Bill Barr's weaponization of the Justice Department is a wonderment to behold. The guy has been sitting on evidence that the American ambassador to Ukraine was being stalked inside our own embassy, and he's done fuck all about it for months. But somehow in that time he's found the resources to investigate a three-year-old leak allegation against former FBI Director James Comey based on a bunch of bullshit Trump tweets. Your tax dollars at work, ladies and gents!

The New York Times reports that the feds are in hot pursuit of the source for a pair of articles in The New York Times and The Washington Post back in the spring of 2017. Because that's a priority for the US Attorney's Office in DC right now! And they have all their little fingers and toes crossed that the culprit is a 6'7" former federal employee who features widely in the Commander in Tweet's morning dispatches from the White House crapper.

The articles described a highly classified Russian "document" obtained by Dutch intelligence hackers. It purported to discuss a 2016 email between then-DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Leonard Benardo, an employee of the Open Society Foundations founded by philanthropist George Soros, just casually shooting the breeze about a deal with Loretta Lynch to let Hillary Clinton off the hook for her buttery emails. And if that sounds like bullshit, it's because it very clearly was, as the FBI concluded at the time. Wasserman Schultz and Benardo have never met, there was no deal, no one ever found evidence of an email, and the "discussion" between Russian officials was probably a hoax planted for the Dutch to find.

Nevertheless, it appears to have done its job, since it sent James Comey swanning off to protect the reputation of the FBI with a wild overcorrection, consequences be damned. As the Post wrote in 2017:

Current and former officials have argued that the secret document gave Comey good reason to take the extraordinary step over the summer of announcing the findings of the Clinton investigation himself without Justice Department involvement.

Comey had little choice, these people have said, because he feared that if Lynch announced no charges against Clinton, and then the secret document leaked, the legitimacy of the entire case would be questioned.

Yes, well, that does sound like something Comey would say about himself. But "yeah, could be him, sure" is hardly sufficient predicate for opening a federal criminal probe. Or as The Times put it, "The timing of the investigation could raise questions about whether it was motivated at least in part by politics." Why yes, it could.

The Times also points out that going back three years and finding the "leaker" when Congress had been briefed on the document and multiple reporters at the two major papers of record had the story is nigh impossible. But US Attorney for DC Jessie Liu is giving it the old Trump U try!

In fact, Ms. Liu has been tryin' it a lot lately. There's the attempt to charge Andrew McCabe for lying to the FBI which the grand jury pretty clearly thought was baloney and failed to issue an indictment on. There's the two-and-a-half week trial of Obama's onetime White House Counsel Greg Craig, which the jury spent five hours on before acquitting on all charges. And now she wants to try again -- because New York prosecutors already tried to get him on his memos -- to pin a leak of highly classified material on James Comey, a man who was himself an original classification authority? Neat-o!

And right on cue, Ms. Liu's loyalty is being rewarded. After launching the latest investigation of the president's enemies, Liu was nominated to be Treasury's deputy secretary for terrorism and financial crimes. Just like it says in the Bible, the wages of sin is promotion. Or something like that.

[NYT / WaPo]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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