I"m asking this question because I to be watching the live testimony of exhilaration Director that National knowledge Joseph Maguire before a conference committee and he stated this expression at the end of the meeting. Once asked by the chairman the the committee must the examination on Donald trump card be conducted he replied:

"The horse has left the barn. You have all of the information. You have actually the whistleblower complaint. You have actually the letter indigenous the ICIG. You have the Office of legitimate Counsel opinion and you have the transcript native the president".

You are watching: The horse has left the barn

I tried come look this up, but it doesn"t seem the this is an created idiom. In mine opinion, the phrase have the right to mean the it"s also late to ask even if it is one have to conduct the investigation since too countless documents have actually been do public.

I"d be thankful because that a couple of examples that"d assist me to know the meaning of this phrase (or idiom).

phrase-meaning idioms idiomatic-language figurative-language
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edited Oct 25 "19 in ~ 15:19

Ben Kovitz
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asked Sep 26 "19 in ~ 17:10

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The exact phrasing provided by OP is relatively uncommon 1 compared to what I see as the two relevant "idiomatic standard" usages...

1: to near the steady door ~ the horse has bolted to have actually tried to protect against something happening, yet to have actually done so also late to prevent damage being done ...and... 2: That ship has currently left harbor / sailed that chance is now gone; the is too late

Note that although those two meanings are similar, they"re not generally thought about "interchangeable". #1 essentially draws fist to the truth that a potential remedial action is no longer ideal (because the thing it was supposed to protect against has currently happened), conversely, #2 is about having missed a chance (it"s now too so late to take advantage of some favourable opportunity).

OP"s version looks to me choose a "mash-up" the those two idiomatic usages.

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1 I sought the two adhering to text strings in Google Books...

after the horse had bolted (23 hits) after the horse had left the barn (8 hits)

I think the proportion is even an ext extreme with basic Past (the steed has bolted / left), however you need to scroll through several much more pages of outcomes to get to the last totals for those, and also I suspect Google books becomes less "accurate" in together situations.