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‘The Rule of Law Has Survived’: Barr’s Plot to Weaponize the Durham Probe for Trump’s Reelection May Have Been Foiled


Attorney General Bill Barr has been sharing news with Republican leadership as of late that’s left the party feeling miserable, dejected and depressed about the upcoming general election.

According to a Thursday report by Politico, GOP senators were told last week not to expect any stunning developments from Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham before November 3–dashing hopes for an October surprise that might turn the tide for President Donald Trump’s precarious reelection bid.

“The rule of law has survived to live another day,” national security attorney Bradley P. Moss told Law&Crime–describing the slow-moving inquiry as a positive for the country’s legal norms.

Durham was tapped by Barr during the spring of 2019 to lead an investigation into the genesis of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation that initially targeted Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign–and which later became the basis of the special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller.

The U.S. Attorney’s appointment was controversial from the start.

Democrats and left-leaning legal experts widely viewed Durham’s investigation into the investigation as a “corrupt” effort to exact political vengeance for the long-running and politically-damaging Russiagate inquiry at the behest of the 45th president using the guise and powers of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Meanwhile, Republicans and other Trump supporters have patiently salivated at the idea that indictments would be forthcoming that would implicate and tar various Obama era figures–up to and including the former president himself–as well as Trump’s current and foremost political opponent, former vice president Joe Biden. Words from Barr himself raised those hopes.

But all appears to be quiet on the Durham front–far more quiet than the Republican Party would like at this critical electoral juncture.

According to a Friday morning report by Axios, Barr himself has been briefing “top Republicans” that neither Durham’s overall report and conclusions nor any indictments are currently coming down the pipeline in time for the November election–which appears to be moving steadily in the Democrats’ favor, according to opinion polls.

“This is the nightmare scenario. Essentially, the year and a half of arguably the number one issue for the Republican base is virtually meaningless if this doesn’t happen before the election,” one anonymous GOP congressional aide told the news site.

Republicans had been counting on Durham’s findings to show wide-scale abuses of power by the Obama administration and intelligence community–the latter hope arguably premised on investigations that have shown minor instances of perfidy and incompetence committed by several low-and-middle tier figures in the FBI.

For others, the possibility that Durham exposing wholesale and untoward intrigue has always been slim. Durham is infamous for white-washing CIA torture programs during the George W. Bush era.

Still, the end result could see more people being indicted–eventually.

According to anonymous sources cited by Axios, Barr’s hand-selected special prosecutor is not keen to be used as part of a political contretemps and is, instead, “focused on winning prosecutions.”

Senate Republicans are apparently hip to the notion that Durham will not be delivering anything of value to their own electoral fortunes before Election Day–and have reportedly ramped up their own releases of declassified intelligence documents in recent days to make up for the perceived “Obamagate” shortfall.

[image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

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