President Donald Trump arrives with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr to speak about the census in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Well, this is somewhat big news. Multiple outlets are now reporting that Attorney General Bill Barr is threatening to quit over President Trump’s tweets. Earlier today, Trump had signaled that he understood Barr’s frustration, but just hours later, he had sent another tweet criticizing the judge in the Roger Stone case.
BREAKING: Attorney General Barr Considering Quitting DOJ Because Of Trump https://t.co/ZIQMXPalSD
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) February 19, 2020
Attorney General William Barr has told people close to him that he’s considering resigning from his role at the Department of Justice because of President Donald Trump’s decision to continue tweeting about department matters which he says undermine his role.
Assuming this is true, this will obviously bring about sharply divergent opinions within the conservative community. A lot of Trump supporters are going to look at this and say good riddance. They like the tweeting and are unhappy with the DOJ’s decision to not prosecute Andrew McCabe. While Barr has talked a good game and set the Durham investigation in motion, patience has begun to run out as collusion hoaxers and FBI officials who abused their power continue to bloviate on CNN every night with no repercussions for their past actions.
With that said, what Republicans want to happen and what’s possible do not also coincide. The McCabe prosecution, for example, appears to have been botched (perhaps purposely) by careerists. There are also indications the grand jury refused to bring back an indictment. Meanwhile, the Durham investigation is still ongoing, so it would be prudent to wait for the results before accusing Barr of not bringing accountability.
My opinion is that Trump does not need this right now. It’s an election year and there’s a 0.0% chance that the President is able to get another AG confirmed. Sure, he could appoint an acting one, but that person would have no clout inside the DOJ and face roadblock after roadblock. The only possible path to justice is to let Barr finish his work. Having him quit over pointless tweeting would be really, really stupid and a self-inflicted wound. Further, nothing is more important to Trump’s goal of reforming these agencies than winning re-election. That should be the priority.
On the other hand, it’s also possible this report is nonsense or was planted by Barr to send a message without having any intention of following through.
The WaPo reporter – @mattzap – pushing the Barr quitting story…
Is the same reporter who lied that the altered Carter Page FISA evidence (CIA/Clinesmith) didn't affect the validity of the FISA application.
— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) February 19, 2020
Addressing Beltway rumors: The Attorney General has no plans to resign.
— Kerri Kupec DOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) February 19, 2020
I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle. I doubt Barr will actually resign, but I do believe he’s actually bothered and feeling boxed in by the continued undermining coming from the President’s Twitter account. I really hope any signals being sent by Barr are just a brush-back move and that all this gets worked out. It’s really not that much to ask for Trump to lay off attacking judges presiding over DOJ cases. If it were effective, that’d be one thing, but doing so is only hurting the President and the cases he’s commenting on. For example, it’s very likely Roger Stone gets more time in prison now because Trump interjected himself.
Here’s the simple answer to all of this, whether Barr is really upset about the tweets or not. If Trump doesn’t like how a judge decides a case or feels there was an injustice, he has the power to pardon. Use it if necessary, give Barr room to work in the meantime, and everyone wins in the end.