This week before the Senate Appropriations Committee Attorney General William Barr gave testimony that is guaranteed to induce panic throughout the D.C. swamp. Regarding spying on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, he testified as follows:
ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR: As I said in my confirmation hearing, I am going to be reviewing both the genesis and the conduct of intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign during 2016. And a lot of this has already been investigated, and a substantial portion of it has been investigated and is being investigated by the office of the Inspector General, but one of the things I want to do is pull everything together from the various investigations that have gone on, including on the Hill and in the [Justice] Department, and see if there are any remaining questions to be addressed.
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D., NH): And can you share with us why you feel a need to do that?
BARR: Well, you know, for the same reason we’re worried about foreign influence in elections, we want to make sure that during elections — I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. It’s a big deal.
The generation I grew up in, which is the Vietnam War period, people were all concerned about spying on anti-war people and so forth by the government, and there were a lot of rules put in place to make sure that there’s an adequate basis before our law enforcement agencies get involved in political surveillance. I’m not suggesting that those rules were violated but I think it’s important to look at that. and I’m not talking about the FBI necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly.
SHAHEEN: So you’re not suggesting, though, that spying occurred?
BARR: Well, I guess — I think spying did occur, yes. I think spying did occur.
SHAHEEN: Well —
BARR: The question was whether it was adequately predicated. And I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated. I need to explore that. I think it’s my obligation. Congress is usually very concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane. I want to make sure that happened. We have a lot of rules about that.
I want to say that I’ve said I’m reviewing this. I haven’t set up a team yet, but I have in mind having some colleagues help me pull all this information together and letting me know whether there are some areas that should be looked at. I also want to make clear. I also want to make clear, this is not launching an investigation of the FBI. Frankly, to the extent there were any issues at the FBI, I do not view it as a problem that’s endemic to the FBI.
I think there was probably a failure among a group of leaders there, at the upper echelon. So I don’t like to hear attacks about the FBI because I think the FBI is an outstanding organization and I think Chris Wray is a great partner for me. I’m very pleased he’s there as the director. If it becomes necessary to look over some former officials’ activities, I expect I’ll be relying heavily on Chris and work closely with him in looking at that information. But that’s what I’m doing. I feel I have an obligation to make sure that government power is not abused. I think that’s one of the principal roles of the Attorney General.
Coming from Barr, a most measured and serious man, this explosive testimony portends a bleak future for all those FBI, Department of Justice, and intelligence community operatives who used their official positions and enormous — bordering on limitless — governmental powers to undermine the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, and, failing that, to undo the results of the 2016 election. So it is that Barr’s description of the possibility of such political surveillance as a “big deal” is understatement of the first order. As “big deals” go, the stakes couldn’t be any higher.
On cue, the Democrats and their wholly owned mainstream media subsidiary have tried to dull the impact of Barr’s testimony. One bedraggled party flak claimed on network television that, since Barr merely thought spying had occurred, he had not confirmed that it had really, truly and actually happened. And, resorting to the left’s default position on all things Trump, Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin has called for Barr’s impeachment. These unhinged responses to Barr’s testimony are similar to the type of desperate, fantasy-based gibberish you might expect from a barricaded man facing imminent death at the hands of a SWAT team. Clearly the left knows that, with Barr running the show, trouble is on the way.
Although Barr tried to avoid making any definitive statements about the ultimate outcome of the current and future investigations, he did let slip certain tidbits that should cause many sleepless nights throughout what we in the Justice Department used to call the Seat of Government. In that regard, Barr effectively stated that the investigation would be to determine whether the Obama administration had engaged in electronic surveillance of the opposing political party’s presidential campaign and candidate without a proper legal basis.
When Barr questioned whether the spying on the Trump campaign was “adequately predicated,” he was obviously talking about the unverified and salacious Steele dossier that was used to obtain FISA warrants to intercept the communications of Trump campaign associate Carter Page. Such an investigation will necessarily encompass the genesis of the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign’s bought-and-paid-for opposition research that constitutes the basis of the dossier, and its knowing, dishonest, and illegal use by James Comey’s FBI and Loretta Lynch’s Department of Justice to deceive the FISA court into authorizing the electronic surveillance of Page and by extension all of the persons in or out of the Trump campaign with whom he communicated.
As we now know, in sworn testimony given in the United Kingdom, not even Christopher Steele would vouch for the dossier’s accuracy. And equally damaging, in testimony before Congress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page stated that, contrary to standard FBI procedure in counterintelligence operations, the Trump campaign, purportedly the target of Russian infiltration, had not been warned of the Kremlin’s nefarious efforts because the FBI did not deem the Steele dossier reliable enough to compel such a warning.
Page’s testimony sets up an irresistible line of inquiry. If the dossier was not reliable enough to justify a warning to Trump’s campaign about the Kremlin’s plot, how could it even remotely serve as the basis for obtaining FISA warrants to spy on the campaign? By her benighted testimony, Page has framed the issue nicely and invited a full vetting of who, what, where, when, why, and how the dossier was used to dupe the FISA court.
Barr also made clear that, beyond the FBI and Justice Department, the investigation will also be looking at “intelligence agencies.” This makes sense given that low level Trump campaign associates such as George Papadopoulos and Sam Clovis were approached by foreign operatives with CIA ties in an effort to plant the seeds of the Trump-Russia collusion illusion. As for the FBI, Barr made clear that, while he does not think that there is an “endemic” problem at that agency, he thinks that “there was probably a failure among a group of leaders there, at the upper echelon.”
And, of course, any investigation into the spying must logically and inexorably lead to the clandestine state-sponsored plot to unwind the 2016 election and remove President Trump from office. In short, the subject matter of any proper investigation will necessarily encompass the first attempted coup d’état in our nation’s history.
So here we are. After suffering through Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ comatose stewardship of the Justice Department, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s underhanded machinations, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s protracted rear guard action to protect the anti-Trump deep state conspirators, the day of reckoning is at hand. Attorney General Barr’s testimony portends a long overdue cleansing of the government temple the likes of which has never before happened in this country. This will be history in the making.
In ancient times, when nations reached such dramatic inflection points, there were poets, authors, artists, and philosophers who formulated, explained, and preserved for posterity the meaning of events and their impact upon their societies. As I listened to Barr’s astounding testimony, I realized that America was at such an historic milestone.
Who, I mused, will step forward to explicate and place these momentous events into their proper context? Does America have a Homer or a Cicero to properly express the gratitude and exaltation of our fellow citizens at the approach of long desired and overdue justice? And then the answer suddenly came to me as my shrinking brain flashed back to the immortal words of that long ago anthem of righteous adolescent retribution, My Boyfriend’s Back, to wit:
My boyfriend’s back and you’re gonna be in trouble
(Hey-la-day-la my boyfriend’s back)
You see him comin’ better cut out on the double
(Hey-la-day-la my boyfriend’s back)
Here’s a link to The Angels’ singing My Boyfriend’s Back on the Ed Sullivan Show. Their performance is at once entertaining and seemingly prescient. As you watch them sing, imagine that they are making eye contact with James Comey, Rod Rosenstein, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, John Brennan, Bruce Ohr, Lisa Page, Sally Yates, Glenn Simpson, Christopher Steele, and all the rest of the conspirators. It’s pretty amusing.
To a remarkable degree, the lyrics are apt and convey the mood of all of us who have had a belly full of the deep state.
As for all of those swamp dwellers who have corrupted and degraded our government to this historical low point, let me paraphrase the best line in the song: If I were [them], I’d take a permanent vacation.
Where at? Club Fed?
If Barr means what he says, you can count on it.
George Parry is a former federal and state prosecutor who practices law in Philadelphia. He is a regular contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer and blogs at knowledgeisgood.net. He may be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org.