Barr sat down with CBS law corespondent Jan Crawfort for a hour and detailed how ‘in the tank’ he is for supporting Donald Trump….
After the legal Establishment had granted him the benefit of the doubt, Attorney General William Barr has shocked his erstwhile supporters with his aggressive and frequently dishonest interventions on behalf of President Trump. The spectacle of an esteemed lawyer abetting his would-be strongman boss’s every authoritarian instinct has left Barr’s critics grasping for explanations. Some have seized on the darker threads of his history in the Reagan and Bush administrations, when he misled the public about a secret Department of Justice memo and helped cover up the Iran-Contra scandal.
But Barr’s long, detailed interview with Jan Crawford suggests the rot goes much deeper than a simple mania for untrammeled Executive power. Barr has drunk deep from the Fox News worldview of Trumpian paranoia.
It is hard to convey how far over the edge Barr has gone without reading the entire interview, which lasted an hour. But a few key comments illustrate the depth of his investment in Trump’s perspective.
Barr, as he has done repeatedly, provides a deeply misleading account of what Robert Mueller found. “He did not reach a conclusion,” he says. “He provided both sides of the issue, and … his conclusion was he wasn’t exonerating the president, but he wasn’t finding a crime either.”
As Mueller stated in the report and again at his press conference, he felt bound by a policy preventing him from charging the president with a crime, or even saying the president had committed a crime. Mueller’s view is that his job vis-à-vis presidential misconduct is to describe the behavior and leave it up to Congress to decide if it’s a crime. Several hundred former federal prosecutors have stated, and Mueller clearly signaled, the actions he described in the Mueller report are crimes, or would be if the president could be charged with a crime….
As far as Barr is concerned, Trump has done nothing wrong, and all the shredding of norms has been done against him, not by him. Trump’s calls to jail all his opponents, his non-stop lies, his demands to punish independent media and satirists, his open conviction that law enforcement should operate at his personal command and follow him loyally, not to mention the repeated obstruction of justice detailed by Mueller — none of it concerns Barr even slightly.