Why Barr Appointing Durham As Special Counsel Could Backfire on Trump

So we all agree investigating a former administration is good, right?

12/2/2020 3:07:00 AM

Trump loyalists are gleeful that John Durham was made a special counsel, but his appointment is actually bad news for Trump. jonathanchait writes

So we all agree investigating a former administration is good, right?

Trump’s critics are skeptical, and his loyalists are gleeful. But that impulsive reaction might well be wrong. Durham’s appointment is bad news for Trump.Durham has spent more than a year investigating the investigators in a fruitless attempt to prove out Trump’s wild charges that the Obama administration illegally surveilled his campaign. The Russia investigation has been turned inside out through multiple probes — by the Justice Department Inspector General, the Republican Senate, as well as Durham — and has produced barely anything of note. Durham can finish his search, and he’s unlikely to find anything worse than a handful of staffers neglecting to put cover sheets on their TPS reports.

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Unlike the Russia investigation, which Trump stymied by withholding an interview and getting his top aides to clam up by dangling pardons, Durham’s subjects have all cooperated. So let him finish.On the other side of the equation, Trump and his administration could be subject to any number of criminal investigations because — well, they’re a bunch of criminals. Trump himself has already been implicated by the Justice Department for ordering Michael Cohen to violate campaign-finance laws (Cohen went to jail) and for committing numerous acts to obstruct the Russia investigation. DOJ rules prevented it from formally charging Trump while he served as president. The department has also charged Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas with crimes related to their shakedown in Ukraine, and Parnas is cooperating with authorities and has said his actions were personally ordered by Trump, who has met with him in several documented instances.

It is hardly unlikely even more crimes will pop up, given the unusual character of the people surrounding Trump. The Washington Establishment will insist that the Biden administration should let bygones be bygones. Read more: New York Magazine »

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