Even as most of the media spent two years portraying Attorney General Bill Barr as an all-powerful villain with an evil magic wand who got his way on everything, Palmer Report kept factually pointing out that almost none of Barr’s antics ever got him (or Donald Trump) anywhere.
Case in point: Barr tasked U.S. Attorney John Durham with investigating the “origins” of Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia probe. At the time, we pointed out that this wouldn’t go anywhere, and that it wouldn’t have any political impact because no one outside Trump’s base would care anyway. Sure enough, it had zero impact on the 2020 election.
Still, even after Trump and Barr were gone from office, alarmists insisted that Trump was somehow magically going to “get away with it all” because incoming Attorney General Merrick Garland didn’t immediately wave a magic wand and make the Durham probe go away. Of course nothing works that way. Now Durham has apparently wrapped up his probe, with the whimper of a single indictment against someone you’ve never heard of, for having given inconsistent testimony to federal investigators in 2016. Big whoop.
In other words, the Durham probe turned out to be precisely the legal and political non-event that we said it would be. Merrick Garland made the right move by quietly letting it die of its own accord. And it’s the latest reminder that Bill Barr’s simplistic antics never did get him anywhere. As with most of Barr’s moves, the Durham probe was simply to impress Trump, and it was never actually going to help Trump.
Of course Donald Trump’s base will point to this one irrelevant indictment as “proof” that the Trump-Russia investigation was some kind of evil plot against Trump. But none of that matters one bit, because no one in the real world listens to the hysterically conspiratorial ramblings of Trump’s base. As for Bill Barr, the Durham probe was his last remaining hurrah, and it turned out – as usual – to be a flop.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report