When Donald Trump nominated William Barr to replace Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General, he tasked him with protecting the president from any possible federal legal jeopardy as a result of the Russia investigation and the report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
But as we’ve learned since the Mueller report was released, Trump also gave Barr another duty: To try and destroy anyone who may have been a part of the Russia investigation.
As you’d expect, Barr was happy to be a loyal lapdog, so he kicked off an inspector general investigation that has already cleared former FBI Director James Comey of any criminal wrongdoing.
And now it’s becoming clear that Barr’s efforts to bring charges against former FBI acting director Andrew McCabe have blown up in his face, based on reporting from multiple sources, including the Washington Post:
“In emails Thursday to U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu and other prosecutors in her office, McCabe lawyer Michael Bromwich said his team had received media inquiries about grand jurors declining to bring the case, and pointed to published reports describing how even after the Justice Department approved prosecutors to seek charges, no indictment was returned.”
That was confirmed by Natasha Bertrand of Politico:
Just in: Andrew McCabe’s legal team says in a new letter to Jesse Liu that based on their conversations with the US Attorney’s office in DC yesterday, “it is clear that no indictment has been returned” against McCabe by the grand jury. pic.twitter.com/XtMTelYqEv
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) September 13, 2019
Here’s the thing: If indeed a federal grand jury declined to indict McCabe, that would not only be unprecedented, it would also be a slap in the face of AG Barr, who is trying desperately to make it appear that the people who began the Russia investigation are the criminals instead of the real culprit, Donald Trump.
Former federal prosecutor Harry Litman commented on just how uncommon it is for a grand jury to refuse to indict someone:
A Grand Jury’s refusal to return an indictment is something that happens maybe once every five years in a given office. If it occurred here, given the magnitude and visibility of the McCabe case, it is a stunning and humiliating rebuke for overreaching and playing politics.
— Harry Litman (@harrylitman) September 13, 2019
Renato Mariotti, who also served as a federal prosecutor, echoed Litman, adding that he had never seen such a thing in the nine years he was at the Justice Department:
If it’s true that the grand jury refused to indict McCabe, that would be remarkable. That never happened to me in over nine years as a federal prosecutor. https://t.co/TYzZjaJTrT
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) September 13, 2019
In other words, a federal grand jury appears to have given Barr and the DOJ a severe rebuke. Granted, the evidence can be presented to another grand jury, but if the first one didn’t indict, it’s hard to see how another one would.
Nice try, Mr. Barr, but it’s becoming obvious you’re just as much of a fool as the man you work for. And that’s really saying something.