Attorney General William Barr reiterated this week that he wouldn’t wait until after the election to release the report of U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is investigating the origins of the Russia collusion story. This has Democrats nervous and preemptively saying that anything Durham finds will be the result of a political witch hunt.
Democrats have a lot invested in the Russian collusion narrative and to have it officially debunked would be very damaging to their election prospects.
“There’s a real danger, in fact an urgent threat, that anything the Department of Justice does will be timed to aid the president,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D- Conn.) said in an interview, adding, “Barr has proven ready, willing and able to distort, distract and deceive.”
At a hearing Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, Barr was quizzed briefly by both sides on the matter but offered little to satisfy his questioners.
An “urgent threat”? Well, there’s certainly a threat to the narrative that damaged the Trump presidency, but beyond that, Blumenthal is emitting gas.
Barr’s reticence and Durham’s secrecy about what exactly he’s investigating and where it’s headed stands in shocking contrast to the circus surrounding the Mueller investigation. The volume of leaks to friendly media outlets was astonishingly unprofessional on both the media’s and Mueller’s part. How much of the information from Mueller’s investigation proved to be wrong or inaccurate?
It’s refreshing to have a professional like Durham conducting the investigation.
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.) asked Barr: Would he “commit to not releasing any report by Mr. Durham before the November election?”
“No,” Barr responded.
Justice Department policies and tradition generally counsel against taking steps in an investigation close to an election such that they might affect the outcome. But the guidance is vague and difficult to reconcile with an investigation like Durham’s — which apparently is not focused on any political candidates, though it has been seized on by politicians and involves law enforcement’s treatment of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
If Durham’s report portrays the Obama Justice Department as being engaged in a partisan effort to discredit Trump, that will certainly impact the election and it won’t help the Democrats. But even if it only reveals that certain officials engaged in an attempt to weaken the president and drive a bogus investigation forward, it would condemn Democrats who have defended the Mueller investigation, including Joe Biden.
It’s too late to change history. But history will have its way with those whose partisanship weakened the president and forced the country to go through an impeachment debate that never should have been.