By Tank Murdoch
(TNS) A report surfaced late Tuesday claiming that Attorney General William Barr has informed close associates that he will walk away from the administration if President Donald Trump does not stop tweeting about pending Justice Department legal cases.
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We note that the report was published by the Washington Post, which, of course, has a history in the Trump era of being spectacularly wrong about a lot things that were supposed “bombshells,” as has CNN and The New York Times.
With that in mind, the Post noted:
Attorney General William Barr has told people close to President Donald Trump – inside and outside the White House – that he is considering quitting over Trump’s tweets about Justice Department investigations, three administration officials said, foreshadowing a possible confrontation between the president and his attorney general over the independence of the Justice Department.
So far, Trump has defied Barr’s requests, both public and private, to keep quiet on matters of federal law enforcement. It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether Barr had made his posture known directly to Trump. The administration officials said Barr seemed to be sharing his position with advisers in hopes that the president would get the message that he should stop weighing in publicly on the Justice Department’s ongoing criminal investigations.
“He has his limits,” said one person familiar with Barr’s thinking, speaking on the condition of anonymity, like others, to discuss internal deliberations.
Of course, this report comes on the heels of an interview last week in which Barr voiced his displeasure with the president over his tweeting about the Roger Stone case. Specifically, Trump was angry about a recommendation by four “Mueller prosecutors” that Stone serve between 7 and 9 years in prison, an egregious amount of time given the longtime Trump ally’s crimes.
â€œIâ€™m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybodyâ€¦whether itâ€™s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president,â€ Barr said during his interview.
â€œIâ€™m gonna do what I think is right, and you knowâ€¦I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me,â€ he added â€” no doubt comments that were aimed at Trump, but also the rest of the Washington chattering class that cares little-to-nothing about facts and the truth but rather seeks to politicize everything for the sake of scoring points with their preferred voting base.
The Post hasn’t been right about Spygate, Ukrainegate, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, or many other things regarding the president and his administration. But this report has a ring of truth to it.
We speculated in a report over the weekend that Barr came to the administration not out of any special desire to serve President Trump, but out of a desire to fix an obviously broken, politicized Justice Department:
We ourselves have supported that contention and have noted in the past we believe that Bill Barr, whoâ€™s been around since the Reagan administration, came aboard mostly to repair what he (and other rational people) saw as Barack Obamaâ€™s gross politicization of his beloved DoJ, as well as the FBI, which manifested itself in the â€œSpygateâ€ probe of Trumpâ€™s 2016 campaign.
That helps explain many of the positions he takes when it comes to defending the president: Barr said early on he was convinced the presidentâ€™s campaign was â€œspied on,â€ and he knew â€” or had an instinct â€” that it was illegally done.
Turns out he was right.
In short, Bill Barr didnâ€™t come back to head up the Justice Department because he needed a job; he came back as a labor of love to fix a broken institution he understands is vital to the functioning of our republic.
And we concluded that Barr’s comments to ABC News were a warning to the president that he cannot complete his mission of fixing what’s been broken at the department if it seems like he’s doing so as the president’s puppet:
Even if the president is right, Barr is saying: â€˜Mr. President, we can discuss matters like this in private, where they should be handled, but I wonâ€™t tolerate having you undercut me in public. I want to fix this and get to the bottom of the injustice that was committed against you, but I canâ€™t if it doesnâ€™t look like a fair process, as in, one not guided by you.â€™
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The Post report seems to suggest that Barr is making a stand. If so, the president is at risk of losing one of his most capable Cabinet officials — in the middle of a highly-anticipated criminal investigation into the origins of the coup attempt against him.
If the Post story is true, Trump should be picking up the phone this morning and getting things right with his AG.
Update: BizPacReview is reporting that DoJ officials quickly dismissed the Post report, claiming Barr isn’t going anywhere. Color us shocked.