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List of Trump criminal investigations gets unexpectedly longer

John Durham's investigation into Donald Trump's suspected financial crimes adds to the list of criminal investigations surrounding the former president.


The New York Times broke a lot of new ground in its stunning report on John Durham’s investigation into the Russia investigation, and the revelations cast the prosecutor and former Attorney General Bill Barr in a scandalous light.

But there was one detail from the Times’ reporting that stood out as both new and unexpected.

On one of Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham’s trips to Europe, according to people familiar with the matter, Italian officials — while denying any role in setting off the Russia investigation — unexpectedly offered a potentially explosive tip linking Mr. Trump to certain suspected financial crimes. Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham decided that the tip was too serious and credible to ignore.

At that point, it would’ve made sense for the attorney general, in the interest of propriety, to assign the matter to another prosecutor. After all, Durham was tasked with investigating the Russia investigation, not evidence of Donald Trump’s alleged financial crimes in Europe.

But Barr ignored propriety and directed Durham to look into it.

Soon after, word leaked to the press that the Durham investigation had advanced to a stage in which it had opened a criminal investigation. As the Times noted, the media reports in response to the leak “were all framed around the erroneous assumption that the criminal investigation must mean Mr. Durham had found evidence of potential crimes by officials involved in the Russia inquiry.”

We now know better: Durham’s criminal investigation was into Trump himself, not those who examined Trump’s Russia scandal. All of this was kept secret from the public: Barr had no qualms about chatting publicly about his assorted partisan theories and the merits of White House talking points, but the criminal investigation into his boss was apparently a detail he didn’t think Americans needed to know.

Complicating matters is the fact that we still, as of this morning, don’t know what financial crimes the former president might have committed. We also have no reason to feel confident that Durham, caught up in Barr’s pro-Trump conspiracy theories and following the directives of the pro-Trump attorney general, closely examined the seriousness of the “potentially explosive” allegations raised by our allies in the Italian government.

Finally, it’s also apparently time to update the big board of criminal investigations into the former president. In addition to the Jan. 6 criminal investigation, the classified documents criminal investigation, the Georgia election interference criminal investigation, the criminal investigation into Trump’s alleged financial crimes in New York, the criminal investigation surrounding his special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), and the criminal investigation into Trump’s pre-election hush-money payments to a porn star, the Republican also faced a criminal investigation from Durham’s special counsel probe.

All of this, of course, excludes the many civil disputes that currently surround the former president, and the many people from Trump’s inner circle who’ve already been convicted of a variety of crimes.

Why people don’t chuckle every time the Republican touts his support for “law and order” is one of those things I’ll never fully understand.