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  • Writer's pictureSeth Levy

Speculation Wrap Up: What led to Barr’s testimony and what is to come.

Updated: May 1, 2019

I thought it was important to take time and compile the various aspects of my Twitter speculation going back to the end of 2017 now that Barr is set to finally give testimony explaining the Mueller findings. For those of you who have followed me since then, you will understand why this moment is so crucial. For the others, I'll explain. In order for the prosecutorial phase (#Phase2) that targets the members of the Obama administration that abused their power and the Trump era bureaucrats that attempted to depose the duly elected POTUS to be successful, it was crucial that Trump was cleared (#CleanBillOfHealth) before it began. Although the release of the Mueller report was the beginning of clearing Trump, the testimony by Barr (#BadassAG) will seal the deal. It’s apropos that as I write this article Rosenstein is announcing his resignation, effective May 11. Why? Because my theories on how this would all roll out were rooted in Trump’s appointment of Rosenstein.

Beyond the controversy over whether Trump knew that Sessions would resign, is the question of whether it was conceivable. Yes I realize the Mueller report seems to reinforce that Trump was blindsided by Sessions' recusal but I do not believe that is real. Trump represents hands and uses this to manipulate his opponents.

“In poker, "representing a hand" is playing a hand as though you have a certain holding.”

Primarily Trump uses the appearance of being weak when he is strong. The ultimate “weak while strong" play was built in to Sessions' recusal and Rosenstein’s appointment. Except now we have the advantage of knowing how it all played out. But when I wrote that tweet in December 2017, it was much less clear.

What was clear to me then that guided my speculation? The answer this question: If Trump was innocent, and I believed he was, then how valuable would it be to him to have a holdover from the Obama administration prove his innocence using a man people on both sides viewed as a trusted arbiter? It would make Trump immensely powerful and set the stage for his DOJ to investigate the other side. After all, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

That value and position would have been sacrificed if Trump had nominated a close associate. It would also have been sacrificed if Trump would have done what many, in what I call the right wing intelligentsia, wanted him to do and fired Mueller or Rosenstein. Or if he had order the end of the investigation. The fact is that with every month he allowed the investigation to continue, Trump became more powerful and his DOJ became better positioned to turn the tables on what we refer to as the coup plotters.

By January of 2018, as the world reacted to the story that Trump had ordered McGhan to fire Mueller, it was clear to me that Trump was engaged in a public relations game designed to inflate people’s belief of the threat Mueller presented to him. I’ve referred to this as the br’er rabbit play.

"Only please, Brer Fox, please don't throw me into the briar patch.".

Even after the Mueller report the same questions seem to persist. Did Trump actually order McGhan to "fire" Mueller? Who leaked the story? Why? Back then people were certain it was proof of obstruction. So it was investigated for a full year and… As Bill Maher said, Muller’s conclusion was meh. Lindsey Graham rightly called it all theatrics. Ultimately the only thing it accomplished was to make Trump seem to fear Mueller and the Russia probe he led.

I say “seem” because ultimately Trump had no plans to shut down the investigation. In fact he complied in every measurable way with the investigation at levels no other President ever has. He never claimed Executive privilege. During the heart of the investigation, he never told Sessions to resign. Never fired Rosenstein. Never fired Mueller. Why? Because it set the stage for the success of his Presidency. The #cleeanBillOfHealth was the required predicate for the success of the future spygate prosecutions.

There are many core promises Trump must keep for his Presidency to be considered a success. Build the wall for instance. One of the biggest ties two separate promises together, drain the swamp and telling Hillary he would ask his AG to get a Special Counsel to look into her. Leaving aside the debate between direct prosecution or Special Counsel, Trump promised he would investigate what happened in 2016. This prosecutorial phase, where Trump’s DOJ deals with the corruption of 2016 and sedition of 2017 is what I generally refer to as #Phase2.

Why? Because for it to succeed it needed to come after Trump was cleared. Why? Because if it came before it would be drowned in accusations that Trump was doing it to protect himself. Ultimately two things are necessary for this phase. First is that while it is happening the public has to see it as valid. Second is that the prosecutions must succeed. Meaning they must result in pleas or convictions. If not it will destroy Trump.

By February of 2018, I was speculating that Huber would ultimately recommend the need for a second Special Counsel but it was also clear that Sessions wasn’t the right man for the job. It wasn’t that he couldn’t have done the job. It was that he was politically compromised. As I said before, this perceived weakness was used by Trump to create a strength. His ability to resign and be replaced with someone who would immediately take over DOJ was the proverbial escape hatch. If Rosenstein or Mueller went off the rails, Trump could restore order. However, for the next phase where the DOJ would prosecute the coup plotters, Sessions' issues would hurt.

By May of 2018 it was clear the last piece of the puzzle was a complete turn over of the leadership at DOJ that would end the split and bipolar department. What we needed for #Phase2 to succeed was a #BadassAG. I didn’t know it would be Barr. However, Barr is exactly what I had in mind. A man with the experience and gravitas to deal with what would come at him without flinching. As bad as the attacks on him have been to date, they are going to get much worse. The great news? Barr doesn’t care.

So as you can see, nothing that has happened over the last few months has been a surprise to me. It all fit squarely within what I have been predicting. Those predictions arise from how I read what is happening in context of what has happened and project out. The truth is I have been shocked at how well many of these things have held up.

I am going to write a follow up article in the coming days that explains my overarching belief that much of what we have witnessed over the last two years was designed during the transition after Trump was tipped off by Rogers and others that he had been surveilled and that there was a plan to oust him from office. After I wrote that last night, this story broke this morning:

I am going to conclude by acknowledge an error. All along and in contradiction to most everyone else on planet earth, I believed Trump would ultimately give a live interview to Mueller. I still believe Trump wanted to. I think if it were just Trump and Mueller he may have but the team, especially Weissmann, couldn’t be trusted. Either way I was predicting it and it never happened.

That isn’t the only time I’ve been wrong. It’s part of the game when you are speculating. That’s why I say that as you speculate humility is important. I’m not a reporter. I don’t have sources. I am looking at what we know publicly and drawing conclusions. I am also part of a community. I’m influenced be the work of people like Langdale and many others.

My prediction for Barr’s testimony? By the time it's over, Democrats won’t wan’t to talk much about Mueller. It will be clear there was no collusion and no obstruction. Along the way he will reveal more about what is to come. #Phase2 is now inevitable. Everything is in place. The table has been fully set. It’s all sequencing now, the IG report, Declassification, Huber recommendation and then prosecutions. Have your popcorn ready.

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