama and Vice President Biden, WHATEVER THEIR LEVEL OF INVOLVEMENT [emphasis mine], I don’t expect Mr. Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man. Our concern over potential criminality is focused on others.”
When he says “others,” we know the big names: James Comey, John Brennan, and Andrew McCabe, for starters. But what if there’s proof they were directed by Obama?
By the way, did you know that there was an unmasking request made the very morning of Trump’s inauguration? Trey Gowdy dropped this last Thursday in a discussion of other such requests. He said that even the names of President Trump’s family members were unmasked.
I’m sorry, but this sort of thing SHOULD be part of a policy debate, and before an election as opposed to after. When is abuse of power criminal? Who is criminally responsible?
Legal analyst Andrew C. McCarthy never expected criminal charges against Obama and/or Biden. He noted in recent weeks that Barr had said the subjects of the Durham investigation were not candidates for public office. He said Barr’s goal is “to get the politics out of the Justice Department and the Justice Department out of politics.” I’m sorry, but the very decision not to make elected leaders criminally responsible for their deeds, in itself, affects politics. The left will have a field day with this; they’ll twist it and weave it into their false narrative that Obama did nothing wrong and that to think otherwise (as Trump does) is to be a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist incapable of leading. They’ll be saying this right up to Election Day.
McCarthy’s piece provides us with some insight into Barr’s thinking; I recommend that you read it, down to the last confounding line. Obviously, neither Barr nor McCarthy wants the criminal justice system to be used as a political weapon. After all, that’s what Obama’s side did, and we oppose it because it’s wrong.
But I don’t think a political weapon is what most Republicans are looking for when we’re thinking indictments should come. We don’t want “tit for tat”; we want JUSTICE. The attorney general did say that “those who broke the law...will be held to account.” But today, I wonder.