William Barr came into office as U.S. attorney general bringing a glimmer of hope — even among some of the nation’s most vigorous foes of Donald Trump, the man who nominated him to be the AG.
I was one of those who had hope that Barr would be a grownup, that he would conduct himself with professional impartiality, taking seriously the oath to which he swore to be our attorney general, not be an a**-coverer for the president of the United States.
The AG has let me down.
His testimony this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee was an exercise in obfuscation and evasion. Then he did something even worse: He refused to appear before the House Judiciary Committee and answer questions from that panel’s team of legal eagles.
I don’t know what I was thinking, now that I look back on what happened prior to Barr’s nomination.
Trump fired Jeff Sessions as AG because Sessions refused to act as a Trump sycophant; that’s why he recused himself from the Russia investigation. He couldn’t under Justice Department rules take part in an investigation into an activity in which he was a principal player. Sessions served on Trump’s campaign team, then on his transition team, which the DOJ was probing with regard to allegations of collusion and other potential misdeeds.
So he walked away, handed the matter over to his No. 2 at DOJ, Rod Rosenstein, who then appointed Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel. All of that enraged Trump, as we have since learned.
Now he has installed his “boy” at DOJ, William Barr.
Barr’s record as attorney general near the end of President George H.W. Bush’s term suggested to me that he would be the right man for the country, not necessarily for the president.
Silly me. It turns out he is the right man for Trump and he is wrong for the country.
I wanted to feel good about Barr. Sadly, he has let me down.