Attorney General William Barr has been taking incoming fire from all sides lately. Democrats have called for his resignation and have accused him of doing Trump’s dirty work, and many Republicans have slowly lost faith in him as time passes.
Now, President Trump is defying him as well. Trump hasn’t directly attacked him, but he has publicly ignored Barr’s request that the president refrain from tweeting about ongoing court cases.
Last week, during an interview with ABC, Barr said News that “I think it’s time to stop tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases. Public statements and tweets made about the department, about our people in the department, our men and women, about cases pending in the department, and about judges before whom we have cases, make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we’re doing out work with integrity.”
Trump didn’t listen. The New York Times reported: “Defying Mr. Barr’s pleas, the president renewed his public attacks on law enforcement on Tuesday, denouncing the prosecutors, judge, and jury forewoman in the case of his longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr. and defending his convicted former adviser Michael T. Flynn against Mr. Trump’s own Justice Department.”
In response, Barr seems to be giving consideration to resigning. The Washington Post reported that Barr has told people close to the president he was considering leaving over Trump’s tweets, which have continued unabated since Barr addressed them last week.
The Justice Department, however, has denied that Barr is considering leaving. Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said that he “has no plans to resign.”
I, for one, hope he doesn’t resign. It would be a shame if he did. Barr has been a terrific Attorney General and I would argue the best AG since Ed Meese (who served during the Reagan Administration). Attorney General Barr has consistently upheld the rule of law, handling the Mueller Report and subsequent fallout from the report in a professional matter with adherence to the law.
He has launched investigations into the origins of the Russia probe and the Jeffrey Epstein mystery. He is well-respected in the legal community and deserves better treatment than what he has been receiving. This is Barr’s second time serving as Attorney General. He was also the AG during the George H.W. Bush Administration, and he served with equal distinction.
Writing for The Hill, Law Professor Johnathan Turley penned an op-ed defending Barr’s handling of the Roger Stone sentencing guidelines. Turley wrote, “many media analysts and legal experts ignored one relevant point, which is that Barr was correct. Justice Department prosecutors were wildly off base in their initial draconian recommendation of seven to nine years in prison for Stone. It was on the high end of the sentencing guidelines range, but only because prosecutors “stacked” counts against Stone, who is generally viewed as a clownish political provocateur. This time, what he has called his “performance art” went too far.”
President Trump should adhere to some of the advice given to him by his attorney general. Barr has done an admirable job as his AG. It would be a sad day for the rule of law in this country if he were to step down. This controversy is unnecessary.