Despite Barr’s unflattering and incriminating disclosures about Trump in his new book, Barr’s character and reputation remain irreparably destroyed. Despite his negative depiction of Trump, he says he would still vote for him. Why doesn’t he just wear a sign saying, ” I am a hypocrite, I support authoritarianism, and I am lucky, so far, not to have been indicted for colluding with Trump in violating the Constitution.”
Barr took many actions during his time as attorney general that sparked talk of possible impeachment proceedings against him for abuse of power. Some of the most serious and blatant were cited in (CREW, July 28, 2022): These same actions caused four former presidents of the D.C Bar Association to write a letter suggesting he committed ethics violations in the execution of his office as attorney general ( Politico, July 28, 2020).
- Corruptly subverted the Special Counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and of President Trump for obstruction of justice;
- Interfered with the lawful functions of the Department of Justice by overturning the actions of career prosecutors in the cases of Roger Stone Jr. and Michael Flynn and by firing United States Attorney Geoffrey Berman;
- Obstructed lawful investigations of the United States House of Representatives; and
- Abused and exceeded the powers of the Attorney General to violate the First and Fourth Amendment rights of American citizens.
Barr has undergone excessive scrutiny and criticism by the legal community. His politicization of the DOJ by blatantly servicing the political ideology, rhetoric, and constitutional violations of Donald Trump while he was president. Barr’s holds the view that a U.S. president should have ” unchecked power”. This dangerous position contradicts the original intention of the founding fathers concept of a democracy having three co-equal branches of government. Barr’s supported every immoral, unconstitutional act committed by Trump was proof that despite his disapproval of the former presidents temperament, he was and continues to be in favor of a president having absolute power similar to that of a dictator.
It took Trump expecting him to falsely declare that a high level of fraud occurred in the 2020 presidential election for Barr to act in accordance with the rule of law. The false claim of a stolen election proved to be the loyalty request that finally caused Barr to cease being the puppet for an out of control, anti-democracy president. In his memoir, Barr makes clear Trump is not his idea of how a U.S. president should conduct himself. However, he demonstrated an unethical tolerance for Trump’s abuses of power ( even those that violated the rule of law). Barr’s ideology which supports a president possessing absolute power emboldened Trump to consistently commit corrupt behaviors, such as these cited in an article by Donald Ayer in the Atlantic Magazine , June 30th, 2019 buy-in :
- His assertion of a right to flout all congressional subpoenas;
- his continuing refusal to disclose his tax returns, notwithstanding Congress’s statutory right to secure them;
- his specific actions to bar congressional testimony by government officials;
- his personal attacks on judges who dare to subject the acts of his administration to judicial review
- his assertion of a right to accept dirt on political opponents from foreign governments,
- his declaration of a national emergency, when he himself said he “did not need to do this,” he just preferred to “do it.”
Trump was impeached twice by the House of representatives for behaviors that violated his oath of office. Despite his corrupt acts of obstructing justice in investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and inciting an insurrection to block the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected president, Barr and a far-right Senate supported the continuation of Trump’s authoritarian reign. Barr declares in his memoir that Trump is “too divisive to win the 2024 presidential election” and “too angry and petty to have won the 2022 election” and “was morally responsible for inciting the Jan. 6th riots.” However, his admission that he would not prosecute him if he were still attorney general is proof that Barr views a president as being ” above the law.”
Accountability for Barr may still come. Actions against his law license by the D.C. Bar or other investigations into his abuse of the power of his office while serving as attorney general may still occur. What Barr disregarded in his role as AG was that his clients were the American people and the Constitution, not Donald Trump. His memoir will not change that history will view him as the most corrupt attorney general in U.S. history.