William Barr Deserves To Be The United States Attorney General . . . Again

Below is my column in USA Today on the nomination of Bill Barr and why he is precisely the type of figure who can bring stability to the long embattled Justice Department.

Here is the column:

Attorney General nominee Bill Barr is facing calls today for his rejection due to the release of a June 2018 memo where Barr expresses his views on the scope of existing laws as they related to the Mueller investigation. It would be a bad call for Congress and a worst call for our country in seeking out the best nominees for these positions. 

Call it his Ben Zobrist moment. A long critic of the use of umpires rather than electronic strike zones, Zobrist was thrown out in the ninth inning of a 2018 game against the Milwaukee Brewers after telling plate umpire Phil Cuzzi  “That’s why we want an electronic strike zone.” I will readily admit that I am a die-hard Cubs fan and that I agree with Zobrist in his public calls to replace home plate umpires. However, the view expressed by Zobrist hardly warranted his ejection and seemed to reflect more the sensitivity of the subject than the substance of the conduct.

Bill Barr is now facing the same questionable call at the plate. Despite his prior service as United States Attorney General and an impeccable career, Democrats are citing his previously stated views on the Special Counsel investigation as somehow disqualifying him from confirmation.

Barr has previously criticized former FBI Director James Comey for his violation of long-standing department policies during the 2016 presidential election. His objections were virtually identical to those stated by many Democratic members of Congress but also to a long list of former high-ranking Republican and Democratic Justice officials. Indeed, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein referenced those officials in a memo excoriating Comey for his “serious mistakes” and citing former federal judges, attorneys general, and leading prosecutors who believed that Comey “violated longstanding Justice Department policies and tradition.”

Barr has also noted that the Democratic contributions of members of the Mueller team are problematic for the Department in maintaining the appearance of the neutrality — a statement that seems unassailable and obvious.

Critics are now focusing on his criticism not of the Special Counsel investigation as a whole but the obstruction theory tied to the Comey firing. The latest issue involves a June 2018 memo that Barr wrote to Rosenstein as a former attorney general about the novel claims that he was reading about the use of obstruction laws in the Special Counsel investigation. 

As Rosenstein himself said yesterday, former Justice officials are often consulted or share their views with their colleagues and Barr is known as someone who likes to maintain active dialogues with friends and colleagues on legal issues. When you are invited to lunch with Barr, you can expect an intense discussion over some intricacy of the criminal code or constitutional precedent. Even at 68, Barr displays the same probing and insatiable intellect that made him a legend at George Washington law school and the D.C. bar. 

Dense analysis of legal issues

His idea of retirement is that he has endless time to run down any legal or constitutional issue. The June 2018 memo is quintessentially Bill Barr. It is a dense 19-page treatment of the statutory and constitutional issues touching on obstruction with dozens of citations and tight analysis covered decades of internal opinions and judicial precedent. It was also an issue that I had discussed with him in one of those legendary lunches.

Barr and I actually disagree on aspects of executive power. Barr is the product of the executive branch and holds a robust view of executive power as the driving force in our tripartite system. His natural default tends to be Article II and executive authority. 

I am a Madisonian scholar who views Congress as the thumping heart of that system and my natural default is Article I. That makes lunches interesting. Nevertheless, I found Barr’s memo quite compelling and insightful. He was arguing that the likely provision being relied upon by Mueller on obstruction would present serious legal problems if pushed to cover the known facts surrounding the Comey firing. On this point, we agree. I have previously written that I do not see how an actionable obstruction case can be made on the known facts related to the firing. Moreover, Mueller has hired prosecutors including Michael Dreeben and Andrew Weissmann who advanced a sweeping interpretation of obstruction of justice that led to an unanimous and costly loss at the Supreme Court.

In the memo, Barr correctly notes that Mueller has a serious problem in the fact that there was no directly applicable grand jury or formal proceeding pending at the time of the firing.  For that reason, Mueller would need to try to stretch one of the provisions, Section 1512(c)(2), to justify a demand for an interview with Trump on possible obstruction. Ironically, this provision raises many of the same issues from the Anderson prosecution in pushing the criminal code beyond prior interpretations or the presumed intent of the provision. The problem is that this provision has been used for cases of evidence impairment or destruction where there is an anticipated proceeding. Using the provision to potentially charge based on a president’s presumed intent behind an otherwise lawful use of authority would raise serious statutory and constitutional issues.

Barr disagrees with Trump legal team

It is worth noting that, in the same memo, Barr states categorically to Rosenstein that he rejects the arguments that a president cannot be charged with a crime in exercising presidential authority — a view voiced by some on Trump’s legal team. Barr expressly stated that he does believe that Trump can be charged with obstruction or related crimes if he destroys or alters evidence or suborns perjury or tampers with witnesses. He also rejects the motion that such enforcement of the laws would infringe on the president’s plenary power. 

The sharing of these thoughts was entirely proper and the ethics office at Justice found nothing wrong or disqualifying in the memo. Previous attorneys general have voiced strong opinions on legal and political issues of their day. Many held political positions prior to their confirmation or issued opinions as judges on a wide array of issues. They were all leaders in the field and that comes with voicing their views on the best interpretations and practices.

People like Barr feel deeply about the Justice Department as an institution. When they see a threat to that institution or the rule of law, they voice them. That is precisely why they are leaders. Ironically, while some of us address such issues in soundbites, Barr covered it in 19 single spaced pages and enough footnotes to qualify as an outline for a tenure piece. Far from disqualifying, it is precisely why Barr is the right person for this position. 

That brings to Ben Zobrist. One can understand why Zobrist’s comment to Cuzzi was ill-received, but it was an objection not the obstruction of the game. Removing one of the best players in the major leagues in the ninth inning did not make it a better game. We should not make that mistake in this confirmation. 

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY’s board of contributors. He represented former Attorney General William Barr with other former attorneys general during the Clinton impeachment litigation.

38 thoughts on “William Barr Deserves To Be The United States Attorney General . . . Again”

  1. To JT’s point about the Congress speaking with the highest authority among the 3 branches: While this might be so looking back on US history, for the past 8 years, we have witnessed the “do nothing” Congress as an ingrained pattern of clever evasions and daft sloganeering on issues, while relentlessly campaigning for re-election. I have serious doubts about the Senate. It is mired in arcane anti-democratic rules that concentrate power in the majority leader, a position not even named in the Constitution. This connivance (borne of each Senate’s power to hatch its own rules) leaves nobody responsible for the Senate’s productivity. I think the Founders, in making the VP the office who presides over the Senate, had in mind a powerful figure who could stand above the partisan bickering and bash heads to force compromise and responsiveness. With a party hack in charge, Bills passed in the House can be vetoed by the majority leader, never to see a floor vote. And, nobody can be pointed to as responsible for setting and keeping a legislative schedule. It’s dysfunction cleverly enshrined in the Rules.

    Now, with the Exec and Judicial branches willing to supercede an unproductive Congress, the shirking of Hill responsibility goes even less challenged. It might take a Constitutional Amendment (“Congressional Due Diligence Amendment”) that crosses out the word “Powers” given to Congress in Article I, and replaces it with “Responsibility”. And, some specific checks and balances on legislative timeliness, such as creating a productivity metric for Congress, and then randomly disqualifying 80% of members from reelection if the productivity level is 20%. The consequences for evasion of responsibility must go to re-electability to have any impact.

  2. First, Barr needs to explain what he was doing during the Iran-Coketra operation, specifically wrt allegations like these from former covert operative Chip Tatum, as well as similar allegations from former operatives Tosh Plumley and Terry Reed. (“William Barr – Bill Clinton 5,242.7 km, $100 MIL & DOPE” at Tore Says blog)

  3. Ice cream was available to royalty in 1553 but not generally available until the advent of insulated ice houses 300 years later.

  4. The Congress long ago gave up it’s role by farming out ‘responsibility’ to any and all others creating the Fourth Branch whose agencies have all the powers of the first three and The Judicial branch the same by failing to supervise and manage the antics of the circuit and appellate courts.

    Both shove responsibility over into the already bloated executive branch all to happy to seize and use these new and unimpeded powers. Until they are willing to make corrections not much can be done.

    However in this case the game plan is transparent.

    For how ever many are nominated.

    1. Find a reason no matter how ludicrous to vote no the nomination
    2. Line up the medias to beat the drums of rejection
    3. If there is no reason to vote no vote no anyway..
    4. Repeat as often as is necessary.
    5. Make fun of one of the valid methods which is to reject without comment.

    Now I like Five as it saves a lot of time when you get a candidate who is described as “as far to the center as I’m willing to go.’ Obama on his last nominee for SCOTUS.

    Then he quit – but it told the the Senate the dude wasn’t worth the trouble of the full process.

    Obama having had that nomination rejectred never did attempt another.

    But ‘fess up. Would you rather listen to Motor Mouth Harris or The Book of Thuggery Moments?

    And it, it meaning the committee play pretend interview, isn’t required. How the Senate decides to do nomination is their business. Open floor vote of the 100 on day one is just as valid as ‘ignoring’ the submission..

    But the cheap play acting is flip the channel time which is probably the reason for the cheap playacting. Even then some actors with talent would be welcome.

  5. An old New York Times article:

    Bush Pardons 6 in Iran Affair, Aborting a Weinberger Trial; Prosecutor Assails “Cover-Up”

    http://movies2.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/1224.html#article

    Excerpt:

    Throughout the deliberations, Mr. Bush consulted with Attorney General William P. Barr and Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser, who had sat on a Presidential review panel that examined the affair in early 1987.

    In lengthy Oval Office meetings in the last week, Mr. Bush and his advisers, none of whom offered a sharp dissent, discussed how to balance their desire to grant a pardon with their realization that such an act would almost certainly provoke hostility.

    In the end, Mr. Bush’s advisers decided he could surmount his critics by expressing, as did in his statement, his willingness to make public additional documents about the affair, like his statement to the prosecutors and Mr. Weinberger’s notes.

  6. TURLEY’S MYSTERY SOURCE IDENTIFIED: ‘CNN’

    Yesterday Professor Turley annoyed loyal Trump supporters by quoting “media reports” alleging that Donald Trump called Acting A.G. Mathew Whitaker to rage about developments in the Michael Cohen case. It appears that CNN broke that story on Friday. Though Professor Turley may have heard the allegations from his own sources as well.

    The following paragraphs are from that CNN report:

    Donald Trump has at least twice in the past few weeks vented to his acting attorney general, angered by federal prosecutors who referenced the President’s actions in crimes his former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

    Trump was frustrated, the sources said, that prosecutors Matt Whitaker oversees filed charges that made Trump look bad. None of the sources suggested that the President directed Whitaker to stop the investigation, but rather lashed out at what he felt was an unfair situation.

    The first known instance took place when Trump made his displeasure clear to acting attorney general Matt Whitaker after Cohen pleaded guilty November 29 to lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow. Whitaker had only been on the job a few weeks following Trump’s firing of Jeff Sessions.

    Over a week later, Trump again voiced his anger at Whitaker after prosecutors in Manhattan officially implicated the President in a hush-money scheme to buy the silence of women around the 2016 campaign — something Trump fiercely maintains isn’t an illegal campaign contribution. Pointing to articles he said supported his position, Trump pressed Whitaker on why more wasn’t being done to control prosecutors in New York who brought the charges in the first place, suggesting they were going rogue.

    The previously unreported discussions between Trump and Whitaker described by multiple sources familiar with the matter underscore the extent to which the President firmly believes the attorney general of the United States should serve as his personal protector. The episodes also offer a glimpse into the unsettling dynamic of a sitting president talking to his attorney general about investigations he’s potentially implicated in.

    Edited from: “Trump Lashed Out At Whitaker After Explosive Cohen Revelations”

    CNN, 12/21/18

  7. ANOTHER LOOK AT BARR’S MEMO

    BY FORMER A DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL

    The memo is a sophisticated piece of work by a serious student of executive power. In its tone and language, the memo is neither crass nor political, and it displays a level of pure legal chops that would be a remarkable attribute for an attorney general. At its heart is a tightly argued reading of a particular statutory provision that Barr surmises — he notes in the introduction that he is in the dark about many facts of the probe — was the likely basis for Mueller’s pursuit of possible obstruction of justice charges against the president. (That surmise strikes me as disputable, but the worrisome aspects of the memo do not really depend on it.)

    That statute, 18 U.S.C.§1512(c)(2), makes it a crime to obstruct, influence or impede any official proceeding. It is a sort of catch-all appendage to a provision directed at the destruction or alteration of evidence developed for use in an official proceeding. Barr’s core argument is that the particular provision requires an impairment of the availability or integrity of evidence, such as document shredding, for a crime to occur. It is not satisfied under his reading by other sorts of conduct that have the potential result of impeding an investigation, such as firing the head of the FBI.

    Barr further argues that the key term in the statute, “corruptly,” is very hard to pin down and therefore could impinge on legitimate exercises of presidential power. And he adds, “if a DOJ investigation is going to take down a democratically-elected President, it is imperative to the health of our system and to our national cohesion that any claim of wrongdoing is solidly based on evidence of a real crime — not a debatable one.” Fair points.

    There are substantial counter-arguments to Barr’s analysis — though he doesn’t spend a lot of time identifying and rebutting possible objections. But it is in fleshing out his statutory conclusion that Barr wanders into constitutional territory that I believe is dubious and, depending on very plausible courses of events in the coming year, alarming.

    Barr asserts that “defining facially-lawful exercises of Executive discretion as potential crimes, based solely on subjective motive, would violate Article II of the Constitution by impermissibly burdening the exercise of core discretionary powers within the Executive branch.” He later adds that “the President’s exercise of its Constitutional discretion is not subject to review for ‘improper motivations’ by lesser officials or by the courts.”

    Barr seems here to suggest that a president cannot commit a crime or violate the Constitution if he is exercising an enumerated executive power, such as appointment, removal or pardon. To date, I am aware of nobody other than Rudolph W. Giuliani and Alan Dershowitz who have advanced this view. It is a royalist mind-set that cannot be squared with the constitutional text and structure, important decisions of the Supreme Court, and our strongest shared intuitions about unconstitutional conduct (for example, the president’s removal of an official for reasons of rank racial prejudice).

    Barr is quick to allow for the possibility of congressional probing into the president’s motives as part of the political process of impeachment. But Congress can probe and call “impeachable” essentially any conduct it chooses. So that concession doesn’t address the critical constitutional question of whether and when a president can obstruct justice. And it is particularly unsatisfying when a Republican Senate seems content to abdicate any oversight of the president and generally to pretend there is nothing to oversee. (Of course, Barr’s point might be exactly that in such situations, the Constitution provides no further solution even to the most venal and criminal presidential misconduct.)

    It falls then to the Senate to question Barr closely on the core, and the outer limits, of these possible views. I can think of no state of affairs in which the speedy substitution of Barr for acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker is not desirable, even urgent. But I also can think of few prospects more terrifying than that the most corrupt president in U.S. history may never even be called to account — in the courts or Congress — because the Justice Department embraces a dubious constitutional vision that effectively places the president above the law.

    Edited from: “Barr’s Memo On Mueller Is Alarming And Constitutionally Dubious”

    Op-Ed by Harry Litman, Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General under Bill Clinton

    THE WASHINGTON POST, 12/21/18

    1. Benjamin Fulford? No please no
      Not a good source.
      Even the blog admits that Fulford’s info is interesting but often completely wrong.
      The particular citations in that blog post do not really prove anything AFAIK and the linked-to executive order is 636pp long. (double-spaced, but still.)
      A lot of people are just posting BS and linking to documents that they know none of their audience is going to read.

  8. Breaking News Sunday Morning:

    TRUMP WANTS MATTIS GONE BY NEW YEAR

    REPLACEMENT WILL BE FORMER BOEING EXECUTIVE

    President Trump, who aides said has been frustrated by news coverage of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s scathing resignation letter, abruptly announced Sunday that he was removing Mattis two months before his planned departure and installing Patrick Shanahan as acting defense secretary.

    Shanahan, a former Boeing executive who has been Mattis’s deputy at the Pentagon, will assume the top job on an acting capacity beginning Jan. 1, Trump said.

    Mattis resigned in protest last week after Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria — a move that Mattis and others on the national security team strongly counseled the president against.

    In his Thursday resignation letter, Mattis delivered a sharp rebuke of Trump’s worldview and cast the president’s foreign policy positions as a threat to the nation. Trump has complained to advisers about the brutal media commentary that ensued.

    Mattis said in his letter that he would resign his post on Feb. 28, to allow for a smooth transition to the next defense secretary. But Trump decided to hasten the process, announcing Sunday on Twitter that Shanahan would replace Mattis imminently.

    “I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019,” Trump wrote. “Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing. He will be great!”

    Edited from: “Trump Forces Mattis Out Two Months Early, Names Shanahan Acting Defense Secretary.

    Today’s WASHINGTON POST

    1. ACTING DEFENSE SECRETARY PATRICK SHANAHAN:

      spent 30 years at Boeing before being named Deputy Defense Secretary in March of 2017. His educational background looks pretty solid but Shanahan never served in the military. One might ask if we want a Defense Secretary who spent most of his career running one of the biggest Defense Contractors.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_M._Shanahan

  9. Ideally, Barr would draft plans to dissolve the Department of Justice and distribute its components among several successor departments and would draft plans to similarly dismantle the FBI. Another agreeable reform would be to scarify the federal criminal code. The ambo of federal criminal law should be more restricted than it is today. A third reform would be the investiture of an extradepartmental ombudsman to punish abusive prosecutors.

    1. ‘Dissolve the Justice Department’..?? That ‘is’ absurd! Like that needs to be our priority now??

      One imagines that terrorists would love to have the Justice Department (and FBI) scattered to the winds amid the upheaval of Trump’s administration. Barr, of course, will never stick around to oversee such a far-reaching project. Instead Barr will learn what Kelly, Mattis and Sessions learned: ‘Trump is impossible to work with’. Therefore Barr is likely to be gone by this time next year (assuming he gets confirmed).

      1. The Department itself has a corrupt institutional culture and requires a mass purge, particularly of people hired during the Holder / Lynch era.

        Of course, state and local governments distribute law enforcement functions among several departments as a matter of routine. No surprise that doesn’t occur to you.

        1. ‘Mass purge’, Tabby? And ‘who’ should want to replace those purged? No one with any talent will want to board a sinking ship. No one with ambitions beyond 2020 wants to link themselves with Donald Trump.

          ‘State and local governments distribute law enforcement amongst several departments’?? No they don’t! Municipal police departments, sheriffs and state police all have distinct jurisdictions. What’s more those jurisdictions don’t necessarily work in harmony. Quite often neighboring police departments squabble among each other. Not all departments are equal. Some pay more than others and require more education.

          1. ‘Mass purge’, Tabby? And ‘who’ should want to replace those purged? No one with any talent will want to board a sinking ship. No one with ambitions beyond 2020 wants to link themselves with Donald Trump.

            Just read out the talking points and tap your Ruby slippers.

            ‘State and local governments distribute law enforcement amongst several departments’?? No they don’t! Municipal police departments, sheriffs and state police all have distinct jurisdictions.

            No, they have distinct functions, Peter. And, of course, the district attorney, corporation counsel, state attorney-general, local coroner, and state commissioner of prisons are distinct from them all.

    2. Very good idea!
      What does the DOJ even do anymore that’s both essential AND Constitutional?
      The Constitution makes three federal crimes.
      Investigation and prosecution of those three crimes probably takes up an infinitesimal part of DOJ resources. (In the case of counterfeiting, Secret Service actually investigates AFAIK.)
      Some past and present DOJ officials, it seems, are guilty of at least one of those three crimes.
      Dissolve DOJ, keep USAs and govt attorneys under Office of the AG to continue taking out fedgov trash, transfer other personnel who are clean (per IG), competent and performing essential duties, such as CI, back into eventual successor department or transfer to civilian work for military.
      FBI was a mistake from day 1. Constitution authorizes no such agency. If States want to share info/ cooperate on interstate crime, they should create an interstate compact, just as local police have intergovernmental agreements.
      Really, though, we could get rid of an awful lot of federal “crime” and associated violent crime by repealing Prohibition — rather, recognizing it is and always has been unconstitutional and illegal.

    3. That is a good idea — HOWEVER! Barr is an extremely sketchy character who, it’s alleged, was part of some really bad stuff.
      Enough is known and substantiated about his participation in Iran-Coketra that he’s not owed the benefit of the doubt.
      He needs to refute allegations such as these from former covert operative Chip Tatum (“William Barr – Bill Clinton 5,242.7 km, $100 MIL & DOPE” at Tore Says blog), as well as similar allegations from former operatives Tosh Plumley and Terry Reed (Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA).

  10. I was working my job as bar tender at the Bright Bar last night when one of the women sitting at the bar in a short skirt revealed, not by word of mouth, but by view, that she preferred to bar views. Well. A bar fliy flew over and upset the pizza laying out on the bar and the people at the end of the bar had decided to leave. In came some TV person who had a grudge against Wm. Barr and began complaining at the bar about how far the discussion had gone bar none.

  11. 1st strike, any body picked for a position by the fascist idiot rascist in chief should be rejected out of hand. If the were competent they would not be picked. A bit more from Alliance for Justice:
    “BARR WILL NOT BE INDEPENDENT OF PRESIDENT TRUMP OR RESTRAIN TRUMP’S ATTACKS ON THE RULE OF LAW

    THREAT TO THE MUELLER INVESTIGATION

    Barr authored a controversial memo attacking part of the Mueller investigation. In June 2018, Barr sent the Department of Justice a lengthy memo arguing that Mueller shouldn’t be able to investigate Trump for obstruction of justice. The memo, which Barrreportedly shared with the White House as well, raises serious concerns that Barr thinks Trump should be above the law.

    Barr has already been asked to defend President Trump in the Mueller investigation. President Trump repeatedly criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for failing to rein in Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and clearly a priority for the president isappointing an individual to lead the Justice Department who will protect him from investigations. President Trump has reportedly asked Barr in the past whether he would serve as Trump’s personal defense attorney and has inquired whether Barr, like Sessions,would recuse himself from the Mueller investigation.

    Barr is already on record minimizing the seriousness of allegations surrounding Trump and Russia. In reference to a supposed Clinton uranium scandal that gained traction in right-wing conspiracy circles, it was reported that “Mr. Barr said he sees morebasis for investigating the uranium deal than any supposed collusion between Mr. Trump and Russia.”

    Barr is highly skeptical of independent investigations. When he was Attorney General, Barr reportedly considered firing Lawrence Walsh, then the independent counsel investigating the Iran- Contra scandal. Bob Woodward reported Barr as saying in 1992 “I’vehad an itchy finger” in the context of his stating that he had been thinking about firing Walsh for the previous 18 months. Barr has also said, “Frankly, I don’t think prosecutors should be independent.” Barr criticized the independent counsel statute in effectat the time, including the Supreme Court decision that upheld the statute.

    Barr played a key role in controversial Iran-Contra pardons. After an independent prosecutor was appointed to investigate the Iran-Contra scandal, President George H.W. Bush pardoned several members of his administration in a move that the independentprosecutor assailed as a cover-up. Reporting at the time indicated that Barr played a key role in the controversial pardons.

    Barr would likely be skeptical of Congress’s power to protect Mueller. In a 1989 Office of Legal Counsel memo, Barr called on the president to resist “congressional incursions” into the president’s appointment power and advocated “vigorous opposition” to limitations on the president’s power to remove officials, which would be precisely the issue should Trump try to fire Mueller.

    LOYALTY WILL LIE WITH TRUMP

    Barr supported Trump’s decision to fire James Comey. Trump has insisted on personal loyalty from law enforcement officials. When Comey would not pledge his personal loyalty to the President, Trump fired him. Barr authored a May 12, 2017 op-ed titled “Trumpmade the right call on Comey.”

    Barr heavily criticized Sally Yates’s decision to follow the Constitution rather than succumb to President Trump’s agenda. When Yates directed Department of Justice lawyers not to defend the original discriminatory Muslim Ban (which was struck down bymultiple courts), Barr heavily criticized Yates’s decision. Barr authored a February 1, 2017 op-ed where he argued that “[h]er action was unprecedented and must go down as a serious abuse of office.”

    Barr sees nothing wrong with the president calling for an investigation of his political opponents and believes that Hillary Clinton should be investigated. When Trump pressured the Department of Justice to open an investigation into Hillary Clinton, Barrsaid, “There is nothing inherently wrong about a president calling for an investigation.” In another interview, Barr said, “I don’t think all this stuff about throwing [Clinton] in jail or jumping to the conclusion that she should be prosecuted is appropriate. . . but I do think that there are things that should be investigated that haven’t been investigated.”

    EXPANSIVE VIEWS OF EXECUTIVE POWER

    Barr pushed back on congressional efforts to ban torture. During President George W. Bush’s administration, Barr testified, “This administration says they’re not going to engage in torture, but they will engage in coercive interrogation, and I’m not sureif it would be helpful for Congress to try to figure out what exactly constitutes torture and what’s coercion under the circumstances.”

    Barr believed President Trump could legally issue his first Muslim Ban. In fact, the ban was struck down by multiple courts, and the Trump Administration itself ultimately revised the ban.

    Barr reportedly played a role in approving a bulk data collection program. He also supported immunity for tech companies that helped violate Americans’ civil liberties.

    BARR WILL ROLL BACK CIVIL RIGHTS

    TROUBLING VIEWS ON IMMIGRATION

    As AG, Barr focused on aggressive immigration enforcement. He later argued that “[o]ne of the biggest problems we have with immigration . . . is the abuse of the asylum laws.” During Barr’s tenure, the George H.W. Bush administration also attempted toprevent Haitian asylum-seekers from reaching U.S. shores. After the Rodney King riots in LA, Barr stated in a 1992 interview that “The problem of immigration enforcement–making sure we have a fair set of rules and then enforce them–I think that’s certainlyrelevant to the problems we’re seeing in Los Angeles.”

    OPPOSES REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

    Barr has called for overturning the landmark decision protecting a woman’s right to abortion care. Barr stated, “I believe Roe v. Wade should be overruled.”

    PROBLEMATIC VIEWS ON LGBTQ RIGHTS

    Barr has spoken disparagingly of LGBTQ Americans and has fought LGBTQ equality. He has expressed his view that “[v]enereal disease is the price that we pay for sexual licentiousness.” While at DOJ, Barr reportedly led the effort to maintain a policy preventingHIV-positive non- citizens from entering the country. Barr was also reportedly a proponent of keeping HIV-positive Haitians housed at Guantanamo Bay, even though they were approved for asylum in the U.S. In 2018, Barr praised Jeff Sessions’ decision to rescindguidance protecting transgender Americans.

    LEGACY OF OVER INCARCERATION

    Barr served as attorney general during the so-called War on Drugs, which disproportionately impacted communities of color. Notably, he wrote a report titled “The Case for More Incarceration.” In a 1992 speech, Barr said, “The choice is clear. More prisonspace or more crime.” He also opposed the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 and applauded Jeff Sessions’ decision to revert to harsh charging policies.

    BARR SUPPORTS THE WEALTHY AND POWERFUL OVER ALL AMERICANS

    ATTACKED CRITICAL CONSUMER PROTECTIONS

    Barr has opposed a free and open internet. As general counsel for Verizon, Barr, who received over $10 million from Verizon in 2009, opposed net neutrality.

    Barr advocated for TimeWarner’s merger with AT&T. The Justice Department he is nominated to head said the merger would harm consumers.

    Barr opposed critical protections for investors. He attacked legislation Congress put in place after the Enron and WorldCom scandals.

    SIGNED A BRIEF OPPOSING THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

    In his capacity as a former attorney general, Barr signed a brief challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Had he been successful, health care for millions would have been jeopardized.”

    America needs a real Attorney General, not the fascist’s Amerika version of a so-called Attorney General..

    1. While it sounds like Mr Barr is on the wrong side of many important issues, Professor Turley’s description suggests that Mr Barr, nevertheless has a highly functional brain. We may never know which side of an issue is the “correct” side when intelligent people are on both sides, but we definitely know that Mr Trump is burdened with dysfunctional thinking and dysfunctional behavior. Perhaps even being wrong on the issues, Barr can still do a decent job of babysitting Mr Trump until he resigns or is impeached.

      1. No one with any knowledge of civics gives a damn about being impeached. It’s on the same level as purportedly, reportedly and alleged.

    2. Gosh and I thought his main problems were merely an obsession with jailing harmless pot smokers and the bedroom behaviors of consenting adults.

    3. Sgtsabi, trying to prove facts and truth to some on this site will not work. No matter how dangerous this POTUS is and will be, they will go down with the ship. And JT is working himself into the corner with Rudy G. and others that will in the end have no credibility or standing with the facts or truth.

  12. How did we not know you were a Cubs fan???? I think if they old Barr over to the new Senate he is a shoe-in. Flake is gone, McSally will replace Kyl for 2 years. We now have our first openly bi-sexual Senator, and from Arizona. And people call us backwards. Gee, golly, Miss Molly. Pelosi is going to be herding cats as everyone scramble for mic time.

  13. America needs an Attorney General who will actually perform the job and with the strength and integrity to clean house at DOJ and FBI. I hope he is such a man.

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