Donald Trump

When Barr Broke with Trump

An interesting report by Jonathan Karl on how and when AG William Barr rejected President Trump's absurd election fraud claims.


ABC News' Jonathan Karl has an interesting story in The Atlantic reporting on Attorney General William Barr's decision to reject President Trump's election fraud claims. The story is based upon interviews with Barr himself, among others. As a result, it gives a window into Barr's perspective on his final months in the administration. (Whether that makes Barr a more or less sympathetic figure is left to the reader.)

According to the story, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had been urging Barr to reject the claims that the 2020 election was stolen and affirm that Biden had won the election so that it would be easier for Republicans to argue that a Biden presidency required a Republican Senate as a counterweight. The story also highlights the precarious position Barr was in. Speaking the truth was necessary, yet openly contradicting the President risked getting fired and replaced by someone more accommodating.

Part of the story includes an account of Barr's confrontation with Trump after Barr told an Associated Press reporter: "To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election." From Karl's story:

Barr, Levi, and Cipollone walked to the president's personal dining room near the Oval Office. Trump was sitting at the table. Meadows was sitting next to him with his arms crossed; the White House adviser Eric Herschmann stood off to the side. The details of this meeting were described to me by several people present. One told me that Trump had "the eyes and mannerism of a madman."

He went off on Barr.

"I think you've noticed I haven't been talking to you much," Trump said to him. "I've been leaving you alone."

Barr later told others that the comment was reminiscent of a line in the movie Dr. Strangelove, in which the main character, Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper, says, "I do not avoid women, Mandrake, but I do deny them my essence." Trump, Barr thought, was saying that he had been denying him his essence.

Trump brought up Barr's AP interview.

"Did you say that?"

"Yes," Barr responded.

"How the fuck could you do this to me? Why did you say it?"

"Because it's true."

The president, livid, responded by referring to himself in the third person: "You must hate Trump. You must hate Trump."

The whole story is worth a read.

NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: June 27, 2005

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  1. “I think you’ve noticed I haven’t been talking to you much”. That’s elementary school level behavior.

    Does Trump really believe the bullshit that he’s spouting? Is he really that detached from reality?

    1. Trump was not well served by his lawyers. I am not talking of zealous representation. I am referring to adequate representation. They allowed him to be subjected to fake investigations. They failed to protect the elected President from traitors. They failed to crush his political enemies, as was their duty. All nitpicking, all gotchas, all fake politically motivated allegations are in bad faith. If he were not President, none would have happened. That means they are fake political attacks. His scumbag lawyers allowed it. As AG, I would have arrested Pelosi and Schumer, for insurrection by seeking to overturn the election of 2016 through fake investigations. I would have investigated how their net worths jumped 50% upon assuming their offices.

      All lawyers are scumbag traitors to this country. They are working only for big government. Their jobs come from the other side, not from the client. They will never attack the other side, especially the scumbag judges running their hierarchy. Their hierarchy must be arrested, tried for an hour. The sole evidence would be their legal utterances. The insurrection law should be modified to have mandatory summary execution in the court basement, by a shot to the head.

      I support the death penalty. You could challenge me. Say to me, OK, shoot this serial rapist and serial murderer of children in the head. You have to do it. This killer says, do it, or I will escape, and kill your family. I just do not know if I would have the physical courage to do that. I would ask that someone else do it. Present an appellate court judge, my patriotic duty would overcome all shaking, hesitation, fear, and reluctance. They are the enemy of our country, that must be saved from this toxic profession. However many victims this serial killer may have, he would have caused only a tiny fraction of the damage done by that scumbag judge.

      1. In fairness, Trump’s lawyers didn’t have a lot to work with.

        1. Sessions, Comey, Rosenstein, Mueller, and McGahn are all lawyers and all are fairly typical incompetent Bush Republicans. So there is a reason 2001-2008 was the dumbest 8 years in American history because we had a powerful federal government filled with people ranging from grossly incompetent to mildly incompetent. So I actually think Barr’s initial behavior was proper because Trump had been so ill served by his initial Justice Department and White House Counsel. I think it’s clear McGhan was laser focused on judicial appointments and not his other duties.

          1. You must be very young. There is no way in hell that 2001-2008 was worse than Janet Reno. From frying the Branch Dividians to Elian Gonzales to escalation of the Satanic Panic she was a special kind of incompetent.

            Not to even mention the legal advice Nixon got from the likes of John Mitchell.

            Reality is that pretty much any 8 year period you could pick at random is a competitor for the dumbest eight years in American history. It’s a function of the chuckleheads that we elect into power.

            1. Lol, do you still support minor illegal aliens remaining with their American kidnappers and not being deported back to their parents?? You are officially a tribalist and there is no reason to continue a discussion with a tribalist.

              1. Which tribe? Look at the first post in this thread and tell me how tribal I am.

                And way to avoid substance. It was fine to burn 90ish people arrived in a situation caused by the decisions of the USG? It’s fine to run innocent people to prison to save the children from nonexistent crimes?

                The Gonzales situation was much more complicated than you understand, and at no time in the process was any “kidnapping” done.

                You’re engaging in political talking points to defend Reno, who was widely recognized to be awful, because she was on your team. In my post I criticized a Democratic AG and a Republican AG. But I’m the tribalist. Lol.

                1. I hold Bush Republicans in much lower esteem than I hold Trump Republicans…your tribe is Bush Republicans that stole the 2000 election and then lied America into the dumbest war in American history. I don’t even think Marco Rubio would defend that nutty American family that kidnapped Elian in 2021…Republicans just knew the entire tragedy was a gift to Bush and so they exploited the situation consequences to Elian be damned.

              2. Lol, do you still support minor illegal aliens remaining with their American kidnappers and not being deported back to their parents??

                The mother died bringing him to freedom from dictatorship, and he went to the family she was headed for.

                There are lies, and god damned lies, and sta…no, we’ll just stop there.

                1. Also, side flipping writ large!

                  1. Exactly—YOU are the side flipper!! Central Americans died in the Rio Grande while Trump was president—should their minor children be granted citizenship like you wanted for Elian?? I never switched sides…because I supported Trump’s border/immigration policies which actually weren’t that different from Obama’s.

            2. Reno just being involved in the satanic daycare moral panic should have been disqualifying to be the AG.

              It was far worse than Qanon which is just a faint echo of the Satanic Daycare panic. Qanon never sent anyone to jail for decades and ruined their lives and their families lives and fought to keep them in jail long after everyone knew it was bullshit.

              To get convicted on a toddlers testimony claiming they brought a giraffe and clowns, and had a secret elevator to a room where the stuck a knife up their ass which left no marks seems so absurd as to be absolutely unbelievable today.

              But it’s echos still remain in the law and society cause you can get arrested for letting your 10 year old go to a park a few blocks away by himself. Because they never found the elevator and it could be hidden under the park, the clowns are still haven’t been found either.

    2. I’m not so sure that Barr is a blushing virgin — I seem to remember that he was allegedly involved in the Barry Seal affair.

      1. I might ask you what he did wrong, not whether drug runners who turn on their co-conspirators are unsavory characters. Cops and prosecutors have to deal with shitty people all the time, and sometimes do shitty things themselves. What did Barr actually do?

  2. Whether that makes Barr a more or less sympathetic figure is left to the reader.

    Neither one, as far as I am concerned. He’s a lying POS, and nothing here changes that, since it’s just Barr looking out for Barr.

    1. I don’t get the extreme hate for Barr on the left. Sure, he’s lied and done things you’re going to disagree with, but when the chips were down and he was asked to do unprofessional and unconscionable things like subvert democracy wholesale he refused to do it. He easily could have gone along.

      1. Choosing not to go full Giuliani hardly makes Barr a profile in courage. It was entirely in his self-interest.

      2. The Conspirators, and most of their colleagues in academia and the media, are too deep into TDS to have anything worthwhile to say about Barr, or many other topics. It’s sad. Maybe in a few years it will wear off and Adler, Somin, Kerr et al. will be worth reading again.

        1. Actually, IIRC, one of them – Adler, I think – was quite complimentary of Barr when he was appointed by Trump.

        2. Trump yesterday insisted — before a cheering throng of bigoted, half-educated hayseeds in can’t-keep-up Ohio last evening — that he had won the 2020 election ‘in a landslide’; claimed that massive election fraud had enabled Democrats to steal the election; mentioned the prospect that he might soon be ‘reinstated;’ and offered Marjorie Taylor Greene as a warm-act act.

          Trump fans are comprehensively lousy people who deserve nothing more than disrespect, scorn, and replacement by their betters. Bill Barr voluntarily and enthusiastically enabled and appeased Trump; he deserves similar treatment by educated, informed, reasoning, modern Americans.

          Carry on, clingers.

          1. Prior to the January 6th insurrection the former President gave his supporters the false impression that the election results could be changed. They in fact could not change and the January 6th certification was ceremonial. Now he is telling followers that he could be reinstated, which is another lie. No mechanism exists to change the election at this point. What happens to those gullible people when they find out that the election will stand?

            1. The fact you call the protest on January 6th an insurrection shows a significant problem with your view of reality.

      3. Hi, Queenie. How did you celebrate PRIDE? No doubt your family must be bursting, bursting with pride too.

        1. I celebrated PRIDE with your mother, she says to tell you she still regrets dropping you on your head so much, nutso.

          1. Daivd’s mother admits to being his mother?

    2. Tell us a lie Barr told. Not a statement you disagree with, but a lie.

      Just one.

      1. The Mueller Report exonerated Trump.

        1. Then what would you call an exoneration?

          No colusion exonerates him on the subject of the investigation.

          The Biden DOJ reviewed the Obstruction conclusion and said it was sound.

          You may disagree about that, I can’t help that, but it absolutely is not a lie.

  3. I’m not terribly impressed. Trump being in the wrong doesn’t mean Barr is in the right.

    So far as I can tell, Barr seems to have viewed his job as making sure nothing got accomplished on several important fronts, while running out the clock so that there’d be no time for a replacement to accomplish them, either. Like too many of the establishment figures in Trump’s administration, he devoted himself to ‘damage control’, as the political establishment saw things, not accomplishing stuff.

    I can have some respect for somebody who, faced with a job they think it would be immoral to do, resigns, perhaps resigns and goes public. Sticking with the job so that you can make sure it doesn’t get done? Not so much respect. The key point here is that Barr wasn’t elected President, Trump was. If you think he’s giving you illegal orders, say so publicly. If you think he’s giving you legal orders that you can’t in good conscience follow, simply resign.

    But don’t forget that he was selected by the voters to make policy, not you, and set out to frustrate the policies he was elected to accomplish.

    1. Comments like this are NOT going to get you invited to Kirkland’s anti-clinger parties.

      Seriously though, you’re absolutely right. He took the job, the president was his boss, and he went on doing the opposite of what his boss asked him to do. He seems to view the establishment as his boss, instead of the president. For that alone, Barr doesn’t deserve a modicum of the respect that Adler and Karl seem to want to give him.

      1. Ah, but Adler and Karl are members of the establishment that Trump was elected to not do the bidding of. They genuinely think Barr’s proper loyalty was to the establishment, not the guy who was, by some quirk of history, temporarily occupying the office nominally entitled to be setting policy.

        From their viewpoint, Trump was a mistake, the damage of which had to be minimized until the mistake could be corrected. President Mistake.

        1. It’s hilarious that conservatives think Adler and this reporter are the mighty ‘Establishment’ but billionaire TV star Ivy League educated former Presidents (or, say, Ivy League educated tv starts that are heirs to frozen food fortunes) are not. Says all you need to know about their wackiness and/or gaslighting.

          1. Go back and read the comment you replied to more carefully. The fact that you invented such a straw man says all we need to know about your wackiness and/or gaslighting.

            1. I think you need to do the same for my comment and the one you’re defending…

              1. You implied that Trump was part of the Establishment. BB only asserted that “Trump was elected to not do the bidding of” the Establishment. A president can work for the efforts of Joe Everyman without being Joe Everyman.

                1. Sigh.

                  ” He seems to view the establishment as his boss, instead of the president.”

                  Try again.

        2. “They genuinely think Barr’s proper loyalty was to the establishment…”

          Brett and Callahan, Barr’s proper loyalty was to the country and the constitution, NOT to Donald Trump. If he felt that President Trump was a threat to the country or the constitution, he had a duty to work against the interest of the President. If he just resigns, he is not defending the constitution to the best of his ability.

          I’m not really convinced that is what his motives were, but you seem to be saying he only had a duty to the person of the President, and that is absolutely wrong.

          1. And the Constitution and an election made Trump President, and Barr a flunky.

            As I said, if Trump ordered Barr to do something Barr thought illegal, (And “illegal” trivially includes “unconstitutional”.) it was Barr’s responsibility to tell Trump no, explain why, and then resign if Trump insisted. And go public if it appeared Barr’s replacement was less scrupulous.

            If Trump ordered Barr to do something legal, but which Barr’s conscience could not accept doing, again, he should have resigned.

            He did not resign. To all appearances he had policy disagreements with the duly elected President, and remained in order to sabotage that President’s priorities. Making a show of doing his bidding while running out the clock.

            That’s not evidence of loyalty to the Constitution. That’s evidence of loyalty to a political faction opposed to Trump.

            1. Once again, I knew Trump was surrounding himself with back stabbers when he appointed the worst CEO in America to the most prestigious cabinet position on the recommendation of Condi Rice!?! That is also when I knew Trump would fail because Trump was motivated by “sticking it to the libs” by making a fossil fuel CEO SoS and not an underlying set of core of values. Tillerson promoted importing LNG all through the Bush years as the price of oil and natural gas skyrocketed!?!

              And Trump’s first action should have been telling McConnell no judicial appointments happen until the border wall is funded…instead Trump relinquished his best leverage over McConnell!?!

              1. Interesting point of view on the constitutional duties of a president: He shouldn’t “faithfully execute” his constitutional duties, that is naming judges, until the leader of one of the legislative branches does not provide for legislation that pleases the executive. I admit I am not a conservative but is this a conservative view on separation of powers?
                I am dim enough to not even understand the politics of it. Let’s leave judicial positions open until Biden can fill them?

                1. McConnell would have folded in a matter of minutes. I have read a lot about Trump’s deal making abilities and the only conclusion one can come to is that he is terrible at making deals.

              2. Interesting point of view on the constitutional duties of a president: He shouldn’t “faithfully execute” his constitutional duties, that is naming judges, until the leader of one of the legislative branches does not provide for legislation that pleases the executive, seriously? I admit I am not a conservative but is this a conservative view on separation of powers?
                I am dim enough to not even understand the politics of it. Let’s leave judicial positions open until Biden can fill them?

              3. Sebastian Cremmington : “And Trump’s first action should have been telling McConnell no judicial appointments happen until the border wall is funded”

                That’s pretty damn hilarious. Do you think Trump ever cared in the slightest about his ludicrous wall ?!? It was an applause line to make the dupes shriek & holler at rallies, that’s all. The minute Trump became president it was completely forgotten. He didn’t just refuse to apply hardball pressure, he applied no pressure at all.

                Fast-forward to near the end of Trump’s second year: DJT announces his approval of a proposed budget in the morning and takes heat from Ann Coulter & Rush Limbaugh-types in the afternoon over its lack of wall funding. By daybreak next morning Trump is in a frenzied panic. The childish snit that followed results in (1) a long useless government shutdown, and (2) long useless congressional negotiations, and (3) Trump looting money from budget appropriations by a fraudulent emergency declaration.

                This wasn’t because Trump suddenly thought the wall important; no one knew it was a huckster con more that he. But he was now terrified over his political base. Had he pushed the rubes too far? Gawdforsaken Ann Coulter had flamed him, so Trump had to pretend to take his jokey wall seriously.

                1. But judicial appointments weren’t important to Trump either. If you go to the 2016 primary exit polls Trump’s voters didn’t care about judicial appointments…Republicans who prioritized judicial appointments supported Cruz. Remember Trump ran against the Republican establishment…and then Trump inexplicably governed as a ultra partisan Republican even campaigning against populist Democrats (Manchin and Edwards in Louisiana) that only said positive things about Trump.

              4. Actually, Trump should have supported the bipartisan Senate bill that addressed four immigration issues that Trump had campaigned on: the Wall, family reunification, the diversity lottery, and DACA. The bill specifically addressed Trump’s assertion that DACA exceeded Obama’s authority by writing DACA into law, which is why the bill was able to garner support from some Democrats. Trump (or more precisely, Steve Miller, acting on behalf of Trump) rejected the bill and thereby killed the chance of getting an immigration bill through Congress.

            2. To all appearances he had policy disagreements with the duly elected President, and remained in order to sabotage that President’s priorities.

              There are literally zero such “appearances” showing any such policy differences or any efforts to sabotage Trump.

            3. Well Brett, a cabinet officer is far more than a flunky that answers only to the president, because they can be impeached. That means the have at least some responsibility to answer to congress too.

              And I don’t think it’s an originalist answer to say he has to answer to the president and the president alone until he is impeached.

              The AG should try to serve the president’s best interest and the country’s, and he may have to tell congress to go pound sand at times, but it shouldn’t be done lightly.

        3. Ah, but Adler and Karl are members of the establishment that Trump was elected to not do the bidding of. They genuinely think Barr’s proper loyalty was to the establishment, not the guy who was, by some quirk of history, temporarily occupying the office nominally entitled to be setting policy.

          Barr took an oath when he was confirmed as Attorney General. Number of times that this oath mentioned Donald Trump, or the presidency in general: zero. His proper loyalty was to the constitution, not to the guy who was temporarily occupying the office, whose actual job is not “setting policy.” The president’s job is to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

          1. And of Trump asked him to violarte the oath, and kept insisting, Barr should have resigned.

      2. As I’ve said before, and as you can see from Brett and Callahan’s comments, the idea of professional integrity and standards is one that evokes either incomprehension or disdain for conservatives. Everything is politics and power, everything. The party of uber Jackson.

          1. Name how I’m inconsistent on this of STFU.

            1. Everything you say is political or an insult. Democrats do that not Republicans.

              1. It’s interesting how both of your sentences present a real contest on which is more ridiculous (but congrats on reaching two sentences in this post! Special occasion).

                1. Queenie has never shown evidence of reading any law book, let alone any legal training. It is a civilian, and legal matters should be explained from the beginning, so it can understand better. It has no idea, about how toxic profession, or about what really goes on in this stinking profession.

                  1. I don’t think Behar shows evidence of reading a book or any training.

            2. On the contrary, like most victims of progressive educators, your views are totally consistent with and explained by “pot kettle.”

              1. Ah, so you got nothing. Thought so.

        1. My comment was all about professional integrity and standards, Queen. And their intersection with democracy.

          In a democracy, policy is made by the elected, not their flunkies. Barr was hired to be a flunky.

          Now, flunkies with professional integrity and standards will not do some things. But if elected officials issue orders to their flunkies that said flunkies can not in good conscience carry out, the thing a flunky with professional integrity quits the job, they don’t stick around to sabotage the elected official’s directives.

          And that’s what Barr did too many times.

          1. Barr was hired to be a flunky.

            Yep. And he was an excellent flunky until the ship sprang a leak, at which point he scurried away, hoping to rebuild his credibility with the legal/political establishment.

            1. I think this is right. And to repeat, Barr’s duty was NOT to Trump, but to the Constitution of the USA. He swore no oath to protect and defend Donald Trump.

          2. First of all, there’s a false dilemma in your argument re ‘sabotaging’ and not doing everything a mercurial leader asks one to do right away in the way proposed.

            Second of all, your thinking would make the mighty arms of the Executive into essentially the secret police/party-arm of the President/Party in power. That’s how they roll in China, but not good idea here.

            People in professions are supposed to have professional standards. If an editor tells a journalist to print that their neighbor met an alien last night and they dined on blue cheese while having alien sex the journalist should refuse and any media institution that doesn’t allow for that is a hack outfit. Likewise if a prosecutor is told to investigate said alien encounter by the President he should refuse as well. The answer cannot be ‘well, they should resign’ because there is always a lickspittle in the wings who will do something crazy and wrong (in this case use the power of the Executive to harass the neighbor). Allowing otherwise doesn’t fulfill democracy either, in fact it likely would lead to its destruction.

            But you’re not a big fan of democracy either, right?

            1. Apparently you and Merrick Garland are not fans of democracy either. I notice you march lockstep with whatever democrats say, and I notice the AG does his master’s bidding like suing GA which everyone already knows is a loser case. That’s politics not law.

              1. Your changing the subject goofball. But I would too if I didn’t know, say, the difference between law and institutional norms. But like I said, those on the Right like this shitposter don’t know/care what the latter means.

                1. You should sell pictures of yourself. They will be used for children being bad.

                  1. I don’t think what your children would do with my pictures is bad Deranged Dave, but I get you’re quite the prude.

                    1. Queenie, tell us how you celebrated PRIDE, all the people you communed with, what you did together to celebrate PRIDE.

                    2. Ignoramus Incel’s Inquest!

              2. But LOSING the suit against GA will have more blowback than some people realize.

                1. Is this the turning point for conservatives in the culture war; the spot at which right-wingers become competitive and stop getting stomped by the liberal-libertarian mainstream?

                  I will believe it when I see it. Until then, I dance on the political, cultural, and academic graves of America’s right-wing losers.

          3. Brett: Internal institutional controls are an effective thing. Because people are not fully power-mongering machines and sometimes bind themselves for the greater good.

            The DoJ used to be an internal control. Trump got rid of that. Biden is returning at least some of the original plan of independence.

            Bar was a shit internal control. He’s trying to rehabilitate himself. He’s not going to – America knows what he is and did. In fact, one could argue that Barr is worse off than many of the more pathetic folks in Trump’s circle, as he clearly had his wits about him, and yet chose to suck.

            1. “America knows what he is and did.”

              Leftists are not America. Plenty of Americans know Barr did an overall excellent job as AG.

              1. Did you get a chance to see Trump in Outer Yahooville, Ohio, last night, with the other superstitious, vanquished, bigoted yokels who will spend the rest of their deplorable, defeated lives complying with the preferences of better Americans?

              2. Lots of non-leftists aren’t in your crazy side of the pool.

                Though you’ve said before you’re fine with lying if it helps your side win, so who even knows what you believe.

            2. Hmm, Bellmore thinks Barr sabotaged Trump at every turn, Sarcastro thinks he failed to exercise any internal control at all. La verite est toujours entre les deux. In fact, Barr did a difficult job with professionalism and integrity. The verdict is still out on Garland.

              1. I mean, Barr could have been worse – Trump wanted some serious dictator stuff to be done. But Barr was still very low.

              2. “In fact, Barr did a difficult job with professionalism and integrity.”

                Issuing the ‘Trump defeats Mueller’ memorandum was not professionalism; it was paltry, partisan, political polemic.

                Waddling across Lafayette Square for Trump’s Bible-waving photo opportunity was not the conduct of someone with integrity.

                Barr will still be welcome at Federalist Society events and Opus Dei self-flagellation seminars. Other than that, he won’t get — and does not deserve — much respect in modern America.

            3. I don’t know Sarcastro. About Garland I mean. I’ve seen an article with excerpts from the DOJ lawsuit against the Georgia law.

              There aren’t any real meaty legal claims in it. It’s a bunch of racial grievance stereotype stuff.

              Trump tainted everything, but the practice lately is that the new president takes his predecessor’s abuses and expands them. Biden certainly did with the EOs in the first week or so. Maybe you’re being too hopeful.

              1. ? Biden has said a number of time stuff the DoJ is doing defending Trump era people and policies are not up to him.

                1. The flood of EOs that he did early that dwarfed Trump and Biden were certainly his choice.

                  And the Georgia lawsuit appears to be a pathetic farce.

                  And his tax plan includes “enhanced enforcement” that’s going to set the IRS up all of our asses.

                  I’m not sure we can count on this admission to behave in a restrained manner and respect our rights. DOJ or any other branch.

                  1. The EOs, of course, have nothing to do with the DoJ.

                    Re: DoJ independence:

                    Defending the Carroll lawsuit against Trump
                    Puerto Rican residents eligibility for Social Security payments
                    Keeping private prisons in CA (filing against their law seeking to end them)

                    All things Biden would rather not have the DoJ do but that it’s doing. Independence as an internal control.

            4. “The DoJ used to be an internal control. Trump got rid of that.”

              Was that when Obama’s “wingman” was the AG?

              Or when the AG met with the husband of somebody allegedly under “serious” investigation (it clearly was not very serious)?

              How about when the AG sues a state for election laws that are not remotely racial in any way, shape, or form?

              Are THOSE the internal controls you long for?

              1. Yeah. Saying you’re the President’s wingman is not the same as the actual things Barr did to cover for Trump.

                And neither is some ill conceived meeting on a plane that y’all turned into a conspiracy.

                And you disagreeing with the AG is not the same as the AG being a lacky of the President.

                In each of these, Barr comes off worse than what you complain about.

                You are very bad at this.

                1. “ill conceived”; Well, at least you seem to be aware it wasn’t accidental, that’s something.

                  1. Yeah, it was bad because it looks bad.

                    The right, including yourself, turned it into a whole conspiracy though.

                    The fact that it still comes up shows how little you have to work with in your whattaboutism quest.

            5. Can you tell us a few of the things Barr did which go beyond the pale?

              A couple of examples would be nice, cause I am being obtuse and can’t think of any.

              1. Lied about the Mueller report.

                His Federalist Society ‘Liberals’ are godless and evil schemers’ speech.

                The sentencing of Roger Stone. Had how many career DoJ prosecutors resign?

                Contradicting the IG report on the Russia investigation to just say it was a gross abuse while offering no evidence.

                1. Your Mueller report fabrication is dealt with above. A speech to the Federalist Society is not an action. Eric Holder procured Marc Rich’s pardon, so there’s not much to choose there. As I recall, the investigation of the Russia investigation is still ongoing, but a number of abuses were exposed.

                  1. No pardon, dude, influencing the prosecution. All of what I talked about was and remains unprecedented.
                    Your attempt at whattbaoutism is destined to fail.

                2. The shenanigans he attempted with the SDNY US Attorney firing.

                3. Sounds like you disagree with Barr on topics where there is wide disagreement.

                  The Biden DOJ reviewed the non-charging decision on obstruction and said it was entirely reasonable not to charge.

                  There was some pretty good evidence the Russian investigation was a gross abuse:

                  “The Department of Justice’s internal watchdog has found “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts” in more than two dozen FBI wiretap applications to the secretive domestic surveillance court.

                  Those findings come from an initial audit by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz of 29 FBI applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as the FISA court.”

                  That many errors in submissions to the FISA court is bad in any context, but in investigating a political campaign it is a gross abuse. Your welcome to disagree, but I wouldn’t call you a liar because it’s your opinion.

                  1. If you’re going to quote that inquest it’s a bit of a ‘gross abuse’ to elide it’s ultimate finding (that the investigation was not a gross abuse but rather warranted).

                  2. You ask for me to name things Barr did that I think went beyond the pale. I did, and you just said ‘That’s, just like you’re opinion, man.’

                    Congrats on your unfalsifiable argument.

                    And you also lied about the IG report.

          4. No Brett, he should probably say, I’m not going to do that, here’s is why. Fire me if you want.

            Quitting as soon as you are asked to do something you will refuse to do is a cop out, and ill serves a president. Let him decide if it’s worth firing you or asking for your resignation, that is what a devoted servant of a president will do.

      3. Kirkland’s parties will soon have to be in Venezuela.

        1. The Threat of The Thoughtless!

      4. Just hear me out here: maybe he thought that the oath he took was to support, protect and defend the Constitution (’cause you know–those are the actual words), and so when Trump tried to do unconstitutional things he thought it was his job to thwart them.

    2. Brett, do you believe Trump gave Barr illegal orders?

      If not, if he didn’t give illegal orders because he didn’t give any orders but instead made repeated public and private statements about what outcome he wanted and pilloried others as personally disloyal because they didn’t respond to similar hints, what should Barr have done then?

      1. If he gave Barr any illegal orders, Barr certainly didn’t say so.

        1. I don’t know why you would expect him to, his duty would be to refuse an unlawful order not to go public about it. I suspect this is what Trump’s advisers told him: The order he wanted to give would be unlawful and Barr would dig in his heels. Instead he took the crime boss route of making clear who should be whacked without actually issuing the order. He still didn’t get what he wanted but avoided a direct and probably damaging confrontation.

          1. Will no one rid me of this turbulent special counsel?

    3. If some egomaniacal nut job who viewed Roy Cohn as a mentor and Michael Cohen as a trusted aide is trying to steal Presidential reelection, it doesn’t matter if he’s your boss. You do what you can to protect democracy.

      Of course Barr and McConnell’s motivation was primarily to keep their party in power to the extent possible, rather than some high-minded concern for the fate of our democracy, or for the truth, with which their relationship was purely contingent and instrumental (witness McConnell’s reason for nudging Barr; also Barr’s craven resignation letter to said nut job).

    4. Yeah, well I have to break with you on this one. Trump is very impulsive, especially when he is angry, and it can get him into trouble, and he probably knows it, which is probably why he surrounded himself with people like Barr and McLaren, who would tell him ‘no’ when he went overboard and stick with it.

      It’s probably not an uncommon trait in Presidents, that was probably Bill Clinton’s function to be the NO man, when Hillary was in charge from 92-00.

      I just hope some one is around who can tell Jill ‘no’ when they need to now.

      1. That is definitely not an uncommon trait among New York real estate developers, who tend to be superficial, impulsive, and mercurial, and who often hire more sober professional advisors to keep them out of trouble. As a New York real estate lawyer, I know whereof I speak.

        1. Leona Helmsley could have used a few people to tell her NO.

    5. This comment is just peak Brett. Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be, combined with no-matter-how-much-actual-reality-refutes-my-views-I-will-interpret-it-as-people-acting-in-bad-faith.

      Plus the entire comment is irrelevant to the actual thread, which was not about Barr disobeying orders at all!

      1. Maybe Brett wants to admit finally that the President did order his Attorney General to prosecute James Comey and Hunter Biden.

    6. Selected by voters? Not quite. Trump has never come in better than second place among the whole voting populace.

    7. Trump wasn’t the candidate the voters selected in either election. I don’t see much of a popular mandate in coming in second. For
      Pete’s sake, he got all the trappings of the office for four very long years despite being rejected, not selected. What does he have to whine about like a four year old? Same for you!

  4. During about the past fifty or sixty years victims of “elite” progressive educators have included and produced most of the education establishment, most teachers in most schools, and most reporters in most of the media, not to mention the consequent tens of millions of clueless victims in the general populace. For confirming evidence look no farther than the many pot kettle posts here on the “Conspiracy.”

    1. Look, someone called the Whaaambulance! There really is no end to conservative conspiracy victimhood wailing.

        1. Stop crying, baby.

    2. Disillusioned, disaffected, delusional right-wingers who despise modern America are among my favorite culture war casualties.

      The rest of the conservative platform — gun nuttery, anti-abortion absolutism, etc. — will sink with those losers.

  5. Get ready for it. Calling Trump’s election fraud claims absurd doesn’t necessarily make them so. Tomorrow (Monday) will probably see the results made public of the first hand recount of ballots in a swing state (AZ) that Trump claims really went for him.

    My bet is that massive fraud was discovered. I say this because I spent the last couple weeks before the election in Maricopa County, and there was almost no enthusiasm for Biden, but a lot for Trump. A lot of Trump signs in yards, and spontaneous demonstrations at major intersections, where people would be wearing Trump apparel, waving flags, with signs saying to honk for Trump – with a lot of people honking. In the parking lot, in the stores, a lot of Trump hats and shirts, with no Biden clothing anywhere. The only signs I saw appeared to have been put out by the party, with bigger Trump signs put up around them later. Yes, it is a large county, one of the most populated in the country. BUT I drive around a lot, and saw NO enthusiasm for Biden, even in areas where you would expect it.

    We shall see.

    1. Enthusiasm is not the same as votes. That’s why we hold elections, actually.

      Your bet is just wishful thinking.

    2. I would take the other side of your bet all day long. With a whole lot of money.

    3. Lol, this, this actually is the epitome of Trump’s supporter’s ‘arguments’: I saw more and bigger signs for Trump where I live!

      You can’t make this stuff up if you were trying to false flag discredit conservatives!

    4. It wouldn’t surprise me either way if Trump lost Arizona, or if he did win it, that’s why I want to see the audit results.

      McCain was very popular in Arizona especially among independents, and Trump’s feud with him, and McCain was hardly blameless, did cost Trump at least some support there.

      Don’t go all Pauline Kael and say you don’t know anyone who voted for Biden.

      1. Seen the news today? The filmmaker who made a “documentary” claiming 9/11 was an alien conspiracy decided there was money to be made fleecing dupes who believe Trump’s Big Lie. So he made a movie called “The Deep Rig” – stuffed full of every kind of tin-foil hat gibberish imaginable.

        It’s all there – a hodgepodge of disproven allegations about the Michigan voting machines, lies about Dominion Voting Systems and QAnon conspiracies about the CIA or former members of the intelligence agency running the 2020 election behind the scenes.

        That late bite of mush-brained imbecility was voiced in the film by “Anon”, who we now know is ….. Doug Logan, CEO of Cyber Ninjas, the company Kazinski claims to have faith in.

        The head of the firm auditing the Arizona elections results (in a Democratic-leaning county alone) just appeared in a QAnon film of fever-dream nonsense. Is there anything today’s Right can’t beclown?

        The movie premiered at a church in Phoenix. Before the film started the host of the event. QAnon believer Ann Vandersteel, introduced Austin Steinbart as the “Arizona Deep Rig Field Operative.” Steinbart is sometimes referred to in the QAnon community as “BabyQ”; apparently he has some people believing he is Q himself. He’s told his many cult followers that a future self is sending messages back in time so the present-day Steinbart can reveal the truth. Last year, he was arrested for using a synthetic penis in to pass a drug test. (I hate it when that happens)

        Steinbart said that he would be creating “Quantum meetup groups” for people to speak about election fraud claims. People can host their own screenings of the film (starring the Cyber Ninjas CEO) for $500.

        Is there anyone more goddamn gullible than a Trump supporter ?!?

    5. Tomorrow (Monday) will probably see the results made public of the first hand recount of ballots in a swing state

      That would be completely false. Georgia already did a complete hand recount of ballots back in November, and found that the originally-reported results were accurate.

      My bet is that massive fraud was discovered.

      My conclusion is that you are mentally ill, and statistically illiterate. There has been literally zero evidence of vote fraud anywhere. The polls showed Trump struggling. The election results showed Trump struggling. But Bruce Hayden thinks that yard signs tell us something.

      1. Maricopa county is in Arizona, not Georgia.

        A recount is not an audit, don’t get them confused. A good audit is going to reconcile the number of votes cast at polling places, and count and match the signatures in the signing books. It will also count the number of mailin ballots and match it too the absentee ballot requests.

        A good audit is a lot more than just a recount.

        1. Maricopa county is in Arizona, not Georgia.

          He said “the first hand recount of ballots in a swing state.” Georgia was a swing state. They did a hand recount of ballots there. They did so before they did one in Arizona. Therefore, the one in Georgia was the first hand recount of ballots in a swing state.

          The rest of what you said is (a) not responsive to what I said, and (b) elementary. I mean, do you really think you’ve uncovered some secret trick that nobody else ever thought of, to count the number of ballots and make sure they match the number of votes cast? This is a matter of routine.

    6. My bet is that massive fraud was discovered.

      Early on I gave enough credit to say everyone deserves their day in court. Loss after loss, and two cases where a judge said, fair enough, say what you have under oath.

      “Well, not much happened, actually.”

      This time will be different, some are sure.

    7. “Tomorrow (Monday) will probably see the results made public of the first hand recount of ballots in a swing state (AZ) that Trump claims really went for him.”

      Other than the time when Georgia did a hand recount of every ballot in the state, right?

  6. Actual facts in this account: Trump talked to Barr.

    Everything else is melodrama.

    Consider: Why do you think you’re so desperate to be told a melodramatic story? When did facts stop being enough for you? What if you paid attention to facts and policy instead of gossip and melodrama? What if we all did?

    1. Adler has been addled by TDS for a long time.

      1. When did everyone decide being shallow was a virtue?

        I think it was when Obama was running for President the first time and he didn’t have any policy or professional credentials worth mentioning.

        1. Yes, Ben, those that turned on Trump did so because of their belief that his awesome complexity and depth was a terrible, terrible vice.

  7. Barr was overall a very good AG but his loyalty was to the President, no cabinet member is an independent actor.

    If he could not support Trump on the election claims, he could either stay silent or resign. Then, he could say what he wanted if he felt compelled.

    1. Actually, the Attorney General is obligated to ensure that decisions of the Justice Department are made on the basis of law, not politics. If that means disregarding the President’s wishes, or even his explicit instructions (which isn’t clearly the case here), then the President can fire him and bear the legal and political consequences, but the Attorney General should uphold the law until that happens.

      1. No, if he can’t follow the order, he should recuse and let some deputy carry it out or resign.

        “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”

        1. Any cabinet member serves the country and the Constitution first. That may mean telling your boss that he is wrong on occasion.

          1. “telling your boss that he is wrong on occasion”

            Sure. But if the boss rejects that advice, then the order needs to be carried out. Otherwise the subordinate has the last word.

            1. Speaking of subordinate, Bob . . . what is it like being on the wrong side of history and the losing end of the culture war.

              Do you resent your lot? Do you hate the victors? Do you try to maintain any shred of hope that your preferences might someday prevail?

            2. Bob, that’s rank nonsense. The president can say, “I want you to prosecute this guy,” but if there is no evidence to do so, the AG cannot, either ethically or legally. Ultimately, this was about Barr’s license to practice law. (See Giuliani). This wasn’t a close call. Look at the replacement of the Georgia USA, for not claiming fraud–the new guy came in and found nothing as well. It was not a disagreement about policy, or enforcement priorities, or legal position. That’s when resignation is appropriate. Not when you are just refusing to make stuff up.
              According to you, a prospective AG would have to testify at confirmation, “Of course I’d be willing to lie for the president if he orders me to do so,” or he is unfit for office. I hold the opposite opinion, and I think a majority of the Senate would as well.

            3. “…then the order needs to be carried out.”

              Be very specific about what “order” you think needed “to be carried out” but was not by Barr.

    2. No, if the DOJ is Barr’s responsibility to say what he thinks, although maybe not to the press, but to congress if the ask him. If the President doesn’t like it he can fire him.

      But that does not include private conversations with the president, at least while he is still serving, unless the conversation is unambiguously criminal, not just blowing off steam or ignorance.

    3. What do you think “support Trump on the election claims” means? Does the AG have an obligation to lie on behalf of the President? To the public? You drop ink on democracy in this thread over and over again. How is democracy served by the AG lying on behalf of the President about the outcome of an election?

  8. As far back as 2016 Trump was hinting broadly that he wouldn’t accept a losing election result. Barr knew what he was getting into when he took the job.

    1. Barr strove to get that job, in part by stroking Trump’s scrotum with his legal tongue (the ‘audition memo,’ not the ‘smokescreen memo”).

      1. I shall not sleep soundly tonight after reading this comment, Arthur.

  9. “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

    And an excellent lesson on the distinction between “affect” and “effect.” While fraud might have been on the scale to “affect” certain results, they were not on a scale that “could have effected a different outcome.”

    Informative *and* educational. The VC is a great blog.

  10. This reads like a fictionalized wet dream from the lame stream media. I doubt it ever happened or if it did the actual exchanges were nothing like this. The story is as fake as the 28 other “Trump worked with Russia to rig the election” stories that all ended up being fake.

    1. Damn right. Trump has never been known to show anger to or try to get vengeance on people who he thinks did him wrong. Amiright?

      1. Come on. It reads more like a screenplay or drama script. Let’s get real here. The media has lied during the entire Trump administration. Why would they stop now? They have ZERO credibility.

        1. What do you make of Trump’s claims that he ‘won in a landslide,’ was the victim of a stolen election, and is preparing to be ‘reinstated?’ Are those lies, Jimmy the Dane?

          1. If it is such a close call then why all the need to censor, cover up, and lie? Where there is smoke, there is usually fire….

            1. Jimmy, that’s the #1 favorite aphorism of people who blow a lot of smoke.

            2. Where is any evidence of any covering up, censoring, or lying? Republican state office and Republican controlled legislatures are investigating and not finding anything. I guarantee Trump and the Republicans have investigators running around out there and finding nothing. There are probably some reporters snooping around too – the fame and wealth associated with exposing the biggest election fraud in American history is enormous.

              And yet eight months later….crickets.

              There’s nothing there but smoke, all generated by Trump’s Butthurt ego.

              1. Although you are mostly right, I would not count on mainstream reporters to do much. Remember, it took the National Enquirer to find John Edwards’ love child: the mainstream media gingerly mentioned the “rumors” once or twice, but mostly affected an air of bemused puzzlement.

                1. Agree as to mainstream reporters. I’m talking about independent people or even conservative ones.

                  Proving and exposing fraud as extensive as Trump is claiming would make you the Woodward and Bernstein of this generation. Eternally famous and rich beyond comprehension. I’d bet money that somebody is out there digging. The incentive is too high for it to be otherwise.

                2. Prey, writing on a libertarian leaning website, what’s the interest of Johnny Edward’s private life? Weren’t his politics that mattered? Wasn’t the fact that MSM are obsessed with the horse race aspect or other inanities, and not really the “meat” far more to lament?

                  1. It’s probably about the same as the interest in whether Trump slept with Stormy Daniels, or whether McCain had an affair with Vicki Iseman, both of which were front page New York Times stories.

    2. Poor Jimmy can’t handle the truth. Why don’t you just head down to Florida if you want to fellate Trump. No need to do it here.

      Anyone taking bets on how many decades it’ll be before Jimmy realizes he’s an idiot who was duped by Trump’s narcissism and lies?

      My money’s on ‘never.’

  11. I think this account sounds correct. Bill Barr has been known to support a strong executive and as AG he did this numerous times. Supporting a strong executive does not mean supporting an election lie and I think we saw Barr’s limits. While he supports a strong executive, Bill Barr also knew the then President would only be that executive for a little longer.

  12. Of I were Barr, I’d rather Mr. Trump deny me his essence than have to wipe his cum from my ass when he fucks with me.

    Some things can only be put crudely.

    1. Sounds like you have some experience in that department….

    2. And some things demonstrate vividly the limpness of the Volokh Conspiracy’s claimed ‘civility standards.’

      Why not just admit you can’t resist imposing a bit of viewpoint-driven censorship now and again, Prof. Volokh? It’s understandable that a right-winger (in libertarian drag) would get depressed and angry occasionally in modern America, and lash out against the culture war’s winners.

      1. Despite you hating on religious and white people all the time, they seem to let you post around here. So where is the beef again AK?

        1. The Volokh Conspiracy has censored me repeatedly. Mostly for poking fun at conservatives.

          1. Which it is entitled to do. The management of this blog has the right to impose viewpoint-driven, hypocritical censorship.

  13. I can’t help to find it rather ominous that we – me included – find it even remarkable that the Attorney General of the United States calls out BS. Strange the times when this must almost be considered heroism.
    But then, when I read some comments here …

  14. I thought in 2016 that Trump’s personality wasn’t suitable to be president. I also thought Hillary Clinton’s personality was in suitable to be president, and I agreed with Trump a lot more on the issues.

    All in all I think Trump did pretty well handling his demons and running the country as well as he could. When 2024 comes around I hope he isn’t on the ballot, but if he is I will vote for him, because I can’t even hope that the Democrats will nominate a candidate I could possibly vote for. Tulsi Gabbard? I could think about her but probably couldn’t do it, but I’d look into it.

    1. ” running the country as well as he could.”

      This may be your problem. This country can not really be run by an amateur. Especially one with a number of emotional problems. Hillary Clinton had the experience and temperament to run the country, as did plenty of the Republicans candidates. In what I consider a fluke the former President got the nomination and then the Presidency. This should not happen again.

      1. In what I consider a fluke the former President got the nomination and then the Presidency. This should not happen again.

        It wasn’t a “fluke”. That a candidate can win the nomination of a party with a plurality, rather than a clear majority, is by design. Party leaders don’t want a primary that drags on to the end, let alone ending up with a contested convention. That is seen as just weakening the eventual nominee for the general election. So, primaries award delegates in somewhat greater proportion than the vote totals in the beginning, and states where the largest vote total wins all of a state’s delegates start once you get to around the halfway mark. It was always possible, perhaps inevitable, that a populist or even a demagogue like Trump, could energize a large enough portion of the primary voters to win as the rest of the primary electorate split among multiple other candidates. That most of the 55% of Republican primary voters that picked someone other than Trump wouldn’t have had him as their second choice (and probably not their third or fourth choice) didn’t matter in the slightest for the outcome.

        Trump only gained majority support among Republican voters after it was clear that the choice was either him or Hillary. Given the kinds of cognitive biases people are susceptible to, it was perhaps likely that he would become supported by Republican voters more and more over time once he unexpectedly won, as well. Happiness that Hillary and the evil Democrats didn’t win reinforced the ‘wisdom’ of their holding their nose to pick Trump in Nov. 2016.

        This will happen again. Without some kind of ranked-choice or Condorcet voting procedure, splitting the votes in opposition to a plurality candidate will keep happening. This is one of the main reasons we have a two-party system in the U.S. Any “third” party risks splitting the actual majority preference of voters, so few voters are willing to take that risk and consider alternatives.

    2. “All in all I think Trump did pretty well handling his demons and running the country as well as he could.”

      He didn’t even try. Go read The Fifth Risk. I used to attribute malice to President Trump. In hindsight it’s just incompetence. He was always a second-rate salesman, and nothing else. When he had good people around him things went ok (judicial nominees, generally). But where he didn’t have good people around him (everywhere else), just lazy leadership with no focus, no follow-through, nothing. Pathetic.

  15. If anyone is interested in a summary from the Reason department that attempts to provide reality-based legal insight, here it is.

  16. (Whether that makes Barr a more or less sympathetic figure is left to the reader.)

    It is pretty clear that this is all an attempt by Barr to launder his reputation and salvage something of his legacy as opposed to history viewing him as Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer. Plenty of articles and people in news are pointing out all of his statements, going back to last summer, backing up Trump on his accusations that there would be all kinds of fraud possible. And there was his announcement in November that he was allowing the DOJ to look into any credible accusations of fraud, when longstanding DOJ policy had been not to open its own election fraud investigations until well after the results were certified. (That allows the regular election authorities to use those processes and let those challenges to play out without the DOJ appearing to put a thumb on the scale.) Some of what he said and claimed either lacked evidence, or was shown to be false or misleading. In his own words, they were bullshit.

    I am going with less sympathetic, Prof. Adler. He didn’t change his tune until there was no way to change the outcome. As long as there was a chance that Trump could win, and thus Barr could keep power, he was supportive of Trumpworld’s fraud lies. He didn’t discover scruples until it was clear that he was going to be out of a job regardless.

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