Donald Trump has been making life so miserable that most of his traditional government employees have left, or they have been fired. That leaves the president with an entire layer of hand-picked “acting” departmental heads. POTUS likes to have acting heads, because they are clearly aware that he could fire them at any moment, plus he can bypass Congress’ confirmation process. He spent two years searching for his latest significant man.
William Barr did pass through the Senate’s confirmation hearing with no Democratic votes, because the Republicans have held the Senate and the majority in these hearings. This is another reason for people to get out the vote. Barr appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and got his head handed to him by 2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D-CA).
The former attorney general of California has since called for him to resign, according to CNN. She said it was time for Barr to turn his duties over to someone else:
‘I believe that what was absolutely enlightening — and should be deeply troubling to the entire American public — is that he made a decision and didn’t review the evidence. No prosecutor worth her salt would make a decision about whether the president of the United States was involved in obstruction of justice without reviewing the evidence. his attorney general lacks all credibility and has, I think, compromised the American public’s ability to believe he is a purveyor of justice.’
Barr hemmed and hawed about whether anyone in the Trump administration had suggested investigating anyone. Harris spoke to the AG as he stammered around, apparently unable to find a suitable non-answer answer:
‘Seems you’d remember something like that and be able to tell us.’
Finally, Barr responded:
‘Yeah, but I’m trying to grapple with the word “suggest.” There have been discussions of matters out there (He raised his hand toward the ceiling) that they have not asked me to open an investigation, but — ‘
Harris’ former prosecutorial experience showed through as she interrupted:
‘Perhaps they’ve suggested, hinted?’
Clearly, Barr knew the answer, but he did not want to give it:
‘I don’t know, I wouldn’t say suggest. I don’t know.’
Then, Harris grilled Barr about whether he had even looked at Mueller’s underlying evidence before making his final determination. She uncovered that not only had the AG not reviewed it, neither had Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or any staff members.
A second senator running for president in 2020 also sat on the panel, Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). She deftly slipped a request for Trump’s financial records, including his tax returns. Barr did not want to answer her question, but suggested that she just ask Mueller. She responded:
‘OK, well, I’ll do that too. But I think I’ll also ask you. And then obviously we would want to see them as underlying information.’
The attorney general agreed, clearly unaware of what he had just done.
Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ) is also running in the 2020 presidential election. He questioned Barr, too, pointing at the attorney general’s apparent lack of objectivity. The New Jersey senator called out the AG’s comment that the U.S. people should be “grateful to have confirmed” that no one in the Trump campaign cooperated with the Russians. Booker said:
‘I find your choice of words alarming. I think it calls into question your objectivity, when you look at the actual context of the report. Attorney General Barr answers to the American people—not to President Trump—and over the past 24 hours it’s become clear that he lied to us and mishandled the Mueller Report. He needs to step down.’