Former Bush Deputy AG Denounces Barr As “UnAmerican”

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Yesterday I wrote a column in the Hill criticizing hair-triggered responses to the controversy over the sentencing recommendation in the case of Roger Stone. This included former prosecutors who did not see the need to confirm critical facts before demanding the resignation of Barr. Former Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer called Barr, his former colleague in the Bush Administration, “unAmerican.” It is a disgraceful attack on someone who has served his country for decades with distinction. Just as many (including myself) have denounced President Donald Trump for calling opponents disloyal or traitorous, this personal attack should also be roundly denounced by all sides in this controversy.

Ayer went on CNN with Wolf Blitzer to question not just the judgment and integrity but the patriotism of Barr. He stated “The reason I say he’s un-American…is that the central tenet of our legal system and our justice system is that no person is above the law. Bill Barr’s vision is that there is one man—one person—who needs to be above the law and that is the president.” The statement is wildly unfair and inaccurate. Indeed, Barr has repeatedly stated that he believes a president can be impeached for abuse of power as well as obstruction and other violations. He has also stated that a president can be criminally prosecuted after he leaves office.

Ayer has previously shown similar quick judgment in such controversies. In October, just as the Ukrainian scandal was emerging, Ayer signed a letter with George Conway and others demanding a rapid impeachment. There were only a few weeks of stories on the developing scandal. However, this was before the testimony of key witnesses were even heard by Congress. Nevertheless, Ayer declared with his co-signers that “These acts, based on what has been revealed to date, are a legitimate basis for an expeditious impeachment investigation, vote in the House of Representatives and potential trial in the Senate.”

It was an extraordinarily premature conclusion — much like the pattern shown in the current controversy. Even in the hearing in December, I cautioned against the rush to impeach in December. The only two impeachable offenses that I saw as conceptually and constitutionally viable were abuse of power and obstruction of Congress but testified that the record would not currently support such claims. Ultimately, the Committee dropped the other counts that I testified against and went with the two that I discussed. However, it has unwisely kept to its pledge to impeach by Christmas despite the obvious gaps and conflicts in the record.

Ayers however had reached his conclusion months before on the need to move quickly to impeachment. Before even hearing from Barr, he now feels certain enough to call not just for Barr’s resignation but to denounce him as “unAmerican.” For its part, CNN correctly calls out Trump for such irresponsible rhetoric but did not even question the basis or propriety of such an ad hominem on Barr.

Ayer also signed a letter claiming that Trump was clearly guilty of obstruction of justice, a claim that I addressed in my testimony before the Judiciary Committee as unsupportable on the basis of the code and the case law. That count was also rejected in favor of an obstruction of Congress claim, which itself was prematurely approved by the House and ultimately rejected by the Senate.

As I stated in yesterday’s column, there are legitimate questions raised by the change in the recommendation and the resignation of the prosecutors. However, there is also countervailing information supporting Barr that has been uniformly ignored, including disclosures that he made in this ABC interview where he criticized the President for his tweets.

Perhaps Ayer has inside information proving such allegations. If so, he should share it. If not, he should exercise a modicum of restraint in assuming unethical conduct. It is even more unprofessional to not just declare such acts to be unethical but also declare a person as “unAmerican” on such limited information.

156 thoughts on “Former Bush Deputy AG Denounces Barr As “UnAmerican””

  1. If an attorney general tells the president what to do, is he the president?

    If an attorney general attempts to deny the president his freedom of speech, is he anti-constitutional and anti-American?

    If an attorney general undertakes to undermine a sitting president in an election year, is he a political adversary?

    If the attorney general seeks control, is he Mr. Deep Deep State personified?

    If Mr. Deep Deep State personified tells the president what to do, has the Deep Deep State reasserted its dominion?

      1. Bravo, you are talking about all the dems who have been trying to undermine Trump’s presidency and yes, they need to be put in prison including the black plague, Hussein O’vomit!

    1. Trump is POTUS which is the chief executive. Not Barr, not the low level persecutors. George has a sound point. There is executive agency and it flows from the top down.

  2. The question Republicans often ask is, “Would he be saying the same thing of an AG serving under a Democrat administration?” Citizens who lean left probably tire of this refrain, but the reason it has merit is that most of those who criticize Barr, Pence, Carson, et al., were silent during the prior administration. That fact renders much of what they say moot.

  3. Where is Barr from? What country did his ancestors come from? What state did he grow up in? If he grew up in California then I would say:. I’m American!

  4. AG Barr has shown himself ineffective at managing the corrupt DOJ/FBI/ Corrupt Fed Courts or at stopping the violence on college campus & public areas controlled/funded by Commie/Nazis’ George Soros/DNC & others.

    Soros’ Antifa goons still are running wild, violently attacking anyone & the local police in the Democrat/Commie controlled areas still are standing down.

    A young lady reporter was injured & close to being killed by an Antifia type mob on the campus of OU Ohio college the other day.

    She had armed security but they were being overran & the police seemed to do nothing.

    Look at one of the videos below, would you have drawn your weapon out of Fear For Your Life & ordered them to get the hell out of your way so you could leave unmolested?

    1. I saw this video of the Bernie mob attacking the Alex Jones reporter girl. they are rapid dogs..

      I’d stay away from them entirely. Any mob of freaks or hostiles is a bad spot. Demonstrations which go hot, are always a screw job for anybody to the Right at all. For decades now!

      Also, you don’t draw and threaten people unless you are legally clear to fire. Drawing the piece will likely get you charged with intimidation, because they will squeal on you and lie like a chorus in perfect tune.

      Worse yet, the mob may steal it from you and use it on you. If you are clear enough to draw, maybe you’re clear enough to retreat, which is probably always a better choice. Get away from a mob,

      Cops can get away with waving their piece, but regular folks cant.

      And in case you havent guessed it, no Im not an open carry guy. Why reveal your assets? Keep them hidden until you need to use them and they will be more effective.

      The thing to do if you are REALLY in fear of your life, is drop the hammer until threat stops moving.

  5. Dems have developed the reputation of attacking EVERYONE in Trump’s administration. They should better choose their battles. Barr isn’t doing a thing to help Trump drain the swamp. He’s basically another Sessions but he covers it better by talking tough and preaching to the choir. In the end, though, he’s done nothing more than Sessions did. Even when there’s cases against the insurrectionists he consistently declines to prosecute them. Instead of opening themselves to more accusations of baseless attacks against Republicans they should simply tolerate Barr. He’s proven that he isn’t going to jeopardize their secret empire of graft and corruption.

  6. The irony is that this former Deputy AG is quick to make decisions without all of the facts. No bias here, no, nope , no way! Talk about reflecting his own definition of “unpatriotic”.

    1. “Neither the signers of the letter — nor I — have any first-hand knowledge of the facts, the law and the various policy considerations involving the appropriate punishment that were considered by the DOJ and Barr regarding Stone’s sentencing. Neither the signers — nor I — know what conversations took place, when or where they took place, who participated in them, who said what and what issues where considered”
      Ballgame17, former U.S . Attorney Roberto Martinez wrote this yesterday.
      Similar to the point you made, he explained why he would not sign the petition calling for Barr’s resignation.

    2. Convicting before knowing the facts….the same applies to the 2000 former US/DOJ Attorneys claiming they know best about fairness and justice,and claim to keep politics out of the system… at the same time they convict AG Barr for ‘doing the President’s bidding’.. before even waiting a smidgen of time to hear the facts, facts which will probably prove them wrong on that assertion. They don;t need facts, they can prejudge. All they did for this lawyer is confirm that the US Attorneys have a HUGE ability to be unfair and political. The entire Washington jury pool is tainted by democrats, the entire US Attorney pool in DC could be politically tainted…and it probably is worse. It seems anyone standing up to Trump in DC will not be charged in a political case involving Trump, while a Trump supporter stands no chance in DC. As usual, as bad as it seems when Trump tweets, it results in showing the true colors of people. He has outed the media, and now he has outed the US DOJ attorneys as themselves incapable of being fair, of accusing everyone else as political when they in fact are political.
      Its a sad state, and its not Barr who is the swamp, its Barr trying to drain it.

  7. Bill Barr’s vision is that there is one man—one person—who needs to be above the law and that is the president.

    This asshat is just another lawfare pawn to be ignored.

  8. Thank you Professor Turley for continuing to bring these unfortunate developments to light. Your analysis is spot on!

      There are conflicting reports about whether or not Barr is considering resignation.
      This article, from late 2016, deals with prospects that Trump was considering for the AG post.
      I hope he reconsiders Rudy to replace Barr, if Barr does resign. Given all of those who’ve been bitching and moaning and whining about Sessions, Whitaker, and Barr, I think Trump should really give them something to scream about.

      1. How ’bout we make General Patton Attorney General and finally, finally “…go all the way to Moscow…” against these ——- communists?

  9. They are terrified that Barr and the Justice Department will get to the bottom of the FISA abuse scandal, so they need to take him out or at least destroy his reputation.

    1. I see it as there are multiple sides fighting for power from the others:

      ie: A pack of wild hyenas attempting to finish off eating what’s left of the guts of the USA as a nation.

  10. Ayer is a legal establishmentarian whose beef is that discretionary decisions by lawyers are being subject to critique and review by non-lawyers. He should be ignored, now and forever.

  11. Is everyone who appears on CNN or NBC or MSNBC told that (as they are being handed a check for appearing) they have to bash Pres. Trump in any way they can, no matter how dumb and wrong the guest is? It would certainly look that way.

  12. Former Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer is a stupid jerk. What amazes me is that did this oof go to trial without reviewing critical facts, as he did here when lashing out at POTUS? Some of these people are exhibiting errant behavior that, at their age, could be early onset of dementia or worse.

  13. “….the central tenet of our legal system and our justice system is that no person is above the law….”

    Unless your last name is Clinton, Biden, McCabe, Comey, Clapper or Brennan.

  14. This stupid twat deserves an Irish Poem! I mean this critter doesn’t even pretend to wait for facts and evidence and stuff.

    A Real Ayerhead???
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    There once was a lawyer named Ayer,
    Who tried to pretend he was fair!
    To continue his farce,
    He pulled facts from his arse,
    And made up stuff out of thin air!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  15. Prof. Turley is right on target. Too many so called “legal” scholars and professionals, have now become so politicized, that they no longer bother to hear all the evidence, before coming to conclusions. What has happened to all the “grown ups?” In it inconceivable that people who have been in Barr’s position,,,,,can make judgements without evidence. That makes me feel that perhaps it was they, and not AG Barr, that were un—-American in the manner in which they treated the law and the Constitution.

  16. I agree, Professor. Now if only the commenters on your blog would stop relying on ad hominem remarks instead of rational arguments, it would make the comment section much more useful to the discourse.

    1. RDKAY:

      “I agree, Professor. Now if only the commenters on your blog would stop relying on ad hominem remarks instead of rational arguments, it would make the comment section much more useful to the discourse.”

      Well RDKAY, it your daft opponent starts with an irrational argument (“Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer called Barr, his former colleague in the Bush Administration, “unAmerican.”), the only rational response is ridicule. Read a little Jefferson* instead of Marx for a change.

      *“Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

      1. Karl (not Groucho) Marx had some good ideas. But how he enters into this particular discussion of the impropriety of ad hominem remarks is beyond knowing (except by you, of course).

        There’s nothing wrong with ridiculing ideas – via logic and reason. But ridiculing the advocate of an idea is worthless – unless your end is only the pleasure of onanism.

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