“If we don’t win this election, that whole thing is going to end. Okay? And you just remember that… [T]hat whole thing is going to be dismissed.”
That was President Donald Trump co-hosting the Rush Limbaugh Show on Oct. 9 with host Rush Limbaugh, stating the obvious in responding to news reported by Axios that Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham will not be releasing any comprehensive report or conclude their investigation before the election into abuses by the Justice Department and intelligence agencies spying on the Trump campaign in 2016 and then falsely accusing the President and his team of being Russian agents.
This column has called the scandal Spygate. It started during the Obama administration, and then the top secret investigation was carried over into the Trump administration — undermining the peaceful transfer of power in 2016 and perhaps doing irreparable damage to the Constitution and civil society.
According to the Axios report by Alayna Treene, “Attorney General Bill Barr has begun telling top Republicans that the Justice Department’s sweeping review into the origins of the Russia investigation will not be released before the election, a senior White House official and a congressional aide briefed on the conversations tell Axios… Barr has made clear that they should not expect any further indictments or a comprehensive report before Nov. 3.”
Now, with the election just weeks away, this is not surprising. What would have been surprising would be a lengthy report being dropped on the eve of the election or major prosecutions announced. If any major bombshells were going to happen, they would’ve happened months ago.
Trump agreed, stating to Limbaugh and his audience of millions, “I’ll probably be disappointed because this stuff should’ve come out at year ago.”
On the progress of the investigation, the report added that the ongoing criminal investigation is seeking prosecutions, “Barr is communicating that Durham is taking his investigation extremely seriously and is focused on winning prosecutions. According to one of the sources briefed on the conversations Barr said Durham is working in a deliberate and calculated fashion, and they need to be patient. The general sense of the talks, the source says, is that Durham is not preoccupied with completing his probe by a certain deadline for political purposes.”
In other words, the investigation will be done when it’s done. In Durham’s eyes there is no rush.
But he’s wrong. President Trump is right. If former Vice President Joe Biden wins this election, he will never allow this investigation to continue. It simply hits too close to home for Biden.
Consider, after all, Biden attended the fateful Jan. 5, 2017 Oval Office meeting with former President Barack Obama, former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates that a now fully declassified letter former National Security Advisor Susan Rice wrote to herself on Jan. 20, 2017, memorializing the meeting, where the investigation was ordered by Obama to be carried over into the Trump administration.
Per Rice’s summary “On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.”
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This was the Russian interference into the 2016 election briefing given a day before then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued the joint intelligence assessment on the same.
However, the version that was given to former President Barack Obama and then-President-Elect Trump on Jan. 5, 2017 included some of the phony allegations leveled by former British spy Christopher Steele’s dossier, paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, that Trump was a Russian agent.
This was the same dossier that led to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants aimed at former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page beginning in Oct. 2016, his contacts in the campaign, and his contact’s contacts in the campaign and into Trump’s inner circle.
The allegations were eventually debunked by none other than Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who in his March 2019 report stated, “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” and “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference.”
After the core intel briefing on Jan. 5, 2017, former President Obama did nothing to stop the investigation into the incoming administration: “President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book’. The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book. From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.”
Obama could have stopped it right then and there. Instead, Obama directed Comey to continue with the witch hunt into the Trump administration, “by the book.” And if it was necessary, to conceal classified information from the incoming Trump administration.
The memo continued, with promising to carry on the probe: “Director Comey affirmed that he is proceeding ‘by the book’ as it relates to law enforcement. From a national security perspective, Comey said he does have some concerns that incoming NSA Flynn is speaking frequently with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. Comey said that could be an issue as it relates to sharing sensitive information. President obama asked if Comey was saying that the NSC should not pas sensitive information related to Russia to Flynn. Comey replied, ‘potentially.’ He added that he has no indication thus far that Flynn has passed classified information to Kislyak, but he noted that ‘the level of communication is unusual.’”
In the interview with Limbaugh, Trump blasted the entire investigation, calling it a “coup”: “I was under investigation illegally… We caught them in the act. They were spying on my campaign and they went for a coup.”
Fortunately, they failed.
But would Biden want that to come out to the public if he wins the election? The answer is it will never come out. President Trump is right. If Biden wins, the Justice Department will immediately squash this investigation. Which is why President Trump is urging his supporters to get out and vote, declaring, “That’s another thing I’m fighting for, because these people have to be brought to justice.”
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.
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