Donald Trump was looking for his Roy Cohn, an attorney who finally lost his license after making his name in the McCarthy era. He found his Roy Cohn in Attorney General William Barr, but what drew Barr to Trump? Others whose experiences with Barr date back to long before his first stint as Attorney General in the 1990s see something far more sinister.
One of Barr’s schoolmates from New York’s Horace Mann school Jonathan Smit said that he was a “hardline conservative.” That was infused with religiosity and had not appeared to change over the years:
‘He seems pretty much the guy was in high school. It’s like his whole life has been a straight line…informed by a radically right-wing…conservative strain of Catholicism. I think he’s someone who believes in fundamental Old Testament values, basically, and he sees his mission as pointing the country back in that direction.’
Criminal defense attorney Jimmy Lohman was another of Barr’s former schoolmates. He was so concerned about Barr’s rise in Bush 41’s White House he wrote an op-ed. Lohman told about Barr picketing a fundraiser for a local chapter of the NAACP when they were in school.
He said that Barr was a National Review founder William F. Buckley type when he was younger. However, he said Attorney General (AG) William Barr like Smit offered himself up to be the 85th AG, because of Trump’s vision of himself — all-powerful:
‘The only thing that really makes sense to me is that he clearly wanted to get in on all the power and he saw Trump as someone he could manipulate and be a kind of Robespierre to a [foolish] king… in effect the most powerful person in the country by manipulating this man.’
‘I think that he just wanted to get in on it and have the power to reshape the world in his image. And that image is some weird ass version of Catholicism, it’s almost unlimited executive power, it’s fascism.
‘There are people out there who are fascist. William Barr, in my view, is one, and I evidently picked up on that a long, long time ago.’
Yet, what is a fascist? It is a movement or regime that places the country above the perso and race above the person. It is an autocratic government with a dictator leading. That leader suppresses any opposition, and is totally incompatible with democracy. Some of the more famous facists were Benito Mussolini in Austria annd Adolf Hitler in Germany.
Trump was the perfect place for the partially-retired Barr. The AG saw, according to The Independent:
‘[An opportunity to put himself in a position to assert his own political agenda [and] shape the legal establishment to suit his own political ends.’
‘I don’t even know if Trump has an ideology, but I think Barr does. I don’t think he’s uncomfortable with the idea of a certain kind of authoritarianism being wielded towards those ends, and he sees Trump as someone who isn’t going to be circumspect about it.’
Barr tweeted that the president’s tweets had made it:
‘Impossible for me to do my job’
Out of character, Donald Trump came close to contrite. He agreed with Barr’s tweet:
‘Yeah, I do make his job harder. I do agree with that. [Barr is] a man with incredible integrity.’
However, Trump believed that his tweets balanced out what he considered “unfair press coverage.” Then, the president added that he was “allowed to be totally involved” in anything he wanted relating to the Department of Justice:
‘I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country, but I’ve chosen not to be involved.’
Stuart Gerson was Assistant Attorney general for the DOJ’s Civil Division under Barr for President George Bush 41. He stayed on, becoming President Bill Clinton’s Acting Attorney General. About Barr, Gerson said:
‘[Barr is a] good deal more sophisticated and intelligent [than Trump]’
Barr has used Trump’s inexperience in government “to advance an agenda that he’s long held.” In turn, Trump had the ability to make Barr’s views attractive to his own base.
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.