In a defiant interview with CBS News this week, Attorney General William Barr said he was not surprised to find himself under intense attack from President Trump’s critics. He said that the scrutiny and criticism, however, did not make him regret taking the position at all.
“I love the Department of Justice,” Barr said. “I love the FBI. I think it’s important that we not, in this period of intense partisan feeling, do not destroy our institutions. I think one of the ironies today is that people are saying it’s President Trump that’s shredding our institutions. I really see no evidence of that. From my perspective, the idea of resisting a democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him, and you know, is really changing the norms, on the grounds that we have to stop this president. That’s where the shredding of our norms and our institutions is occurring.”
These remarks will do little to endear Barr to the president’s enemies. On Sunday, liberal heads were exploding, calling for Barr to resign. One “esteemed” liberal writer excoriated the attorney general for “going full MAGA.” Apparently, if you don’t buy into the Russian conspiracy theory – even after it has been proven conclusively false – you have gone “full MAGA.” If that’s the case, we can only assume that going “full MAGA” means coming to one’s senses. Of course, we already knew that, didn’t we?
Barr said that he wasn’t surprised to find controversy swirling around his decisions. In fact, he said, that was one of the reasons he was eager to take the position. He knew he would be controversial, but he was simply beyond the point in his life where he can be bothered by what people say about him.
“I realize we live in a crazy, hyper-partisan period of time, and I knew that it would only be a matter of time if I was behaving responsibly and calling them as I see them that I’d be attacked,” Barr said. “Because nowadays people don’t care about the merits or the substance. They only care about who it helps. Whether my side benefits or the other side benefits. Everything is gauged by politics. And as I say, that’s antithetical to the way the Department runs.
“And any attorney general in this period is going to end up losing a lot of political capital, and I realized that,” he continued. “And that’s one of the reasons that I ultimately was persuaded that maybe I should take it on. Because I think at my stage in life, it doesn’t make any difference. I’m at the end of my career.”