Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming

THURSDAY, OCT. 15 in North Carolina
FRIDAY, OCT. 16 in Washington
SATURDAY, OCT. 17 in Massachusetts and Nevada

What did Donald Trump do today?

He threw another attorney general under the bus.

In an interview with the fringe-right website Newsmax today, Trump said he "wasn't happy" with William Barr, his attorney general. He refused to say that he'd retain Barr if he were re-elected.

At first glance, this may seem strange. While most legal experts, including many conservative lawyers, view Barr's tenure as attorney general with a mix of horror and outrage, Trump himself has every reason to be pleased. Barr has turned the Department of Justice into an extension of Trump's overworked personal legal defense team, and set its attorneys against Trump's enemies. He single-handedly defused the damning Mueller report through careful redaction and a misleading summary, shielded Trump's allies from prosecution, and launched counter-investigations against the people who investigated Trump's ties to the Putin regime in Russia.

But on the last of those assignments, Barr appears to have struck out, just when Trump needed him most. It was announced today that a Barr-ordered review of the Obama administration's investigation into Michael Flynn had turned up no evidence of wrongdoing, and would not even result in a report. (Flynn is the Trump crony who admitted to lying to investigators about his Russia ties, only to have Barr, in an unprecedented and legally doubtful move, try to drop the prosecution against him.)

Trump has made no secret of his desire for another "October surprise," like the one then-FBI director James Comey gave him when he announced that he was reopening an investigation into Hillary Clinton. 

Without something dramatic happening in the last 20 days of the race to upset the polls, Trump will almost certainly lose to Biden. That may explain why Trump is retweeting bizarre conspiracy theories that Biden had the Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden murdered. Since that team is still alive—its leader was a prominent Trump supporter, at least until today—it's not likely that will do the job.

Why should I care about this?

  • Trying to frame your political opponents on fake criminal charges is what dictators do.