The President Has Given Attorney General Barr Declassification Authority Over the Intelligence Community In Order To Investigate the Origins of the Counterintelligence Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Election

Despite the fact that we already know the origins of how a counterintelligence investigation was established in mid 2016 into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Specifically because it was covered in the released, redacted Mueller Report; testimony by multiple senior DOJ and FBI officials to both the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; even the execrable Nunes’ FISA memos give us the details. The President has authorized Attorney General Barr to have full declassification authority, as if he was the original classification authority, over any and/or all classified information and materials pertaining to the origins of the counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

What this means is that Attorney General Barr can declassify whatever he wants pertaining to this matter whether or not Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and his subordinates responsible for declassification at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or Director of Central Intelligence Gina Haspell, and her subordinates responsible for declassification at the Central Intelligence Agency, or the Director of the National Security Agency GEN Paul Nakasone, and his subordinates responsible for declassification at the National Security Agency, or Director Wray, and his subordinates at the Federal Bureau of Investigation agree or disagree with his decisions. And this reality is both important to keep in mind and very, very scary because it is now being reported that Attorney General Barr wants to know about the CIA’s sources in Russia and what they know about the origins of the counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s interference.

One of the first thing authoritarians try to do once they feel they have consolidated enough power is to ferret out the human sources who were working against them prior to their attaining power. In this case it appears that AG Barr wants to start with the human sources that the CIA’s National Clandestine Service has cultivated and established in Russia. I can guarantee that the CIA’s leadership in general and that of the National Clandestine Service in specific are not happy about this!

I cannot stress enough how NOT NORMAL this is!!!!! Normally the Attorney General would not be fully read on to a counterintelligence investigation because they are completely compartmented. And the CIA not being able to control access to information about their sources and methods is completely abnormal! Same for the inevitable requests that will go to the NSA regarding the electronic and signals intelligence. Usually requests for this information by one agency would be zealously fought, in regard to institutional prerogatives, by the agency with the classified information.

Here’s what I think are the four most likely things that will happen now. And they are not all mutually exclusive.

1) He’ll do a review and then based on discussions with DNI Coats and DCI Haspell and Director Wray, he’ll declassify nothing and just let the IG and the two US Attorneys (Utah and Connecticut) do their thing. I think this is highly unlikely given what we know of Attorney General Barr, his career, and his ideological priors and assumptions regarding the power of the president.

2) He’ll actually do a by the book review, rather than  putting both thumbs on the scale. I don’t think he will actually do this, in fact I think he’s constitutionally incapable of doing so.

3) DNI Coats and DCI Haspell will simply refuse to read him on as they know he’s not an honest broker. I think there is a real possibility that one or both of them do this either by just slow walking everything or outright refusing.

4) Barr is read on. He then barbers, like he did with his framing summary memo of Special Counsel Mueller’s report, what he declassifies to make it look like there was a criminal conspiracy starting in 2016 to a) steal the election from Trump by fabricating the Russian interference and b) use that fabrication to drive Trump from office once he was elected when, in fact, this is not the case. We all know it is not the case because of what is in the Mueller Report and the materials in Nunes’ FISA memos from last year. At that point the Intelligence Community starts leaking to damage Barr.

If I had to guess, I expect the Intelligence Community to do at least one selective warning leak, like they did with Sessions to get him to recuse and Whitaker to get him to stop trying to poke around, as a warning shot across Barr’s bow. The question at that point isn’t whether Barr is smart enough to recognizing the warning for what it is and the danger that it signifies, but whether he actually cares. And this is tied into just how confident he is that he has now achieved his life’s ideological work of establishing an extreme unitary executive as reality. That the President is now, essentially, an elected king and therefore Barr as the elected King’s man in charge of the enforcement of the law on the investigation and prosecutorial side, is empowered to determine what is and is not legal.

Barr is very likely to use this new authority to selectively weaponization the information he declassifies to try to ratfuck the 2020 election. Remember, it was Barr who was leaning on the US Attorney in Little Rock to investigate then Governor Clinton regarding the Whitewater Savings & Loan scam in order to dirty Clinton up in advance of his general election campaign against Barr’s boss, President George H. W. Bush. Here’s Cory Lewandowski trying to connect Vice President Biden to the creation of the Steele Dossier on tonight’s Lou Dobbs’ show for an audience of one – the President, who I’m sure will be tweeting it out tomorrow.

We are way, way, way off the looking glass and through the map!

Open thread.

104 replies
  1. 1
    NotMax says:

    Czar Barr.

    Not propitious in any way, shape or form.

  2. 2
    Bobbo says:

    Call me paranoid but isn’t this a way to let Putin know who our spies are and what they are doing?

  3. 3
    Martin says:

    Yeah, this seems like a stupid fight for Trump to pick. I imagine we may soon learn what parts of the Steele dossier the intel agencies have confirmed.

  4. 4
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Bobbo: Yes, yes it is.

  5. 5
    prostratedragon says:


    Some music from Throne of Blood, in which Birnam Wood does eventually come to Dunsinane.

  6. 6
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’m going to add this up top, but they’ve already started the influence operation to tie Biden to the Steele dossier:

  7. 7
    Geeno says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Without it even having to pass through Benedict Donald — Gah!
    Didn’t the CIA used to have assassins and shit? I’d love to see what would happen if one of these clowns just got mysteriously dusted.

  8. 8
    suffragettecity says:

    Mueller needs to grow a pair and realize his “friend” Barr is no friend to this country.
    He needs to testify in public.

  9. 9
    Jerzy Russian says:

    It is hard to keep up, but do the wingnuts at least acknowledge that there was Russian (no relation) interference in the election? If so, that is progress?

    On an unrelated note, I got a bag of potato chips that had fried egg flavor from World Market. I can report that they do really taste like fried eggs. These chips came from Spain, if that matters.

  10. 10
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Geeno: The CIA is not going to start assassinating people in the US. Unless the President has secretly revoked earlier presidential directives going back to the 1970s, it doesn’t even do that abroad.

  11. 11
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jerzy Russian: The argument is that it was the Clinton campaign; the DNC; the Obama Administration; Jim Comey, Page, Strzok, McCabe, Baker at the DOJ/FBI; Brennan at the CIA, Clapper at DNI, and a few others who actually conspired with Russia to fake the whole thing, then launder it through the news media in order to prevent the President from being elected, which makes no sense as it the investigation was highly compartmented and didn’t leak prior to the election or to drive him from office if he was elected (Page and Strzok’s secret weapon).

    And yes, I know, it makes no sense whatsoever.

  12. 12
    CaseyL says:

    Didn’t someone – Flynn, maybe – already give Putin the network in Russia, shortly after Trump took office? I thought I heard about the networks being rolled up way back then.

    With the GOP behind Trump, the voting in Red and Swing states rigged, and the courts packed to uphold rigged election results, it may simply be too late for the intelligence community to do much of anything. Once power is consolidated, authoritarianism is the new normal.

  13. 13
    oatler. says:

    If Trump is omnipotent, can he make a Stupid so heavy that he can’t lift it?

  14. 14
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @CaseyL: Correct. They bag jobbed a GRU general and a senior analyst at Kaspersky in late January or February 2017.

  15. 15
    Jerzy Russian says:


    If Trump is omnipotent, can he make a Stupid so heavy that he can’t lift it?

    Yes, and then he can lift it.

  16. 16

    AG Barr seems to have a desire to spend some time in AG Mitchel’s old abode.

  17. 17
    Jerzy Russian says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thanks, I think. I will just stick to astrophysics for now, if it is all the same to you. It is less complicated.

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jerzy Russian: These people have far, far, far too much creative thinking and far, far, far, far, far, far too little critical thinking.

  19. 19
    West of the Rockies says:

    I hope you are correct, Adam about potential IC warning leaks. (You always DO seem to anticipate events with great accuracy, which I find heartening.)

    I hope the leaks are serious, pointed, and frightening (frightening to those individuals being warned). It would be fantastic if such a leak was devastating personally and professionally to the fat-faced Barr.

  20. 20
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Jesus, all we need now is reverse vampires and mole people.

  21. 21
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @West of the Rockies:

    You always DO seem to anticipate events with great accuracy, which I find heartening.

    I’ll continue to be correct in my forecasting until I’m not. It always eventually averages out.

    I hope the leaks are serious, pointed, and frightening (frightening to those individuals being warned). It would be fantastic if such a leak was devastating personally and professionally to the fat-faced Barr.

    Barr did legal work for Alfa Bank, was on the board of a company with deep ties to Russia, and he received dividends from Vector Group, which is also tied to Russia.

  22. 22
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Well Giuliani does look like the Count Von Orlock…

  23. 23
    NotMax says:

    how NOT NORMAL this is

    Indeed. In any other administration this would be cause sufficient for the heads of the F.B.I. and C.I.A. to, at a minimum, start planting stories about their rumored resignations.

    What’s to stop him from giving Jared access to the nuke launch codes? (Wish I could put a snark tag on that question but cannot bring myself to do it, as it can’t be dismissed as wild fantasy.)

  24. 24
    West of the Rockies says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    And suddenly Barr’s aversion to the investigation becomes clear…

    Remember when Republicans thought Russia was The Evil Empire? Oh, how the high and mighty have fallen…

  25. 25
    Sab says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Work for Alfa Bank. Well that is interesting.

  26. 26
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Jesus, all we need now is reverse vampires and mole people.

    And chemicals in the water that turn the freaking frogs gay! Frogs gay! Frogs gay!

  27. 27
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Sab: And the company he was on the board of was originally staked and bankrolled by people who are close to Putin. He’s also Opus Dei. His former speechwriter works for Opus Dei. And that’s another connecting link to Leonard Leo and his dark money network of whatever it is Leo really does and whomever he really works for.

  28. 28
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @mrmoshpotato: I didn’t know Alex Jones read Balloon Juice.//

  29. 29
    CaseyL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: And nobody in the intel community or anywhere else did anything then. Hopes that there was serious shit going on behind the scenes seem empty in light of what’s been happening since.

    I continue to be gobsmacked at how quickly the US has crumbled. My country is unrecognizable to me.

  30. 30
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Comparing Ghouliani to Graf Orlok is an insult to Max Schreck, Albin Grau and F. W. Murnau.

  31. 31
    Mary G says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It’s beginning to look like between them, all Republicans are owned by either the Russians and/or Leonard Leo. Except maybe Justin Amash.

  32. 32
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @CaseyL: They were doing something, they were doing the counterintelligence investigation. They are supposed to be compartmented to the point of being hermetically sealed. They are slow – they started Venona in 1943 and ended it in the mid 1980s! They aren’t necessarily supposed to lead to prosecutions. They are intended to determine what the threat is, how it is occurring, and then work to stop it. I would argue that in this last case that would mean actually taking some public actions, which the CI folks are always loathe to do, but this is what CI is. It isn’t an undercover criminal sting.

  33. 33
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Maybe. It’s not like he can spend his nutjob downtime with his kids.

    You are familiar with the dance remix of his nutjob rant about gay frogs, right?

  34. 34
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @mrmoshpotato: True.

    Also, I’m not taking any more of your guff Alex Jones!//

  35. 35
    NotMax says:


    Bit aurally disconcerting that the Czech* movie currently watching includes Czech country and western tunes and songs as background music – complete with banjo, steel guitar and mouth organ.

    *Technically a Czechoslovak movie as it predates the division.

  36. 36
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: Amash is going to quickly become an un-person.

  37. 37
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @mrmoshpotato: I am. Unfortunately.

  38. 38
    tobie says:

    @suffragettecity: No kidding. The fact that Mueller doesn’t want to testify in public for fear it would make his investigation political is ludicrous on its face and cowardly given the threat to democracy itself at this moment.

  39. 39
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Are some of the Catholic SCOTUS justices connected to or influenced by Opus Dei?

    Could you recommend some reliable sources for the history, beliefs, influence of that organization? And who is running it in the US?

  40. 40
    NotMax says:


    Toad in the hole, indeed.


  41. 41
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: Are you sure you’re not watching the Czech dubbed version of Deliverance?

  42. 42
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I thankfully (for my sake) only know about the gay frogs rant.

    These days we don’t need to actively seek out nutjobery. We just pay attention to the news, and it yells at the world from 1600 Pennsylvania. *sigh*

  43. 43
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: Is the group one of the forces trying to take down Pope Francis?

  44. 44
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: My understanding is that Kavanaugh, Thomas, and Alito have ties to Opus Dei. It is possible that Gorsuch does as well. I know Kennedy did. And I think Scalia did. They are also all Federalist Society members, except for Kennedy, with the exception of Scalia and Thomas who predate the Federalist Society but were and are aligned with it. Scalia also served as the faculty advisor for one of the first Federalist Society college/law school chapters. My understanding is that McGahn is also Opus Dei and McGahn, it is important to remember, is McConnell’s catspaw. Sotomayor does not have ties to either Opus Dei or the Federalist Society.

  45. 45
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    (You called “open thread” so I get to rant if I want to. Nevertheless, I’m not saying that you disagree with me on any of these points, nor am I criticizing you for not mentioning them, etc., etc. The phrase “not normal” set me off a bit today, because if you stop and think about it, we’re objectively so far from normal that it should be obvious, except for dishonesty, propaganda, and the metaphorical frog soup-to-be)

    Not normal.

    You know what’s not normal? Turning the whole federal government into a side show over a woman in a persistent vegetative state when *PUBLIC RECORD* establishes that she was missing most of her brain, and that her rights had been carefully guarded.

    You know what’s not normal? Prosecutors, and former prosecutors, getting up in front of crowds and falsely claiming their political opponents are clearly guilty of crimes, when it’s objectively clear that there is no evidence of this. (“Gross negligence” is a far stricter standard than their lies would have you think.)

    You know what’s not normal? A conspiracy theory that Trump is busting up a pedophile ring that involves prominent Democrats, with no one – *NO ONE* coming out and saying that it’s stupid, and 100% false.

    You know what’s not normal? A president seeking a big payday from Russia ($300 million!) who holds secret meetings with Putin (violating the Presidential records act in the process), who knew about, and encouraged Russian interference on his behalf, and the GOPs figuring “eh, whatevs” about the potential for dangerous foreign influence affecting our nation, while blowing off his multiple attempts to obstruct justice, and *further* attempts to weaponize the justice system.

    You know what’s not normal? A President saying the other party is the party of “Mobs, not jobs”, and that they’re for “open borders and crime”, and then getting reported on seriously when he says “and the worst thing is, they don’t want to work with me!”

    You know what’s not normal? Telling blatant lies to get us into a costly war, costing hundreds of thousands of lives, trillions of dollars, and then having people crow “The Surge Worked!” and “he kept us safe, except for the dead and wounded military folks, and the 3000 people on 9/11, and the hundreds of innocent people kidnapped and imprisoned (I’m talking here in America – we ain’t even *touching* Guantanemo!)

    You know what’s not normal? Making *torture* a political party’s plank.

    You know what’s not normal? Pretending an incompetent, dishonest, and corrupt person might make a good President, and then acting as if his election is a sign of anything other than how messed up the country is.

    You know what’s not normal? One political party being called baby killers, who wipe their butts with the Constitution, who hate everyone in America for some made-up reason, who want to control all of your life, and having people say “yeah, but you’re angry at Republicans when they start wars and commit crimes, or when they pursue policies that will objectively lead to lots of people dying, so,really, both sides do it.”

    You know what’s not normal? Journalists on the whole refusing to report on objective, plain truths to avoid seeming partisan.

    You know what’s not normal? Here’s a better question: what *IS*?

  46. 46
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @NotMax: Are you making a reference to Ace In The Hole, or am I misreading that?

  47. 47
    piratedan says:

    Adam, any thoughts on if the IC just lets this shit pass or are they going to actually drop the hammer.

    If what Trump is giving Barr the authority to do is accurate, he’s essentially giving Putin our covert intelligence assets. You know and I suspect that Barr could give a fuck about those people because he’s living the GOP dream of having the illusion of power, never mind whose hand is controlling the puppet, these guys plainly DO NOT CARE. I have a hard time believing that the current heads of those agencies are simply going to follow the “rule of law”, knowing that the man and the administration issuing these edicts subverted those laws and engaged in conspiracy to obtain power with the very agency that is seeking to uncover those assets.

    Wondering if we’re going to see Nancy’s Smash’s phone light up this evening and shoes drop because if this shit gets enacted, I fully believe its game over, the coup is complete, because what comes next is a series of tragic balcony and bathtub accidents.

  48. 48
    NotMax says:


    On the one hand I can understand Mueller wanting to keep that card close to his chest at this time and reserve public testimony for later in the process.

    Doesn’t mean I necessarily fully agree with it, but can acknowledge it.

  49. 49
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: Yes. Opus Dei has long been at odds with the Jesuits. I’m amazed that Pope Francis didn’t clean them out as soon as he took over.

  50. 50
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LongHairedWeirdo: I’ve written about a lot of these not normal things here over the past several years. And so have a lot of the other front pagers.

  51. 51
    NotMax says:


    To the name of the British, um, delicacy.

  52. 52
    BellyCat says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Typo in title: “counterintelligence” misspelt

  53. 53
    Ruckus says:

    We had a political class that at the very least has tried to carry on as if this is a democracy for over 200 yrs. Those were the people who ran for office, the people that worked the angles. Some of them have been dishonest or complete assholes. But they at least tried to keep a charade up, a pretense that this will always be a democracy. Every president, no matter how bad has walked away when their term was up. This one is different. He’s an idiot. He’s a narcissist. He’s a thief but not a good one. He’s a massive racist. But his one thing is that he’s put himself in a position to allow the republican party to finally fulfill their twisted dreams to make this into a country that no one will want to live in. At the end of the day it won’t turn out well, no matter which way the chips fall.
    And all countries that this sort of thing happens to, have it happen fast. If it happened slowly, it would be much more likely that it would go wrong for them and they would be stopped. But because these people are trying to fuck a large nation and even collectively aren’t smart enough to pull it off well and rapidly, I’m betting that it won’t go well for them. Maybe next week I’ll feel different.

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @piratedan: I honestly don’t know. I really don’t understand Barr’s play with all of this. He started his government service at the CIA. He understands exactly what is at risk better than most attorneys general. That he would do anything except pencil whip this around his desk to make it look like he was doing something to keep the President off his back is hard to fathom. But given what we’ve seen of him now in both his stints as AG, as well as his earlier stint as head of the Office of Legal Counsel at DOJ, I think we have to seriously consider that he’s going to do real damage to, if not break, the IC doing whatever it is he’s going to do.

  55. 55
    Shalimar says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It also manes no sense that the vast conspiracy faked 100+ contacts with the Russians that various and sundry members of the campaign admit happened.

    This Barr shit seems like a major part of that cover-up Trump would never engage in.

  56. 56
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @BellyCat: I have mentioned that I have a cold, right? And I should be lying down.

  57. 57
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @BellyCat: Fixed.

  58. 58
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Shalimar: And then were so worried about that they all lied about them.

  59. 59
    tobie says:

    @NotMax: I’m not so sure there will be a time in the future to testify. The whole investigation will have been tarnished by then. I’m also still troubled that the only time Mueller broke his silence was to quash the Buzzfeed story that Trump and/or family encouraged Michael Cohen to lie in his testimony to Congress. Well, we now know that numerous lawyers for the Trump family did do that. Why did Mueller break his silence then, especially when he knew by then that he wasn’t going to indict any member of the Trump family? He chose not to interview them. All this tells me that Mueller doesn’t want to rock the boat too much. Guess he’s happy with Republican hegemony. My fear is that most of the intelligence community feels the same way, as if there’s nothing worse under the sun than dirty, hippy liberals.

  60. 60
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @NotMax: Hm. Never made that with a sausage patty inside the bread, just an egg.

  61. 61
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Agreed. I’d hoped my disclaimer up top was sufficient to avoid having to call this out. (Ah! Blinding flash of he obvious here. “I’m not trying to criticize you for not bringing up these things *IN THIS PARTICULAR POST*”. I hadn’t said the emphasized portion – I just meant it :-) .)

    But you know something? Yes, you and other front pagers *are* helping folks remember how abnormal this is. Y’all do good work. I do appreciate it. I just wanted it to be *my* rant, if that makes sense.

    Plus… I was kind of curious how many “you know what’s not normal?” I could type without having to *work* for it – when would I have to start really thinking about outrages?

  62. 62
    Timurid says:

    How are the ‘warning leaks’ going to work? Or the ‘shoot to kill’ leaks, for that matter? Information about wrongdoing by Barr is released and then… who exactly will punish him for it?

  63. 63
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LongHairedWeirdo: I understand and it was a good rant and I hope ranting made you feel a bit better. The major advantage we have is that these guys are not very good at what they’re trying to do. They’re sloppy. They telegraph everything. They’re loud. They’re clumsy. This authority could have been granted with a classified presidential order to Barr, not announced to the news media with a formal press secretary’s statement. If they had done it smart and quiet, by the time it had leaked, it would have been too late to stop it. Now, they’re guaranteed to get major pushback. And there will be major pushback, it will be quick. And I expect it will effect the way they proceed. By doing it publicly it empowers Coates, Haspell, Nakasone, and Wray to push back. And if Schiff is as smart as I think he is, he’ll have them all up on the Hill in front of his committee in public session to set them up to do so by the middle of next week at the latest.

  64. 64
    NotMax says:


    Have been saying on and off here for years that every story about Dolt 45 needs to include the following as the lede:

    This is not normal. This is aberrant and perverse.

  65. 65
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Timurid: If you recall, the material leaked regarding Sessions was about his not previously reported meetings and conversations with Kislyak, which he’d both brought up without being asked about it and then denied having them during his confirmation hearing. Given who Barr was doing business with, serving on corporate boards for, and doing legal work for, I’m sure the IC will have plenty to leak to get his attention. And if they don’t, they’ll have our Five Eyes allies and other European allies and partners providing it.

  66. 66
    BellyCat says:

    The GOP’s goal is to move the needle on “normal”.

    They have succeeded far in excess of their wildest dreams with Trump and the price paid by our nation will be steep for a long time coming.

    My sense is that Mueller is caught between party allegiance and personal ethics. Will be interesting to see which prevails.

  67. 67
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    these guys are not very good at what they’re trying to do. They’re sloppy. They telegraph everything. They’re loud. They’re clumsy.

    Infrastructure Week 19 – Infrastructurerier! (and the shark still looks fake.)

  68. 68
    Timurid says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Sessions panicked and recused himself because real consequences for that kind of behavior still seemed possible. But that was two years of consolidation and normalization ago.

  69. 69
    ascap_scab says:

    5) Barr just makes shit up for whatever statement/report/investigation he wants to produce. It dosen’t have to be actual classified material because who’s gonna call him on it? His conclusion will be treason counts against all perceived actors. They will be jailed while awaiting trial which will never happen because there is no evidence, but who cares so long as his rubes believe it.

  70. 70
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Timurid: I can only answer your questions with the facts as they are, not as we wish them to be.

  71. 71
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’m to bed. Catch everyone on the flip.

  72. 72
    NotMax says:

    Would also like to have Mr. Zebley and Mr. Quarles, whom Mueller brought along with him to join the special counsel team from the private firm at which all three were employed, testify.

  73. 73
    Sam says:

    Tit for tat and leaking will not work unless the leaks are actionable and there are actors. With Barr at Justice the President will be immune. It is time to stand up. Congress has to stand up. If Coats, Wray and Haspel see this as a threat to democracy it is time for them to resign together AND go public. A media war of leaks is playing Trumps game.

    Dems mishandled the media. Mueller and others need to give public testimony. Planted stories will not save the country.

  74. 74
    Fair Economist says:

    This isn’t to identify Trump’s enemies, it’s to identify Putin’s. Blatant treason, and it seems Barr is in on it.

  75. 75
    Joseph A Miller says:

    @LongHairedWeirdo: Righteous rant!!

  76. 76
    lurker dean says:

    @Sam: agree. dems now look reactive, defensive, and weak as trump and barr turn the doj into a weapon against them. fuck.

  77. 77
    rikyrah says:

    Thanks for the explanation, Silverman.

  78. 78
    rikyrah says:

    You are not paranoid. I am sure that sources were already burned by this Administration.😠😠

  79. 79
    Kathleen says:

    @Adam L Silverman: See John Paul I, Pope.

    Excellent post, Adam. Thank you for your original, cogent analysis. I find it very valuable and thought provoking.

  80. 80
    rikyrah says:

    Feel better, Silverman😢😢

  81. 81
    MomSense says:

    I find this really frightening. Once trump takes over our intelligence services things are going to get dangerous fast.

  82. 82
  83. 83
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    The Guardian
    ‏Verified account @guardian
    4m4 minutes ago

    BREAKING NEWS: Theresa May announces she will step down on 7 June – live news

  84. 84
    Lit3Bolt says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Adam, can you do the front page post on Assange and Espionage? I trust your take on this particular bag of thorns.

  85. 85
    trnc says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I’m sure the IC will have plenty to leak to get his attention. And if they don’t, they’ll have our Five Eyes allies and other European allies and partners providing it.

    Do we have any allies right now who might have an interest in seeing the US go down in the long run because a weaker US may help strengthen their country and/or the European Union against the US?

  86. 86
    Barb 2 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    That was exactly what I wanted to know! Does Barr have any Russian ties or contacts? So if he is possibility dirty then he could expose “accidentally” some of our assets. The fox guarding the hen house.

    Barr need to be impeached.

  87. 87
    Elmo says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The Ziffs aren’t close to Putin, Adam. Not even a little bit.

  88. 88
    SFAW says:

    So at what point does the Senate decide that the Traitor-in-Chief is an actual, ongoing danger to the United States, and stop fucking around with the “hee hee hee let’s get as many misogynist racist pro-slavery oligarch-loving judges confirmed as we can in the shortest time possible, before the wheels fall off” bullshit that emanates/radiates from Traitor Turtle?

    I know, I know — never.

    Thanks, Bernie. Thanks FTFTFNYT. Thanks, Comey.

  89. 89
    SFAW says:


    Do we have any allies right now who might have an interest in seeing the US go down in the long run


    Wait — did you mean America’s allies? Or just the allies of the Traitor-in-Chief (because he is ‘Murica and ‘Murica is he)?

  90. 90
    Matt says:


    My sense is that Mueller is caught between party allegiance and personal ethics. Will be interesting to see which prevails.

    He, more than anybody, knows that the party has utterly transformed into an international criminal conspiracy.

    If he’s still debating being loyal to it, he has no personal ethics.

  91. 91
    SFAW says:


    My sense is that Mueller is caught between party allegiance and personal ethics. Will be interesting to see which prevails.

    I’m guessing that, unlike Comey, Rosenstein, all of the Traitor-in-Chief’s Cabinet, and most of the rest of the Partei, Mueller is a highly ethical person. As far as I can tell, nothing he has done during the investigation has contradicted that belief.


    If he’s still debating being loyal to it, he has no personal ethics.

    And if Obama had nuked Trinidad, that would show he had gone off the rails. In other words: why speculate on some out-of-left-field “premise,” said “premise” having no apparent basis in reality.

  92. 92
    Steve in the ATL says:

    Jesus fucking Christ.

  93. 93
    lurker dean says:

    @Adam L Silverman: i sure hope schiff is on this, as well as coates, haspell, nakasone, and wray. schiff did tweet about it yesterday so he’s at least aware. this is incredibly dangerous, and i fear that barr isn’t quite as incompetent as the rest of them. his memo has had the intended effect, and he’s managed to push forward an investigation of the investigation.

  94. 94
    katdip says:

    Very concerning, and frankly gives me no confidence to rely on IC leaks and skulduggery to save us. I have no idea what will actually work to stave off Barr’s worst intentions. I don’t think they overplayed this – I’m sure this was engineered by Barr, as Trump and his closest advisors aren’t smart enough to hatch this plan. Even by making this announcement and launching the investigation, they get the jump on the IC or the Dems in Congress (as the Repubs won’t lift a finger to save the republic). Now they can claim they were transparent, and any leaks or follow on investigations will be characterized as guilty reactions to distract from the “real truth.” Of course it’s all bullshit, but they have a house organ (Fox) and a he-said, she-said press to obfuscate the truth, and a hardened core of true believers who will trumpet this nonsense across social media. I think our only hope is to run out the clock and work like hell to get Trump voted out of office in 2020. Mueller wasn’t our white knight, and there aren’t any others on the horizon.

  95. 95

    Fk. Fk. Fk.

    It seems to be that kind of morning.

  96. 96
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Elmo: Good catch, that mistake is all mine, I’ll go back and fix that.

    Don’t blog after midnight if suffering a summer cold!

  97. 97

    Fk. And now I am rooting for the CIA. Fk.

  98. 98
    trnc says:


    Wait — did you mean America’s allies? Or just the allies of the Traitor-in-Chief (because he is ‘Murica and ‘Murica is he)?

    America’s. Otherwise, I would have written “do they have allies”. The point of the question is, If France has intelligence against DT (eg, video of him as customer at an underage brothel), is there any chance they would keep it to themselves in order to watch the US lose power in the world?

  99. 99
    TenguPhule says:

    The question at that point isn’t whether Barr is smart enough to recognizing the warning for what it is and the danger that it signifies, but whether he actually cares. And this is tied into just how confident he is that he has now achieved his life’s ideological work of establishing an extreme unitary executive as reality.

    His behavior so far seems to indicate he thinks he’s living the tyrant’s dream.

    I think the US IC is fucked. They waited too long.

    Trump came for the Muslims, the Gays, the Oppressed. And the IC did nothing.

    Now its their turn.

    Nobody is going to help them.

  100. 100
    Bill Arnold says:

    There are also things that civilians/non IC people can do. For starters, the press can be strongly encouraged to actively disbelieve everything that Barr/the Justice Department announces from here on out. Many of them are already primed for this having been burned by Barr with his Mueller report misrepresentations.
    If Fox goes into 24/7 mode on this like they say they will, a full up advertiser boycott. Etc.
    And people need to get involved in whatever sort of activism they’re strong at.
    [and that’s all the optimism I can find in 10 minutes, sigh. Had to dig deep even for that.]

  101. 101
    Emerald says:

    @katdip: Running out the clock may no longer be an option. Barr and all Benedict Donald’s minions may have the power to control the election.

    This isn’t the only thing they’ve done just in the past 24 hours. The espionage charges against Assange are a frontal attack on our press, or rather, what’s left of it. The doctored Pelosi video that Facebook still won’t take down (although YouTube did) and the press is normalizing. tRump himself calling his opponents “traitors,” even when reminded that the penalty for that is death.

    So those things, plus these new Barr “powers” count to four attacks in one day.

    Oh, and five: Trump pardoning war crimes. Good way to let the military know they can do whatever he intends to order.

    Forget impeachment. There isn’t time for that and it can’t work anyway. I think Nancy has a plan to get tRump out of office ASAP, and I think she’d better step it up if I’m right.

    But yeah, we’re gonna have to count on the IC saving themselves and us, and they’d better get cracking. What will the shitstains do today?

    When authoritarians move to consolidate power they move quickly. I think they were just too incompetent to do this stuff before, but now they have Barr. He’s entirely corrupt but he knows what he’s doing.

    For the first time I’m actually scared.

  102. 102
    TenguPhule says:


    Oh, and five: Trump pardoning war crimes. Good way to let the military know they can do whatever he intends to order.


    Trump invoked National Security Powers to enable sales of US arms to Saudi Arabia without Congressional approval.

  103. 103
    Bill Arnold says:


    I think the US IC is fucked. They waited too long.
    Trump came for the Muslims, the Gays, the Oppressed. And the IC did nothing.
    Now its their turn.
    Nobody is going to help them.

    They will have to help themselves. Fortunately, they have some interesting and useful skills.
    Another item; Republicans need to be called out/sweet-talked/whatever it takes on their patriotism every day, including at the local/interpersonal level. Party-over-country is so anti-American.

  104. 104
    Bill Arnold says:

    The Barr declassification authorities memo, and to a lesser extent the new Assange counts attacking common journalistic practices, are the first that have seriously unnerved me. I’ve been wondering whether they’d go down that path, and they have started. No doubts now.

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