For all the caterwauling on the left about one William P. Barr, he hasn’t really delivered for Donald Trump, apart from performing some fancy footwork on the release of the Mueller report. The latest affront arrived today when Barr declared that he has discovered nary a shred of evidence of voter fraud. Presumably, Barr searched high and low, like one of those fanatics you see using wearing headphones and deploying metal detectors to sweep a grassy era for precious metals or valuables. But he arrived at the conclusion that ‘to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election’.
To be sure, Barr was careful to specify ‘to date’, suggesting that perhaps something might yet emerged. And he didn’t preclude that there was fraud with his use of ‘on a scale’. But the import of his message was clear: sorry, Donald, I ain’t playin’ along. No way, no how. Barr has abandoned the quest for the fabled voter fraud that has so preoccupied Trump ever since the evening of November 3.
For Trump, however, Barr’s unwillingness to unearth, or manufacture, evidence of voter fraud should prove no more than a speed bump. If anything, it will prompt Trump to contend that Barr himself is not immune from the wiles of the Deep State. All along Trump has contended that the depth of the conspiracy against him has been wildly underestimated, or even occluded, by the media. Now that Barr has gone native, as it were, Trump can seamlessly incorporate him into his broader conspiracy theory. For Trump, it’s a no-lose situation: he’s already made $170 million off the claim that the election was stolen. For the GOP, though, his bilge about a purloined election could end up costing it two senators as conservative voters may conclude that there’s no point in voting in the January 5 special election.
If Barr never came through on election fraud, he continues to plug away on the Russia investigation front. Today, he appointed John Durham special counsel, ensuring that the probe of the FBI and other government agencies will continue into the Biden administration. What malefactors Durham will uncover has yet to be seen. Trump’s hope had been that Barr would produce some during the presidential campaign for him to decry and denounce. It never happened. Barr huff and puffed that ‘what happened to the President in the 2016 election and throughout the first two years of his presidency was abhorrent. It was a grave injustice and it was unprecedented in American history. The Durham investigation is trying to get to the bottom of what happened. And it will determine whether there are federal laws broken. Those who broke the laws will be held to account.’ So far, it hasn’t amounted to a hill of beans.
Trump has apparently summoned Barr to the White House. For Barr, the best thing that could happen would be if Trump sacked him. Trump will soon be gone from Washington, but Barr has a reputation to try and rehabilitate.