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Bullshit Durham

Above: an invitation to the Federal Wallet Inspector

As Paul has observed, even by the standards of Republican projection the Durham snipe hunt was an amazing experience. Donald Trump bootlicker Bill Barr fully collaborated with his fellow brain-damaged Fox News grandpa on what was supposed to be an independent investigation, looking into every paranoid fantasy Sean Hannity sent down the pike. And after two hilariously failed prosecutions all they uncovered was yet more evidence of Trump’s corruption (which they were able to initially spin as having finally gotten the goods on the DEEP STATE’s RUSSIAGATE “scandal.”)

What’s particularly funny is how confidently and self-righteously MAGA hacks defended this comprehensive fiasco:

The purpose of special counsel is to wall off a politically sensitive investigation from the attorney general. But Durham, reports the Times, was working closely with Barr behind closed doors all along. The two Republicans dined and drank together, and came to share Barr’s Fox News–brained beliefs that Trump had been the victim of a conspiracy.

Rather than preventing Barr from meddling in a politicized investigation, this arrangement inverted that purpose and laundered Barr’s involvement through Durham’s putative independence. “At some point, some particularly ill-informed critic of the administration may try to paint Durham as a right-wing hack or Republican loyalist,” wrote National Review’s Jim Geraghty in a fawning profile, singling out the NAACP’s Sherrilyn Ifill for having the temerity to suggest Durham might have been compromised by serving Trump’s ends.

“Particularly ill-informed.” Comedy gold here.

The weirdest episode of all uncovered by the Times centers around a tip Durham received during a trip he took with Barr — again, colluding with the figure he was supposed to be independent from — to Italy, in pursuit of one of Barr’s conspiracy theories. On the visit, Italian officials supplied credible evidence of a financial crime by Donald Trump. This, of course, was not only outside Durham’s remit, but directly undermined it. He was trying to lock up Mr. Trump’s enemies, not Mr. Trump himself.

Barr responded by handing the lead over to Durham. (What happened to the lead remains a fascinating dangling thread.) But the fact that there was now real evidence of an actual crime made its way into the media. And the media assumed the crime must have been committed by the people Durham was appointed to investigate. And so the media reported this fact as an indication Durham was going to bring criminal charges against the deep state.

The conservative media breathlessly hyped up Durham’s probe, treating every claim by Barr and every accusation by Durham as though it were proof. “These last two DOJ indictments — first of Hillary’s lawyer, then of Christopher Steele’s main source — show that the Clinton campaign funded and fed to the FBI a gigantic batch of lies in the 2016 election, which the vast bulk of the media spent 3 years ratifying and spreading,” insisted a breathless Glenn Greenwald.

Of course, the indictments merely alleged this, and conspicuously failed to prove it. His indictments followed a pattern of making sweeping claims, but only trying to prove very narrow crimes, and then failing to do so. But the conservative-messaging apparatus, which was otherwise engaged in relentless cynicism of the FBI, treated Durham as beyond reproach, even invincible.

I mean, give Ken Starr this, after a lot of dead ends he did find something. Barr and Durham were left without even the dick in their hands.

The real Russiagate was Russia materially ratfucking the 2016 elections (not with Twitter bots and Facebook memes, who cares, but by hacking and strategically releasing emails which generated massive amounts of negative coverage of Trump’s opponent at critical junctures of the campaign) with the encouragement and sometimes cooperation of the Trump campaign, and then Trump having his hacks and useful idiots try to change the subject to some baroque conspiracy theory that completely fizzled.

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