Attorney General Bill Barr’s record and not his remarks should govern how the people and the press perceive the Justice Department chief. So say experts who weighed in after the attorney general gave an interview to ABC News in which he appears to complain about President Donald Trump’s tweets.
“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody … whether it’s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president,” the attorney general told ABC News. “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.”
But government, legal, and authoritarianism experts, and some journalists are saying “don’t fall for it,” literally. Those words came from NBC News National Security Contributor Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI Assistant Director, on MSNBC.
“It all rings very hollow to me and I don’t think we can take anything the Attorney General says at face value,” former U.S. Attorney, law school professor, and MSNBC contributor Joyce Vance said on Meet the Press Daily.
Journalist Judd Legum, who founded ThinkProgress and Popular.info, warns that the A.G. should not be taken at face value, because what he really wants is plausible deniability.
Former CIA officer and former White House National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price suggests Trump’s tweets make it harder for Barr to do what Trump wants:
Progressive newsletter The Daily Edge:
Former Office of Government Ethics director:
MSNBC Justice & Security Analyst, former DOJ chief spokesperson: