The arc of the modern American life is long and bends toward a never-ending relitigation of 2016.
Any assumptions that talk of collusion and spying—and the need to remember how to spell Papadopoulos—would end following the release of Robert Mueller’s 400-page report have been rendered quaint in the past week. Republicans and Democrats alike have latched on to Mueller’s findings not as the final word on those topics, but instead as a springboard for ever more questions about them. This has been most obviously true of Democrats, some of whom maintain there was coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, and some who argue that the president should be impeached on grounds of obstruction of justice. But as much as Republicans have crowed that it is time for lawmakers to move on and “get back to the business of governing,” many of them are itching for their own extension of the Mueller report: an investigation of the investigators.
The president’s defenders first suggested such an investigation in late March, after Attorney General William Barr released Mueller’s top-line findings. But in the weeks since, it’s become clear that this wasn’t a passing fancy: More and more, the GOP’s interpretation of what “moving on” means is for the Department of Justice to probe the Russia inquiry’s very origins—to investigate Republican allegations that top brass at the FBI and the DOJ cut corners in launching their inquiries of Trump’s campaign and presidency. As Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani put it to me, “The question will linger forever if we don’t find out the answer.”