President Trump promised this day was coming and now we have even more evidence that he is consistent.
He promised to get to the bottom of what in the hell happened during the 2016 election. To that aim, he just gave Bill Barr the order the deep state has always feared and put Barack Obama on notice.
From NPR: The White House says that will mean he can be freer to reveal wrongdoing if he finds it. Democrats call it a bid to scare up political “weapons.”
Trump has authorized Barr to “declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence” related to the origins of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, according to an official order.
The memo signaled not only how much Trump wants Barr to go ahead with the efforts he’s discussed to review the early period of the inquiry — and officials’ use of the law and their investigative powers — but to get what Barr uncovers out into the open quickly.
Republicans say they got a burst of velocity from the report by special counsel Robert Mueller, which did not establish a conspiracy between his campaign and Russia’s interference in the election, notwithstanding the contacts it did establish between Trump aides and Russians.
Mueller also didn’t take a position on whether to prosecute Trump for obstruction of Justice, so Barr did — and concluded the president wouldn’t face any charges.
All this, in Trump’s telling, amounts to an inoculation — not only in terms of the Russia imbroglio, but against the wider questions raised about Trump’s potential exposure to foreign leverage, or his finances or his business practices.
The president has said, for example, that he assumes Mueller looked at his tax returns, which he has never released — unlike many of his recent predecessors. Accordingly, Trump further argues Mueller concluded there was no wrongdoing to report on that front, which is why no mention was made in Mueller’s report.
Mueller’s report, in short, was a watershed for Trump, he argues: having cooperated with it and made available documents and witnesses to investigators, the president has affirmed he’s done nothing wrong and obviated the need for any more inquiries.
The president told Democrats this week there can’t be two “tracks,” one on which they continue to investigate and also negotiate with him over infrastructure or other priorities.
Moreover, Trump says, it’s now time for the pendulum to swing, and for Barr to investigate the “crimes” the president said this week that were committed by “the other side.”
“I think it’s very important for our country to find out what happened,” Trump told reporters on Friday as he walked out to board Marine One.
From Politico: Asked about Barr’s inquiry Friday, Trump dismissed charges that he was seeking to get revenge on the investigators he has accused of treason.
“This is about finding out what happened,” he said, referring to the Russia investigation once again as “an attempted takedown” of his presidency.
“We’re going to find out what happened and why it happened,” he continued. “Let me just tell you. It’s not payback. I don’t care about payback. I think it’s very important for our country to find out what happened.”