On December 9, Michael Horowitz, the Inspector General (IG) for the Department of Justice is expected to release his long awaited report on the origins of the Russia investigation. Leaks suggest that the report will conclude that the investigation was properly predicated and did not involve unlawful “spying” on the Trump campaign. Subsequent leaks suggest that Attorney General Barr refuses to accept the IG’s basic conclusions and will fall back on the insurance policy he obtained through appointment of Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham to conduct a parallel investigation under Barr’s control.
The very latest leaks, however, suggest Durham may agree with the IG. If so, central themes in Trump’s impeachment defense and in his political narrative will be undercut — namely, that he was pursued by a politically biased intelligence community and that a country other than Russia attacked the 2016 election. How Barr will handle this confusing mess remains to be seen, but the release of the Mueller Report teaches that we can expect him to spin the release of the IG report and its aftermath to protect Trump at the expense of the Department he heads.