President Donald Trump on Friday expressed disappointment with Attorney General Bill Barr over reports the Justice Department’s probe of the FBI’s Russia investigation will not be released before the election.
The comments: Trump slammed the news an “embarrassment” and “a disgrace” during a two-hour call into conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh’s radio show.
- The men covered topics ranging from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to the coronavirus to the origins of the Russia investigation, which Trump and his allies have characterized as a politically motivated “witch hunt” carrier out by the Democrats.
It was from Limbaugh’s own mouth that Trump appeared to learn the results of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s sweeping inquiry would not be forthcoming until some time after Election Day.
- Disappointing news: “If that’s the case, I’m very disappointed,” Trump said. “I think it’s a terrible thing. And I’ll say it to [Barr’s] face.”
- Weak sauce: “See, this is what I mean with the Republicans. They don’t play the tough game. If this were the other side, you would’ve had 25 people in jail for the rest of their lives with what we found,” the president added.
- POTUS in disbelief: “If that’s the case, I have to check that. I find it hard to believe because you know what? I went through two elections, you don’t think that affected [the 2018 midterm elections]? Now, I wasn’t running in ’18 but the whole Russia witch hunt affected the ’18 outcome of the election.”
Limbaugh concurred with Trump, calling the initial Russia investigation “the biggest political scandal in the history of this country, certainly our lifetimes.”
The Durham report: Axios on Friday reported Barr had began tempering top Republicans’ expectations about the release of the much-anticipated Durham report.
- Many Republicans were reportedly disappointed, especially those who hope the report will produce indictments and prosecutions of Obama administration and intelligence community figures.
- Some of Trump’s supporters have lately expressed frustration with Barr — who Democrats have criticized as overly deferential to the president — for his perceived lack of aggression in uncovering potential misconduct in the Russia investigation.
- “This is the nightmare scenario. Essentially, the year and a half of arguably the number one issue for the Republican base is virtually meaningless if this doesn’t happen before the election,” a GOP congressional aide told Axios.
To date, Durham’s investigation has produced only one indictment: Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty in August to altering an email used to obtain a FISA warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.