The D.C. swamp may yet find a reason to love Bill Barr, if a recent media report is at all accurate.
There is a possibility that attorney general could still launch an investigation of President Donald Trump over his phone call with Ukraine, Politico reported. “Legal experts” told the left-leaning outlet that Barr appears to be laying the groundwork for such a probe, despite the Department of Justice (DOJ) having previously cleared Trump of wrongdoing,
Report: Barr may probe Ukraine call
Democrats have accused Trump of bribing or extorting Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and look into possible 2016 Ukrainian election interference, in exchange for an Oval Office meeting and military aid. The DOJ previously announced that Trump had been cleared of campaign finance violations in relation to the call following the president’s release of the transcript of his phone call.
But a senior official at the DOJ told Politico that the department could still investigate other issues arising from the phone call. Politico cited “a person familiar with the matter” who said that the FBI contacted the whistleblower’s lawyer in October, and the outlet also points to ongoing investigations involving Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and two of his Ukrainian associates who have been indicted on campaign finance charges.
Taken together, the moves show that the DOJ may still investigate Trump for bribery or other crimes, Politico claims. But Trump defender Mark Meadows (R-NC) said that the suggestion was laughable.
“If there’s some way you can write this, it’s me laughing out loud,” he said.
If the probe were to happen, it would consume Trump in a fresh investigation even as the Democrats’ Ukraine-based impeachment appears to be fizzling out. Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) said that it would be a “dereliction of duty” for Barr not to appoint a special counsel to investigate Trump.
AG under fire
Trump would, in that event, spend nearly his entire first term under some kind of investigation for alleged wrongdoing involving either Russia or Ukraine. But the probe would likely be surprising if it came on the order of Barr, someone whom the left has often disparaged as little more than Trump’s henchman, Newsweek reports.
Indeed, Barr has been routinely smeared as has having brought dishonor to the DOJ, and Politico’s report reiterates the usual shibboleths — that he has “struggled” to maintain the DOJ’s independence and so on. Leftists have attacked Barr for comments sympathetic to the notion that Trump’s campaign was “spied on” and a recent speech excoriating the anti-Trump “Resistance” in no uncertain terms.
Democrats and the mainstream media have also condemned Barr for chasing “conspiracy theories” by investigating political malfeasance in the origins of the Trump-Russia probe.
That has been no less true in the Ukraine controversy: liberals have attacked Barr because Trump mentioned him in his phone call with Ukraine’s president, although the DOJ has said that Barr was unaware of Trump’s request to have Ukraine’s president meet with him and was reportedly “surprised and angry” that Trump grouped him together with Rudy Giuliani in the phone call. Democrats have said that Barr must recuse himself from Ukraine matters because of his supposed implication in Trump’s scheme.
If a probe of this nature is launched, it will certainly invite comparisons to the FBI’s heavy-handed involvement in the 2016 election, Politico notes. Many liberals — including Hillary Clinton — still haven’t forgiven James Comey for reopening an investigation into Clinton’s emails just days before the 2016 election, a decision that some say gave Trump an edge.
While dismissed by the left as a “conspiracy theory,” the FBI’s spying on the Trump campaign in 2016 continues to anger supporters of the president who are still awaiting accountability for the so-called “Deep State” and its efforts to influence the election. An inspector general’s report on possible FISA abuse in 2016 is set to be released next week.