How shall we disguise the fix?

One interpretation of Barr’s rebuke of Trump’s DoJ tweeting is that it’s a show of independence meant to disguise actual complete submission. The Washington Post offers a different take:

Attorney General William P. Barr pushed back hard Thursday against President Trump’s attacks on the Justice Department, saying, “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody,” an assertion of independence that could jeopardize his tenure as the nation’s top law enforcement official.

The DoJ is all in a swivet over the Stone case and Trump’s outbursts and the fact that it looks as if Trump is managing their every move.

People close to Barr said that in recent months he has become increasingly frustrated with Trump’s tweets about the Justice Department. The president, they said, seemed not only to be undercutting his own political momentum but also to be fostering doubts about the department’s independence. Trump’s tweet complaining that he believed his friend was being treated unfairly proved something of a last straw, they said, because it was so damaging to morale at the department.

But does Barr care more about the department than he does about enabling Trump?

Barr was comfortable not being universally loved by career employees, but he felt the tweet Tuesday raised a bigger problem, giving people reason to wonder whether the department had been corrupted by political influence and decided he could no longer remain silent about the president’s public denunciations, these people said.

While other people said that was all a smokescreen so that Barr could continue enabling Trump without all this hassle from the press and the people.

Behind that public fight, according to people familiar with the discussions, is a deeper tension between Trump and Barr’s Justice Department over the lack of criminal charges against former FBI director James B. Comey and those close to him.

Trump wants to lead a mob organization disguised as a country, while Barr…is either ok with that or not ok with that. One of those.

Since becoming attorney general last year, Barr has enthusiastically defended the president, much to the frustration of congressional Democrats and some current and former Justice Department officials upset over what they consider an erosion of the agency’s independence. Thursday’s interview marked a stunning break from that practice.

Or a performance of a stunning break from that practice. One of those.

Trump is getting more and more pissed off with the Justice Department, we’re told.

Trump has repeatedly complained about FBI Director Christopher A. Wray in recent months, saying that Wray has not done enough to change the FBI’s culture, purge the bureau of people who are disloyal to him or change policies after violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Wray also hasn’t scrubbed Trump’s toilet or kissed his bum. It’s a disgrace.

He has also tweeted many times that he thinks Comey should be charged with crimes, and he was particularly upset that no charges were filed over the former FBI director’s handling of memos about his interactions with Trump. An inspector general report faulted the former director for keeping some of those memos at his home and for arranging for the contents of one of the memos to be shared with a reporter after Comey was fired in 2017.

The IG referred the memo thing to prosecutors, who concluded there was nothing to prosecute.

That sent Trump into a rage, according to people briefed on his comments. He complained so loudly and swore so frequently in the Oval Office that some of his aides discussed it for days, these people said. Trump repeatedly said that Comey deserved to be charged, according to their account.

He also wanted McCabe charged. I hope it ruins his day that McCabe is now a commentator on CNN.

There were a couple of things last month that got up his nose, which may be partly why he’s so rabid right now.

First, prosecutors updated their position in the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying a sentence of some prison time would be appropriate. Around the same time, The Washington Post reported that U.S. Attorney John Huber in Utah — tapped years earlier to reinvestigate several issues related to vague allegations of corruption against Hillary Clinton — had quietly wound down his work after finding nothing of consequence.

Those two developments further enraged the president, according to people familiar with the discussions. These people said that while the public debate in recent days has focused on leniency for Stone, the president is more upset that the Justice Department has not been tougher on his perceived enemies.

Yeah! Why isn’t the Justice Department beating up everyone who crosses Trump?? It’s so unfair!

In the president’s mind, it is unacceptable that people such as Comey and McCabe have not been charged, particularly if people such as Stone and Flynn are going to be treated harshly, these people said.

“Mind” isn’t the right word there. Limbic system maybe?

Barr tapped U.S. Attorney John Durham in Connecticut to investigate whether any crimes were committed by FBI and CIA officials in the pursuit of allegations in 2016 that Russia interfered in the election to benefit Trump’s campaign.

…Trump has become more insistent that Durham finish his work soon, according to people familiar with the discussions. Trump, these people said, wants to be able to use whatever Durham finds as a cudgel in his reelection campaign.

Because that’s exactly how the Justice Department is supposed to function: as a source of damaging lies for the president’s reelection campaign.

The whole thing is a complete sewer.

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