As the impeachment noose gets tighter and more and more alarming for Donald Trump, with damning new evidence emerging every day, there is an increasing urgency in the parallel counteroffensives underway by Trump’s “Roy Cohn” team in an attempt to defend him.
There are attacks against the witnesses giving testimony by Trump and his supporters, including attempts to smear Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, Ukraine expert at the National Security Council who this week provided crucial testimony about Trump’s telephone call to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. And there have been the extraordinary scenes of congress Republicans breaking into the proceedings and disrupting them.
But going on relatively unreported at the same time is the ever-metastasizing investigation by William Barr, the “so-called” attorney general, which the White House fantasizes as a game-changer. A farfetched investigation which is seeking nothing less than to overturn the conclusion of the US intelligence services and special counsel Robert Mueller that Russia interfered in the last US presidential election.
To raise the ante this has actually now been designated a criminal investigation with the power of subpoenas and the possibility of prison sentences for those who have been (in Trump’s fantasy) allegedly involved in “criminal actions”, meaning not supporting Dear Leader.
It’s pretty odd that Trump has repeatedly claimed that the Mueller report was a “complete and total exoneration” of him over Russiagate, is now going to such lengths to try and discredit it.
Ukraine is a common factor in both the impeachment hearings and the Barr investigation. The House is looking into Trump withholding military aid to Ukraine to force the Zelensky government to reopen investigations into unproven allegations, with Trump’s own personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani playing a leading part in this subterfuge.
Bill Barr is focusing on the crazy theory, aired on far-right conspiracy sites, and raised by Trump and Giuliani, that Ukraine framed Vladimir Putin over the US election in a complex triple-cross operation by impersonating Russian hackers.
Trump and Barr have also been asking other foreign governments for help in investigating the FBI, CIA, and Mueller investigators. Trump has called on the Australian prime minister Scott Morrison for assistance, while his flunky attorney general has been on similar missions to the UK and Italy.
The information being requested has left our allies astonished. One British official with knowledge of Barr’s wish list presented to London commented that “it is like nothing we have come across before, they are basically asking, in quite robust terms, for help in doing a hatchet job on their own intelligence services”.
The UK, in particular, has been viewed by Trump followers, especially far-right conspiracy theorists, as a deep source of woes for Trump.
from a story in the Independent UK