Barr Confirms Key Element Of NYT Bombshell

INSIDE: George Santos ... Mike Pence ... AOC
Attorney General Bill Barr takes the oath before he testifies during a House committee hearing on July 28, 2020. (MATT MCCLAIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.

Thanks, Bill

The Los Angeles Times caught up with former Attorney General Bill Barr after he gave a speech in Sacramento and asked him about the New York Times bombshell from last week on the Durham investigation of the investigator.

Barr was more revealing than expected.

One of the most surprising elements of the NYT story was that Barr had assigned to Special Counsel John Durham a previously unrevealed financial crimes investigation of President Trump himself. It was based on a tip from Italian authorities. The irony was that Barr and Durham personally traveled to Italy to pursue some of the more arcane and improbable allegations about the Mueller probe’s origins. The Italians had nothing for them on that, but they did have a something on Trump. Oops.

In his brief interview with the LA Times, Barr confirmed the previously unknown probe of Trump but denied it directly involved Trump and said it turned out to be a “non-issue.”

Barr said Wednesday that the tip “was not directly about Trump” and that it was appropriate to fold into Durham’s inquiry because “it did have a relationship to the Russiagate stuff. It was not completely separate from it. And it turned out to be a complete non-issue.”

New York Times reporter Charlie Savage was practically giddy last night on MSNBC talking about Barr’s confirmation:

My first reaction was, Oh wow he confirmed that there was an investigation involving Trump that Durham handled. So that’s interesting. We didn’t have anyone on the record confirming that before, and so that was nice of him.

Of course, Barr’s brusque waving of his hand that there was no there there hardly answers all the questions, as Savage detailed nicely:

Maybe he’s right that it went nowhere. We don’t know. We just don’t know what that thing was. We don’t know what steps Durham took. We don’t know what he found out. We don’t why he chose to bring no charges. Perhaps it was as Bill Barr says that there was no there there. Nevertheless, it’s extraordinary that it happened at all and that no one knew about it.

Much more to be learned on this.

Investigating the Investigation Of The Investigators

After the explosive NYT report on the deeply corrupt Barr-Durham probe, Democratic lawmakers are asking the DOJ’s inspector general to investigate.

Jack Smith Is Keeping A Very Low Profile

The telltale signs of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigations are few and far between:

Fitton reportedly assured Trump he was within his rights to keep the classified documents he had at Mar-a-Lago and not return them to the government.

FBI Plans To Search Pence Home

The Justice Department and former Vice President Mike Pence’s legal team are making arrangements for the FBI to do its own search of his Indiana residence, after classified documents were found there.


This is weirdest story we may have ever published at TPM.

Josh Kovensky and Hunter Walker obtained a secret audio recording from inside George Santos’ congressional office that shows … where to start? You really just have to read the story and listen to the audio.

Let’s just say that Santos attracts a strange kind of aspiring hanger-on.

Between this story and our profile earlier this week of another Santos staffer, it’s clear that the MAGA takeover of the House is supplanting the traditional Hill staffer profile with something very different.

OUT: high school president types

IN: transgressive ne’er-do-wells

The old overearnest, well-scrubbed, too eager staffer prototype had its problems, but I’m nostalgic for it already.

AOC Goes OFF On House GOP

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was absolutely incensed over the House GOP’s vote to removed Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the Foreign Affairs Committee:

Leaked Audio Shows Trump 2020 Machinations In Wisconsin

The AP has obtained an audio recording of Trump 2020 campaign officials in Wisconsin pivoting from the election loss to Big Lie scheming on Nov. 5, two days after Election Day.

Here’s the deal: Comms is going to continue to fan the flame and get the word out about Democrats trying to steal this election. We’ll do whatever they need. Just be on standby if there’s any stunts we need to pull.

Andrew Iverson, Wisconsin state director for Trump 2020

What Exactly Was Charles McGonigal Up To?

The NYT picks through the indictment of former senior FBI official Charles McGonigal for clues on his work in Albania.

Weisselberg Under New Pressure From Manhattan DA

Currently ensconced at Rikers, former Trump Org CFO Allen Weisselberg is under renewed pressure from prosecutors to turn against Donald Trump:

[A]s the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, jump-starts his office’s effort to indict Mr. Trump, his prosecutors are using the prospect of additional charges to exert leverage over Mr. Weisselberg, the people with knowledge of the matter said. The potential charges, which prosecutors conveyed to the former executive’s legal team this week, center on insurance fraud and could lead to a significant prison sentence for Mr. Weisselberg, who is 75.

Why On Earth Are Some MAGA Republicans Wearing AR-15 Pins?

TPM’s Emine Yücel explains.

A Gentle Nudge

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will back Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for Senate if Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) doesn’t run for re-election.


Josh Marshall talks to MSNBC’s Alex Wagner about the Republican Party’s Trump problem:

Pro-Nazi Home School Network Under Investigation

The Ohio education department is looking into whether a pro-Nazi home school network linked through a Telegram channel is in compliance with state rules and regs. “Dissident Homeschool” is reportedly run by a Ohio couple.

“But there’s likely little the state can do because while the state mandates that certain topics be taught, it does not govern details of what home school can and cannot include,” the Washington Post reported.

Excited To See Tucker Come To Santos’ Defense

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Notable Replies

  1. Avatar for quickq quickq says:

    Lots of confusion capers to get caught up…

  2. To no ones suprise
    ‘ASHLI BABBITT WAS MURDERED!!!’ Trump Rages After McCarthy Defends Officer Who Shot Jan 6 Rioter (

    and of course put a target right on his back
    “I totally disagree with the Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, in that the Police Officer ‘Thug,’ who has had a very checkered past to begin with, was not just ‘doing his job’ when he shot and killed Great Patriot Ashli Babbitt at point blank range,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.

  3. The Santos saga isn’t trivial and it isn’t over. I think it is a window on the American Weird, something very special we invaders have concocted since, you know, 1619.

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