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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

AG Barr's foreign travels for Trump signal another probe to nowhere

Attorney General William Barr on Oct. 3.

Attorney General William Barr on Oct. 3. Credit: EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

When it comes to "investigations" drummed up by President Donald Trump, the track record is dismal.

Trump used the pretense of an inquiry to feed the falsehood that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya. "An 'extremely credible source' has called my office and told me that @BarackObama's birth certificate is a fraud," Trump tweeted on Aug. 6, 2012.

Seven years later, we still don't know whether Trump made up the source, the tip or both.

“I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD,” he declared on Twitter five days after taking office, pushing his hollow claims that millions of illegal votes were cast for Hillary Clinton.

Less than two years later his "investigative" panel disbanded, having revealed nothing.

Then came Russiagate. Trump & Co. led his fan base to believe and repeat that fired former FBI Director James Comey would be prosecuted.

That promise died after Attorney General William Barr's Justice Department reviewed the facts.

“To all those who’ve spent two years talking about me ‘going to jail’ or being a ‘liar and a leaker,’ ” Comey responded, "ask yourselves why you still trust people who gave you bad information for so long, including the president."

The man had a point.

Now, Barr goes overseas on a partisan mission, with the stated purpose of getting at alternative reasons for former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

There is always a chance that Barr's probe will hit some kind of pay dirt, although its premise sounds as far-fetched as the others'.

As Mueller established, a Maltese professor, Joseph Mifsud, had talked with Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos about Russian dirt on Clinton.

Chatter got back to American authorities. Investigation followed. Mueller in his report described Mifsud as having had "connections to Russia."

Now the Trump team is pushing the idea that it was all a big setup to entrap the GOP candidate. They've made a show of looking to interview Mifsud.

But there's at least one big practical problem: Papadopoulos admitted two years ago to lying to federal agents about his contacts with Kremlin-connected Russians.

When Trump openly asked authorities in Ukraine and China to investigate American citizens — ex-Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter — he clearly bent U.S. foreign policy.

For now, it looks unlikely that either country is ready to prosecute or persecute Trump's rivals for him.

If anything, assailing Hunter Biden's cozy-looking employment by the giant Naftogaz company has only splashed back onto Trump and his close adviser Rudy Giuliani.

The congressional look at Trump seeking a political favor from Ukraine's president also yields evidence that the president's cronies sought a piece of Naftogaz themselves.

As reported by The Associated Press, a clique of businessmen and GOP donors boasted of connections to Giuliani and Trump while trying to install a new management board there.

Their plan was to then steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by Trump allies, according to AP.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry reportedly was going to bat for candidates for Naftogaz's board, including one of his own past campaign donors from Texas.

Can Barr craft a credible counterscandal to offset those fueling impeachment? Judging by Team Trump's sleuthing record, the chances are slim.

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