Bill Barr’s Gift to Trump

The Department of Justice’s criminal investigation into itself smells like panic. It has been widely noted that no one can tell what crime is being investigated. It’s broadly assumed that Barr is either using a phony criminal investigation as a distraction from impeachment or, worse, is using a phony criminal investigation as a means to purge the “deep state” of Trump enemies. And this may be just a way to placate Trump, who is no doubt so consumed with white-hot rage he is liable to set fire to the White House.

And let us also resolve that Bill Barr spend eternity in a deep, dark pit. Greg Sargent:

Barr is at the nexus of everything. Trump told the Ukrainian president to contact Barr to help carry out his corrupt scheme. His acting chief of staff sought to legitimize it by connecting it to the Justice Department’s review of the special counsel probe’s origins. Ambassador Gordon Sondland apparently discussed another version of that same idea.

The Justice Department keeps denying Barr’s connections to the Ukraine scheme. But this pattern suggests there might be more overlap than we know. On top of all this, Barr’s Justice Department tried to keep Trump’s Ukraine plot buried by advising against the transmission of the whistleblower complaint about it to Congress, and by declining to investigate its charges.

What’s more, we don’t know what, exactly, Barr is criminally probing right now.

Barr is traveling the world to validate an absurd conspiracy theory holding that the Russia investigation originated in a U.S. “deep state” effort to set up the Trump campaign.

Given Barr’s apparent willingness to place law enforcement at Trump’s political disposal, it’s very possible Barr’s designs are maximally nefarious. But one can also imagine the criminal probe is of some intermediate matter. Marcy Wheeler runs through a few such possibilities, none of which appears all that serious.

See also Nancy LeTourneau, Trump Needed a Distraction. Barr Gave Him One.

Update: This just happened:

A federal judge on Friday said that the U.S. Justice Deparment must turn over to the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee normally secret grand jury material collected as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Judge Beryl Howell repeatedly noted that the House is conducting an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, which could be assisted with the material assembled by Mueller’s probe.
The judge dismissed arguments by Trump supporters in and outside of Congress that the House’s impeachment inquiry is illegitimate because the House has not held a formal vote to authorize such a probe.