“Very Dangerous and Indeed Incendiary”: Barr Gives Controversial Speech To Federalist Society

I have long defended Attorney Bill Barr, who I believe has been unfairly criticized for his handling of the Mueller Report and other issues. However, despite my continued respect and long association with Attorney General Barr, I believe that he has been rightfully criticized for his speech at the Federalist Society last Friday. It is absurd for some to call for his impeachment, but the fiery political speech was in my view inappropriate and ill-advised for an attorney general. Indeed, given this difficult and historical period for the Department, the speech itself could fit Barr’s description of an “incendiary” moment for our system. This is a time where the Attorney General should strive to stay above the political fray — not contribute to it.

Barr drew the legitimate criticism for this portion of the speech to the largely conservative legal audience:

Unfortunately through the past few years we have seen these conflicts take on an entirely new character. Immediately after President Trump won election, opponents inaugurated what they called ‘The Resistance’ and they rallied around an explicit strategy of using every tool and maneuver to sabotage the functioning of the executive branch and his administration. The fact of the matter is: that in waging a scorched earth, no holds-barred war of resistance against this administration, it is the left that is engaged in the systemic shredding of norms and undermining the rule of law. . .

This is a very dangerous and indeed incendiary notion to import into the politics of a Democratic republic. The fact is, that, yes, while the president has certainly thrown out the traditional beltway playbook and punctilio, he was upfront about what he was going to do and the people decided that he was going to serve as president.”

There is no need for the Attorney General to engage in such political discourse. That is particularly important at this critical historical period when a president is facing what appears a likely impeachment. Moreover, the Justice Department is not just investigating aspects of the 2016 election (including the criminal investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham) but also investigating Trump counsel Rudy Giuliani. Given those investigations, this is a particularly bad time for such comments (even if one could think of any good time).

Of course, no sooner had Barr committed this unforced error, critics on the other side rushed to prove his point. Former White House Ethics Counsel Richard Painter tweeted “Another lunatic authoritarian speech as Barr goes from attacking ‘radical secularists ‘ [at Notre Dame Law School] to one month later attacking the ‘resistance’ at [the Federalist Society]. Impeach Barr now!” He then added “Bill Barr is the type of bare knuckles lawyer the Church would have hired thirty years ago to cover up sex abuse cases. The bishop would have been someone like Rep. Jim Jordan. Neither of these men belong anywhere near the impeachment inquiry.”

This is an outrageous statement that is not only wrong as a constitutional matter but grossly unfair as a personal matter. It is not an impeachable offense for a cabinet member to criticize what he views as a destructive political environment or obstructionist environment. I do not think it is wise but it is ridiculous to suggest that the speech constitutes impeachable conduct. The added insult that Barr would “cover up” child abuse for the church so just how unhinged and unfair our political discourse has become. Barr is a deeply religious person and a Catholic. However, no one has ever suggested that he would cover up the rape of children for the Church.

I have previously disagreed with the overextended and unsupported claims of critics on allegedly clear criminal violations by President Donald Trump, including past statements by Painter. This includes this suggestion that simply doing fundraisers for fellow Republicans is impeachable bribery. These comments however are far beyond the pale even in this age of rage.

165 thoughts on ““Very Dangerous and Indeed Incendiary”: Barr Gives Controversial Speech To Federalist Society”

  1. “There is no need for the Attorney General to engage in such political discourse. That is particularly important at this critical historical period when a president is facing what appears a likely impeachment.”
    ****************
    JT’s words are, of course, those of the prudent practitioner attempting to fly the middle position between two vociferous birds of prey attempting to keep the group in flight even as they tear at each other. In my view and apparently that of AG Barr, it is not in keeping with the times when positions have hardened so much so that a choice must be made. We are at a juncture where one side must prevail and history must have its champion.

    I recall a resident of Hanover County faced with a similar choice some years ago who, at a meeting at a church here in Richmond resolved the case another way. His words always bear repeating and not just the famous last line:

    𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘤𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘺. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘲𝘶𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘣𝘦𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘏𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘢𝘸𝘧𝘶𝘭 𝘮𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘺. 𝘍𝘰𝘳 𝘮𝘺 𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵, 𝘐 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘵 𝘢𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘢 𝘲𝘶𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘧𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘰𝘮 𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘭𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺; 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘨𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘥𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘣𝘫𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘰𝘮 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘣𝘢𝘵𝘦. 𝘐𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘩𝘰𝘱𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘵𝘩, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘶𝘭𝘧𝘪𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘎𝘰𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘺. 𝘚𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘐 𝘬𝘦𝘦𝘱 𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘮𝘺 𝘰𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘵 𝘴𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘢 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦, 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘧𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦, 𝘐 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘮𝘺𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧 𝘢𝘴 𝘨𝘶𝘪𝘭𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘰𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘴 𝘮𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘺, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘤𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘭𝘰𝘺𝘢𝘭𝘵𝘺 𝘵𝘰𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘫𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘯, 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘐 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘩𝘭𝘺 𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴.

    𝘔𝘳. 𝘗𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵, 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘭 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘶𝘭𝘨𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘩𝘰𝘱𝘦. 𝘞𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘱𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘩𝘶𝘵 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘦𝘺𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘵 𝘢 𝘱𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘧𝘶𝘭 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘵𝘩, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘴𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘴𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘴 𝘶𝘴 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘴. 𝘐𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘦 𝘮𝘦𝘯, 𝘦𝘯𝘨𝘢𝘨𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘶𝘰𝘶𝘴 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘨𝘨𝘭𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘭𝘪𝘣𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘺? 𝘈𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘦 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘶𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘰, 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘦𝘺𝘦𝘴, 𝘴𝘦𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵, 𝘢𝘯𝘥, 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴, 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘯𝘰𝘵, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘴𝘰 𝘯𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘳𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘵𝘦𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘢𝘭 𝘴𝘢𝘭𝘷𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯? 𝘍𝘰𝘳 𝘮𝘺 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵, 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘶𝘪𝘴𝘩 𝘰𝘧 𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘮𝘢𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘴𝘵, 𝘐 𝘢𝘮 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘵𝘩; 𝘵𝘰 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘴𝘵, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘪𝘵.

    (…)

    𝘐𝘧 𝘸𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘩 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘪𝘧 𝘸𝘦 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘷𝘪𝘰𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘭𝘦𝘨𝘦𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘴𝘰 𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘧 𝘸𝘦 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘯 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘣𝘢𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘣𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘨𝘨𝘭𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘴𝘰 𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘦𝘯𝘨𝘢𝘨𝘦𝘥, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘥𝘨𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘯𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘣𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘯 𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘭𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘴 𝘰𝘣𝘫𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘦 𝘰𝘣𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘥, 𝘸𝘦 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘧𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵! 𝘐 𝘳𝘦𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘵, 𝘴𝘪𝘳, 𝘸𝘦 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘧𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵!

    ~Patrick Henry, St. John’s Church, Richmond, Virginia
    March 23, 1775.

    1. I feel hardly any hope of composing such great words as our founders & I’ve seen no one I would trust to change even a single comma from the nation’s founder’s words.

      My wife & I just feel lucky we had at least 6 relatives that presented themselves on the battle field under Henry, risked & won.

      But I am smart enough to point out to everyone in denial, even Turley, we as a nation built on individual freedoms, not Totalitarianism, may have already lost our people’s future freedom because they were to Stupid to see the Conspiracy right in front of their faces.

      The below clip is just one vector we all are under life threatening attack by the idiots, the schools( I repeat myself, Idiots), govt & the medical community with the Lies that their Vaccines are Safe & Effective & yet P Turley, the Commie Media, Congress for their part say not a damn thing.

      The piece of the clip starts at around 44.30 in & lasts a few minutes. As you can all see, this just one of Millions of vaccine injuries where the kid may have been better off just have a major league ball player smack in the head full power with a ball bat.

      You wonder what in the hell is wrong with wackos in the world, in the news caught doing weird crap? Much of it starts here & then some get on drugs attempt to fix how they are feeling inside from the vax affects.

      https://banned.video/watch?id=5dce2574602765001e0d6a6a

  2. I read Mr. Barr’s speech and while there are things he said I don’t necessarily agree with, for the most part he hit the nail on the head. By the way, Attorney Generals work FOR THE PRESIDENT as do every other cabinet member. His primary role before the Grant Administration when he was turned into a KKK hunter (after the KKK had disbanded) was to defend the United States government in suits.

  3. Appears AG Barr was correct. Infowars has been breaking WH news today of “Latest attempted assassination” of President Trump. The claim is a Trump food tester got sick over the weelend so Trump went to the hospital & tested positive for some sort of poison.

    https://www.newswars.com/trump-tested-for-deliberate-poisoning-of-food-with-time-delayed-chemical-agent-white-house-source/

    Since Infowars, the WH, others have broke this the Domestic Enemies of the US people, Abc, CBS, NBC, PBS, etc., & the Foreign Enemies of the US, Wapo, NYT, CNN, MSNBC, etc., will most likely have to cover it tomorrow.

      1. Oky1 – berry funny. However, I did here that Trump might have been poisoned, along with one of his tasters.

  4. If Barr had any principles and truly believes in the unitary executive and the imperial presidency and the President had unchallengeable powers, where was he when Obama’s constitutional powers were taken away by the Senate’s actions of not having hearings on a Supreme Court nominee? Where was he when partisans took after Clinton lying about a personal affair? Under Barr’s rules the President had every right to do want he wanted without question. But on this site, it’s ok for trump to break the law, but not them. Those Presidents were held accountable and accused of everything under the sun, but when facts come out under a proven liar and con-man and there’s more to follow, that’s fine, nothing to see here move on. Barr has no principles, nor has this President. As long as they hold power. The tune will change under another president.

    1. FishWings Barr believes in the Constitution.

      What Constitutional powers were removed from Obama? If anything Obama stepped over the line and abused the Constitution multiple times. I don’t expect an answer because you don’t have any. Keep sputtering on this blog. You demonstrate your ignorance everytime you post providing the ability of some others on the blog to realize they may not be the dumbest on the blog.

    2. FishWings says, Obama was held accountable??? Is that a joke??

      FishWings says, “when facts come out”….as if….is that a joke??

      FishWings says, “Barr has no principles”….is that a joke?

      WTF is wrong with you??

  5. The statements quoted in the article here are not offensive at all. Nor are they mean or degrading or offensive.

    1. Not attacking or wanting to offend, BUT 🙂

      Sometimes Mr. Turley reminds me of Neville Chamberlin. NC seems like he was trying to be on both sides at the same time. Placation of a serious enemy while trying to please that enemy’s opposition just doesn’t work.

      In these trying times it is obvious that the United States of America as we were founded is under serious attack from within and largely financed from without. One is either on the side of those doing the attacking or the side that is being attacked.

      In short, one is FOR the New World Order and their world government ambitions OR stands up to protect the USA as we were founded. Conservatives are not hiding our ‘warts’ and mistakes while we acknowledge the good and great things we have done around the world to benefit people in other nations.

      Trying to stand in the middle with a hand reaching out to two opposing sides at the same time….not as an intercessor, but as one of a double mind…waiting to see who wins…hoping to be embraced by the victor, no matter who the winner is…

      To me that kind of middle ground is not a good place to be. A post I left below gives a bit of insight into what I mean and why I said this.

      SamFox

  6. “…The fiery political speech was in my view inappropriate and ill-advised for an attorney general.”

    “This is a time where the Attorney General should strive to stay above the political fray — not contribute to it.”

    – Professor Turley
    _______________

    This is a time when the Constitution and Bill of Rights have been nullified and the principles of communism imposed by direct and mortal enemies of America (i.e. democrats, liberals, socialists, progressives-cum-communists). This is a time when the FBI, CIA, NSA, DNI, DIA, etc. stand corrupted and the former president conducts a coup d’etat to “…fundamentally transform the Untied States of America…” but Professor Turley implores and expounds on the need for restraint.
    _______

    “That dudn’t make any sense.”

    – George W. Bush
    _______________

    I, for one, am euphoric that Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Hamilton, Adams, Henry, Payne, Mason et al. engaged in “…fiery political speech…” and acted boldly to annihilate the dictatorship of the monarchy and provide maximal freedom to individuals while severely limiting and restricting government to its prescribed role of facilitating that freedom through the provision only of security and infrastructure.
    ___________

    “If not now, when?”

    “If not (Barr), who?”

    – Hillel the Elder

    1. What we see the deep state doing these days has been planned & underway for a very long time. The ultimate goal is a one world government.

      Anyone ever read the book, None Dare Call It Treason? If you haven’t you can’t call me any names. What was predicted in the book to be implemented by the deep state & foisted on We The People & our Federal Government has been done.

      When the book, and others like it were written, what we call ‘the deep state’ now, was called ‘communists in government, education, media, entertainment…’ & so on then.

      https://www.constitutionparty.com/none-dare-call-it-treason-50-years-later-the-vision-of-john-a-stormer/

      One difference I personally assert–we are not dealing with ‘communists’ underneath the shield of that term. I think we are dealing with satanists (at the higher levels) & those they control &/or influence.

      Here is one example of the ‘older school’ deep state–

      SamFox

  7. Bill Barr’s Federalist Sequel: The attorney general channels Madison and Hamilton.

    https://www.city-journal.org/william-barr-constitution

    Energized by its impeachment of President Richard Nixon and his consequent resignation over Watergate, Congress has steadily encroached on presidential power, Barr observed. But after Donald Trump’s election, that encroachment made a quantum leap. Trump’s “opponents launched what they called ‘The Resistance,’” which uses “every tool and maneuver available to sabotage the functioning of his Administration,” as if his presidency were “not legitimate,” and his opponents were an “insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power.” A prime example is the abuse of the Senate’s advice-and-consent power, now wielded not to reject unqualified candidates but to hinder the formation of a functioning government. Senate Democrats have so drawn out the confirmation process for almost all nominees that the Republican majority has invoked cloture, cutting off delaying debate, 236 times since Trump’s inauguration, as opposed to 17 times during Barack Obama’s first term, and four times in the first term of George W. Bush.

  8. Well, ya did it this time JT, you told trump enablers some truth about Barr. Don’t you know they have no interest in facts? It screws with their confirmation bias, motivated theory and cognitive dissonance. Now if you were to whip up some Hillary story, then they would have your back.

  9. This is a time where the Attorney General should strive to stay above the political fray — not contribute to it.

    Bill Barr referenced the Framers especially Hamilton, Madison and Jefferson, plus Article II of the US Constitution. Of course that would be an impeachable offense to the collective Left esp Pelosi and Schiff. He also trashed the French. Good man! As for Painter being an Ethicist, thats like saying Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi are Catholic.

    https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-william-p-barr-delivers-19th-annual-barbara-k-olson-memorial-lecture

    The consensus for a strong, independent Executive arose from the Framers’ experience in the Revolution and under the Articles of Confederation. They had seen that the War had almost been lost and was a bumbling enterprise because of the lack of strong Executive leadership. Under the Articles of Confederation, they had been mortified at the inability of the United States to protect itself against foreign impositions or to be taken seriously on the international stage.

    From these practical experiences, the Framers had come to appreciate that, to be successful, Republican government required the capacity to act with energy, consistency and decisiveness. They had come to agree that those attributes could best be provided by making the Executive power independent of the divided counsels of the Legislative branch and vesting the Executive power in the hands of a solitary individual, regularly elected for a limited term by the Nation as a whole. As Jefferson put it, ‘[F]or the prompt, clear, and consistent action so necessary in an Executive, unity of person is necessary….”

    …Executive power includes the responsibility for carrying into effect the laws passed by the Legislature – that is, applying the general rules to a particular situation. But the Framers understood that Executive power meant more than this.

    It also entailed the power to handle essential sovereign functions – such as the conduct of foreign relations and the prosecution of war – which by their very nature cannot be directed by a pre-existing legal regime but rather demand speed, secrecy, unity of purpose, and prudent judgment to meet contingent circumstances. They agreed that – due to the very nature of the activities involved, and the kind of decision-making they require – the Constitution generally vested authority over these spheres in the Executive. For example, Jefferson, our first Secretary of State, described the conduct of foreign relations as “Executive altogether,” subject only to the explicit exceptions defined in the Constitution, such as the Senate’s power to ratify Treaties.

    A related, and third aspect of Executive power is the power to address exigent circumstances that demand quick action to protect the well-being of the Nation but on which the law is either silent or inadequate – such as dealing with a plague or natural disaster. This residual power to meet contingency is essentially the federative power discussed by Locke in his Second Treatise.

    And, finally, there are the Executive’s powers of internal management. These are the powers necessary for the President to superintend and control the Executive function, including the powers necessary to protect the independence of the Executive branch and the confidentiality of its internal deliberations. Some of these powers are expressed in the Constitution, such as the Appointment power, and others are implicit, such as the Removal power.

    One of the more amusing aspects of modern progressive polemic is their breathless attacks on the “unitary executive theory.” They portray this as some new-fangled “theory” to justify Executive power of sweeping scope. In reality, the idea of the unitary executive does not go so much to the breadth of Presidential power. Rather, the idea is that, whatever the Executive powers may be, they must be exercised under the President’s supervision. This is not “new,” and it is not a “theory.” It is a description of what the Framers unquestionably did in Article II of the Constitution.

    After you decide to establish an Executive function independent of the Legislature, naturally the next question is, who will perform that function? The Framers had two potential models. They could insinuate “checks and balances” into the Executive branch itself by conferring Executive power on multiple individuals (a council) thus dividing the power. Alternatively, they could vest Executive power in a solitary individual. The Framers quite explicitly chose the latter model because they believed that vesting Executive authority in one person would imbue the Presidency with precisely the attributes necessary for energetic government. Even Jefferson – usually seen as less of a hawk than Hamilton on Executive power – was insistent that Executive power be placed in “single hands,” and he cited the America’s unitary Executive as a signal feature that distinguished America’s success from France’s failed republican experiment.

    The implications of the Framers’ decision are obvious. If Congress attempts to vest the power to execute the law in someone beyond the control of the President, it contravenes the Framers’ clear intent to vest that power in a single person, the President. So much for this supposedly nefarious theory of the unitary executive.

    1. i didn’t see where he attacked the French at all. The French President has even stronger powers than the US one does.

      Barr would never cite it but “Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy” and the “Concept of the Political” by Carl Schmitt are squarely on point in understanding where we are at this juncture

      1. “ Even Jefferson – usually seen as less of a hawk than Hamilton on Executive power – was insistent that Executive power be placed in “single hands,” and he cited the America’s unitary Executive as a signal feature that distinguished America’s success from France’s failed republican experiment.”

        It was in my original post as well as the speech to which I included the link

        Its a long read but well worth anything else on the Net these days. Barr is teaching us a great deal about the Framers

  10. Are you kidding me? The AG should absolutely prosecute: those who lie under oath (McCabe, Comey, Brennan, etc), those who abuse of power of the government (FISA lies by Ohr, Steele, etc); anarchists who attempt to take down a democratically and constitutionally elected Presiden; fascists who attempt to suppress free speech and who try to persecute religion. If an AG doesn’t do that, he is derelict in his duty. The term adopted as “The Resisitance” for their insurgency is reminiscent of the Venezuelan and Cuban communists, the Nazi’s socialists, and the regimes of Mao and Stalin. Barr has a duty to make sure these types of insurgents don’t destroy our Constitution or our Democracy as they have been trying to do for 2 years

  11. I thought the Federalist Society stood for some principles—like Madisonian checks and balances. Why are They applauding Barr’s extreme views of Executive authority. I don’t remember seeing these views expressed, much less applauded, when Obama was President. Barr is much more a Republican partisan than a principled conservative.

  12. I listened to Barr’s speech, and it’s not the same speech Turley describes here. Barr’s speech was about the unconstitutional encroachment by the legislative and judiciary branches on the executive branch which, by Barr’s estimate, began in the mid-1960s. Barr cites abuses by Congress and the courts against the current executive because they are the most recent, familiar and, I agree, among the most egregious. To claim—by cherry-picking a quote from an hour speech—that Barr is making some kind of political speech for Trump is inaccurate and dishonest.

    1. I agree. I read the entire speech, which is very academic in scope, after downloading it, converting it to PDF and highlighting in yellow select portions on my iPad. Magnificent civics lesson for me

      If only Turley did as much but that wont drive his web traffic

      Barr makes Loretta and Eric look like cockroaches

  13. Jonathan: I think it is a bit much to expect AG William Barr to “stay above the political fray–not to contribute to it”. Trump selected Barr for the very reason that he expected the AG to be the President’s “Roy Cohn”–the “fixer”. Barr has not disappointed. From his attempt to cover for Trump by issuing a misleading summary of the Mueller report to his ongoing media campaign on behalf of Trump, Barr has shown himself to put politics above the fair administration of the law. The only thing “outrageous” is Barr’s attempt to politicize the Justice Department in the service of protecting a corrupt President who believes he is above the law.

    1. The Justice Department position of Attorney General is inherently a political appointment, as a Cabinet official, and thus inherently a political position. It’s great finally a guy like Barr sees it for what it is. Time for Republicans to act in their own defense with the tools at hand. Which is precisely what the Democrats are doing. However incompetently.

      from Tracey Strong’s foreward to Carl Schmitt’s Concept of the Political.

      https://nakulkrishna.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/tracey-strong-foreword.pdf

      The Relation between Liberalism
      and Democracy
      Schmitt’s conception of the political stands in opposition to
      his conception of “political romanticism,” the subject of one of his
      early books. Political romanticism is characterized as a stance of
      occasionalist ironism, such that there is no last word on anything.
      Political romanticism is the doctrine of the autonomous, isolated,
      XIV Tracy B. Strong
      and solitary individual, whose absolute stance toward himself gives
      a world in which nothing is connecting to anything else. Political
      romanticism is thus at the root of what Schmitt sees as the liberal
      tendency to substitute perpetual discussion for the political. 12 On
      the positive side, Schmitt’s conception of the political stands in
      alliance with the subject of his subsequent book, Political Theology.
      There he elaborates a conception of sovereignty as the making of
      decisions which concern the exception. 13 The political is the arena
      of authority rather than general law and requires decisions which
      are singular, absolute and final. 14 Thus, as Schmitt notes in Political
      Theology, the sovereign decision has the quality of being something
      like a religious miracle: it has no references except the fact that it
      is, to what Heidegger would have called its Dasein. (It should be
      noted that the sovereign is not like God: there is no “Sovereign.”
      Rather, sovereign acts have the quality of referring only to themselves, as moments of “existential intervention.”)15
      This is, for Schmitt, a given quality of “the political.” What
      distresses him is that the historical conjunction of liberalism and
      democracy has obscured this conception, such that we are in danger
      of losing the experience of the political. In The Concept of the
      Political Schmitt identifies this loss of the conception of the political
      with the triumph of the modern notion of politics, dating loosely
      from the French Revolution but already present in seventeenthcentury doctrines such as those of Cardinal Bellarmine, whose
      theory of indirect powers Hobbes went to extended pains to attack
      in chapter 41 of Leviathan. Politics thus involves, famously, friends
      and enemies, which means at least the centrality of those who are
      with you and those against whom you struggle. Fighting and the
      possibility of death are necessary for there to be the political. 16
      From this standpoint, Schmitt came to the following conclusions about modern bourgeois politics. First, it is a system which
      rests on compromise; hence all of its solutions are in the end
      temporary, occasional, never decisive. Second, such arrangements
      can never resolve the claims of equality inherent in democracy.
      By the universalism implicit in its claims for equality, democracy
      challenges the legitimacy of the political order, as liberal legitimacy
      rests on discussion and the compromise of shifting majority rules.
      Third, liberalism will tend to undermine the possibility of the
      political in that it wishes to substitute procedure for struggle. Thus,
      last, legitimacy and legality cannot be the same; indeed, they stand
      in contradiction to each otherY
      The driving force behind this argument lies in its claim that
      politics cannot be made safe and that the attempt to make politics
      safe will result in the abandonment of the state to private interests
      and to “society.” The reality of an empirical referent for this claim
      was undeniable in the experience of Weimar.

    2. “Trump selected Barr for the very reason that he expected the AG to be the President’s “Roy Cohn”–the “fixer”.”

      It looks like Dennis has entered the Twilight Zone.

  14. Of course, no sooner had Barr committed this unforced error, critics on the other side rushed to prove his point. Former White House Ethics Counsel Richard Painter tweeted “Another lunatic authoritarian speech as Barr goes from attacking ‘radical secularists ‘ [at Notre Dame Law School] to one month later attacking the ‘resistance’ at [the Federalist Society]. Impeach Barr now!” He then added “Bill Barr is the type of bare knuckles lawyer the Church would have hired thirty years ago to cover up sex abuse cases. The bishop would have been someone like Rep. Jim Jordan. Neither of these men belong anywhere near the impeachment inquiry.”

    Richard Painter has absolutely nothing to add to the current political discourse which is why he must resort to ad hominem attacks.

    1. …And weren’t there plenty of examples by appointed Dems!?!
      Come now, high profile lies and so called resistance statements have come from intelligence agencies right down the list. To quote a non-entity example here is misleading at best.

  15. Civil Disobedience using the legal system really started and has continued with those who wish to abolish the death penalty. It then spread to the “permanent victims” of civil rights abuses and has now crossed the Rubicon into “normal” political discourse. It is no longer, government by loser’s constent, it is simply now an unending war against those who oppose your policy views and nothing less than total destruction of the “enemy” is the goal. Our Republic can not functioning if this abuse continues, which I suspect is the real true goal.

    1. well said Kevin, well said! law and order is totally breaking down, which is a predictable result of decades of popular war on the very idea of authority itself.

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