Donald Trump wants us to believe that he signed off on today’s arrest of his former henchman Steve Bannon, but we all know that’s a load of crap. Bannon has all kinds of dirt on Trump and his family, and this arrest could prompt Bannon to cut a cooperating plea deal – leaving Trump with the no-win prospect of having to absorb the ugly press from pardoning Bannon, or just hoping Bannon’s dirt doesn’t stick.
Either way, it’s the last thing Donald Trump needs right now, at a time when he’s already on track to lose the election. It’s also the kind of thing that Trump expects Bill Barr to stop from happening. Yet Barr failed when he tried to install his own guy at SDNY two months ago. That failure directly resulted in Bannon’s arrest today, and perhaps the arrests of other Trump allies and family members ahead of the election. It’s just the latest such failure for Barr.
There’s something of a mythos about Bill Barr, as if he has an evil magic wand he can simply wave whenever Donald Trump is in trouble. That perception is largely because Barr came into office and quickly defeated Robert Mueller. But in hindsight Mueller wasn’t even doing his job before Barr got there, meaning Barr merely slayed a paper tiger.
Since that time Bill Barr has failed to stop the arrests of Lev and Igor, which leaves the door open for Rudy Giuliani to be arrested before the election. Barr also failed to get Roger Stone a lenient sentence, forcing Donald Trump to absorb the bad press of commuting Stone’s sentence. Barr just keeps swinging and missing. He’s evil, but he’s not very good at this. Barr isn’t doing much to help Trump at all – and even Trump surely sees it at this point. Barr’s day of reckoning is coming.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report