Barr's tell-all book discovers that Trump was unfit. Welcome to Earth, Bill

St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board (TNS)
President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General William Barr look on during a news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House on July 11, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

Former Attorney General William Barr spent almost two years running interference for a dangerously unfit president. Now, in a brazen but not terribly persuasive attempt to clean up his image in history, Barr warns that his ex-boss, Donald Trump, didn’t belong in the White House and shouldn’t be invited back. “Trump cared only about one thing: himself,” Barr writes in his new memoir. “Country and principle took second place.”

How curious that Barr says he only discovered this plain-as-day fact late in his tenure — because to a great many Americans, it was horrifically obvious the whole time Barr was helping Trump destroy political norms and undermine the Constitution.

As the nation’s top legal official, Barr’s duty was to the American people. Instead, he generally acted like just another of Trump’s shady personal lawyers, except with the power of the federal government behind him.

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When special counsel Robert Mueller released his report on the Trump campaign’s troubling dalliances with Russia in the 2016 presidential campaign, Barr stalled its release until he could issue his own whitewashing “summary.” To this day, because of Barr’s little gaslighting campaign, many Americans think Mueller’s report exonerated Trump of any impropriety — when, in fact, it left ominously unsettled questions of conspiracy with Russian disinformation efforts, and virtually proved that Trump obstructed justice.

Barr then set out to fulfill the demand of his vindictive boss to “investigate the investigators” who had launched the Mueller probe. Though Barr’s own inspector general would conclude the investigation was justified, Barr appointed special prosecutor John Durham, hoping to find otherwise. Three years later, Durham’s continuing probe looks increasingly like a big nothingburger.

After Trump crony Roger Stone was convicted of lying to the FBI, Barr overruled his own prosecutors to recommend a lighter sentence. Barr moved to drop charges against Trump toady and confessed perjurer Michael Flynn. No wonder almost 2,000 former Justice Department employees alleged Barr repeatedly “assaulted the rule of law” and demanded his resignation.

The ethical bridge too far, even for Barr, finally came in late 2020, when he refused to endorse Trump’s lie of a stolen election. Within weeks, this most loyal of lackeys was gone, with Trump publicly berating him as “spineless.” Now Barr emerges from under Trump’s bus tires to warn that his former boss is a bellicose narcissist who did “a disservice to the nation.”

You don’t say.

Yet, Barr’s book, according to published accounts, still defends his own various indefensible actions on Trump’s behalf. If only Barr had included some much-needed soul-searching, instead of just announcing these epiphanies about Trump that anyone with a working brain recognized years ago.

Barr’s book, by the way, is titled “One Damn Thing After Another.” What a perfect description of the tenure of a man who might well — and certainly should — go down in history among America’s very worst attorneys general.

— From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board (TNS).