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Democrats have grown infuriated by Attorney General William Barr's indifference to their hysteria over the Trump-Russia collusion narrative.

Barr recently released a brief summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's conclusions that Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians to warp the 2016 election. Barr added that Mueller had not found enough evidence to recommend that Trump be indicted for obstruction of justice for the non-crime of collusion.

Progressives, who for 22 months had insisted that Trump was a Russian asset, were stunned. But only for a few hours.

Almost immediately, they redirected their fury toward Barr's summation of the Mueller report. Yet few rational people contested Barr's synopses about collusion and obstruction.

Both the Mueller report and Barr's summation can be found on the Internet. Anyone can read them to see whether Barr misrepresented Mueller's conclusions.

Again, there have been few criticisms that Barr was wrong on his interpretation that there was no collusion and not enough evidence to indict on obstruction of justice.

But now Democrats are calling for Barr to resign or be impeached for not regurgitating the unproven allegations against Trump. In other words, Barr acted too much like a federal prosecutor rather than a tabloid reporter trafficking in allegations that did not amount to criminal conduct.

The besmirching of Barr's conduct is surreal. He certainly has not done anything even remotely approximating the conduct of former President Obama's two attorneys general.

Has Barr dubbed himself the president's "wingman" or called America a "nation of cowards," as did former Attorney General Eric Holder?

Has Barr's Department of Justice monitored reporters' communications or ordered surveillance of a television journalist? Has Barr used a government jet to take his family to the Belmont Stakes horse race, as did Holder?

Has Barr met secretly on an airport tarmac with the spouse of a person his Justice Department was investigating, as did former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who had such a meeting with Bill Clinton?

The Mueller report ignored the likely illegal origins of the Christopher Steele dossier, the insertion of an FBI informant into the Trump campaign, the unlawful leaking of documents, and the conflicted testimonies of former high-level intelligence officials.

All of those things were potential felonies. All in some way yielded information that Mueller drew on in his investigation. Yet Mueller never recommended a single indictment of any of the Obama-era officials who likely broke laws.

Mueller was instead fixated on possible collusion with Russia. It is a crime to knowingly hire a foreign national to work on a presidential campaign--to "collude." That is exactly what the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee did when they paid British subject Christopher Steele to smear Trump.

Did Mueller argue that the possible crimes of John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe and other former government officials--lying to federal investigators, perjury, obstruction of justice, deceiving the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, planting an informant into a political campaign, unmasking and leaking the identities of individuals under surveillance--were only peripheral to his investigation?

Not really. After all, Mueller indicted Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Roger Stone and others for crimes that had nothing to do with collusion and were far less serious than the improper behavior of top Obama administration bureaucrats.

So what really explains the furor now directed at Barr?

  1. Progressives are terrified that a number of Trump's critics--Brennan, Clapper, Comey, McCabe--may soon be indicted. They apparently seek to pre-empt such indictments by attacking Barr, a seemingly no-nonsense prosecutor who will likely follow up on any criminal referrals from any inspector general that reach his desk.

  2. The 2020 progressive agenda--whether defined as the Green New Deal, a wealth tax, Medicare for All or open borders--will not compete well with Trump's currently booming economy. Impeaching Trump for collusion and obstruction is seen by progressives as the best (or perhaps only) way to return to power. That effort so far is failing, causing even more hysteria.

  3. The Mueller investigation is over, finished after 22 months, $34 million and a 448-page two-volume report.

There will be no indictments of Trump for either collusion or the obstruction of justice during the investigation of that non-crime. So now what?

Since late 2015, Trump, as the supposed Russian puppet or the Machiavellian obstructer of justice, was nightly cable-TV news fare. Now such fantasies are shattered. But progressives are not willing to let the Mueller investigation rest in peace and move on with their lives.

Perhaps they feel in the political sense that there is nothing to move on to. And they are probably right.

------------v------------

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Editorial on 05/09/2019

Print Headline: Nowhere left to turn

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Comments

  • WhododueDiligence
    May 9, 2019 at 7:57 a.m.

    "Democrats have grown infuriated by Attorney General William Barr's indifference to their hysteria over the Trump-Russia collusion narrative."
    *
    No they haven't. It's not collusion. To paraphrase Bill Clinton, it's the obstruction, stupid. The Mueller report includes ten instances of obstruction, and now Trump is adding more instances by obstructing congress. This is not hard to figure out for people who aren't gleefully splashing around in the shallow end of a think tank.

  • pcrasehotmailcom
    May 9, 2019 at 9:34 a.m.

    When people are actually furious to find out that their President did NOT "collude" with a foreign government, well, there's your sign. Everyone knows that this is nothing more than political theatre at its lowest and slimiest.

  • drs01
    May 9, 2019 at 10:49 a.m.

    The only thing these crazy democrats have to sell is F.U.D. Fear, uncertainty and doubt. They got nothing else. When the entire case against Trump is built on lies and deceit, you want to hold him guilty of obstruction for fighting these bogus allegations? Anyone would do the same thing. Watch what the Obama-Clinton clan does if and when Trump drops the hammer on these sorry bastards.

  • WhododueDiligence
    May 9, 2019 at 12:23 p.m.

    Delta123, throughout the Mueller investigation many legal experts stated that collusion has no specific legal meaning and is not a crime. If there had been conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian efforts to help elect Trump, that would be criminal but no one can be declared guilty of something that's not a crime. Hanson's emotionally-phrased opening sentence about hysteria and people growing infuriated over something that's not a crime is just more hysterically emotional gibberish which comes from partisan think tanks, partisan websites, partisan TV and radio, and other loathsome partisan enterprises.
    *
    But obstruction of justice is a crime. Hanson tries to dismiss Trump's obstruction efforts by tying them to the Russia portion of Mueller's report but they're two separate issues addressed in separate sections. In the obstruction section of the report one of the instances of obstruction was Trump's repeated public praise of Manafort for Manafort's lack of cooperation with the investigation. Manafort was imprisoned for defrauding the United States government and laundering $millions upon $millions of foreign anti-American lobbying money in foreign banks.
    *
    Trump and now Victor Davis Hanson both attempt to downplay Manafort's greedy and felonious actions as nothing compared to those bad, bad people who were never charged or convicted of any crime but they're in that bad, bad other party so they must be guilty, right? And since Barr has obviously taken it upon himself to defend Trump regardless of the Mueller report's statement that it doesn't exonerate Trump on obstruction, it means nothing that Barr hasn't publicly declared himself the president's wingman. This whole column is just another outpouring of Hanson's Trump-devoted hogwash.

  • mrcharles
    May 9, 2019 at 5:31 p.m.

    Logic dictates the following on proof that every cause has a first cause except when it dont, therefore :

    DT believes Putin;
    Putin grins when he is around DT;
    therefore;
    DT is a puppet of putin.

    This really happens in both the newtonian world and the quantum world, though doubtful in the mind of not truly repented mammals.

  • WhododueDiligence
    May 9, 2019 at 8:34 p.m.

    Yes, MrCharles, as I might understand it the Newtonian world and the quantum world seem compatible in some ways and not so much in others and it's increasingly likely that DT is Putin's puppet in both of them. Good insight.
    Who can argue with physics?
    And yes, Putin is always very serious but Putin does grin a lot whenever Putin is around Trump. Mm hmm, absolutely.
    Who can argue with cause and effect?

  • 0boxerssuddenlinknet
    May 9, 2019 at 11:46 p.m.

    well said Sir the democrats and their flunkies 'media" have lied to the American people for over two years. and have been caught with their pants down. that are in a royal panic because they know that they currently have no one that can beat President Trump. they should try running Hillary again maybe three times a charm.

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