The big headline yesterday was that the Department of Justice Inspector General announced that the FBI was fully justified in its criminal investigation of the Donald Trump 2016 campaign, meaning Attorney General Bill Barr utterly failed at his task of getting the IG to falsely claim that Trump was maliciously sabotaged by the FBI. But in a profoundly surreal twist, Barr also did something that was frankly just plain weird.
Just before the DOJ Inspector General report was released, the New York Times revealed that while the report had originally blacked out certain personal details about Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele, Bill Barr had decided at the last minute to go ahead and include those details in the public release. Considering Barr’s established pattern of trying to help Trump at any cost, we were all expecting these details to be things that made Steele look bad.
But then the report was released and it turned out that that the “details” involved Ivanka Trump once having tried to hire Christopher Steele to work for the Trump Organization several years ago, and the two of them having since maintained a personal relationship. Wait, what? It’s not that anything surprises us anymore when it comes to the sheer utter weirdness of Donald Trump’s cascading scandals. But why on earth would Bill Barr have decided to make this information public, after the DOJ IG decided to redact it?
To be clear, Bill Barr just outed the fact that Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele is apparently a longtime associate of the Trump family. This shatters Donald Trump’s argument that Steele was some kind of anti-Trump crusader who went overboard with his dossier because he was trying to take the Trump campaign down. Why would Barr of all people put this information out there for public consumption? It hurts Donald Trump, and while it may be harmless with regard to Ivanka, we don’t imagine she wants these kinds of details about herself out there.
Here’s one thing we’ve learned when it comes to Donald Trump’s scandals. When something happens like this that makes no sense on any level, it usually turns out that there was far more to it than we knew – and it usually ends up being important later. There isn’t much point in trying to guess what’s really going on with this Barr-Steele-Ivanka thing, but stick a pin in it, because we suspect we’ll be hearing about it again down the road.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report