Ladies and gentlemen of America, I believe that we have reached the new norm in U.S. politics.
We have entered the age of the constant, smothering investigation, where every elected official will be serving under the threat or weight of an ongoing probe into something that they were involved in.
Then, when those investigations fail, the retaliation will be standard: An investigation of the investigators and their motives.
Such is the case again this week on Capitol Hill, as Attorney General Bill Barr prepares to testify before Congress.
Attorney General William Barr has accepted an invitation to testify to the House Judiciary Committee on March 31, ending a year-long standoff that began when the panel first demanded his testimony in the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
The arrangement comes as Democrats have demanded answers about Barr’s apparent intervention in the sentencing of President Donald Trump’s longtime ally Roger Stone, who was convicted last year on charges that he lied to congressional investigators and threatened a witness.
Here’s where it gets weird.
Hours after Trump railed against Justice Department prosecutors for recommending a seven- to nine-year sentence for Stone, DOJ rebuked its own team and issued a revised recommendation calling for a lighter sentence. The four prosecutors assigned to Stone’s case abruptly withdrew on Tuesday.
On Wednesday morning, Trump hailed Barr for “taking charge” of the matter, confirming suggestions that it was the attorney general himself who intervened.
The leniency shown to Stone has been a real sticking point for Democrats, who are afraid the the President’s acquittal in his Senate impeachment trial will embolden his already-brash behavior.