It's incredible to note that while the focus in the Ukraine impeachment case has been on Trump, Giuliani, and Mike Pompeo, the real enabler here is Attorney General Bill Barr, who is continuing to take a personal hand in punishing those responsible for the Mueller investigation.
Attorney General William P. Barr has taken an interest in a mysterious European professor whose conversation with an adviser to President Trump’s 2016 campaign helped launch the FBI investigation into possible coordination with Russia — and who has since become the focal point of an unproven conservative theory that the entire inquiry was a setup, people familiar with the matter said.
Those involved in the FBI investigation said they are mystified by the attorney general’s activities and interest in the professor, Joseph Mifsud, and they suspect that Barr might be using Justice Department resources to validate conjecture that Mifsud was deployed against a Trump adviser by Western intelligence to manufacture a basis to investigate the campaign.
“It just seems like they’re doing everything they can to delegitimize the origins of that investigation,” said one person involved the Russia probe, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the politically sensitive matter that is still being reviewed. “I just don’t think there’s any real basis to disparage it.”
But Barr’s inquiry has heartened Trump and his conservative allies. Trump, who at times has inquired about the origins of the Russia investigation and the professor in particular, has bragged that Barr will get to the bottom of the case and is doing a good job as the country’s top law enforcement official, a White House official said.
Barr’s defenders assert that he is exploring what he views as possible problems.
“He’s not a conspiracy theorist. He’s a realist,” said George Terwilliger, a former deputy attorney general and longtime friend of Barr’s. “And I’m confident that if he has a concern that justifies his personal involvement, it’s based on fact, not conjecture.”
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.
Sure he is. He's not chasing down right-wing conspiracy theories like a nutjob in order to justify coming legal action against the intelligence community.
Unproven or vague allegations about impropriety in the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe have long been passed between Trump, his conservative allies on Capitol Hill and the conservative media ecosystem — with the country’s top law enforcement official and conservative lawmakers sometimes helping to fuel them.
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) wrote in recent days to Australian, Italian and British officials, asking them to cooperate in Barr’s review of the Russia investigation and asserting that the attorney general was “simply doing his job.” Graham said in an interview that he expected Mifsud to be a significant part of the investigation.
“He’s a curious character in this whole deal, and we need to know more about him,” Graham said, adding that he had not talked to Barr about the matter.
Graham is helping Barr get his pound of flesh as chair of the Senate Judiciary. But Barr is doing all this to defend Trump, not to pursue justice. Remember, Barr has two investigations going, one from IG Michael Horowitz, the other from Connecticut US Attorney John Durham. They've been on the back burner until the last month.
The Horowitz IG investigation is said to be completed. The Durham investigation has been going on nearly as long as the Mueller probe at this point. The closer we get to a scenario where Trump is in real trouble -- and we're rapidly approaching that point now -- the more I fear that Barr will radically change the game and start prosecuting Mueller investigators and FBI, CIA, and NSA personnel.