Donald Trump is responding to Attorney General Bill Barr’s interview with ABC News (watch above). Barr said, “I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.” He explained that tweets like the one Trump put out about Roger Stone’s case “make it impossible for me to do my job.” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement that read: “The President wasn’t bothered by the comments at all and he has the right, just like any American citizen, to publicly offer his opinions.” And now Trump himself is responding to a particular line from Barr’s interview.
“The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.” A.G. Barr This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2020
Trump is again pointing out that he believes nothing is outside his power and so far he has no reason to believe otherwise. While Barr says it’s time to stop tweeting, his actions are what matters. Conservative columnist at the Washington Post Jennifer Rubin points out, “if he complains but continues to do Trump’s bidding and puts up with Trump’s assault on the rule of law, his protests are just hot air.” She adds:
Trump is seeking to intimidate, to bully the administration of justice in blatantly abusing his power. He is seeking to strip states of their legal rights. He is vividly acting out his critics’ portrayal of him as a budding autocrat, now unrestrained and ready to stock the government with previously disgraced cronies. And Republicans remain silent.
What Barr’s really saying to Trump is: let me continue to do your bidding with no one watching. https://t.co/tqUwtJx1vz
— Slate (@Slate) February 14, 2020
The New Yorker’s Susan Glasser writes:
It’s too late for lessons learned, and it’s most definitely too late for Bill Barr to complain about the President’s tweets. The constraints are gone. The leverage is lost. One ABC News interview with a single Cabinet official is not going to restore it. Trump, unhinged and unleashed, may actually turn out to be everything we feared.