For much of his time in the Trump presidency, then-Attorney General William Barr was a faithful defender of Donald Trump. Having briefly served as the attorney general during the very different era of George H.W. Bush’s presidency, Barr first came to Trump’s attention when he wrote an op-ed defending Trump’s firing of then-FBI director James Comey in 2017, and Trump reportedly even considered hiring him as a defense lawyer.
Once confirmed in 2019, Barr continued to defend Trump, most famously during the release of the Mueller Report, in which he was accused of issuing an initial summary that was misleading. Barr was accused of turning the Department of Justice into “Donald Trump’s law firm.”
Donald Trump Has a New Foe
Barr, however, changed his tune following the 2020 election. He was vocal about not believing Trump’s claims of a stolen election, resigned in mid-December 2020, and was especially critical of the former president following the January 6 insurrection.
The former attorney general published a book last year called One Damn Thing After Another: Memoirs of an Attorney General. He even agreed to testify before the January 6 Committee, describing Trump’s election fraud claims as “baseless bullshit” and memorably laughing at the claims made in Dinesh D’Souza’s conspiracy documentary “2,000 Mules.”
This week, Barr made more news in a new interview, with ABC’s “This Week.”
In the new ABC interview, Barr ripped Trump for attacking the judge in his Manhattan criminal case. Trump and his allies have pointed out that the judge made donations (albeit, very small ones) to President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign.
“I don’t think it is appropriate or wise. The president notoriously lacks self-control and he frequently gets himself into trouble,” Barr said in the interview. He did, however, argue that the case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is “weak.”
“I don’t think it has any merit,” Barr said on “This Week.” “I think it is transparently an abuse of prosecutorial power to accomplish a political end. I think it is an unjust case. That’s not to say that every legal challenge that the president faces is unjustified. But this one especially is.”
In particular, Barr argued that Donald Trump may be in actual big trouble in the Mar-a-Lago documents case which, along with the former president’s alleged role in January 6, is being investigated by Special Counsel Jack Smith.
“He’s dug himself a hole on the documents,” Barr said. “I think he was jerking the government around.” The former attorney general also predicted that the various legal cases will drag out well into the 2024 election.
“The government is investigating the extent to which games were played and there was obstruction in keeping documents from them,” Barr said of Trump, adding that Trump’s claims that he could take any documents he wants are without merit.
Barr also implied something of a conspiracy theory of his own — that Bragg indicted Trump in order to help him win a Republican primary, because Democrats consider him the weakest potential candidate.
“I think, ultimately, the savvy Democratic strategists know this is going to help Trump, and they want him to be the nominee because he is the weakest of the Republican candidates and the most likely to lose again to Biden.”
Trump, perhaps unsurprisingly, ripped Barr on Truth Social.
“Slovenly and pathetic Bill Barr, our COWARD former A.G., was on ABC FAKE NEWS this weekend making statements that he knows nothing about (he was long since gone from the White House, I wanted him out!) concerning the BOXES HOAX, a continuation of RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA, UKRAINE, UKRAINE, UKRAINE, the Mueller Witch Hunt, & more,” the former president wrote. “While he correctly puts down the N.Y.D.A. case, he plays up the equally ridiculous BOXES HOAX, where Biden should have the problem, not me. Barr is a weak & angry RINO!”
Expertise and Experience:
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.