Oh, there’s a conspiracy alright, just not the one Trump (Captain Queeg) is promoting

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President Donald Trump delivered an unhinged rant about the Mueller report on the South Lawn of the White House Wednesday, accusing investigators of an “attempted coup” and “treason,” once again.

Our mentally unstable and increasingly erratic “Captain Queeg” is pushing the right-wing conspiracy theory of an attempted “deep state” mutiny on his ship of state in an effort to discredit the (redacted) Mueller Report ahead of its release next week. “Ah, but the strawberries, that’s, that’s where I had them, they laughed at me and made jokes, but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, with geometric logic, that a duplicate key to the ward room icebox did exist, and I’ve had produced that key if they hadn’t pulled the Caine out of action.” ‘Attempted coup!’ Trump furiously insists Mueller investigation was ‘illegal’ and ‘treasonous’ in latest rant:

After $35 million with 13, increased to 18, angry Democrats, people that truly hated Donald Trump, truly hated Trump, they found no collusion whatsoever with Russia,” said the president, speaking in the third person. “After wasting all of this money and all of this time with people that were haters, people that worked on the Hillary Clinton Foundation, people that were absolutely haters of Trump, they found no collusion. “

“What has been found during this period of time are the illegal acts of getting this whole phony investigation started, and hopefully that is where people are going now,” Trump insisted. “It was an illegal investigation. It was an illegal investigation. It was started illegally. Everything about it was crooked. Every single thing about it. There were dirty cops. These were bad people.”

“This was an attempted coup, this was an attempted take down of a president,” Trump said, attacking the leadership of the FBI. “And we beat them. We beat them. So, the Mueller report when they talk about obstruction, we fight back. And you know why we fight back? Because I knew how illegal this whole thing was.”

“What I’m most interested in is getting started hopefully the attorney general, he mentioned it yesterday, he is doing a great job getting started on going back to the oranges origins of exactly where this all started because this was an illegal witch-hunt,” the president continued ominously.

“What they did was treason, what they did was terrible, what they did was against our constitution and everything we stand for,” he went on. “So, hopefully, that will happen. There is a hunger for that to happen in this country like I have never seen before.”

Trump was referring to his hand-picked toady, Attorney General William “coverup” Barr, a Trump loyalist who is following the script of the right-wing conspiracy theory of an attempted “deep state” mutiny on Trump’s ship of state. Bill Barr pushes Trump conspiracy theory against FBI and intel: ‘I think spying did occur’:

Attorney General William Barr agreed with President Donald Trump’s conspiracy theory and accused the FBI and intelligence agencies of “spying” on his presidential campaign.

The attorney general testified Wednesday before the Senate Appropriations Committee, where he leveled the accusation under questioning by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

“Well, you know, for the same reason we’re worried about foreign influence in elections,” Barr said. “We want to make sure that during — I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. It’s a big deal.”

He compared the FBI investigation of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia, which was launched in summer 2016, to law enforcement conducting surveillance against anti-war protesters in the Vietnam era.

“There were a lot of rules put in place to make sure there’s an adequate basis before our law enforcement agencies get involved in political surveillance,” Barr said. “I’m not suggesting that those rules were violated, but I think it’s important to look at that, and I’m not talking about the FBI necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly.”

Shaheen asked him directly whether he was accusing the government of spying on Trump’s campaign, and Barr paused for a moment and stammered.

“Well, I guess — I think spying did occur, yes,” Barr said. “I think spying did occur.”

Shaheen appeared to be at a loss for words, and then Barr hedged a bit.

“The question was whether it was adequately predicated,” he said, “and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated. I need to explore that, I think it’s my obligation. Congress is usually very concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane. I want to make sure that happened. We have a lot of rules about that.”

National security experts began loudly sounding the alarm Wednesday morning after Attorney General William Barr claimed that American intelligence agencies were “spying” on Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign during a hearing before the Senate. National security experts gravely concerned as AG Bill Barr pushes Trump’s ‘spying’ conspiracy at Senate hearing:

Max Bergmann, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and the director of the Trump-Russia-focused Moscow Project, tweeted that Barr “went full Nunes,” a reference to former House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) who infamously pushed a theory that American intelligence agencies were working against the president.

Quinta Jurecic, the managing editor of the Lawfare blog, said she’s “very unsure of what to make of” the AG’s statement, which also included a caveat that there may have been a good reason for the FBI to “spy” on the Trump campaign.

“Barr frames the matter as in its opening stages, that he hasn’t yet looked carefully into it,” Jurecic wrote. “But declaring that ‘spying occurred’ is a very weird thing to say and plays into the Federalist et al’s narrative about spygate!!! So I just don’t know.”

CNN national security analyst Sam Vinograd noted that it was “too bad” that the attorney general “wasn’t talking about the actual ‘spying’” on Trump’s campaign — that was undertaken by Russia.

“Instead,” she noted, “the AG was mischaracterizing the intel and law enforcement community’s counterintelligence investigation into that Russian spying.”

As a matter of fact, the inspector general report requested by the partisan Republican Congress to pursue the right-wing conspiracy theory that the “deep state” intelligence agencies “illegally” spied on Trump campaign is almost due for release. Justice Dept. Watchdog’s Review of Russia Inquiry Is Nearly Done, Barr Says:

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog intends to complete by May or June his investigation into aspects of the Russia inquiry, including whether law enforcement officials abused their powers in surveilling a former Trump campaign aide, Attorney General William P. Barr told lawmakers on Tuesday.

The department’s inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, has been examining how law enforcement officials obtained a warrant in October 2016 to wiretap Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign with links to Russia. Mr. Horowitz’s investigators have also asked witnesses about informants that the F.B.I. turned to in the early stages of the investigation, according to people familiar with his inquiry.

“The office of the inspector general has a pending investigation of the FISA process in the Russia investigation,” Mr. Barr said in testimony before a House appropriations subcommittee, using shorthand for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. “I expect that will be complete in probably May or June, I am told. So hopefully we’ll have some answers from Inspector General Horowitz on the issue of the FISA warrants.”

In addition, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), a member of the House Oversight and Judiciary Committee, has been leaking transcripts of witness testimony from the Mueller probe. Transcripts of testimony from government witnesses who are not the target of prosecutions; transcripts that were declassified by the Trump White House and produced by the Trump Justice Department to the then Republican leadership of the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees in their attempt to “investigate the investigators” in the Russia investigation, in an effort to discredit the Mueller report ahead of its release.

Remember this when attorney General Barr cites Criminal Procedure Rule 6(E) (Grand Jury Testimony) and wanting to protect “the privacy and reputations of witnesses” with his redactions of the Mueller Report, and his refusal to produce the underlying supporting evidence. There is always a double-standard: IOKIYAR. Newly released testimony: Former top FBI lawyer says agency concerned Trump obstructed justice:

James Baker, the former top lawyer of the FBI, told lawmakers last fall that there were widespread concerns inside the FBI that President Donald Trump had attempted to obstruct the bureau’s investigation into his campaign’s links to Russians, according to a newly released transcript of Baker’s testimony.

Under questioning in 2018 from a Democratic committee lawyer, Baker described numerous officials who were distressed that the president may have obstructed justice when he fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017. Baker said he had personal concerns and that they were shared by not just top FBI brass but within other divisions and at the Justice Department as well.

“The leadership of the FBI, so the acting director … The heads of the national security apparatus, the national security folks within the FBI, the people that were aware of the underlying investigation and who had been focused on it,” Baker said, running through a list of officials he said were worried that the president may have fired Comey to hinder the Russia investigation.

Baker said other FBI executives informed him that Justice Department officials raised concerns about obstruction by Trump as well.

His comments, some of which have been revealed in press reports in recent months, were included in a 152-page transcript of Baker’s testimony to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees in October 2018, when Republicans led an investigation into the handling of the FBI’s Russia probe. The transcript was released Tuesday by the panel’s top Republican, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), who has been incrementally entering testimony from last year’s investigation into the congressional record.

Former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa on Wednesday took a hammer to Attorney General Bill Barr for baselessly claiming that the Trump campaign was improperly spied upon during the 2016 presidential election. Former FBI agent rains hell on Bill Barr for slinging around Hannity-style ‘deep state’ conspiracy theories:

Rangappa quickly jumped on Twitter to shoot down Barr’s allegations about improper spying on the Trump campaign — and she pointed to the various hoops that FBI agents had to have jumped through in order to get authorization to investigate potential Trump campaign ties to Russia.

“All investigative techniques have various layers of approval,” she writes. “The more intrusive they are, the higher they go up the food chain, including and up to the AG and to a judge, for authorization. So using a word like ‘spying’ is loaded and deceptive — specify the technique. In addition, any nat sec investigation on a USPER (just the opening of the case, before anything happens) or a case that is based on gathering foreign intel has to be reported to DOJ NSD. In other words, a ‘few people at the FBI’ can’t do this on their own.”

Rangappa then points out that special counsel Robert Mueller, who had previously served as FBI director, would have certainly taken note if he’d seen that surveillance operations were undertaken without proper protocols being followed.

“Anyway, Mueller knows these rules and was FBI Director for 13 yrs — and took over this entire investigation,” she argues. “He would have gone through predicates and bases for techniques used with a fine-toothed comb before going further. Or is Barr suggesting he is part of the ‘conspiracy’?”

Expect to see the prime time GOPropagandists at Fox News aka Trump TV to be ramping up their “deep state” conspiracy theory mongering ahead of the release of the redacted Mueller Report next week.

Oh, there’s a conspiracy alright, a massive coverup attempt by Republicans to protect their “Dear Leader” from being exposed as a “useful idiot” Russian asset, and his repeated efforts to obstruct justice, which are ongoing and continuing. They are accessories in a conspiracy to obstruct justice.

UPDATE: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gets it exactly right: “He is not the attorney general of Donald Trump. He is the attorney general of the United States.” Pelosi: Barr is ‘going off the rails’.

UPDATE: Earlier reporting on the GOP conspiracy:

Trump and Republicans Seek to Turn the Tables in Post-Mueller Washington: President Trump and his allies went on the offensive, vowing to pursue those responsible for the Russia investigation.

Senate GOP eyes probes into 2016 issues ‘swept under the rug’.

Now that Mueller’s conclusions are in, Senate Republicans are ready to turn back to Hillary Clinton.

Some conservatives say the end of the Mueller investigation is the start of new investigations — of Democrats.

Lindsey Graham calls for a special counsel investigation on ‘the other side of the story’ following Mueller report.

White House says Democrats and Mueller tried to ‘overthrow’ Trump.

Trump accuses some who investigated him of ‘treasonous’ actions.

Hannity Urges Prosecution Of Trump’s Political Foes.