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Sat May 25, 2019, 04:35 PM

Extends his corruption into intelligence agencies

By Paul Waldman
Opinion writer
May 24 at 1:10 PM

Because this is the Donald Trump era, the news that the president has “repeatedly urged” the Army Corps of Engineers to give a lucrative contract to a GOP donor and frequent Fox News guest is only the second most scandalous story of the day ...

Barr’s “investigation” is nothing but a propaganda exercise, an effort to provide ballast to the lunatic idea that there should never have been any investigation at all into Russia’s attempts to help Trump get elected president. But we have to be clear about just how shocking this order from Trump is.

The executive order not only gives Barr permission to “declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence” to whatever degree he likes, but also orders the leaders of every intelligence agency to give him whatever he wants. If he wants to declassify something and they object, tough luck for them. The New York Times reports that this is “likely to irk the intelligence community” ...

Needless to say, the identity of foreign assets is one of the most sensitive categories of information intelligence agencies hold. If we had a different attorney general, you might say, “Well, surely he’ll exercise the utmost care in what he reveals to the public.” But with virtually every action Barr has taken and statement he has made, he has shown himself to be someone who is only too happy to deceive the public, mislead Congress, go on Fox News to spin on the president’s behalf, and generally act as though the only purpose of his office is to cover up for Trump. The idea that this political hack would conduct any investigation related to this president with any other goal in mind is, at this point, not even worth discussing ...


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