Friday, February 21, 2020

Hi It's Stupid: Barr

Hi, it's Stupid to say old Billy Barr was literally angry with Trump last week when he told ABC News, on the subject of Trump's Twitter polemic against the Justice Department in re the Roger Stone sentencing,
I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me. To have public statements and tweets made about the department, about people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department and about judges before whom we have cases, make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we're doing our work with integrity.
Everybody knows he was just pretending to be mad because Trump tweeting his denunciation of the DOJ sentencing request just before Barr was about to up and withdraw it, and then tweeting his praise of Barr after he did that thing revealed that Barr is just a toady for Trump who does whatever abusive thing Trump wants and—

Hey, in that case why wouldn't he be irritated? Here's his stupid employer letting the cat out of the bag. If Barr's job is to be a toady for Trump doing whatever Trump' heart desires, but at the same time convince the courts and prosecutors that he's doing the job he's supposed to be doing, "with integrity", Trump's indiscreet tweeting really does make it impossible. "How can I secretly obey are your illegal orders if you keep telling me to obey them in public?"

Who wouldn't be pissed off? Who hasn't had a bad boss interfering in their work to his own disadvantage (because if you won't give me the autonomy to do your work for you and don't know how to do it yourself it's going to make you look bad)? But if it's not obvious, the job he feels he's been prevented from doing—covering up the president's crimes (Stone's lies and witness intimidation were meant to hide his role as intermediary between the Trump campaign and Russia-fed WikiLeaks)—should not be done.

In any case Barr made his views on the independence of the Justice Department pretty clear, as far back as the spring of 2001, when he was addressing a group of historians at the University of Virginia on the subject of his service as attorney general in the G.H.W. Bush administration:
“I think it started picking up after Watergate, the idea that the Department of Justice has to be ‘independent,’ ” he told the historians, questioning a presumption that has been widely embraced in the forty-five years since Nixon resigned. Barr further contended that appointed officials should be allowed to oversee criminal cases because they—or their bosses—are ultimately held accountable by the voters. “I have come to feel that political supervision of the Department is very important,” he said. “Someone ultimately has to answer to the political process.” He added that elected officials don’t necessarily resolve cases based on political expediency. “The second-guessing is not for political reasons, it’s really because someone is exercising some maturity of judgment and putting things in perspective and saying, Why would you indict this person over this?”
Maybe that was true of his former boss, old Poppy, ordering him to come up with a rationale for pardoning all the Iran-Contra criminals, I'm sure that was all maturity of judgment and putting things into perspective and not political at all. Or let's say I'm trying to imagine how Barr might believe it, because I can't believe it at all, but I sure as hell can't imagine him relying on his current boss for maturity of judgment and perspective. He's being a true monarchist with Trump, suspending his own judgment altogether at least for the moment, and trying to gratify his every whim, only helplessly annoyed when Trump makes it so hard.

That's who Billy Barr has been since middle school, a schoolyard bully, kissing up and punching down. I was astonished the other day by some evidence I didn't see when it originally came out. And a Jewish (by paternal ancestry) anti-Semite, naturally. If you haven't seen it, you need to embiggen that newspaper photo and read it:

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