“Spying did occur”

Democrats cannot handle the truth. We saw this yesterday in their uniform reaction to Attorney General Barr’s acknowledgment that “Spying did occur” on the Trump presidential campaign. The link is to today’s Wall Street Journal editorial (by Kim Strassel, I am quite sure, and behind the Journal’s paywall.

Somewhere near the top of this post, however, I want to quote a sentence from Mollie Hemingway’s Federalist column on the Barr confirmation of the discomfiting truth sentient observers have pieced together over the past two years: “This is a scandal of epic proportions. It is one that threatens the foundations of constitutional government. It is a direct attack on American democracy.”

She puts it bluntly this way: “The fact of the matter is that federal intelligence agencies spied on a rival political campaign. They illegally leaked information about that surveillance. They abused their authority to at best undermine the duly elected president and at worst to attempt a soft coup against him. They did so with the near-total cooperation of the American media establishment.”

The Journal’s editorial board puts it this way:

William Barr knew he wasn’t accepting easy duty as Donald Trump’s Attorney General, and it’s no surprise that the Democratic-media complex attacked him in unison on Wednesday. His sin was disclosing that he wants to find out how the FBI came to eavesdrop on the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. Let’s hope he doesn’t flinch.

“I think spying did occur,” Mr. Barr told a Senate committee Wednesday, adding that this is “a big deal.” The government has “a lot of rules” in place to guard against abusive “political surveillance,” he said, adding that he has an obligation to examine what happened since “one of the principal roles of the attorney general” is to “make sure that government power is not abused.” Hear, hear.

Mr. Barr said he also wants to know why the Trump campaign wasn’t notified of the FBI’s concerns, as would “normally” happen. He praised the “outstanding” FBI rank and file, saying that “to the extent there were any issues” it was “probably a failure among a group of leaders there at the upper echelon.” His review will also include the actions of the “intelligence agencies more broadly.” See former CIA Director John Brennan.

Mr. Barr has access to documents that the Justice Department has kept from Congress. Ranking House Intelligence Republican Devin Nunes is also sending Mr. Barr eight criminal referrals from his own investigation into l’affaire Russe, including evidence of lying to Congress and manipulating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. By late spring Mr. Barr may also receive DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s review of FBI actions in 2016 and 2017.

Now we’re talking. Let us get to the bottom of l’affaire Russe (is that a genteel echo of l’affaire Dreyfus?), as the Journal calls it, some time before November 2020.

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