Fear of Barr (Strassel)

HUGH HEWITT reads Kimberly Strassel’s column, earlier today:

A little POWRLINE intro please: The Democrats’ hysteria over Attorney General William Barr is directly proportional to their fear of the damage they fear he might do, Kim Strassel explains in her Wall Street Journal Potomac Watch column HERE:

The only thing uglier than an angry Washington is a fearful Washington. And fear is what’s driving this week’s blitzkrieg of Attorney General William Barr.

Mr. Barr tolerantly sat through hours of Democratic insults at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday. His reward for his patience was to be labeled, in the space of a news cycle, a lawbreaking, dishonest, obstructing hack. Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly accused Mr. Barr of lying to Congress, which, she added, is “considered a crime.” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said he will move to hold Mr. Barr in contempt unless the attorney general acquiesces to the unprecedented demand that he submit to cross-examination by committee staff attorneys. James Comey, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, lamented that Donald Trump had “eaten” Mr. Barr’s “soul.” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren demands the attorney general resign. California Rep. Eric Swalwell wants him impeached.

These attacks aren’t about special counsel Robert Mueller, his report or even the surreal debate over Mr. Barr’s first letter describing the report. The attorney general delivered the transparency Democrats demanded: He quickly released a lightly redacted report, which portrayed the president in a negative light. What do Democrats have to object to?

Some of this is frustration. Democrats foolishly invested two years of political capital in the idea that Mr. Mueller would prove President Trump had colluded with Russia, and Mr. Mueller left them empty-handed. Some of it is personal. Democrats resent that Mr. Barr won’t cower or apologize for doing his job. Some is bitterness that Mr. Barr is performing like a real attorney general, making the call against obstruction-of-justice charges rather than sitting back and letting Democrats have their fun with Mr. Mueller’s obstruction innuendo.

But most of it is likely fear. Mr. Barr made real news in that Senate hearing, and while the press didn’t notice, Democrats did. The attorney general said he’d already assigned people at the Justice Department to assist his investigation of the origins of the Trump-Russia probe. He said his review would be far-reaching—that he was obtaining details from congressional investigations, from the ongoing probe by the department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, and even from Mr. Mueller’s work. Mr. Barr said the investigation wouldn’t focus only on the fall 2016 justifications for secret surveillance warrants against Trump team members but would go back months earlier.

He also said he’d focus on the infamous “dossier” concocted by opposition-research firm Fusion GPS and British former spy Christopher Steele, on which the FBI relied so heavily in its probe. Mr. Barr acknowledged his concern that the dossier itself could be Russian disinformation, a possibility he described as not “entirely speculative.” He also revealed that the department has “multiple criminal leak investigations under way” into the disclosure of classified details about the Trump-Russia investigation.

Do not underestimate how many powerful people in Washington have something to lose from Mr. Barr’s probe. Among them: Former and current leaders of the law-enforcement and intelligence communities. The Democratic Party pooh-bahs who paid a foreign national (Mr. Steele) to collect information from Russians and deliver it to the FBI. The government officials who misused their positions to target a presidential campaign. The leakers. The media. More than reputations are at risk. Revelations could lead to lawsuits, formal disciplinary actions, lost jobs, even criminal prosecution.

The attacks on Mr. Barr are first and foremost an effort to force him out, to prevent this information from coming to light until Democrats can retake the White House in 2020. As a fallback, the coordinated campaign works as a pre-emptive smear, diminishing the credibility of his ultimate findings by priming the public to view him as a partisan.

That’s why Mr. Barr isn’t alone in getting slimed. Natasha Bertrand at Politico last month penned a hit piece on the respected Mr. Horowitz. It’s clear the inspector general is asking the right questions. The Politico article acknowledges he’s homing in on Mr. Steele’s “credibility” and the dossier’s “veracity”—then goes on to provide a defense of Mr. Steele and his dossier, while quoting unnamed sources who deride the “quality” of the Horowitz probe, and (hilariously) claim the long-tenured inspector general is not “well-versed” in core Justice Department functions.

“We have to stop using the criminal-justice process as a political weapon,” Mr. Barr said Wednesday. The line didn’t get much notice, but that worthy goal increasingly looks to be a reason Mr. Barr accepted this unpleasant job. Stopping this abuse requires understanding how it started. The liberal establishment, including journalists friendly with it, doesn’t want that to happen, and so has made it a mission to destroy Mr. Barr. The attorney general seems to know what he’s up against, and remains undeterred. That’s the sort of steely will necessary to right the ship at the Justice Department and the FBI.

The Big Three Question Inspector General Horowitz

Here is the full video of Rep. Trey Gowdy’s questions to Inspector General Horowitz at the Committee on the Judiciary and Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Joint Hearing.

There are isolated segments at HOT AIR regarding their story on the above:

Gowdy: Why Didn’t Comey Try To Get A Special Counsel Appointed In The Hillary Probe Instead Of Deciding Everything Himself?

Via Mediaite, a perfectly fair question. Comey’s answer, I assume, would be that investigating a sitting president, which is what Trump was when Mueller was appointed, is different from investigating a would-be president, which is what Clinton was during Emailgate. Yes, there’s a conflict in a Democratic-run DOJ deciding whether to indict the Democratic nominee, all but dooming her electoral chances if they chose to proceed. But it’s not the sort of direct conflict involved when the DOJ is required to investigate its own boss, as has been the case with Trump and Russiagate since January 20, 2017.

But that raises a question. Why didn’t Comey demand a special counsel on January 20, 2017 instead of waiting until he was fired and then trying to get a special counsel appointed by releasing his memo about Trump and Mike Flynn? 

[….]

Because he, an American super-patriot and man of unimpeachable integrity, was available to make the decision himself. Who needs Bob Mueller investigating Hillary when you could have James “Solon” Comey giving thumbs up or thumbs down as needed?

The punchline, as Gowdy explains at length in the second clip (via the Free Beacon) in an exchange with IG Michael Horowitz, is that Comey was wrong in thinking Emailgate was being run with integrity. Anti-Trump partisan Peter Strzok was his lead investigator. And Comey himself had begun preparing to announce that Clinton lacked the intent needed to establish a crime in mishandling classified information even before the FBI interviewed her to try to determine whether that intent existed. The outcome of that probe was prejudged before it ended, Gowdy notes, and, per Strzok’s texts to Lisa Page, the outcome of the Russiagate probe seems to have been prejudged before it began….

MORE:

BTW, this is an interesting SIDE-NOTE about Strzok… he is a typical #NeverTrump guy:

  • Here’s an interesting and sometimes overlooked fact about Strzok: he’s not a liberal. In his emails, Strzok describes himself as a conservative Democrat. There is the suggestion that he supported John Kasich for president in 2016. (POWERLINE)

Rep. Devin Nunes Wants To Share What He Saw

Last night on Fox News at Night with Shannon Bream, there was an interesting segment with a relatively unfamiliar face. Policy Advisor and Author, Sidney Powell, appeared on the show to discuss the concluding DOJ Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, aspects to the current congressional investigations. (CONSERVATIVE TREE HOUSE )

House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told fellow Republicans he has witnessed evidence demonstrating a clear “abuse” of government surveillance programs by FBI and Justice Department officials, according to a new report. (WASHINGTON EXAMINER)….

…House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes told Republican colleagues in two closed-door meetings this week he has seen evidence that shows clear “abuse” of government surveillance programs by FBI and Justice Department officials, according to three sources familiar with the conversations, raising more questions about whether the controversial anti-Trump dossier was used by the Obama administration to authorize surveillance of advisers to President Trump.

The California Republican made his comments in private meetings with GOP colleagues as he tried to round up votes in favor of renewing a key section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as Section 702, which eventually passed in the House on Thursday.

That part of the law specifically gives the U.S. government the power to get access to communications, such as emails or phone calls, of foreigners outside the United States who may be plotting a terrorist attack but does not allow the government to target Americans.

[….]

Nunes privately told GOP lawmakers that he will be pushing as early next week to secure access for all 435 members of Congress to see the same documents to decide for themselves what happened, as some of his Republican colleagues have already said they believe the dossier was a significant factor in surveillance of Trump officials.

“But I think that there is a broader question here,” conservative North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows told Fox News this week. “Why would the FBI use a Democrat paid-for dossier to actually surveil another campaign?”…

When a Congressman want to show ALL of Congress something — you know it is serious.