The usual critics spent the past two years damning Attorney General William Barr as a shameless lackey in President Donald Trump’s service, so it should be no surprise that, even as Barr announced his resignation last week, the chattering class continued to call him names.
Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus damned Barr’s “bootlicking resignation letter,” and her colleague Robin Givhan dismissed him as “a gray-suited lump” and “Trump’s protective bunker.”
Fortunately for Barr, these barbs mean nothing. He didn’t take on the job of attorney general for the second time — he first served under President George H.W. Bush — to make friends. Barr went in to right a wrong of the Department of Justice’s making: an investigation of Trump fueled on misinformation.
I’ve long believed that on Jan. 6, 2017, when FBI Director James Comey revealed a probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, advanced by what he testified was “salacious and unverified material,” Comey tainted Trump’s view of federal justice and national security officialdom even before Trump took the oath of office.
Barr wrote to that effect in his resignation letter: “Your 2016 victory speech in which you reached out to your opponents and called for working together for the benefit of the American people was immediately met by a partisan onslaught against you in which no tactic, no matter how abusive and deceitful, was out of bounds. The nadir of this campaign was the effort to cripple, if not oust, your administration with frenzied and baseless accusations of collusion with Russia.”