The calls are getting louder for Bill Barr to resign, or at the very least recuse himself from anything involving the whistleblower complaint. This comes as government officials (and the American people) try to piece together what his role was in Donald Trump’s efforts to get the Ukraine president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate Joe Biden. The whistleblower complaint alleged, “Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well.” And Trump portrayed him as a major player in the Ukraine conversations. According to the summary of the call, released from the White House, Trump told Zelensky “I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call.” Repeating it later, “I am also going to Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it.”
His potential involvement also came up several times Thursday during Joseph Maguire’s testimony on Capitol Hill.
Rep @PeterWelch highlights a key problem with how Maguire handled the whistleblower complaint: he sent it to the FBI, but the FBI is ultimately a part of the DOJ, which is overseen by Bill Barr — who is implicated in the complaint! So a fox was ultimately guarding the henhouse pic.twitter.com/ay8kOhll2N
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 26, 2019
Today Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi amped up the pressure on the Attorney General, strongly condemning him.
Speaker Pelosi says on AG Barr: “He’s gone rogue … I think where they are going is the cover up of the cover up, and that’s very really sad for them. To have a Justice Department go so rogue … now it just makes matters worse.” pic.twitter.com/l6jhF1UzjJ
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 27, 2019
But it’s clear that Barr’s alleged behavior plays right into Trump’s hands. The Washington Post writes:
Trump spent months bemoaning the fact that then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions hadn’t done enough to protect him as president, and he has notably sung a very different tune with Barr, perhaps suggesting he believes that Barr has satisfied that role. Trump has also indicated publicly that he would see nothing wrong with involving Barr in the efforts in Ukraine.
And in a New York Times opinion piece titled, “Just How Corrupt Is Bill Barr?”, Michelle Goldberg writes:
Barr’s refusal to recuse creates a sort of legal cul-de-sac. It’s only the Justice Department, ultimately, that can prosecute potential federal crimes arising from this scandal. Barr’s ethical nihilism, his utter indifference to ordinary norms of professional behavior, means that he’s retaining the authority to stop investigations into crimes he may have participated in.
She goes on to quote “Representative Jamie Raskin, a former constitutional law professor who now sits on the House Judiciary Committee:”
That makes the impeachment proceedings in the House, where Barr will likely be called as a witness, the last defense against complete administration lawlessness. “Just as the president is not above the law, the attorney general is not above the law,” said Raskin. “The president’s betrayal of his oath of office and the Constitution is the primary offense here, and we need to stay focused on that, but the attorney general’s prostitution of the Department of Justice for the president’s political agenda has been necessary to the president’s schemes and he will face his own reckoning.”