Trump's attorney general is backing an inquiry into the conspiracy theory that the FBI spied on Trump during the 2016 campaign.
Attorney General William Barr just authorized yet another investigation into the origins of the Russia probe — a move that's sure to please right-wing conspiracy theorists and Fox News hosts who believe the probe began because the FBI is secretly out to get Trump.
This investigation, according to the New York Times, will be conducted by John Durham, currently the United States attorney in Connecticut and a Trump appointee. It's unclear at this time precisely what Durham will be investigating, but it is likely to be connected to Barr's belief that "spying" on Trump occurred in 2016 and that Barr "need[s] to explore that."
There's no evidence that Trump or his campaign was spied on. There is ample evidence the FBI was concerned about the behavior of people like Trump campaign official George Papadopoulos, who got drunk and bragged to an Australian diplomat about his Russian contacts. The FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation based on a well-founded concern that Russia was seeking to influence both Trump and the election itself.
So it's come to this. The attorney general of the United States is investigating a conspiracy theory that sprang from the fevered minds of people like Sean Hannity, who immediately rejoiced over this latest move by Barr. The fact that current FBI director Christopher Wray — yet another Trump appointee — says that spying didn't occur doesn't matter.
This is the third such investigation that Trump's allies have opened.
The FBI's inspector general was already tasked with looking into the use of wiretaps and whether bias against Trump influenced the agency's investigations.
Back in November 2017, Barr's predecessor, Jeff Sessions, tapped the United States Attorney for Utah, John Huber, to look into Hillary Clinton and other aspects of the Russia investigation.
Huber's investigation is so shrouded in secrecy as to be practically nonexistent, which is a source of unhappiness among conservatives who were hoping Huber would find dirt.
This isn't going to stop at three investigations. There will be more and more of these until Trump gets the results he wants. He came into office accusing "the other side" of wrongdoing, and he's never stopped. He tried mightily to get Sessions to shift his investigative focus entirely to the FBI and Clinton.
With Barr, Trump has found exactly the attorney general he wants: someone who doesn't believe in the rule of law and who only exists to persecute Trump's enemies.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.