Poor Bill Barr. He’s begging us to give him a mulligan. Even non-golfers know what that means: When you mess up so badly on your first swing, it doesn’t count. Everybody agrees to forget about what just happened, and you get a fresh new start.
Now, if we were on the golf course, I’d give Bill Barr a mulligan. I’ve been known to take a few mulligans myself. But giving Bill Barr a mulligan for his time as Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump calls Barr a ‘Bushie’ who went to the other side Gas prices spike as support for Russian oil ban grows Barr becomes latest former ally to escalate feud with Trump MORE’s attorney general? No freaking way! It’ll take years to undo the damage he did.
For months, Barr’s been embarked on a “Bill Barr Rehabilitation Tour,” with remarkable success. He gets surprisingly favorable treatment from both Bob Woodward and Robert Costa and Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig in their books on the Trump presidency. And today, Barr’s out with his own book, “One Damn Thing After Another,” in which he paints himself as the one man who dared stand up to Donald Trump and save our democracy.
How dumb does Bill Barr think we are? Yes, it’s true that on Dec. 1, 2020, Attorney General Barr told the Associated Press that the Justice Department had investigated allegations of widespread voter fraud and “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.” Which totally contradicted everything Trump was saying at the time, and is still saying.
In his book, Barr recounts being summoned to the White House for a tense meeting with the president. “I told him that all this stuff was bullshit about election fraud,” Barr told NBC’s Lester Holt, “And, you know, it was wrong to be shoveling it out the way his team was.” At which point, Barr relates, he offered his resignation and Trump accepted it. Barr actually resigned as AG two weeks later.
On that point, good for Bill Barr. But that good deed — which, after all, only amounts to accepting the results of an election Joe BidenJoe Biden‘Batman’ scene criticized for portraying subway attack on Asian man GAO says 114 Capitol Police officers reported injuries on Jan. 6 Trump calls Barr a ‘Bushie’ who went to the other side MORE won by over 7 million votes! — does not erase the damage done during Barr’s tenure as attorney general, where he turned the DOJ into Trump’s personal law firm.
Remember, Barr got the job after writing and publicly releasing an unsolicited memo attacking the Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff’s book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE investigation as “manufactured,” “phony,” and “bogus.” Once in office, Barr served Trump, not the American people, by undermining Mueller every way he could.
First, Barr refused to release the Mueller report. Instead, he wrote a four-page letter to Congress which deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s conclusions, asserting that the final report “did not draw a conclusion one way or the other” on obstruction of justice. In fact, Mueller’s report says: “Our investigation found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations.”
In the months that followed, Barr continued to act as Trump’s toady: demanding a lighter sentence for Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneNew evidence details Roger Stone’s efforts against 2020 election: WaPo Jan. 6 committee subpoenas Kimberly Guilfoyle, fiancee of Trump Jr. Former Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson answers questions from Jan. 6 panel: report MORE; letting Michael Flynn off the hook, after accusing the FBI of “abuse of power;” and, instead of investigating Trump, appointing federal prosecutor John DurhamJohn DurhamJuan Williams: Biden’s big speech must counter GOP’s false narrative John Durham sent a message to the attorney general and the country Hannity slams Clinton over ‘actual malice’ comments: ‘Bring it on’ MORE to investigate the FBI.
Even in this book, Barr’s still shilling for Trump. After reluctantly admitting that Trump is broadly “responsible” for the violence of Jan. 6, Barr adds he’s “under no illusions about who is responsible for dividing the country, embittering our politics and weakening and demoralizing our nation.” Donald Trump? Oh no, Barr insists, “It is the progressive Left and their increasingly totalitarian ideals.”
Barr’s working hard to remake his image. Only a fool would fall for it.
Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”