Former AG Bill Barr outs himself as an establishment swamp creature
When I think of former attorney general William Barr, I think of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Part of him is an upstanding figure who respected constitutional limitations; another part of him is a loyal swamp creature who desperately wanted to serve a milquetoast George W. Bush (or George H.W. Bush) only to find himself working for a vigorous, aggressive Donald J. Trump. Both those aspects of his personality apparently come through loud and clear in a new 600-page book (and doorstop) in which he narrates his stints as U.S. attorney general under George Bush, Sr. and Donald Trump.
I have not read One Damn Thing after Another and do not intend to. Everything in this short essay is based upon the New York Post's article about the book.
First, the part of the article that reflects well on Barr's relatively short stint as Trump's A.G.:
In his book, Barr defends himself against accusations that he was protecting Trump when he issued a summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
He also dropped the criminal case against Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials during the presidential campaign.
Barr wrote that he had to intervene in those cases because of what he saw as overreach by federal prosecutors.
"Predictably our motion to dismiss the charges led to an election-year media onslaught, flogging the old theme that I was doing this as a favor to Trump," he wrote in the book. "But I concluded the handling of the Flynn matter by the FBI had been an abuse of power that no responsible AG could let stand."
Barr was correct. His summary of Mueller's report was accurate in all respects, so he did nothing wrong by writing it. As for Flynn, both the FBI and the prosecutors were engaged in gross overreach and abuse of power. It would have been a travesty to proceed, and Barr rightly pulled the plug.
Image: Bill Barr. YouTube screen grab.
However, with the Mueller Report front and center in my brain, I take serious issue with Barr's criticisms about Trump — criticisms that seem to arise from the fact that Barr and Trump didn't get along:
The conservative lawyer encouraged members of his party to consider "an impressive array of younger candidates" whom he did not identify by name — who he believes share Trump's agenda but not his "erratic personal behavior," the book says.
The former attorney general, who served from February 2019 to December 2020, wrote that the former president has "shown he has neither the temperament nor persuasive powers to provide the kind of positive leadership that is needed."
The fact is that, with the massive, vicious, defamatory Russia hoax dogging almost all of his presidency, Trump was never given the opportunity truly to lead. That is, he was able to use his management skills to incredibly good effect, but the Democrat establishment ensured that he was not able to function as either a leader or a statesman. For Barr, who had Robert Mueller's report in front of him — a report that tried desperately to smear Trump but was unable to do so because the facts weren't there — to attack Trump is just low.
When you look at Trump's successes despite the indecently corrupt anchor dragging him down, it's really extraordinary: a roaring economy; energy independence; a border coming under control (something, again, that the Democrats blocked); improved racial relations (blown to bits by George Floyd's selfish, drug-induced death and the Democrats' BLM/Antifa response); growing peace in the Middle East; a slow vise closing around Xi Jinping, the Iranian mullahs, Hamas, and Putin; and a growing rapprochement with Kim Jong-un, who was gently being inveigled into the fold of civilized nations.
Barr also doubles down on his claim that the election was untainted by fraud, even though it was immediately obvious that multiple states and jurisdictions had unconstitutionally removed checks against fraud and engaged openly in vote fraud. Whether Barr did so because he hated Trump, was a coward, was siding with his Bush buddies, or something else, I don't know, and I'm betting he doesn't explain it in the book.
All I know is that when I look at our open borders, broken economy, racial divisions, insane slide into wokeness, weakened military, and now a possible nuclear showdown with Russia, I strongly blame Barr. There's nothing in his book that can be sufficiently exculpatory for me ever to forgive him for abandoning Trump when the chips were down and it was clear that the other side had cheated.