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Douglas Andrews / May 19, 2020

Barr Plays It Cool

The AG said that Durham’s investigation is unlikely to include Obama and Biden.

Those with an abiding respect for Rule of Law may have been discouraged by news yesterday that U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation of the investigators of the Russia-collusion hoax is unlikely to end in the cuffing and stuffing of Barack Obama and Joe Biden — despite Obama’s fingerprints being all over the coup crime scene.

Sometimes, though, a few choice words can do more lasting damage than a frog march: “This cannot be, and it will not be, a tit-for-tat exercise,” said Attorney General William Barr. “We are not going to lower the standards just to achieve a result.”

Let’s think about those two sentences for a moment. Both imply wrongdoing, and both imply an unwillingness by Barr to stoop to the level of those wrongdoers. But neither signals any sort of capitulation. Far from it. Barr, as is his penchant, is playing it cool, refusing to get out over his skis. Instead, he’s allowing a seasoned and highly regarded U.S. attorney to quietly gather the facts and do his job. And if doing his job requires that he first focus a few levels down from Obama and Biden, where bad actors like Peter Strzok and Kevin Clinesmith were operating, then so be it.

“I’m a little surprised by that statement,” said President Donald Trump yesterday. But this, too, is a good thing. If our nation’s attorney general is seen as little more than the president’s toadie, then his credibility will be greatly diminished — and so will be the findings of the investigation he launched. Here, the contrast between Barr, a by-the-book lawyer who first served as attorney general under George H.W. Bush, and Obama’s first attorney general, Eric Holder, couldn’t be starker. “I’m still the president’s wing-man,” said Holder in 2013, “so I’m there with my boy.”

The moment a nation’s attorney general claims to be “there with my boy” the president is the moment a Department of Justice has lost its way.

But there is something on which AG Barr and President Trump agree wholeheartedly, and it should give encouragement to every citizen who respects the law and wants to see justice done in this case. The mainstream media ignored it, of course, but former DOJ attorney Andrew McCarthy captured it in National Review:

What happened to the president in the 2016 election, and throughout the first two years of his administration, was … a grave injustice and it was unprecedented in American history. … We saw two different standards of justice emerge, one that applied to President Trump and his associates, and the other that applied to everybody else. We can’t allow this ever to happen again [emphasis added].

If that last sentence sounds familiar, it’s because President Trump has been saying the exact same thing for months now. And if our mercurial president and his cool-as-the-other-side-of-the-pillow attorney general can agree on only one thing, let it be this.

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