On Thursday evening, Attorney General Bill Barr sat down with NBC News to explain just how darn frustrated he is with Donald Trump. That Trump guy, it seems, simply will not let Barr do his job, what with the tweeting that Barr needs to investigate this political rival, and the tweeting that Barr needs to go soft on that political pal, and the tweeting that Barr needs to get rid of these traitors in his midst.
Tweet, tweet, tweet. The guy will never shut up! Which is absolutely wrecking Barr’s totally independent efforts to investigate Trump’s political rivals, go soft on Trump’s pals, and remove everyone Trump finds objectionable. Any questions, America?
In short, the idea that Bill Barr is “pushing back” against Donald Trump is just plain … Barrsh#t.
The Washington Post is one of … possibly all … newspapers in the nation this morning running with the line that Barr’s statements represent some kind of declaration of independence of the judiciary. But this “remarkable public rebuke” of Trump is nothing of the sort.
Barr has already admitted that he personally intervened to soften the sentencing recommendation for Trump confidant Roger Stone. Which was exactly what Trump requested in the tweets that Barr says are making it “impossible” to do his job.
Barr swapped the prosecutors on Michael Flynn so that lying to the FBI and backing out of an agreement to testify is just no big deal. Which is surely something that will be of so much help to every other member of the DOJ trying to do their job regarding members of the mob or terrorist groups.
Bill Barr’s job is doing what Trump tells him to do. That’s not just an observation: Barr himself made that absolutely clear even before he was approved by the Senate. He believes in a unitary executive to the nth degree, meaning that the Justice Department is simply another tool available to Trump, no matter how he wields it.
That brings up a little point hidden way, way, way down in that Post article. It’s there, 29 paragraphs into the article, that one learns that, in addition to his overtly political work in coddling Trump’s own criminal cohorts, Barr created an unnecessary and redundant investigation into his own department, headed up by U.S. Attorney John Durham. Not only has Barr been personally escorting Durham around the world to investigate the same kind of baseless conspiracy theories that Rudy Giuliani has been pushing in Ukraine—including those same already-debunked theories—but this is all happening for the same reason that Giuliani is doing his thing. The Post reports, “Trump has become more insistent that Durham finish his work soon, according to people familiar with the discussions. Trump, these people said, wants to be able to use whatever Durham finds as a cudgel in his reelection campaign.”
William Barr has created an investigation headed by John Durham that is openly designed to generate political dirt Trump can used as a cudgel in the upcoming election. That is the kind of job that Barr is doing. And that is why the whole idea that he’s making any kind of stand against Trump is so ridiculous. The only conflict between Barr and Trump is just how the firing squads should be organized.
And if anyone needed any reminding, Trump was back on the Twitterhorn Friday morning to make it clear that Barr is his pawn, and nothing more. In that overnight interview, Barr stated that Trump “has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.” Which is, of course, a lie that requires looking no further back that Trump’s tweets condemning the judge, prosecutors, and even jury members in Stone’s case. And if that’s not clear enough, ”This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so,” tweeted Trump. “I do, but I have so far chosen not to!”
That’s Trump’s way of telling you that so far he’s been subtle, dammit. When he orders Bill Barr to round up his enemies, he’ll give that order loud and clear. Because that Article II means he can do anything.