Donald Trump’s personal attorney general, William Barr, has been unsubtle about what he believes the job of the new Department of Justice should be. Job No. 1: Quash federal and congressional investigations of Donald Trump. Job No. 2: Quash investigations of those allied with Donald Trump. Job No 3: File lawsuits suing authors for publishing books that make Melania Trump look bad.

Wait, what?

Huh. It’s true. Barr’s “Justice Department” is now demanding author Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, author of Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady, turn over all profits from her book to the government because she broke a nondisclosure agreement with Melania Trump promising to not reveal unflattering information about her. Because Wolkoff was an “adviser” to Melania Trump, that makes this “a contract with the United States,” Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec told Reuters.

It is now the job of the attorney general of the United States and his minions to file lawsuits against people who make the United States’ first lady look mean when she’s trying to, you know, Be Bestest or whatever. But rest assured, this is not at all similar to the laws of other authoritarian nations, ones that prohibit criticism of Dear Leader and Dear Leader’s Accompanying Remoras. This is a contract dispute. Melania’s ex-friend signed a contract with Dear Leader’s Accompanying Remoras promising not to be mean.

Which will now be enforced via the full force of the United States government.

You know, at every point along the way before filing this suit, the Justice Department and the Trump “family” had every opportunity to realize that filing an official government lawsuit over someone Being Mean To Melania Trump would look absolutely stupid. It would look like bullying. It would look like an obvious abuse of authority. It would make Barr, personally, look even more slavishly devoted to polishing Trump’s shoes than he already does, and you can already smell the stink of polish on Barr three minutes before he enters a room.

But no, they really went for it. It was that important. Three weeks before an election and everything.

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