Yesterday was a wild day and it saw the President’s attorney, Lin Wood, making a drastic post on Twitter directly calling for President Trump to fire Attorney General William Barr. That may be unprecedented in contemporary US history; and it certainly is when factoring in the circumstances of the stolen 2020 election. The requisite backdrop, including Wood’s original post and his retraction that didn’t really sound like a retraction, should be consumed here before moving forward.
The matter of declassification has been an important one for four years now and it is incumbent upon all of us to recall this development dating back to 13 May 19.
Here are the relevant takeaways from this statement:
- “At the request and recommendation of the Attorney General” meaning that this was not initiated by Mr. Trump but Mr. Barr ergo his motivation for such deserves intense scrutiny. The genesis of this is important because it speaks to means, motive, access and opportunity through the prosecutorial lens. Why did Mr. Barr request this authority from the President? Was it to preserve the appearance of impartiality on behalf of the President or was it for some ulterior reason like preserving a necessary lever to facilitate institutional preservation?
- “The Attorney General has also been delegated the full and complete authority to declassify information” meaning that the President no longer possess authority in the matter of declassification relative to the subject matter outlined, which pertains to the efforts to spy on Trump’s 2016 campaign and then moving through the 2017 transition process and onward (it never stopped; in fact it expanded.) The investigation that launched all of this as the entry point was the investigation into Lt. General Michael Flynn (FLYNN FIRST!) and that investigation was branded “Crossfire Hurricane.”
- “…in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information” meaning that the existing rules and regulations apply in this matter, as would be expected, and they must be understood.
Building on all of that, here’s the development that stands to fundamentally alter the landscape in negative fashion and it comes from one of my most reliable sources and the best technical analysis for my nickel, Conservative Tree House/Sundance. The development itself was revealed within the context of the AP interview with Barr (last article) where he referenced his October assignment of John Durham as special counsel. The subject matter? “Crossfire Hurricane.”
Working up to this point, our website has well over 20 articles calling out Mr. Barr for his evident practice of institutional preservation in lieu of appropriate legal remedies to all that has plagued the Trump administration (investigations, indictments, arrests and prosecutions). That’s important to understand when considering the following.
Think back to the dynamics that shaped the DOJ during the lengthy Mueller investigation: Sessions recused himself, Mueller was a 3-legged wobbly stool that was a figurehead in name only, and Andrew Weissmann was both running the Mueller team and serving as the de facto AG essentially running the entire DOJ during the all of the Mueller probe. Why? Because the scope of that investigation touched everything coming into the DOJ that was of importance at the time.
Remember, investigations are opened for one of two purposes: a) to reveal crimes and prosecute crimes -or- b) to conceal crimes and then seal away evidence of those crimes.
Why is all of that important? Because the scope of Durham’s new appointment as special prosecutor now encompasses the materials President Trump intends to declassify.
Now ask yourself two things: 1) Why hasn’t the AG acted AT ALL in the last several years to formulate anything resembling appropriate remedies as described and 2) Why did he request and receive full and complete authority over relevant (the most important) declassification materials?
All of this positions Barr to potentially leverage the SC appointment to deny declassification and then he can wash his hands of it by saying that he’s doing so only to serve the President. Talk about duplicity, if that’s the case. So far, Barr, Huber, Durham, et al have delivered precisely nothing save a paltry Kevin Clinesmith (most Americans have never heard of him.) Do we expect that to change? Is this a ruse? Did Barr just bar the trump card (declassification)?
The dynamics are different with this SC assignment, which occurred quietly in October, since the fact sets and evidence are old and mostly known. The lion’s share of the details have already been aired-out in the MSM writ large so how is this incredibly late SC appointment representative of giving fidelity to the cause? How is it an effective remedy presuming that the findings of such an investigation would be rendered moot if Biden were inaugurated and the results delivered thereafter? Institutional preservation rears its head.
All of this draws back on “long-established standards for handling classified information.” What do those look like? Do they present both a mechanism and a timeline that serve the President or do they preclude him from playing the one and only trump card that he has maintained up his sleeve for so long? It doesn’t look good.
At this point, we fall back on Executive Order 13526 signed by Barack Obama on 29 Dec 09 and from it we learn that, “Delegations of original classification authority shall be reported or made available by name or position to the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office.”
What stands-out immediately are Bradley’s ties to both a prominent Democrat and the Central Intelligence Agency; recalling that the overarching coup d’etat is an intelligence community operation that runs through the Gang of 8, SSCI, HPSCI and the US Senate; and with the dirty work occurring in the House. Treasonous division of labor, I suppose, but think about how the treason was layered and distributed through the nebulous governmental leviathan so as to mire the details in red tape and make them difficult to find. Pro-tip: we found them.
In all of this, it’s also important to remember that the transition from Dan Coats (ODNI) to interim-based Rick Grennell to now John Ratcliffe is absolutely critical because it overcame a known impediment to declassification in Coats. That should be viewed as the first obstacle to Trump declassifying. Overcoming it set the stage for Trump to be able to play the highest card in the deck, or did it? Coats’ resignation was effective 28 Aug 19 leaving a little over a year to declassify between his departure and Grennell’s arrival. That didn’t happen at the moment, we’re 49 days out from inauguration day with a new declassification obstacle presented.
From the EO,
“It is presumed that information that continues to meet the classification requirements under this order requires continued protection. In some exceptional cases, however, the need to protect such information may be outweighed by the public interest in disclosure of the information, and in these cases the information should be declassified. When such questions arise, they shall be referred to the agency head or the senior agency official. That official will determine, as an exercise of discretion, whether the public interest in disclosure outweighs the damage to the national security that might reasonably be expected from disclosure.”EXECUTIVE ORDER 13526 SIGNED BY BARACK OBAMA ON 29 DEC 09
Right now and as it stands, Barr possess that sole authority. Moreover,
If the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office determines that information is classified in violation of this order, the Director may require the information to be declassified by the agency that originated the classification. Any such decision by the Director may be appealed to the President through the National Security Advisor. The information shall remain classified pending a prompt decision on the appeal..EXECUTIVE ORDER 13526 SIGNED BY BARACK OBAMA ON 29 DEC 09
The declassification process then, is rendered down to Barr and Bradley coalescing to determine a discretionary process. Let me remind you, Barr’s discretion thus far has delivered zero indictments, arrests or prosecutions that matter.
Now consider the DOJ’s longstanding practice of not commenting on ongoing investigations; especially when it may compromise sources, methods, evidence, etc. If the DOJ doesn’t comment on ongoing investigations and appropriately so, what makes us think they’ll declassify evidence and present it to the public in the middle of an investigation branded as a special counsel; especially in light of the totality of circumstances?
Recall this from the last article in reference to Barr’s 3-hour meeting with Trump on Tuesday, “Three hours is a long time. Were they discussing how to transition to Jeffrey Rosen, the Deputy Director of the DOJ or were they discussing a possible lie in wait posture that an inexcusably inactive Barr may have taken for the past few years, but how that’s about to come to an abrupt halt?”
I don’t know the answer to that question and judging Barr by his track record only makes that answer more difficult to find. We’ll leave it here for now and with the understanding that it will be further closely examined.
I do know this. On 23 May 19, when he received authority for declassification and according to Fox News, he said this,
““I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated,” Barr testified last month, adding that he believed it is his “obligation” to review whether there was misconduct in the original investigation. “Congress is usually very concerned with intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane.””AG WILLIAM BARR AS PER FOX NEWS
It seems Barr vacated his own responsibility and delegated it to Durham and he did so about 4 years late.
Did Barr bar the Trump card?