Campaign for Working Families

Wednesday, December 2, 2020 -- What Barr Said, What Barr Did

What Barr Said And Didn't Say
Attorney General William Barr made headlines late yesterday afternoon after discussing the status of the presidential election in an interview with the Associated Press.  Many media outlets, including some on the right, ran headlines that pitted the attorney general against the president.  And, predictably, they grossly distorted what Barr said.
Barr told the Associated Press that "to date we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election."  But many reporters wrote stories indicating that there was no fraud and that the investigations were over.
The Justice Department felt compelled to issue a statement setting the record straight.  In response to the media's spin, a Justice Department spokesman said:
"Some media outlets have incorrectly reported that the Department has concluded its investigation of election fraud and announced an affirmative finding of no fraud in the election. 
"That is not what the Associated Press reported nor what the Attorney General stated. The Department will continue to receive and vigorously pursue all specific and credible allegations of fraud as expeditiously as possible."
To be clear, Attorney General Barr has authorized U.S. attorneys to investigate "substantial allegations" of voter fraud.  And there have been reports that Justice Department and FBI officials are reaching out to independent groups to examine whatever evidence they have collected.  (Here and here.)
Here's something I hope the attorney general will also investigate:  Two subcontractors for the Post Office, Ethan Pease and Jesse Morgan, told Sean Hannity about plans to backdate 100,000 mail-in ballots, and that 300,000 mail-in ballots were transported from Long Island, New York, to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 
In related news, the Trump campaign and its allies filed additional lawsuits yesterday seeking to block the certification of Pennsylvania's electors and challenging Wisconsin's election procedures.
And elections officials in Georgia are reportedly investigating 250 "credible claims" of voter fraud and illegal voting.
What Barr Did
In addition to his comments to the Associated Press, Attorney General Barr also made news for something he did several weeks ago.  On October 19th, Barr appointed John Durham as a special counsel so that he can continue his investigation of the Russia collusion hoax. 
In a letter to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, Barr said he took this action because Durham's initial probe has developed into an ongoing criminal investigation.  Barr also instructed Durham to prepare a final report "in a form that will permit public dissemination."
While I am frustrated that Durham's investigation hasn't resulted in more high-profile charges and convictions, I assume Barr's decision to "promote" Durham indicates a belief that there is much more worth investigating. 
In addition, Durham's status as a special counsel provides some protection against a future administration that may be hostile to his efforts to expose the truth.
Not surprisingly, the fake news media didn't bother to report this major development.
America First
Recently, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis co-authored an opinion piece expressing his hope that "President Biden . . . will quickly revise the national security strategy to eliminate 'America first' from its contents."  The op-ed goes on to accuse President Trump of undermining "international order," "robust alliances," and "international institutions."
Why on earth did Jim Mattis ever agree to serve in the Trump Administration if he didn't agree with "America first"?  Sadly, I believe Gen. Mattis, like so many establishment figures, is either out of touch or deliberately misconstruing the president's position.
America first was not a call for isolationism.  It was a call for American leadership to be first in the world. 
Let's be honest:  Some of our "international institutions" desperately needed shaking up, and Trump didn't hesitate to do that!  (Here and here.)
But far from undermining international order and robust alliances, President Trump strengthened our alliance with Israel, and got other Arab nations to recognize Israel.
He got our NATO allies to boost defense spending in order to counter Russia.  He persuaded our European allies to join him in countering China
And am I the only one disturbed by the fact that a retired general doesn't agree with the idea of "America first"?  What is it about "America first" that Mattis objects to? 
Being first in military might?  Being first economically?  Being first to develop a vaccine to neutralize a virus the communist Chinese unleashed on the world?
Who does Mattis prefer to be first?  
Regrettably, he seems to be part of an establishment that thinks we should be the first to send our sons and daughters into conflicts in distant corners of the world without clear goals for victory.  That's a policy few Americans embrace.