Donald Trump & William Barr Put on a Little Corruption Play
Isn't that cute.
Yesterday, Attorney General William Barr spoke out against Donald Trump’s interference in the justice system, saying Trump’s constant tweeting makes it “impossible” for him to do his job.
“I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me,” Barr told ABC News. “To have public statements and tweets made about the department, about people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department and about judges before whom we have cases, make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we’re doing our work with integrity.”
Barr also denied that Trump asked him to interfere with the Roger Stone case, saying, “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody … whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards, or the president.”
“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody….whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards, or the president,” Bill Barr tells @ABC News.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 13, 2020
Here’s a little timeline:
First, Trump tweeted about how unfairly his buddy Roger Stone was being treated after Justice Department prosecutors gave a standard sentencing recommendation based on his many crimes.
Then, Barr swooped in and overturned their recommendation. In response, all four prosecutors withdrew from the case. This was a BIG DEAL and people reacted as such, but Trump continued to use Twitter to attack the prosecutors and praise Barr.
So now Barr has gone on television to chastize Trump for interfering (via him) and the White House has responded by basically saying they don’t like what he said but they respect his right to say it–an excessively un-Trumpian response.
Trump’s press secretary Stephanie Grisham said, “The president wasn’t bothered by the comments at all, and he has the right, just like every American citizen, to publicly offer his opinions.”
And here’s what Trump tweeted:
“The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.” A.G. Barr This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2020
Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham came out with a statement praising Trump for selecting an honorable man like Barr to lead the DOJ.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) February 13, 2020
The whole thing is just so obviously staged.
“ok bill you say the tweets are bad”
“then lindsey, you be all ‘i support barr'”
“then mr president you come and say oooo youre so mad at barr”
“but im not. barr’s my friend. youre my friend barr.”
“yes mr president, but youre acting. it’s like a play”
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) February 13, 2020
CNN’s Don Lemon called Barr’s statements “too good to be true,” adding, “no one’s buying this.” Rachel Maddow told her viewers not to “abandon our powers of reasoning and common sense” about the “official lie that was rolled out today to try to alleviate this crisis.” Democratic Rep. David Cicilline told CNN it was “important to question the sincerity” of Barr, calling him “the president’s defender.”
No one believes this move from Barr is genuine.
.@RepValDemings says she wouldn’t be surprised if Attorney General William Barr and the President were “in cahoots” regarding Barr’s comments about Trump’s tweets.https://t.co/jZ6NkoORWt pic.twitter.com/nWZHud9po3
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) February 14, 2020
Maybe Barr really is angry. Perhaps his institutionalist instincts really did finally kick in… the vestiges of his conscience stirred… and dammit, he just had to take a stand for the rule of the law. Maybe.
Or maybe he was just annoyed that Trump was giving away the game.
— Charlie Sykes (@SykesCharlie) February 14, 2020
BS. He is not pushing back. It’s a drama created to cover up corruption. https://t.co/TLCxoey4iK
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) February 14, 2020
It’s not just people on the left calling out Trump and Barr’s BS, though. Former RNC chairman Michael Steele called Barr’s interview “a carefully staged message to cool down pissed off DOJ attys whom Barr undercut & to avoid any further internal strife.”
Slow your roll if you think Barr is breaking from Trump. This was a carefully staged message to cool down pissed off DOJ attys whom Barr undercut & to avoid any further internal strife. This message does not get sideways with Trump because he’s already done what Trump wanted. https://t.co/jYWYJFovpO
— Michael Steele (@MichaelSteele) February 14, 2020
John Dean, former White House counsel under Richard Nixon, isn’t buying it.
Barr staged it and I’d bet with a heads up to the White House! https://t.co/tPn5MsK02i
— John Dean (@JohnWDean) February 14, 2020
Even some Fox News hosts are drawing attention to the clear orchestration (even if they’re trying to frame it as a positive thing).
Laura Ingraham: “Barr was basically telling Trump, ‘don’t worry, I got this’” https://t.co/HeHDdZmsDY
— Media Matters (@mmfa) February 14, 2020
There are two types of Fox hosts, the ones who are smart enough to understand that the Barr-Trump tweet “feud” is kayfabe and Barr is doing his best on Trump’s cover-up, and the ones who are not.
Hannity is in column A, Dobbs is in column B.
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) February 14, 2020
But good for Trump and Barr (and a cameo by Lindsey Graham) for thinking they were good enough actors and smart enough humans to pull this off.
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