Saturday, December 8, 2018

Trump sets a low Barr for nomination for AG

Aaron Blake (Washington Post/The Fix), among many others, sounds the alert on The red flags on Trump’s new attorney general pick, William Barr. All you need to know: Barr is a social conservative who would rather persecute the Clintons than prosecute Trump for collusion and obstruction.

President Trump confirmed Friday that former attorney general William P. Barr will be his nominee to head the Justice Department. Picking George H.W. Bush’s attorney general would seem a pretty safe and confirmable pick, on its surface.

But much like Whitaker’s, Barr’s past commentary has played down the severity of the allegations against Trump — on both the collusion and obstruction-of-justice fronts — and he also has suggested the Clintons should be in more trouble.

… Barr told the New York Times that there was more basis to investigate Hillary Clinton for the Uranium One deal than there is to investigate Trump for potential collusion with Russia. He went so far as to say the Justice Department was wrong to give Clinton a pass.

… Barr also explicitly called for more investigation of the Clintons, telling The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Matt Zapotosky, “I don’t think all this stuff about throwing [Clinton] in jail or jumping to the conclusion that she should be prosecuted is appropriate.” Then he added: “But I do think that there are things that should be investigated that haven’t been investigated.”

Barr also has given Trump a complete pass on one of the central events in the Mueller probe: Trump’s firing of James B. Comey as FBI director. In a Washington Post op-ed, Barr said Trump not only did nothing wrong but also that he “made the right call” …

It seems quite the coincidence that Trump has settled on yet another attorney general who might be prepared to take his side on these very personal and political investigative issues in a way Sessions wouldn’t. It’s also notable that Barr seems to believe it isn’t so necessary to erect a wall between the presidency and the nation’s top law enforcement official — a wall that Trump has long desired to demolish.

With an even larger tilt toward the right after the midterm, it is hard to imagine that the GOPlins in the Senate will not confirm Barr. But it is also hard to imagine that it will not be a brutal fight for the reasons listed and more.

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