Trump, Barr, and the Rule of Law ~ The New Yorker

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Illustration by João Fazend

Serving as Trump’s Attorney General—and keeping the job—seems to mean treating anything that does not serve his interests as an urgent threat.

If there is one thing that Attorney General William Barr’s testimony in the Senate last week made abundantly clear, it’s that he is fine with acting less like the chief law-enforcement officer of the United States and more like the personal lawyer for a tantrum-prone client named Donald Trump. Barr dissembled when answering questions about his handling of the Mueller report, then mischaracterized Robert Mueller’s objections to his spin on it, saying that the special counsel had been primarily troubled by how “the media was playing this.” In fact, Mueller had written, in a letter to Barr, that he was concerned because the Attorney General’s summary “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of his team’s work. Barr described that letter as “snitty” and probably written by “staff people,” thereby dismissing objections that Mueller clearly wanted in the historical record. By the end of the day, Barr had said that he would not come back and testify in the House, as he was scheduled to do. Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, then said that, in misrepresenting Mueller’s discontent, the Attorney General had lied to Congress, which is “a crime.”

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