Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves Bill Barr and the justice department.
William Barr is stepping down as attorney general. Trump revealed the move on Twitter, writing that he and Barr had a “nice meeting” at the White House, and that Barr would “be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family.” Trump posted a copy of Barr’s resignation letter, in which Barr indicated he had just provided the president an “update” on the department’s review of voter fraud allegations.
Barr’s letter indicated that his last day would be December 23. Trump wrote on Twitter that Barr would be replaced on an acting basis by the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, Jeffrey A. Rosen, and that Rosen would be replaced by his own top deputy, Richard Donoghue.
In the resignation letter, Barr spoke on his attacks on the Russia probe, writing that Trump’s political opponents had launched an effort “to cripple, if not oust, your Administration with frenzied and baseless accusations of collusion with Russia.” “Few could have weathered these attacks, much less forge ahead with a positive program for the country,” Barr wrote, citing the strength of the U.S. economy and military and peace deals brokered in the Middle East.
Barr was confirmed as attorney general in February 2019, taking over as Trump’s second attorney general after the president forced the resignation former senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama from the position. Barr came on just as special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election was winding down. And when Mueller delivered to the attorney general his final investigative report, Barr was thrust into one of his first major controversies.
Barr’s letter said he was “greatly honored” to have served in the administration, and praised Trump for his “many successes and unprecedented achievements.” Trump on Twitter claimed of Barr, “Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job!”
But in public and behind the scenes, Trump and Barr’s relationship had significantly soured, with one person saying the pair had barely spoken directly in recent months. A senior White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, insisted that Barr resigned of his own accord.
Barr was one of Trump’s most loyal and effective Cabinet secretaries, often emphasizing the commander in chief’s public talking points and using the Justice Department to defend him. Barr echoed some of the Trump’s attacks on mass mail in voting, making exaggerated claims of possible fraud. He orchestrated a massive show of force against racial justice demonstrators in Washington, D.C., even personally asking for the removal of protesters around Lafayette Square just before Trump walked across the area to pose for a photo in front of a nearby church.
Barr’s actions sparked intense controversy, with thousands of Justice Department alumni calling on him to resign in open letters. Inside the Justice Department, morale plummeted, with many career employees feeling they were not supported by the man at the top.
Barr previously served as attorney general under former president George H.W. Bush and he has long advocated for a strong executive branch.