OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Attorney General Bill Barr gave a bombshell interview to ABC News in which he called out President Trump and his Twitter habits. This comes after the hullabaloo in recent days over President Trump’s tweets regarding Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation. Controversy erupted after the Justice Department intervened and revised the initial recommendation, thereby raising questions about Barr’s independence.
During that interview, Barr said Trump, “has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case” but should stop tweeting about the Justice Department because his tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job.”
Barr’s position is totally understandable. Don’t you have a love/hate relationship with Trump’s tweeting? I love that he tells it like it is and pushes back on the Dems and the media, but sometimes he just goes too far, puts his foot in mouth, and creates totally unnecessary drama and controversy for himself.
Barr very directly stated, “I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.” He added, “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody … whether it’s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president. I’m gonna do what I think is right. And you know … I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”
Is there really a break between Barr and Trump? I don’t think so, and I certainly hope not. I think Barr’s statement is all political. And, politically speaking, very necessary. Barr’s job is undeniably made more complicated and difficult by Trump’s tweeting.
Why does Trump give the Democrats such easy pickings by tweeting ALL THE THINGS? Trump, if anything, should have addressed his concerns about the sentencing recommendation with Barr privately.
And let’s not forget, ultimately, Trump has pardon and commutation power.
Notably, Barr did not allege the president has done anything criminal and said there has not been any political interference in criminal cases.
“When asked directly if he had a problem with the president’s tweets, Barr responded, “Yes. Well, I have a problem with some of, some of the tweets. As I said at my confirmation hearing, I think the essential role of the attorney general is to keep law enforcement, the criminal process sacrosanct to make sure there is no political interference in it. And I have done that and I will continue to do that. And I’m happy to say that, in fact the president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.”
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“If (Trump) were to say, ‘Go investigate somebody because’—and you sense it’s because they’re a political opponent, then the attorney general shouldn’t carry that out, wouldn’t carry that out.”
Barr told ABC News he hopes the president hears and respects his concerns about his tweeting.
The White House responded to the interview in the following statement:
“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. President Trump uses social media very effectively to fight for the American people against injustices in our country, including the fake news. The President has full faith and confidence in Attorney General Barr to do his job and uphold the law.”
So far, Trump has not tweeted a response to the interview. Maybe he has taken Barr’s message to heart.