So here comes the Horowitz Report. The general speculation, as you know, is that he’ll wag his finger at some FBI officials for showing political bias or failing to uphold proper procedure under FISA laws. But it’s apparently not going to support the contention—pushed continuously by President Trump—that the government of the United States spied on candidate Trump.
They’re girding themselves over in Wingnuttia. Poor Mollie Hemingway is reduced to warning her readers at The Federalist: “Many critics of that surveillance hope that this Inspector General report will bring some justice. They should get rid of that hope as soon as possible.” John Solomon told Sean Hannity that there will be “six to 12 findings of wrongdoing” in the report, but he conspicuously didn’t say that they would be bombshells. Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett tried to dismiss the early leaks as “multiple hearsay” (by the way, the absence of links to any of these people is intentional).
Assuming the leaks are accurate and the report is not going to drop any nuclear bombs on the deep state, it’ll be the second reality-based setback for the president and his lickspittles after last week’s reports that John Durham, the prosecutor Bill Barr sent traipsing around the world to find evidence of an anti-Trump conspiracy, is turning up goose eggs.
Will reality stop the Trumpists? It never has. They’ll turn to three (at least!) tried and true methods of the demagogue.
One: They’ll dump on Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Well-known deep-stater, etc etc. Don’t buy it. Last week, the Center for American Progress put out an eye-opening report about Horowitz. Turns out that during the Obama administration, Horowitz issued two reports on Fast & Furious, the “scandal” that was supposed to lead to Obummer’s impeachment, while during the Trump years Horowitz has not launched a single investigation into any allegations of corruption within the Department of Justice.
More, from the report: “Horowitz’s lack of action in this regard is a significant anomaly among his peers. Public records suggest that he is the only inspector general at a major federal agency who has not investigated at least one potential instance of corruption or abuse of power by a Trump appointee. In fact, even a non-exhaustive review of inspector general reports from across the government quickly demonstrates that the majority of Cabinet-level agencies have launched multiple investigations. While some did not lead to findings of wrongdoing, others prompted the resignations of high-level Trump officials.”
You really have to go out of your way to find no corruption in this administration. But this is what Horowitz has done. If he’s a deep stater, he’s a pretty incompetent one.
Two: They’ll try to characterize the findings as bombshells anyway. I obviously don’t know as I write what the findings will be, but it sounds as if they’re likely to be violations of procedure of the type that probably happen a lot of the time, because we live in an imperfect world where investigations are conducted by imperfect people with imperfect information making the best judgments they can. People can make mistakes and still not be guilty of advancing a conspiracy against the president.
Three: They’ll just lie. They’ll dismiss the report as propaganda and keep on saying the same things they’ve been saying. Trump will certainly do that. And as long as he does it, his apologists will do it too.
So the questions now are what will Bill Barr do about all this, and what will the Democrats do about Barr.
While Horowitz and Durham’s less-than-bombshell reports suggest that there are still limits to how far the Justice Department will go to defend Trump, the more that we hear from the attorney general, the more he sounds like an out-and-out fascist.
There was the Notre Dame speech in October, where he denounced liberalism and secularism and warned that “militant secularists” were out to destroy America’s “moral order” with rhetoric that would have fit right in at Nuremberg.
Then, last week, came that shocking—and not much shocks anymore, but this one really did—speech about how the police just might stop protecting communities that didn’t show them the proper respect. The American people, he said, “have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves. And if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.”
Barr didn’t say which “American people” he meant, but I think we know. This is straight out of the fascist-authoritarian playbook. You think Jews had great police protection in Germany after 1933? Those are the kinds of regimes that contemplate things like that. I can’t recall ever hearing a prominent American politician say such a thing in my lifetime. To hear the attorney general of the United States dangle such a notion is terrifying.
This man is a clear and present danger. Even worse, in a way, than Trump himself, because Barr has daily decision-making power over how what forms of “justice” will be pursued in this country. He’s on record calling the FBI’s 2016 investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties “spying.” He defended that claim—ahead of any investigative finding—by calling “spying” a “good English word” that he wasn’t using pejoratively.
I’ve written, as have others, that every sign is that Barr is going to use the Justice Department to launch show trials next year against people like Peter Strzok and more generally use the department to re-elect Trump. Why wouldn’t he? When you believe godless Democrats are hellbent on destroying the country, everything is permitted to re-elect Trump.
Democrats have to stop this man. When the House Judiciary Committee finishes with Trump, it better turn its attention to Barr. If he succeeds, we’re cooked.