The Attorney General Investigates the Investigators

William Barr has tapped a United States attorney, John Durham, to look into whether the F.B.I. acted improperly during the Russia investigation.

Comments: 242

  1. Maybe investigation of investigation turns up more evidence of Trump Russia connection than Mueller report. Could backfire on President.

  2. @Len Rosoff If it does we'll never hear about it. We are not dealing with honest brokers.

  3. @Len Rosoff: If Mueller couldn't find it, it's not there.

  4. @Len Rosoff That would certainly be poetic.

  5. How dare the FBI investigate Russian interference in our election?

  6. @Cassandra There was no Russian interference. Putin has assured our President there was none. Why waste money on any further investigation. Putin would never lie. He is the very model of veracity per our very wise and clever President.

  7. @Emil Made me smile.

  8. @Cassandra Facebook ads are hardly an "attack on our democracy."

  9. Time for the FBI to investigate Barr for obstruction of justice. His position as AG should not be a bar to such a move. Clearly, the AG has prioritized loyalty to the POTUS over his constitutional duties.

  10. @San Ta "Time for the FBI to investigate Barr for obstruction of justice." Again I ask, by who? Barr heads the FBI.

  11. @Thucydides: Don't fall into the "Thucydides Trap." The Director doesn't need the AG's permission to investigate.

  12. The Trump team is trying to intimidate those who make the Justice Department operate justly.

  13. It's a new twist - criminals investigating those who exposed them. And William Barr is the perfect low-life sycophant to do it.

  14. @Chicago Guy It's not exactly new, but it is ineffective.

  15. @Chicago Guy Durham was the guy who investigated CIA torture during the Bush admin. You might be surprised that he found no criminal liability in 101 cases of so-called 'enhanced interrogation'. so my trust here is not very high....not to mention, what ever happened to the IG investigation?

  16. @Chicago Guy Barr followed the law with the release of the Mueller report. You hate the guy because he prevented the media from controlling the narrative around obstruction, but that doesn't change the outcome of the report which is public and available for everyone to draw their own conclusions.

  17. The Editorial Board goofed on its recommendation. trump and the US federal government should be working to prevent Russian interference with our elections since we found out about it; not as the Editorial Board recommends- after they are done investigating the FBI's investigation.

  18. @Charlie Fieselman: To hear the Democrats talk they can chew gum and walk at the same time. Why don't you think the Republicans can? Do you have such a low opinion of the other half of the folks in the United States that you don't believe we can? Really, we are very competent in what we do. Our families have been building America, warts and all, since the beginning. We have fought in every battle, plowed every field, built the highways, pipelines etc., and voted in every election since George Washington. Really we will be fair, unlike what has happened the last couple of year.

  19. @Jasper Slavens - Ya think political gerrymandering is fair? Ya think onerous restriction on the right to vote are fair? Ya think eliminating early voting and polling places is fair? Ya think refusing to act on a legal nomination to the Supreme Court is fair?

  20. @Charlie Fieselman I read their recommendation as sarcasm.

  21. "...once the Trump administration is done investigating the investigators, it should turn its attention to ensuring the sanctity and security of the nation’s ballot boxes." It will never happen. William Barr is Donald Trump 2.0. He is determined to ferret out what's not there. The Justice Department has an obligation to the American public to protect and preserve the integrity of the electoral process. This administration's only goal, it would seem, is two-fold: to subvert the F.B.I. and establish a deep state within the "deep state" which only exists, only in the conspiracy theorists' minds, to nullify the 2016 election. The ample evidence from the Mueller report indicates that Russia did interfere with our 2016 election. Any president who was faithful to his office would demand, as his first imperative, the security of future elections. So far, though, all this president wishes to do is to throw mud on the previous administration. He falsely accused President Obama of spying on him at Trump Tower. He now wishes to rile up his seething base and get the Republican Senate to apply all the levers at their command in an effort to de-legitimize the Obama administration. Anyone who can't see that the previous president isn't the target here is not paying attention. All interested citizens should wish John Durham well in his assignment. But it should be a swift one, and one in which the spotlight should return to the current president, one which asks, "what else do you have?"

  22. @Leia #1 Were you arguing for or against issuing the unredacted report to the public and/or to Congress? Either way, something like this will not be made public because it would be including sources and methods. #2 This had already BEEN investigated by whoever first discovered and traced the hacking. NSA or CIA. That information most certainly would have been passed over to Mueller. Why else would he make the claims he did? #3 A former NSA employee? Really? That's who you trust rather than the current ones? Why?

  23. This will lead where it leads I suppose, but it sure won't change one clear thing we've learned about Donald Trump, and that is his relentless refusal to take responsibility for anything that doesn't go his way. He will always blame a rigged system or some thing or some one who is out to get him. Even if this gets settled in some way that is pleasing to him, there will always be something else: more conspiracies to chase, and more enemies to blame. It will be interesting to see how far William Barr is willing to go to vanquish those foes, real or imagined because Donald will always need more.

  24. Let’s see whether Mr. Durham, like the eventually compromised and weak Rod Rosenstein, will also buckle under the improper influence of the Barr/Trump duo. Of course, our Fake President will not accept any conclusion other than one which finds nefarious conduct by the F.B.I. directed against him and his campaign. Attorney Durham will, at some point, have to decide whether he will mimic the false preordained conclusions of Barr/Trump or will seek and support the truth. A very public and consequential test of his character is on the way for him, whether he realizes it or not.

  25. @John Grillo What test? It's not like his position is permanent. Either he accepted the job with full access or he didn't and I would be surprised if he didn't. And certainly the rank and file aren't going to test him. This again falls on Barr's shoulders as to what he does with the final report.

  26. Whoa! I feel like I’m watching an Inception reboot!

  27. The whole purpose is to intimidate future investigations of the rightwing. It's not the first time.

  28. If Obama knew that the Trump campaign was being surveilled, then lied about it, his legacy will be tarnished forever. Further, if the Steele Dossier was used to obtain a warrant from a FISA court, without disclosing the source or the fact that it was uncorroborated, the entire FISA system should be called into question. If it can be used to take down the lawfully elected president, then we should consider shuttering the FISA process.

  29. @Ken Rohleder, If veracity is that important to a president's legacy, can you imagine what future historians will say about Trump and what future psychiatrists will say about Trump supporters.

  30. @Ken Rohleder The head of the FBI, a Republican appointed by Trump, recently stated under oath that there was no illegal surveillance of the Trump campaign. Do you really believe that the FISA judges appointed by Republican presidents are all corrupt or incompetent? Conspiracy theories spawned by this president seem to have infected his supporters.

  31. @Ken Rohleder In 2016, Obama tried to inform congressional leaders of the seriousness of Russian interference. Mitch McConnell raised doubts about the investigation and told the administration that any efforts to call out the Russians publicly would be treated by him as an act of partisan politics. Members of the Trump campaign were being surveilled because of their associations with people that the Bureau was concerned about. The original reasons for the investigations have been well documented, except for those who drink the Fox News kool-aid.

  32. It’s time to begin impeachment hearings, televised. This thing is gaining speed, the Oval Office occupant is starting a war to distract us and gain approval. Yes, he’s dangerous and there are no easy answers. But we should not give up our democracy without a fight. Two years from now may be too late.

  33. @Leia We know. The FBI had credible evidence, from Papadopoulos, that the Trump campaign was in cahoots with Russia. Since then, we have found out that Trump's campaign and family really were trying to work with Russia.

  34. @Leia, the hearings would be about all of the impeachable offenses. There are too many to list here. But if you’re limiting yourself to the Mueller Report, the offenses would include encouragement of Russian interference and obstruction of justice.

  35. @Leia What are the impeachable offenses? How about being a Russian agent? Or doesn't this matter?

  36. Thank you A.G. for finally trying to determine what political hacks are responsible for wasting millions of dollars and years of investigative efforts trying to overthrow the 2016 presidential election. As an attorney of many decades, it was obvious from the start the “investigation” was intended to reach a preordained result, but no matter how the Special Prosecutor attempted to coerce and blackmail people into helping the cause, the President had violated no laws. The Democrats started the Vietnam War using the fake Gulf of Tonkin attack, and they started the unsuccessful coup using a fake claim of collusion.

  37. @esquire I agree. But you will not find measured reasoning here at The NYT. People who hold such partisan ideology cannot look past their own limitations— characteristics of both the far fight AND the far left. Reflection and understanding your strengths and weaknesses is critical to healthy development. Seems some never learn.

  38. @Esquire, your comment says that “it” was an attorney for many decades. What are you referring to, and is it human?

  39. @Esquire I hope you were a better attorney than this. Our participation in the Vietnam War began under "Democrat" Eisenhower. Democrats Kennedy and Johnson made it worse. "Democrat" Nixon sabotaged peace negotiations and tried to flatten Cambodia. Remember "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq? "Democrats" George W. Bush and Dick Cheney faked that one out of whole cloth.

  40. Being no supporter of Trump behavior, it’s fair and lawful for this DOJ TO undertake this investigation. Politicians, pundits and journalists cannot cry foul about the very process they supported two years ago. Who knows, it may, like the Mueller report, turn up no criminal activity but support a biased interference of some sort. Then maybe we can get on with the truly serious things that this country faces.....?

  41. The Mueller report in no way absolves trump from obstruction. As a sitting president, a statute states that he cannot be indicted for his crimes. Over 800 ex federal prosecutors have signed a letter attesting to the fact that trump would be arrested and charged were he not the president. The Congress can impeach him and I hope that they do.

  42. @Sharon Salzberg there is no STATUTE that states that a sitting president cannot be indicted for crimes. It is a only a Department of Justice POLICY formulated in memos written by the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel in 1973 (corresponding to the Nixon impeachment) and 2000 (corresponding to the Clinton impeachment).

  43. @Rob And let's add that it has no legal force whatever. It's like my lawyer writing an opinion that I can't be indicted.

  44. In other words, Barr is tasked with cherrypicking any anecdote that Trump can turn into a political soundbyte/headline, which can role up his base and continue their perception of him as the victim of Tyrannical forces, not as the perpetrator of Tyranny. Heck, worse case scenario, he uses the soundbytes and anecdotes to call off or disregard the results of 2020 should he lose, and as material tok get his rabid base in the streets to fight the imaginary "coup." This is all being done to posture himself as the heroic "outsider" standing up to the corrupt DC establishment or deep state.

  45. Unfortunately, Trump and his flunkies will not be done “investigating the investigators” until after the 2020 elections. Whatever Durham or any other “investigator” turns up will either provide fuel for Trump’s persecution complex, or will simply generate further “investigations” of the president’s perceived persecutors. Like successive Benghazi investigations. Like Russian nesting dolls. They will abuse the indeterminacy of the Mueller report as pretext to go after their political enemies regardless of what the Russians may or may not do to our elections in 2020.

  46. Oh. . . this is rich. . . 'during the very sacred election process'! How about an investigation into Trumps tax returns, or the consequences of ignoring a Congressional subpoena? The Trump years would be ludicrous if they weren't so damaging.

  47. Trump’s bizarre description of the “very sacred” election, during which he invited Russian intelligence to steal information from an American citizen, epitomizes the bad faith with which he uses language. Every time he talks about “our great first responders” or “our wonderful military” I cringe. On a literal level, he’s excluding that subset of first responders who are not “great.” Why not address all of them if you’re going to pay them lip service? And more importantly, he’s quite obviously lying, just as in his description of the election. He does not actually respect first responders, the military, or anyone else. He operates entirely in bad faith. His is the Pretextual Presidency.

  48. This is what Democratic Congressional leaders fear the most. It’s why they spent so much time and effort demonizing Barr. Trying to set the stage that the AG is a political hack rather then an unbiased barrister. The truth is likely that the Obama administration manipulated the FISA process to conduct otherwise illegal surveillance on the Trump Campaign.

  49. @William -- so, why can't congress see the unredacted report?

  50. A more plausible interpretation of the evidence would be that Barr, who is not a “barrister,” by the way, actually is highly biased. Anyone who compares his summary to the actual redacted report can see that.

  51. Speaker Pelosi there is only one duty you have and that is to defend our constitution. Impeachment proceedings are way past due .

  52. For me, this investigation proves that djt is guilty of “something” in the Mueller Report.

  53. Good to hear it's in the hands of a respected investigator. I expect he'll find nothing wrong; I just hope that finding will be accepted.

  54. Planting informants inside a presidential campaign is a serious event, and it must be investigated. We cannot have an imperial FBI, and as much as Russian threatens our democracy, it would be alarming of the FBI posed as big of a threat,

  55. @Greg, I interpret your comment to say “the Russian threat is really not that big a deal.” I disagree.

  56. Why am I paying for this. Maybe Trump’s base should have a separate “loyalty tax”.

  57. Barr, a deeply authoritarian monarchistic theocrat, is liable to turn this into a state inquisition. Our democracy is on life support. The ranks of the investigative and intelligence agencies must stand fast and protect the integrity of our government. Lord knows the politicians and their money- and power-besotted lackeys are not up to the task.

  58. I did not know something could be "very sacred". Aside from that, all of this "kicking the tires" is not necessarily a bad thing. In an age of internet-fueled and Tweeter-in-chief-fueled conspiracy theories, debunking nonsense and letting Republicans grandstand some seems like the only way to make the serious investigations or impeachment look fair-minded.

  59. This is what a police state looks like. The dictator sends his henchmen out to terrorize those who uncover his illegal acts. Threaten seasoned, experience investigators, and they'll back off. And the dictator's personal consigliere approves it all. Then those career investigators, those who have no interests other than ensuring that our laws are followed, get the message. They knew they are no longer safe. They know their families are no longer safe. They know they themselves will be targets of groundless, but never-ending "investigations" that will rob them of everything - their reputations, their security, their livelihoods. So those whose job it is to enforce the law understand that to ensure the safety of their families, they must stop. They must kowtow to the dictator. They must follow no investigative leads that would show the dictator's criminal actions. They understand that their silence is the only thing that will buy them a measure of security. We are here now. These groundless investigations by Trump and his toady Barr are nothing more than shake downs. It's their way of telling decent, honorable investigators that they continue to do their work at their own peril. Trump and his corrupt regime are now using the offices of the "Justice Department" as a blunt force instrument to instill terror into decent, law abiding people. It has started with the FBI. But it will not end there. It will end when Trump's toadies knock on your door late one night.

  60. DJT gushes over the virtues of Mr Durham today, but he will turn on both AG Barr and Mr Durham tomorrow when the 'plot' dissolves into a puddle. Pax, jb

  61. Durham and Horowitz have outstanding reputations as non-partisan, fair, and thorough. Let them do their investigations. And let's agree to accept the outcomes, regardless of our partisan leaning. We need maximum transparency. If everything the FBI, State Department, and possibly CIA did was legitimate, then no one has a reason to object. If something was not legitimate, then let's identify, expose, and prosecute, if appropriate, the perpetrators.

  62. @John Regrettably what you say should be true and would be, except that AG Barr has proven less than transparent himself. We will ultimately only know what he chooses to share of the investigation. So what then am I supposed to accept as the truth? As transparent? As legitimate? They should release full reports and all back up, minus those parts that are truly subject to national security concerns. Let me read it myself and make up my own mind. I have zero trust in this administration, including POTUS. 10,000 lies later you expect me to start believing them? I don’t think so.

  63. @John The problem is that this investigation exists only to distract and confuse the public, helping to direct attention away from the Presidential criminal actions reported by Mueller. Mueller, unfortunately, while not enough the organization man to lie, is too much the organization man to defy the DoJ's legally invalid assertion that a President in office cannot be charged with a crime.

  64. When this latest investigation turns up nothing, Trump will howl that the deep state blocked the inquiry. This is just another huge waste of tax-payer dollars, none of which come from the President since he doesn't pay taxes. I say let him hire his own PI if he wants to pursue this.

  65. @Barney Rubble Would that be similar to the Democrat response to the Mueller report? No crime identified, so the House wants to see Trump's income tax returns form 2009? So they can leak to the Press that he donated to Planned Parenthood and took a legal tax deduction? The Obama IRS audited his returns for 2009 through 2015. What are the chances Trump didn't pay the legal amount of his taxes?

  66. Trump has a lot of enduring beliefs which amount to fantasies which have no basis in fact. He is always in search of men who will reinforce his false story lines. Barr is just one of many men who have during Trump's administration sold their souls to get jobs of great prestige only to become obvious stooges for our mentally ill President. Barr is not done yet, he will be called upon again and again to do other twisted tasks for our Commander and Chief. And when Trump tires of him he will fire him and Barr will end up on the trash heap of history.

  67. If it was legitimate, what's the afraid and why not?

  68. Barr was Mueller's good buddy? That probably says a lot not just about Barr, but also Mueller. Who are these people? How do they have so much say in our country? In our history? In our lives? One really wonders where and to whom to turn. Mr. Obama, please come back. Decency was entirely lost with your exit.

  69. We cannot trust our own election processes any more, and as of now, William Barr is the reason.

  70. AG Barr, Trump's personal lawyer, has been poking justice's eyes by not allowing the truth to be revealed. If Trump is so innocent, what is he afraid of by blocking Mueller's report and witnesses to testify? And Barr's servility in covering for a corrupt bully, what for?

  71. Trump is all projection - every accusation he makes is really a confession. He’s given us a road map of his villainy everytime he points the finger at someone else. To support him is to support might over right. Lying over truth and a neutered press as opposed to the one that helped actually make America great. It’s all a control mechanism based on false pretexts to destroy the functioning of our government so the powerful can play their games at will.

  72. William Barr has abandoned all principles to become Trump's willing lackey at the expense of the rule of law. Shame on him! The Republicans, Trump and his circle are perfectly comfortable having the Russian interfere in our elections as long as they are the beneficiaries. Treason would be the apt description of this behavior.

  73. This president has no shame and if he is not removed from office the whole country will decline with him.

  74. Hopefully, the investigation of the investigators will end up in the same place as the investigation of Trump's ridiculous spy claim - i.e. nowhere. Still, it is pathetic that Barr is willing to even pretend that this latest investigation is anything other than a Trump hissy fit designed to detract from the Mueller report.

  75. So when this investigation ends, can anyone trust what Barr will tell us the investigation found?

  76. @Bosox rule In a word, no.

  77. "Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference detailed at least 140 contacts between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russian nationals," If only Joseph McCarthy was alive.

  78. You were wonder why we have no faith in the national government? Barr exemplifies our position. Period.

  79. For the last two years we’ve been bombarded by liberals who claimed “if Trump did nothing wrong, he’d welcome the investigation.” Now that the Attorney General is actually investigating the Democrats crimes, suddenly liberals don’t welcome the investigation. Of course, Democrats have never been intellectually consistent - why should they start now ?

  80. @James You are ignoring all the well known facts, such as that there is no legitimate reason to investigate the FBI except to lay down a pro-Trump propaganda barrage. We all know (except Trump followers) that the FBI was following up a credible tip (not the Steele dossier -- that's established in the public record) about dubious contacts between Trump campaign officials and family and Russian government representatives. All this is in the public record and widely reported.

  81. @James From what I can see, the vast majority of Democrats have also been saying about this that there is nothing wrong and we welcome it, just like Hilary Clinton did with Benghazi, etc. I don't see a problem with this except that because the people are so sure nothing will be found that they seem to be saying this is a waste of time. This is not what Trump is saying: he feels harmed and hurt and is taking it personally. It's the Republicans who are not intellectually consistent.

  82. @Thomas Zaslavsky Why hasn't Hillary been indicted for falsifying her FEC reports or for her illegal purchase of the Steele dossier?

  83. I seriously doubt that any egregious misconduct will be found. Perhaps some more emails and texts hating Mr. Trump, but hatred, while not a very attractive emotion is not illegal. Still, I am glad for there to be a review. Unfortunately, whatever the findings, the partisans who do not get the result they desire, will call foul. What a miserable state to which the nation has succumbed. Too much hate and almost no understanding. Willful ignorance is the order of the day and both sides revel in it. Anyone who says that there is a "false equivalence" here are as blind as their adversaries.

  84. Can’t say the last two years haven’t been interesting. Remember the saying, “be careful what you ask for because you just may get it”. I’m guessing there are a few people in the FBI and the previous administration that’ll have some trouble getting to sleep.

  85. This is a surprisingly fact-free editorial. There is no reference to the fact that the "Steele dossier", an important predicate for the Obama FBI (and other agencies?) to run investigative and intelligence assets against Trump campaign members, was not verified. In fact, the dossier was merely unverified hearsay, sourced in Russia, that was developed, managed and spread by the opposing Democratic candidate who was supported by the Obama administration. No matter how much one may not like Trump or Barr, these facts raise serious and fundamental issues. Think of it this way. Imagine Biden wins the Democrat nomination and runs against Trump. Imagine Trump's campaign team hires ex-spooks with intelligence connections in the Ukraine to root around for "kompromat" about Biden or his family. They come up with a dossier consisting of claims by various Ukrainians and shove it in front of the FBI. Then the FBI, and other agencies, without ever going to the Ukraine to interview the supposed actual witnesses or otherwise verify any of the anti-Biden dossier claims, start tapping phones and running undercover informants against members of the Biden campaign. Would the editors, or the American public, think this is fair or right? Of course not. The US investigative and intelligence agencies aren't supposed to run at presidential campaigns without clearing a high hurdle -- one much higher than an unverified, hearsay dossier.

  86. @Stuck on a mountain: The FBI/ Muller investigation was not based on the Steele dossier, a fact that's been reported for quite some time. Rather it was based on info from allied intelligence and loose lips courtesy of G. Papadopoulous. Perhaps you should come down from the mountain more often.

  87. @Patricia It is too much to expect Trump apologists to make fact based allegations. They have their own "alternate" facts.

  88. @ Patricia you are wasting your breath. These folks believe investigations only happen to people they do not like. It would be okay to investigate Clinton for 8 years. They would never think to investigate those investigations or investigators. Unfortunately their posts are full of so many purposeful political misstatements, half of time I never finish reading before my eyes gloss over.

  89. It's all fun and game until Democracy dies.

  90. I've never heard of Mr. Durham before today but one thing is abundantly clear about the man right off the bat: He must be a complete stooge just like Mr. Barr and the rest of the confederacy of dunces in this administration. Step right up and add your name to the most ignominious list of fools in the nation's history, Mr. Durham!

  91. Barr has always believed in the imperial presidency. He has made the unfortunate choice to push his ill begotten ideas to protect the most corrupt, incompetent and ill informed president in modern times. The head of the FBI has stated under oath there was no illegal spying of the Trump campaign and the IG of the Justice Dept is about to finish his investigation of the investigation. So why start a new probe now? It is to hope somehow something not previously found out will turn up and Trump will be vindicated.

  92. This is what a police state looks like. The dictator sends his henchmen out to terrorize those who uncover his illegal acts. Threaten seasoned, experience investigators, and they'll back off. And the dictator's personal consigliere approves it all. Then those career investigators, those who have no interests other than ensuring that our laws are followed, get the message. They know they are no longer safe. They know their families are no longer safe. They know they themselves will be targets of groundless, but never-ending "investigations" that will rob them of everything - their reputations, their security, their livelihoods. So those whose job it is to enforce the law understand that to ensure the safety of their families, they must stop. They must kowtow to the dictator. They must follow no investigative leads that would show the dictator's criminal actions. They understand that their silence is the only thing that will buy them a measure of security. We are here now. These groundless investigations by Trump and his toady Barr are nothing more than shake downs. It's their way of telling decent, honorable investigators that they continue to do their work at their own peril. Trump and his corrupt regime are now using the offices of the "Justice Department" as a blunt force instrument to instill terror into decent, law abiding people. It has started with the FBI. But it will not end there. It will end when Trump's toadies knock on your door late one night.

  93. @DB Cooper/ Yes, folks think it can't happen here, but it can and may be happening already. The Democrats - yes, even the compromised, centrist, GOP lite branch of the party - had better get serious about impeachment before it is too late.

  94. @DB Cooper The Obama administration used government resources to spy on a political opponent and then to unmask and leak information that Americans not guilty of any crime were being investigated by the FBI in an effort to influence the election. That is what a police state looks like. That is why Hillary lost the election. That is why the Barr investigation will result in jail times for members of the dark state.

  95. @ebmem No, it was looking at contacts between members of the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. Are you aware that foreign interference in our elections is illegal?

  96. I fear all of these moves are intended to distract, obfuscate, confuse, and propagandize the citizens of the USA. Plant the seeds of doubt and hammer them in with the chorus of congressional sycophants and the pundits on Fox nooze, and it will only take one single nooze cycle before Trump cheerleaders and other accept it as fact without any evidence, that Mr. Trump was victimized and spied upon by the deep state. Add to this this the positioning of troops in the Straight of Homuz, the 120,000 troops poised for a little more "shock and awe" and you can see where this all ends. Who is going to care about DT's obstruction of justice when the bombers are flying over Tehran?

  97. Dont fear. It's absolutely true

  98. You got it right here for sure.

  99. Well, Editorial Board, I can pretty much guarantee you that the Trump administration will not protect the Russian meddling. He has far too much to gain (unless the Russian dictator, for sport, decides to support his opponent) from the meddling despite refusing to have it discussed in his presence. As for Barr, one wonders just why he has become such a partisan hack--it prompts suspicions that the president may have made some amazing promise, financial or otherwise, to ensure his "loyalty." But the most important reason why Americans should be appalled at Barr indulging the president's obsessions, is that what happens when the president orders him to "get" Joe Biden, or Hillary Clinton, or John, Brennan, or anyone who has dared criticize him in the public sphere? Isn't it bad enough that the wall between the president and the DOJ has been broken down without turning this country into totalitarian nation?

  100. Whoops: should read, "protest the meddling"

  101. @ChristineMcM Methinks the lady doth protest too much. If there is nothing to hide, then nothing will be found. Worth it to put everyone's mind at rest.

  102. "The Attorney General Investigates the Investigators".....then.. The Investigators investigated the investigators who in turn investigated...... Meantime Russia is been infiltrating our voting apparatuses and social media nationally to give the current President a little edge in the next election. Yikes again.

  103. Trump did not say “illegal” spying. He said spying and the Obama Administration did spy. You can argue it was justified even if it wasn’t, except Dems fear getting what they gave. Trump should order that every Dem be investigated just like he was. If there was nothing wrong with it 22+ Dems should welcome it.

  104. @Matthew It is entirely improper for a US president to order the investigation of his political rivals. There is no evidence that improper surveillance took place under the Obama administration and none at all that Obama himself order any investigation of the the Trump campaign. Trump is acting like the dictator of a banana republic.

  105. @rhoda miller Obama and Hillary were in bed with the Russians while they were employees of the government. Obama shut down an FBI investigation into money laundering and tax evasion by Uranium One in order to approve its sale to Russian oligarchs. Bill Clinton received $1 million for two "speeches" and billions to the Clinton Foundation at the same time as Hillary was blessing the sale. The FBI was worried about a private citizen with no chance of winning the presidency and national security while looking the other way about the corruption of Obama for personal gain. Where was the honorable Comey who should have resigned and spoken with Congress about the sinister activities of the Obama administration and Hillary?

  106. @Matthew Play footsie with Russia while campaigning for any public office, let alone the presidency, and the FBI will take notice. It is their duty to investigate all possible security concerns, which includes any contact with foreign agents.

  107. Good. Let the investigators be investigated and I'm sure no impropriaties will be found. Just don't let William Barr write the summary.

  108. This den of theives will fabricate evidence. There are no boundaries to their malfeasance.

  109. This absurd ploy will just uncover more corruption from trump et al.He can't get thru 24 hours w/o some sort of hideous new thing being exposed...just wait for it, Durham will stumble on more horrors.And Barr will try to cover it up.It's a given.

  110. This is just a thinly disguised warning to investigators that you could be investigated if you keep looking into stuff. Typical Trump.

  111. @sapere aude It makes good sense. I'm afraid you're probably right.

  112. Does the Times forget whose money is being spent to replay mad magazine's Spy v Spy farce? Mueller is as independent a lawyer as we could find. Spent two years investigating. Barr a political operative of the R party gets hired weeks before the release of the Mueller report to act as cover for Trump and executes his role perfectly, reinforcing all the talking points established by the WH. Faced with a the obstruction findings of the Mueller report Trump has directed Barr to cover his tracks once again, this time with the assignment of a US Attorney to re-cover the propriety of the investigation. The Times should have strongly rebuked this obfuscation.

  113. Yet another bright shiny object i.e. Distraction. Their hubris is only surpassed by their sleaze. Period.

  114. How dare the FBI look into more than 140 contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign!

  115. The problem was that the candidate was from the other party and won. Had there been no victory for Trump we would not have had this conversation

  116. @Somewhere The FBI looked into 140 contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign, before the election,post election and post inauguration. They did not find any evidence of illegal or inappropriate conversations. Mueller chose to ignore the multiple illegal contacts between the Hillary campaign, the DNC and the FBI and foreign agents with respect to the acquisition of the Steele dossier, along with the fraudulent financial reports filed by Hillary to the FEC falsely characterizing the spending as legal fees. Admission that she was purchasing foreign assistance with campaign funds would have been identified as criminal. Mueller investigated Trump contacts with Russians and blessed them. That is a done deal, like it or not.

  117. @Jensen Parr You are wrong. And you have no more evidence than I do.

  118. Something is rotten in Russia and it’s not the vodka they’re celebrating with. You can’t even write this stuff. Putin is on a roll and wont stop until our country meets the same fate as the USSR. That Trump is still allowed private,unmonitored calls with Putin screams a loud and clear message. “Mayday! Mayday! Our ship of state has been torpedoed by Putin.”

  119. @RjW Hillary promised to continue Obama's war on fossil fuels, restricting US drilling and increasing world oil prices Russia depends upon as one of their few sources of hard currency. Obama/Hillary/Kerry followed their "reset" and "additional flexibility" policy of appeasement toward Russia and Hillary promised more of the same. Russia interfered with the election in Georgia under Hillary and invaded Ukraine after Obama's re-election. Obama helped Iran and Russian interests in Syria to accommodate Russia. Hillary's campaign manager, Podesta, had a consulting service receiving payments to lobby for the repeal of the Magnitsky Act without registering as a foreign agent. Russian oligarchs provided fabricated dirt on Trump through a British agent hostile to Trump in an effort to help Hillary win the election. Russia was delighted with the prospects of another four to eight years of Obama foreign policy. Had Putin endorsed Hillary, it would have brought new attention to Uranium One and the payments made to Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation with the blessing of Obama. Instead, Russia created the illusion of supporting Trump, which Obama/Hillary/Putin thought would be damaging to Trump. [Reread Orwell's 1984 if this is too complicated a strategy for you to follow.] No one, including Russia., expected Trump to win.

  120. It's bad enough to have a career conman/criminal as president. Now we also have a corrupt AG. This will not end well.

  121. @markymark Let’s hope that in the meantime Trump hasn’t made Barr a supreme court justice as well.

  122. When the Democrats get back into the White House, there needs to be an investigation of the investigation of the investigation.

  123. @GV It would help to put a Democrat from the democratic wing in the White House. Haven't had one of those for a long time.

  124. Senator Bill Nelson lost his senate seat to Rick Scott - who perpetrated the biggest Medicare fraud in history and took the 5th 75 times in the civil lawsuit - because Nelson had the temerity to suggest that the Russians had penetrated voting systems in Florida. An insidious process of Republican character assassination and propaganda against Nelson resulted in a win for Scott by 10,000 votes out of 8 million votes cast. Now the AG is using the same playbook against the FBI who had the temerity to investigate the Trump campaign's - and Trump himself - involvement with the Russians in 2016. Espionage? Treason? Felonies? Got a little problem here? Kill the messenger. It works pretty good these days. And today, by the way, Nelson turned out to be right...

  125. You single out One attribute of Nelson. Reductionism ignores all the other factors possible. One also points to a general history of conservatism that Nelson was able to succeed despite the fact Bush won and his brother won and de Santis won. My point is that the state is competitive swing state

  126. @Jensen Parr That's an interesting comment, but I don't quite get the point. Nelson had a history of winning in a predominantly Democratic state, and Bush stole the election from Gore there with Florida Republican malfeasance, and De Santis squeaked out a victory against a Democrat - who aced out Gwen Graham - who would have beat De Santis in a heartbeat. And...so...what about the Russians and Trump? Watsonville is also very interesting. How are the artichokes doing?

  127. @Jensen Parr But that is precisely the point, Mr. Parr. The Russians hacked Florida's voting system specifically because it is a swing state. Hacking does not work when it can only produce a result that everybody knows is false. If California, New York, and other strongly liberal states suddenly all swung Republican, people would know something funny is happening and they would investigate it. By targeting Florida- a swing state- hackers can use the narrowness of the likely victory as a smokescreen. So yes, Nelson was right to issue the warning, and the possibility of hacking should have been investigated. It is entirely possible that Russia helped Scott win the election. It is entirely possible that Russia did not help Scott win the election. But without timely investigation, we will never know for sure.

  128. I'm glad Trump wants to keep the Mueller investigation in the spotlight by investigating the investigation. I hope that includes releasing the full Mueller report along with his tax returns...

  129. There is nothing wrong with an investigation. Half the country was convinced Trump conspired with Russia. Mueller's investigation cast light on those accusations and we can now move on. Half the country thinks the Obama DOJ improperly opened an investigation into Trump's campaign. Let this investigation cast light on these accusations so we can all move on eventually.

  130. @Ryan your wishful regarding what you imagine half the country is thinking is just that: wishful thinking. but if it makes you feel ok? spend some energy learning about how the FISA works. But I must say, a little paranoia goes a long way.

  131. @Ryan If by moving on you mean we can finally begin impeaching Trump for his multiple acts of criminal obstruction of justice, as revealed in the Muller report, as well as his constant violations of the Immoluments Clause, then yes, by all means let us might right on to that.

  132. Can't imagine what Barr's summary of the principle conclusions of this new investigation will be - can we?

  133. We are supposed to believe that before the election, the FISA courts were so lax that they inappropriately authorized surveillance without sufficient evidence of the need to do so. And, we are further supposed to believe that all the Russian contact of those on the Trump campaign shouldn't have raised alarm bells.

  134. @David PA We are also supposed to believe that the Russians wanted Trump to win when they provided the Steele dossier information to the Hillary campaign. Hmm. The FISA courts were tricked by the corrupt, partisan FBI to use disinformation provided by Russians to spy on members of the Trump campaign. The FBI did not find any criminal activities on the part of Trump's organization, but still leaked misleading tidbits to the media before the election. to the Press. Alarm bells should have been sounded when Bill Clinton received cash from Russians. That was part of the documented evidence that caused Americans to vote for Trump.

  135. @ebmyem The FISA courts were tricked? Really? Was Rosenstein tricked on the FISA warrants he re-authorized, that had been initially approved pre election?

  136. @David PA -- It is pretty difficult to "trick" a rubber stamp. The FISA court is a notorious rubber stamp. All that was needed was the appearance of content, lots of words, toner on paper. Steele provided some of it.

  137. I am concerned by the appearance that Clinton’s campaign seeded a piece of Russian disinformation to the FBI and the media. This may be the Russians’ real success in terms of election meddling. If people inside the FBI were willingly or negligently complicit, we need to know.

  138. I am concerned by the appearance that Clinton’s campaign seeded a piece of Russian disinformation to the FBI and the media. This may be the Russians’ real success in terms of election meddling. If people inside the FBI were willingly or negligently complicit, we need to know.

  139. As the info in the Steele reports were to have come from Russian sources, it was very surprising the Mueller report did not cover the validity, sourcing and validation of the Steele report’s contents. After all the purpose of the investigation was Russian interference, and this may very well be their interference program of greatest impact.

  140. Trump is trying anything he can think of to prevent visibility of the Mueller report. In fact, I think he is throwing a big diversion in the works by saber rattling at Iran and talking about 120,000 troops. Sure makes you wonder why the republicans tend to go along with all this diversion and obstruction related to the Mueller report. What on earth does it have that is so toxic to Trump? Is it the financials? Has he been money laundering for years and does he have his whole family involved? Maybe he is frantically trying to protect his whole family from prosecution. That might be worth all this trouble. Anyway, the whole situation is an unbelievable mess and a disaster for the US which is now functioning as a dictatorship due to Trumps stonewalling all subpoenas and making decisions without the involvement of the rest of the US government.

  141. Barr is doing everything he can to be the first guy Trump thinks about should there be another appointment to the Supreme Court. Forget Roe v. Wade. Trump needs someone who protects presidents’ prerogatives. That’s why he wrote a 16 page letter to Trump auditioning, not for attorney general, but really for the Supreme Court. God keep all of the justices healthy until Trump is out of office. Then Barr will have ruined his reputation for absolutely nothing.

  142. Barr is far too old to be appointed as a judge

  143. @Richard P M. Age won't affect anything. Trump thinks only in the short term - like the next week or so.

  144. I guess if we go by the Congressional democrats rationalization of all Trump inquiries; if you have nothing to hide - whats the harm in investigating? :) In circles we go.

  145. Our President continues to use bullying tactics to discourage any oversight of his administration and his Attorney General has swallowed the President’s baloney hook; line; and sinker. May God forgive him for he knows not what he does. However, I doubt that the citizens of this country will.

  146. @Indy1. He knows exactly what he does. This is what he signed on for. He’s just another one Trumps bully boys with a law degree.

  147. Perhaps they should investigate the witnesses, the prosecutors, the justices and whoever else’s participated in an investigation of Russian hacking and interference. We must discourage these things.

  148. The EB is concerned the investigation may validate the enemy's theory. How shameful.

  149. Let's hope Mr. Durham unravels the web of intrigue, lies, and corruption that has come to define American politics. I'm looking forward to read his report in about two years, on Trump 's second term. Thanks Democratic Party.

  150. Once again, Trump defames the FBI and undermines Americans' confidence in the non-partisan professionalism of its agents and managers, all to protect his own image. The matter is already being investigated by the Justice Department's inspector general. Why is a separate investigation needed? If the two investigators of the investigators come up with different assessments, what then? A third? If Trump is re-elected, I predict a mass retirement of career FBI personnel and many firings to replace professionals with Trump lackies.

  151. Why should we be reassured that this will be a fair investigation because Mr. Barr has appointed a career prosecutor with a good reputation? Isn't that what Robert Mueller is, and it didn't stop Barr from dismissing his findings, after barely reviewing the Russia report. I think Barr will take the results, pounce on any errors in judgment, no matter how minor, and claim it supports Trump's claim, and now his, that the FBI spyed on the Trump campaign. Like Trump, he doesn't let the facts lead to a conclusion; he sets the conclusion and lets that drive the facts.

  152. @Justine Dalton Excellent points! Wish I could recommend your comment a hundred times!

  153. @Justine Dalton: Who will be next to burn their putatively sterling reputation on Trump's pyre?

  154. If Obama would spy on Merkel then I have absolutely no doubt he would do the same to any Republican candidate or his/her campaign.

  155. @Charlie. And Brennan spied on the senate. Obama weaponized certain parts of the fed bureaucracy, notably the JD and the IRS.

  156. No investigation of any kind and in any depth will relieve the president's mind of his deep seated delusions about being wronged, misunderstood, and abused by the system. Good try, Mr. Barr, but the investigation you have proposed will not work. Trump will still believe the counter intelligence investigation that his contacts with the Russians provoked was aimed deliberately at him by someone, FBI, deep state, Obama, someone. Just as he continues to believe that he is the greatest president ever but only not given due credit, that the crowd at the inauguration was the biggest ever, and that the system was rigged against him from the beginning. I am afraid we are dealing with a delusions of both paranoid and grandiose kind. If anyone dared, he probably could be examined medically to determine if this is the case so that the 25th amendment could be tested. This will not happen. We will have to depend on the election in 2020 to get rid of him. I trust the checks and balances will still be working then.

  157. This will go nowhere, but while it's going nowhere it will give Fox News an excellent story to keep people's eye off the ball. In the end it wil be like Benghazi. It will fade away without a formal announcement that nothing was found.

  158. Except that those who did their jobs will be publicly exposed and slandered. The guilty - as in Trump, Barr and other members of the Trump syndicate - rarely respond with legal prudence. It is a smear job they are after. And Fox? They will be the tool that smears.

  159. This is likely much ado about nothing. Durham appears to be a reputable and qualified individual. The investigation is unlikely to produce anything new. In the end Trump's witch hunt story will be debunked and Barr will have acted to placate his boss in a rather inconsequential way. In the overall context of current chaos, not a very big deal. A potential downside for Trump is that in calling for a new investigation of another aspect of the Russian squabble he is undercutting the persuasiveness of his "cased closed" message.

  160. If Trump was wiretapped a warrant was required, and Durham will be able to find it in 5 minutes. If there was no warrant, the wiretap was covert and illegal and Durham could investigate forever. So the Durham investigation will be over in 5 minutes or it will be endless. Either way there is no reason to appoint a top-notch investigator. That’s why you don’t investigate without probable cause. And Trump’s barefaced allegations are not probable cause.

  161. For a moment please ignore the current situation, and focus on what is critical for good government. Few things if anything are more toxic to elected government than those in power using police, investigative and taxing powers against political opponents of other parties or even the same party. To discourage this abuse of power, and to build confidence in the public that the abuse did not take place, investigations into potential abuse is essential and should be automatic regardless of how much or little evidence of impropriety is already known. One should not assume that those engaged in the abuse will leave a rich trail of documents proving their abuse. Whenever a political party or candidate is investigated, a fully independent investigation (with IG cooperation) into the basis for and how it was conducted is essential for good and honest government that voters can rightfully have confidence in

  162. @Richard P M. Do you know who is president? Did we have an investigation of the Clinton debacle? This has nothing to do with good government and everything to do with retaliation. Stop pretending this is normal!

  163. If the investigators have done nothing wrong, then they should have nothing to worry about. It is that simple. But if they have, then we need to know , so that criminal actions can be prosecuted and measures to prevent this from happening again are implemented.

  164. @samuel It is that simple if the investigators are honest and dedicated to finding the facts. The FBI used to have tendencies in the other direction when J. Edgar ran it. Trump would love to reactivate or recreate these tendencies. So things may be becoming complex again.

  165. @samuel Just as Trump should have nothing to fear by releasing his tax returns. If he's done nothing wrong, why not show us?

  166. @samuel. Ha, ha, ha! This investigation is being carried out in retaliation for the Mueller investigation. It’s being carried out order the guidance of a man who wrote his summary of the Mueller Report as his job application! His boss is a man who lies as much as he breaths. We ALL have something to worry about!

  167. The electronic paper trail has been identified; it is guaranteed that criminal referrals will be made and that the significant and deeply compromised interference of both the Clinton campaign and the Obama administration, through it's corrupt Justice Department, will be exposed. The turmoil this will create, the schism between roughly half the voting population with the other half, presents the enduring environment for populism. All kinds. And this is intended. It is the smug, the comfortable and the blithely secure who will suffer as either a furious and inept Left or a reactionary but savvy Right is bad news for the swells. We will take it in as we would a roaring campfire -- neat spectator sport.

  168. @Pilot Yeah, like Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Go for it - I'm far more insulated than most but it's the stupid right who will pay the steepest price; they already do with their freedom, their labour, time energy, and their soul.

  169. @Pilot Translation: Claiming that I am omniscient is a terrible burden.

  170. Barr was appointed to filter between the truth Mueller disclosed and what Congress sees. The new investigation is another play to delegitimize the contents of the Russia investigation and block Congress from accessing the full report. I don't know what's worse, the cover-up or the cover-up?

  171. I think people need to chill, and curb their enthusiastic attacks about this. To read the background of Durham, this is not someone who is going to participate in a coverup (he's been "hired" both Republican and Democratic administrations for similar work). But also as the op-ed suggests, this is the FBI he is investigating. The FBI is not going to accept anything less than the facts. Why? Because their own reputation is on the line. If nothing else, this will finally help to shut Trump up, or at least find some new conspiracy thing to conjure up.

  172. @Jim Cricket Nothing will shut Trump up and he won't need to find a new conspiracy thing (although he will anyhow). He'll claim that Durham is finding some interesting things (though he might not be) and that he'll make an announcement the following week about the troubling findings (though he won't). It is just another building block in his wall of obfuscation to protect himself and his supporters will supply the mortar to make sure that wall is solid.

  173. At least Barr has the decency to appoint John H. Durham to conduct a review into the origins of the Russia probe. Federal prosecutor Durham has the record of a career government lawyer, known for being very fair and competent in handling high-profile cases in both Democratic and Republican administrations. He, like Robert Mueller, are registered Republicans, but both are apolitical. His appointment has earned bipartisan approval, with Democrats expressing their confidence that Durham will follow the facts and get to the truth. The question is what Barr will do with Durham’s review, especially if it exonerates the FBI? Durham’s appointment may well be symbolic – an effort to appease Trump – because Barr seems not have found sufficient grounds to open a proper inquiry. Trump should not underestimate the vagaries of Durham’s scrutiny. The federal prosecutor keeps a very low profile and shuns publicity. During Senate confirmation process in February 2018, he said he didn't have records of any interviews with newspapers, magazines, radio stations or television networks. But a 2008 article in Boston Globe unearthed Durham’s quote from a news conference: "Nobody in this country is above the law, an FBI agent or otherwise, and ultimately the ends do not justify the means."

  174. @J. von Hettlingen How can one be a 'Republican' AND apolitical at the same time?

  175. There is nothing the Trump administration will do that can surprise me. Six months ago, I supported waiting out his term, so his base couldn’t turn him into some kind of right wing martyr after a resounding beating at the ballot box. Now, I don’t know that we can wait 18+ months. The AG will continue to act as Trump’s personal lawyer, and intimidate Trump opposition into silence. It won’t work. Trump will continue to insert himself into international commerce and political issues that he’d originally said he’ll take the country, and go it alone. His revived insertion as a petulant child demanding others play by his rules won’t work. Will he get us into a Mideast war as a political tact because people are hesitant to change Presidents in the middle of a war. I pray the country won’t stand idly by. The saying and book title “Trump poisons everything he touches” is becoming a fact we all have to live with every day he’s in the White House.

  176. @Scott The medieval punishment for treason was light public flambéing, followed by strangling and reviving, followed by disemboweling, followed by quartering by pulling off the arms and legs with teams of draft horses, followed by beheading, followed by impaling the head and other body parts on pikes in public places as a warning to would-be emulators. This might get the attention of other would-be aspirants to crime syndicates in our country.

  177. "So once the Trump administration is done investigating the investigators, it should turn its attention to ensuring the sanctity and security of the nation’s ballot boxes." Time to return to paper ballots. I am pretty sure even the best hackers cannot change a paper ballot.

  178. @David Ricardo David......no one, not even the most rabid anti Trump partisans in the know, claim that ballots were tampered with. The Russian interference was described as posts on social media Facebook etc favorable to Trump or negative to Clinton. Anyone’s vote that can be changed through that type of influence is a weak vote to begin with.

  179. This is a direct assault on the rule of law. They want to subvert the system we have by intimidating those who would investigate crimes lawfully. Barr needs to be imprisoned.

  180. “One of President Trump’s enduring beliefs about the Russia investigation is that the Obama administration illegally spied on him, his associates and his campaign.” This sentence is an assumption. Because Trump has said that, does not mean that he believes it. He has no set of beliefs. Just attitudes he strikes as part of one con or another.

  181. @pontormo2. Except the NYTs and other news out reported in March 2017 that Trump was, in fact, spied on.

  182. You won’t find classic conspiracy anywhere in the Trump org because it is set up like a crime family. Short lines of communication, writing down very little, never writing when they can speak and never speaking when they can nod. Michael Cohen said under oath that he knew what Trump wanted without him making an explicit request. Trump’s first two years have been a course in finding people who know or who can learn Trump sign language. This should lead to a Rico investigation which is perhaps what the 12 or so still open cases from the Mueller report are about.

  183. @Denis You said it.

  184. I welcome an investigation into the impetus for surveillance of the Trump campaign. Let's make it public, and let's show how improper Trump's contacts with Russia were (or proper, as the case may be). Interestingly, Trump has argued that Obama dropped the ball by not acting on the FBI intelligence sooner. On the other hand, Trump argues that Obama got the intelligence illegally. It's no surprise that Trump wants to have his cake and eat it too. I think it's clear that Obama chose not to act out of caution that he might sway the election. Let's hope the Republicans are able to weigh this distinction when they consider the issue.

  185. There are three very good reasons this investigation must take place. 1. When requesting the warrant, the FBI did not disclose the source of the information was a discredited former British spy that was hired by the Clinton campaign to dig up dirt on Trump 2. The FBI did not inform the Trump campaign, which one could argue was not needed but it was non-standard 3. The FBI agent leading the investigation was caught texting messages to his girl friend ‘they will stop Trump’. The air needs to be cleared. It is unfortunate Mueller did not include this in his investigation so it now needs to be addressed as a separate matter.

  186. @Brian - it's amazing that Mueller didn't include at least the Steele dossier. It was sourced from someone whose contacts were Russians. If that didn't warrant a deep deep deep investigation, into who on the Russian side and who on the Clinton side was involved, nothing does!

  187. @Brian 1. Steel is in no way a 'discredited' former spy, nor was he hired by the Clinton campaign. 2. Don Jr., Jared, Manafort et.al should have informed the FBI when they were offered dirt on Hillary by a Russian government lawyer before inviting them to a cosy Trump Tower meeting months before the election. 3. The FBI agent texting messages to his girl friend was not "leading" the investigation. The air is cleared, as to Mueller not, repeat not having exonerated #45 from having committed obstruction of justice.

  188. @Sarah - in your mind was it ok for HRC to collude with the DNC to freeze out Sanders? DWS resigned over it, so there must have been a good deal of smoke there.

  189. Is Trump simply following Putin’s orders to make Russian interference seem like a hoax? Given the proven extensive connections between Trump’s inner circle and the Russians that worked overtime at massive expense to place Trump in White House we cannot ignore this possibility....now, or as long as Trump holds office.

  190. I am all for an investigation. Just not the FBI but AG Barr and his personal staff. No one can look at the optics and not be dubious: a private lawyer sends a legal strategy memo to a president under investigation (why would a lawyer like Barr write a memo without a client or getting paid?); meets with Trump; is appointed AG; confirmed when he promises to keep Trump in check; does the exact opposite when he becomes AG. I think Barr is worth investigating. Maybe the best defense is offense in football but with Trump it reeks of his predatory instinct that fear solves everything. Attack and make scary sounds until the other side gives up, decides it's not worth when they're under a blizzard of depositions, testimony, witnesses, documents, email, etc., that bog the FBI down while Putin's agents skip happily about the country preparing to throw the next election for Trump. Most of all I think Barr should be tried and convicted of cynical mayhem committed against the most basic value of democracy: no one rises above the law. Thanks to Barr, Trump will fake that as well.

  191. @Yuri Asian "I think Barr is worth investigating" By who? As much as I disagreed with Jeff Sessions politically, at least he was willing to stand up for the rule of law. But now we have an AG who believes the President is above the law - and he controls the machinery of investigation.

  192. @Yuri Asian Barr is Trump's candy, but every candy Barr will melt when charged with sufficient electricity.

  193. Once in secure possession of the Mueller report, the Trump-Barr duo has begun so changing the direction of the Russia-Trump collusion narrative as to make it look like a Obama hatched conspiracy against Trump rather than the Russian interference in the US elections. Really a desperate move to turn the Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy up side-down before the final round of 2020.

  194. @Prof. Jai Prakash Sharma: Only one third of the senators come up for election in 2020. The Democrats aren't going to win enough of these seats to purge the courts of Trump judges. The US system does not provide for one-election transformations of public policies.

  195. @Prof. Jai Prakash Sharma I agree with you accept the word "desperate". What I'm seeing is a confident, self assured president who now believes he can go after his enemies (Democrats AND Republicans) in a completely lawless way.

  196. Another misdirection exercise from the Trump Playbook. Why bother with this expensive charade when we know that the result will be to exonerate Trump and further erode the credibility of the Justice Department. The damage to our country will take generations to repair. I weep for the future.

  197. The United States narrowly avoided an attempted coup by disgruntled anti-Trump partisans at the highest levels in the intelligence sector -- individuals with well-known reputations for mendacity (Clapper's assurances that the NSA doesn't spy on Americans was perhaps the most risible claim), incompetence (remember 9/11?) and with terminal cases of Trump derangement syndrome. Together with the Hillary Clinton campaign they launched a nearly successful attempt to upend an election -- and were successful in maiming the first two years of the new President's term. Two years of a major investigation has produced no proof of the absurd charge of collusion, and while Trump's understandable fury at being called a traitor and apparatchik of Russian intelligence placed his normally combative temperament on steriods, he didn't deny the investigators ANYTHING they wanted. The Attorney General's conclusion that the further smear that he was engaged in obstruction was unprovable should have concluded this sordid partisan attack. Now it's time to go after the conspirators who attempted to reverse the results of an election. Rather than hemming and hawing, the "New York Times," one of the chief organs for disseminating every charge against Trump -- no matter how absurd -- should face the music, acknowledge its role in misinformation and disinformation and cheer on the work of those who will now get to the bottom of the conspiracy against American democracy.

  198. @Dr. Svetistephen There is plenty of evidence of obstruction. Barr, who is the true political hack, can say whatever he wants. Reading the report, it is obvious. I will also point out that Trump does enough damage to himself. The Republicans controlled both houses for the first two years and he still couldn’t get much done. I never understand how Trumpistas can talk about this supposed conspiracy against Trump when the FBI talked about their investigations into Clinton, including 10 days before the election, but never breathed a word about any investigation into Trump. McConnell did not even allow Obama to talk about the Russian interference. So you may believe what you want but the fact are the facts.

  199. The real coup is Trump becoming president and dismantling democratic governance of the Republic. That is the real coup de tet story that not being told.

  200. @Jude If dismantling the democratic governance of the Republic is an accurate description of the last two-plus years of President Trump's administration, then how do you explain the Democratic victory at the polls last November? I note you are in Chicago. Mrs. Clinton grew up in the Chicago area. President Obama learned Democratic politics in Chicago. Democratic politics are unique in Chicago and seem to have spread to D.C. It would indeed be good for the rest of the country if that sort of Democratic governance were to be dismantled in D.C.

  201. There is the small matter of the fact that Trump lost the election with the help of the Russians. He is so defensive can't stop saying that he won by a landslide which is not true. All the stonewalling and defying of subpoenas and firing of anyone related to the Mueller report and doing whatever possible by any means to silence the report makes one wonder just what is in that report. The democrats and Trump are piling up anything they can possibly come up with, forgetting legalities, forgetting procedure, ignoring anyone but the few that say they are in charge, all to bury the Mueller report. The whole bunch are complicit and they are all running scared and desperate. They are now trying to start a war as a diversion. Anything to get away from that report. Anything at all. Legality is forgotten, procedure is thrown out the window.Trump thinks if he can be a dictator he can make the Mueller report go away. But it is still there, just waiting to come out. Trumps worst nightmare, apparently.

  202. @joyce The only problem with your hypothesis is that Barr gave to Nadler and other democrats full access to the un-redacted Mueller report (except for the 2% of grand jury material, which is against the law to release). The democrats have refused to look at the un-redacted report - because they know there is no there, there. Meanwhile, Comey and Brennan's worst nightmare continues...

  203. @joyce Uh Joyce......there is no need to “wonder” what is in the Mueller report....it is online. Why not read it?

  204. @99percent Access without the ability to take notes, pictures, or any way of taking information on the redacted portions of the report with them, other than simply memorization. Sure, full access.....not by any useful definition.

  205. What a toothless editorial. Even Rosenstein signed off on the fisa warrants post election Now, we are supposed to believe the judicial signing off on these warrants by the fisa courts ore electiob was so lax the warrants were not scrutinized?

  206. @David PA "Now, we are supposed to believe the judicial signing off on these warrants by the FISA courts ore election was so lax the warrants were not scrutinized?" Yes, that was the case indeed.

  207. So Barr is prosecutor-shopping until he gets the result he wants. Frightening.

  208. @bijom I didn't hear you complaining about the Mueller investigation, same issues.

  209. @G G Not the same issues. Not analogous.

  210. @bijom Everybody around the world knows it is the anti American Democrats

  211. OOHH! Such a tough editorial. No mention, of course, how enabling yet another investigation of the "oranges" of the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign will last well into the electoral campaign, thus providing Mr Trump an undeserved talking point. No mention, of course, of how this supposed deep state plot to deprive DJT his victory was actually carried out without the public being informed. The Times meekness is playing true to form. The paper talks a good game, but in the end is just another contributor to Trump's destruction of the rule of law.

  212. Yet another foray designed by Trump and his sycophants to expand and enhance distrust in a much-needed and highly respected institution that is responsible for our public's well-being. The Inspector General conducted an investigation into the 2016 election and found no irregularities in the conduct of the FBI. So why does another "investigation" need to be conducted, other than to reinforce an atmosphere of disbelief in the operation of the FBI? The apparent reason for this unneeded "investigation" will simply be to destroy public confidence in the FBI. It will also raise enormous questions about the nonpartisanship of the DoJ itself, thanks to AG Barr's interpretation of his role as defender of the POTUS, rather than of the American people. Trump ran on a theme of "deconstruction" of the institutions on which our government functions. In that sense, he surely can declare "Promises kept," and our democratic republic is now facing an existential threat as a result. It will ultimately be up to the electorate in 2020 to repudiate this obvious path toward authoritarian rule, sanctioned and supported by the GOP, is stopped dead in its tracks, so Trump's treacherous scheme can begin to be reversed in Jan. 2021.

  213. @wysiwyg Translation: Shoot the messenger if it's anything I don't want to hear.

  214. @wysiwyg Trump and his knee-jerk followers will sidle us into a civil war that will be the end of the United States.

  215. Goody. Let's spend millions on an investigation just because Trump wants it to discredit the investigation that already laid out obstruction charges against him (and by the way - with so much obstruction charged, how can we be sure any of the findings regarding Russian collusion are accurate? Obstruction means getting in the way of an investigation and hiding the facts.)

  216. President Trump was right, his presidential campaign was spied on, er surveilled, investigated etc. by the FBI in the run-up to the 2016 election. The derision he received from the MSM was a mistaken rush to judgment. The question remains whether or not this "scrutiny" was soundly and legally predicated by the FBI and any other components of the Intelligence Community who participated. If it was indeed based on Russian interference in the election process, why not give a direct and meaningful defensive briefing to Trump's election committee, which included former United States Attorneys who could advise the candidate of the threat? Or were the FBI's actions here part of an "insurance policy" to prevent him from being elected? We have heard from Special Counselor Mueller. Now lets here from United states Attorney Durham.

  217. @Concerned: The FBI rigorously complied with its policy of silence about investigations in progress in the case of Trump, but not in the case of Clinton.

  218. @Steve Bolger. Strzok and Page are blaming Loretta Lynch for stopping the Justice Department from prosecuting Clinton. Remember, she TOLD Comey to refer to the investigation as a “matter”. Comey testified confidently, the FBI doesn’t investigate matters, only crimes. McCabe says Comey told him to leak, Comey denies it. Lots of people with completely opposite recollections are going to face perjury charges in an investigation. The previous administration and agencies, beware.

  219. @Jay: Colin Powell advised Hillary to have a back channel to use because State Department portals are often blocked. One wonders if there is any advice whatsoever given by Republicans to Democrats that isn't poisoned.

  220. There's a popular jazz song from the 60's that should be the theme for this new inquiry. It's called "Compared to What." We know about the Russian contacts with the Trump team, but little is said about contacts from other foreign entities whether registered lobbyists or private citizens. Trump, a political unknown was about to assume office and many countries, Russia included were more than just curious about what to expect. So Trump, the maverick and political unknown had at least 140 contacts from various Russian's. How many contacts did the transition team have from the Saudi's or from Netanyahu's government or allies? Both these countries have exercised an extraordinary degree of influence over Trump's policies. Measured against past presidents some might argue that Trump has even placed their interests above that of the United States. But spying is always an issue and any administration should take steps to protect itself. So Russian's allegedly tried to influence the election with bots and Facebook ads. Again, 'compared to what?' During the period those ads ran there were 33 trillion FB exchanges, making the Russian effort somewhere around .0001% of overall FB traffic. Was this really the national threat that it has been made out to be? Did spying take place? Probably. Did foreign contacts occur? Probably. were other nations spying? Probably. So the real question is how big or influential was all this Russian stuff 'compared to what' others were doing?

  221. More attempts to scare and silence those who want government on the up and up, chairman trump is being abetted by the Attorney General and the Department of Justice.

  222. It seems this most recent Trumpian deviation might result in a variety of 'conclusions.' Fodder for the 2020 re-election of this man, and Stirring of his base into an even angrier stew. Further distraction for his other distressing actions and decisions. Flurries of tweeted updates of zero substance about 'progress.' Tarring of individuals he's never liked anyway. An even deeper dive into autocratic 'government.' How we can become embroiled into even more chaos and absurdity is a fearful question. I'm waiting for Godot to come and take this man off the stage.

  223. @SGK A nation of adolescents will worship the father-figure who beats them irrationally and beds them selectively.

  224. "...once the Trump administration is done investigating the investigators, it should turn its attention to ensuring the sanctity and security of the nation’s ballot boxes." No, actually they should be already in the process of doing that. Yet Trump thinks it is all a hoax and believes Putin when he says that the Russians aren't meddling. Trump won't impose the sanctions voted on by Congress as a result of the 2016 election interference. Trump essentially CONDONES the Russian meddling since he is the beneficiary. And Trump is soliciting help from other countries for 2020 (e.g., Ukraine). If this isn't grounds for impeachment proceedings to begin, I don't know what is!

  225. @lhbari The punishment for treason was spectacular and entertaining back in the middle ages. It would make excellent theater today--even more entertaining than Game of Thrones.

  226. As long is the beneficiary of Putin’s interference is trump they’ll be no investigation.

  227. The Obama Administration was put on notice that Russia was increasing its efforts to disrupt the next election in 2014. All he did was assure Americans the system was secure. Obama’s Administration seemed more interested in catching Trump and his advisors breaking a law than trying to stop laws from being broken.

  228. @Jay Yes, let's talk about Obama now.

  229. @th. Now that Trump is president, I suspect he should surveil every campaign that has meetings with anyone that talks to a foreign government representative.

  230. Only people who should fear an investigation are those who have something to hide. Isn't that what we heard when Mueller was appointed? So if the 'investigators' have nothing to hide they should welcome the investigation.

  231. Protecting citizens from unlawful government surveillance is important. Protecting citizens from hostile foreign powers is also important. The government should investigate to assure us that whatever government surveillance occurred was done lawfully. The government should also assure that steps are taken to defend against hostile foreign powers. Investigations taken with the proper purpose in mind are welcome. And if problems are found, then reform is needed. Normally, I would support such investigations. But given the extreme partisanship shown by Barr in his preemptive previews of the Mueller Report, I don’t trust any investigation started by him to be for a proper purpose. Or that the conclusions will be fairly drawn. I hope to be proven wrong. And, while we are investigating the investigators, would the Commander in Chief please step up and urge strong defense against further election tampering by Russia or any other country. Secretary of State Pompeo delivered a stern message to Putin. Which Trump will indubitably undercut when he next chats with his friend. One can criticize Pres. Obama for not doing more to confront Russia in 2016. But the attack happened and Trump personally has done little to address the problem and to marshal defenses. So, do both. Investigate and defend. Fairly, legally, and effectively.

  232. In light of the fact that issues and concerns have been raised about the legitimacy of the initial investigation, and the possibility that government agencies/personnel may have been corrupted, a separate investigation is a good thing. If all is above board, then great, if not, then it can be dealt with. Every US citizen should want this, this is not a partisan issue.

  233. @G G Your first sentence is straight out of Fox News. Barr's use of the word "spy" was designed as a propaganda tool to infect the gullible.

  234. @th Let's see where things end up before suggesting that the initial investigation was done in good faith.

  235. It is hard not to see this investigation as the beginning of what I call Trump's Revenge. He wants to do unto anybody that he thinks is responsible for the Mueller Investigation. So down the road, no one should be surprised to see Barr--now Trump's lawyer--use any bit of information that he can skew into an investigation of the FBI or any of the individuals involved in the Russia probe to bring indictments, trials, and possibly convictions. Trump would like nothing better than to "lock up" folks he thinks did him wrong. Barr appears eager o facilitate that witch hunt.

  236. Part 1 of 2: In my issue of this morning's NYT online paper, the most significant story is the SIXTH one down: the partial evacuation of the embassy in Baghdad. We are now in a tragic, tragic race between the start of impeachment hearings and another shooting war in the middle east, the latter ginned up by the same deep state neocons, their spawn, and the illegitimate, unfit, disaster occupying OUR White House. Not only will that war be an ethical travesty but it will be hugely costly in so many ways and on so many sides. One would think that Vietnam would have been a sufficiently painful lesson to have learned from. Or the exceedingly costly, misguided, and trumped up (intentional pun) pursuits in Iraq and Afghanistan. What if all of those funds had instead been devoted to such things as infrastructure at home. education, alternative energy development, international aid, a health care delivery system that leaves no sick child (or adult) behind---a system worthy of a first-world developed country?

  237. Maybe Sen. Harris should ask Barr again if Trump pressured him to investigate anyone. This time he may remember something.

  238. This is a clear Trump attempt to distract everyone from the two things he fears most right now: people getting close to obtaining his taxes and Mueller going before the House. Trump says he didn't tell Barr to do this. Total nonsense.

  239. It's time to investigate the investigators of the investigators.

  240. Where is Peter Sellers when you need him---this would be an excellent screenplay for a Pink Panther movie.

  241. Barr's intentional and irresponsible use of the word “spy” tells you everything you need know. He willingly fed the Trump conspiracy machine as only the most partisan zealot would. As AG, even if he had evidence of improper surveillance, to announce it in the manner he did was reckless to the point of being an impeachable offense. For Trump to have such a corrupt AG at his disposal ratchets up the danger he poses to democracy and the rule of law to levels previously unimaginable.

  242. It is not the fault of the FBI, CIA or NIA that Trump campaign members and associates kept turning up when Russians were being monitored.