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Democrats rush to suppress investigations into origins of Trump-Russia collusion probe
Gage Skidmore / CCL
Democrats like Chuck Schumer are rushing to suppress investigations into Russiagate’s origins.
On Wednesday, the Senate minority leader called on Attorney General William Barr to retract his statement from earlier that day alleging that “spying did occur” on the 2016 Trump campaign under former President Barack Obama’s Justice Department. Barr’s comments prompted significant blowback from Democrats, who said he was stoking a Republican conspiracy that the “Deep State” tried to undermine Trump.
Keeping the “deep state coup” under wraps
In a statement, Schumer falsely claimed that Barr did not present evidence for his spying claims. Barr said Wednesday before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that “spying did occur” and that “spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” but did not say whether the spying was improper.
“AG Barr admitted he had no evidence to support his claim that spying on the Trump campaign ‘did occur,’” Schumer said in a Twitter post. “AG Barr must retract his statement immediately or produce specific evidence to back it up. Perpetuating conspiracy theories is beneath the office of the Attorney General.”
Schumer is mixing up what Barr actually said, it would seem, on purpose. Barr did not claim that improper spying occurred, and neither did he allege a grand conspiracy by the FBI and DOJ to stage a “coup” against Trump. He stated that there was surveillance, which has already been publicly reported.
Republicans have alleged that this spying formed the inception of a conspiracy by the FBI, DOJ, Democrats, and the media to thwart Trump’s candidacy and, later, his presidency. While that wider narrative has not been fully substantiated, it is true that Obama’s Justice Department obtained FISA warrants to surveil a Trump campaign associate, Carter Page, in 2016.
Republicans have accused the Obama DOJ and FBI of illegally misleading the FISA court by not disclosing their reliance on a partly-Democrat funded dossier that contained unverified allegations about Page, who was never charged with any crime. According to many Republicans, that illegal spying marked the inception of the Russia collusion investigation.
Smearing a good name
But Democrats haven’t just denied that the spying was illegal — they’ve denied that any “spying” took place at all, and have taken to criticizing Barr for even suggesting it. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who has still not apologized for his role in promoting the Russia conspiracy, slammed Barr for “striking a blow to our democratic institutions” by lending credence to Trump’s claims of a “deep state coup,” a sentiment that was echoed by the likes of NBC’s Chuck Todd and CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Senior intelligence officials who allegedly played a role in the “coup” also reacted to Barr’s Wednesday comments with hostility. Former CIA Chief John Brennan said he was “disappointed” in Barr’s statements, while former FBI Director James Comey said that “surveillance” is not the same as “spying.”
For his part, Schumer said that Barr “is acting more like the president’s campaign spokesman than the independent attorney general he’s supposed to be” and outright smeared the attorney general, saying: “It’s clear for Mr. Barr the title he holds is far less important than the boss he serves.”
The Democrats’ reactions to Barr’s spying claims are part of a burgeoning Democrat conspiracy narrative that alleges that the attorney general has no independence from Trump and is covering up Robert Mueller’s report to protect his boss. Barr’s four-page letter summarizing Mueller’s investigation last month exonerated Trump of collusion, but Democrats immediately stepped up attacks on Barr’s credibility to undercut that conclusion.
They have since claimed, without proof, that Barr is delaying the report’s release and possibly redacting evidence of wrongdoing by Trump. However, it looks like the Democrats are the ones doing the covering up, and their motivations are completely understandable.
With Russian collusion discredited, a counter-investigation into Russiagate’s origins that was long anticipated by Republicans seems to be finally moving forward. Besides the “spying” statements, Barr said Tuesday he will “review” Russiagate’s origins and he reportedly has “assembled a team” to do so.
Meanwhile, Democrats are continuing their assault on Barr’s credibility in what now appears to be a twin effort to cast doubt on the conclusion of Mueller’s investigation, thereby granting Democrats a mandate to continue attacking the president while simultaneously discrediting whatever counter-probe Barr may pursue at the outset.
President Trump has a tough road ahead of him.
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