The fix is in

Paul Waldman at the Post on Trump’s move to have his tame AG expose classified intelligence looking for some pretext to say the investigation was dirty:

Barr’s “investigation” is nothing but a propaganda exercise, an effort to provide ballast to the lunatic idea that there should never have been any investigation at all into Russia’s attempts to help Trump get elected president. But we have to be clear about just how shocking this order from Trump is.

The executive order not only gives Barr permission to “declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence” to whatever degree he likes, but also orders the leaders of every intelligence agency to give him whatever he wants. If he wants to declassify something and they object, tough luck for them. The New York Times reports that this is “likely to irk the intelligence community”:

One official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters, said previously that Mr. Barr wanted to know more about what foreign assets the C.I.A. had in Russia in 2016 and what those informants were telling the agency about how President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia sought to meddle in the 2016 election.

Needless to say, the identity of foreign assets is one of the most sensitive categories of information intelligence agencies hold.

If Barr were a normal AG, Waldman goes on, we could figure he would be careful with that intel, but since Barr is what he is, we can’t.

[W]ith virtually every action Barr has taken and statement he has made, he has shown himself to be someone who is only too happy to deceive the publicmislead Congressgo on Fox News to spin on the president’s behalf, and generally act as though the only purpose of his office is to cover up for Trump. The idea that this political hack would conduct any investigation related to this president with any other goal in mind is, at this point, not even worth discussing.

And none of it is anything to do with real investigation, it’s purely a propaganda exercise. They want to find something they can distort into dirt.

We can be pretty sure of what’s going to happen. Barr will scour every record he can to learn as much as possible about the Russia investigation. Whenever he comes across something that can be spun to make the FBI or anyone Trump has decided is his enemy look bad, he’ll put it in the “Declassify” pile. Then he’ll release it all to the public and hold a news conference where he suggests that there was a conspiracy to take down Trump. The president will then take to Twitter to proclaim that he was indeed the victim of a vile witch hunt that has at last been exposed. The news media, in possession of only the materials Barr has chosen to give them, will struggle to avoid amplifying and reinforcing Barr’s claims.

And then Trump will tell Barr to do the same thing to the Democratic candidate for president.

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