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December 14, 2020

Attorney General William Barr announces his resignation ... effective on Festivus

729f0cf5173b56a95ede633168381e5aI suspect Attorney General William Barr may have lots of grievances he is eager to air because today he announced that he will be resigning effective on December 23, which all Seinfeld fans know is Festivus.  This NPR story, headlined "William Barr To Step Down As Attorney General Before Christmas," reports the news and some context:

Attorney General William Barr, an outspoken proponent of conservative values and an expansive view of presidential power, will leave office before Christmas, President Trump announced in a tweet Monday afternoon.

Trump said he and Barr had a "very nice meeting" and that their "relationship has been a very good one." Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen will become acting attorney general, Trump said.

Earlier this month, Barr said the DOJ found no evidence of widespread election fraud, directly contradicting President Trump's baseless claims that the election was stolen by Democrats. Ahead of the election, Barr had stood by the president, repeating his unsubstantiated claims that mail-in voting was ripe for fraud.

In less than two years on the job, Barr emerged as perhaps the most divisive attorney general in recent memory for a series of controversial actions, including his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Russia investigation and his repeated false claims about the integrity of mail-in voting....

Barr joined the administration halfway through the president's term, and quickly emerged as one of Trump's most loyal and effective defenders. But he came under intense criticism from Democrats and many in the legal community — including even current federal prosecutors — for actions that raised questions about the department's independence.

Barr was nominated in late 2018 to replace Jeff Sessions, a former Alabama senator whose time as attorney general was in large part defined by relentless attacks from Trump — in private and in public — because Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. Trump considered that unforgivable and sought, but ultimately failed, to get Sessions to quash the investigation.

That was one reason why members of Congress viewed Barr — a prominent establishment Republican who had been attorney general once before under President George H.W. Bush — as a reassuring choice.  Republicans and Democrats alike had hopes that Barr could bring leadership and a steady hand to the department, which had found itself in the middle of Washington's brutal partisan battles since the 2016 election.

By and large, Barr leaves a department still enjoying strong support from Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina repeatedly made clear their strong support for him. Barr's reputation on the other side of the aisle, however, is in tatters.

December 14, 2020 at 06:01 PM | Permalink


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