For weeks on end, President Donald Trump has been pointing people to an upcoming report from the inspector general overseeing the Justice Department, who was investigating the origins and development of the Russia investigation. Now, that report is here, and it contradicts a key Trump argument that he and his allies have been running with for some time. In short, it insists that no political bias affected the course of the investigation, and it doesn’t take much digging to find how fervently that Republicans have claimed the exact opposite. The truth remains — Republicans have got nothing.
‘The report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that the FBI and the Justice Department launched their investigation into the 2016 campaign not for political reasons, but because of evidence the Russian government was using cutouts to reach out to the Trump campaign as part of its efforts to influence the election.’
Trump allies have already been speaking out against the findings. For example, Attorney General Bill Barr, who already achieved infamy for consistently misrepresenting the findings from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, insisted in a lengthy statement that he still stood by the notion that the probe had been launched because of political animosity against the president.
In pretty much direct opposition to the actual facts of the situation, Barr claimed:
‘The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken… the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory.’
Is that why half a dozen of Trump’s associates have faced criminal charges as a direct result of the Russia investigation? That’s not exactly the result of evidence that is “consistently exculpatory.” In reality, Trump and his cronies have been caught in their conspiracy, and Barr is apparently hoping that Americans just look the other way — which Democrats are trying to avert with their ongoing public impeachment proceedings.
Trump also completely dove into the fantasy that the IG report was somehow in his favor. It does outline mishandling of surveillance of a Trump associate involved in shady dealings, but that’s it. Those errors do not change the solid evidence basis of the investigation as a whole, which the report clearly acknowledges.
Still, Trump claimed, discussing the report:
‘It is incredible. Far worse than I ever would’ve thought possible. It’s an embarrassment to our country, it’s dishonest. It’s everything that a lot of people thought it would be, except far worse… This was an overthrow of government, this was an attempted overthrow — and a lot of people were in on it.’
That word salad has no relationship to reality.
TRUMP on the IG report: "This was an overthrow of government, this was an attempted overthrow — and a lot of people were in on it." (Trump was a private citizen when the Russia investigation began.) pic.twitter.com/g8saDzcs5F
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 9, 2019
As others have noted, Trump was not even in government when the Russia investigation began, so how exactly could it have always been a coup attempt, as the president and his supporters have outrageously claimed? In that case and the ongoing impeachment proceedings against Trump over his attempt at getting Biden dirt from Ukraine, investigators have accumulated consistent, solid evidence upending all of the GOP’s most desperate arguments.