After the legal Establishment had granted him the benefit of the doubt, Attorney General William Barr has shocked his erstwhile supporters with his aggressive and frequently dishonest interventions on behalf of President Trump. The spectacle of an esteemed lawyer abetting his would-be strongman boss’s every authoritarian instinct has left Barr’s critics grasping for explanations. Some have seized on the darker threads of his history in the Reagan and Bush administrations, when he misled the public about a secret Department of Justice memo and helped cover up the Iran-Contra scandal.
But Barr’s long, detailed interview with Jan Crawford suggests the rot goes much deeper than a simple mania for untrammeled Executive power. Barr has drunk deep from the Fox News worldview of Trumpian paranoia.
testified that, during the campaign, agents appeared to be leaking heavily to Rudy Giuliani. (Comey violated policy by scolding Clinton, and then publicly reopening the investigation, in part due to the pressure of the leaks from the FBI’s pro-Trump cabal.) Barr’s depiction of the FBI as a bastion of anti-Trump sentiment is grossly at odds with the evidence.
story asserting “No clear link to Russia,” and “even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.”
Barr’s theory is that a partisan cabal of rabid Trump-haters decided to undermine his campaign by ginning up a phony scandal that they kept secret, even lying to the media, is like the Dr. Strangelove Soviet Doomsday machine. (The device deterred a nuclear first strike by automatically launching a response, but the Soviets neglected to tell the United States because “the Premier loves surprises.”)
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