Don’t be surprised if you see a tweet from Donald Trump saying that William Barr has gone on to pursue other interests between now and the end of the year. It’s a Trump tradition, when finding out that somebody in the administration is ready to split, to go ahead and do a preemptive strike and fire them on Twitter. Ask Mark Esper and others.
If Barr does leave prematurely, then Trump would have to appoint an acting attorney general for a month, six weeks, whatever. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen might rise to the task, or maybe Trump would give the position to Rudy Giuliani, right there in his hospital bed. Rudy has always wanted to be attorney general and this would be his dream come true and add a certain cartoon flourish that certainly is not out of place in this administration. Au contraire, it fits right in. New York Times:
It was not clear whether the attorney general’s deliberations were influenced by Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede his election loss or his fury over Mr. Barr’s acknowledgment last week that the Justice Department uncovered no widespread voting fraud. In the ensuing days, the president refused to say whether he still had confidence in his attorney general.
One of the people insisted that Mr. Barr had been weighing his departure since before last week and that Mr. Trump had not affected the attorney general’s thinking. Another said Mr. Barr had concluded that he had completed the work that he set out to accomplish at the Justice Department.
But the president’s public complaints about the election, including a baseless allegation earlier last week that federal law enforcement had rigged the election against him, are certain to cast a cloud over any early departure by Mr. Barr. By leaving early, Mr. Barr could avoid a confrontation with the president over his refusal to advance Mr. Trump’s efforts to rewrite the election results.
Barr may just leave to avoid said confrontation. Why should he stick around? He knows that Trump is just grandstanding with his ludicrous claims of massive voter fraud. If he’s not ready to co-sign on said claims, and clearly he isn’t, then there really is no purpose in him remaining, is there? Plus, it would actually be a gesture in favor of retaining some kind of a tinge of respectability if he jumped ship now, before Trump asks him to do something crazy, like figure out a way to punish Brian Kemp or Doug Ducey.
We shall see. But if Barr does leave, it would cement how ridiculously Trump is behaving by refusing to go along with tradition and concede the election and go through the usual formalities of an administration change.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.