How William Barr Was Turned Into a Toad

Of course, it’s possible Attorney General William Barr has always been a toad, but in any event Barr really deserves to be preserved in formaldehyde for posterity. Someday science may be able to determine WTF?

The leaking of Bob Mueller’s sternly worded letter to AG Barr made today’s Senate hearings must see TV for a lot of folks, although I had to miss it. I take it that today Barr continued to lie about his interactions with Mueller about the Mueller report; see Paul Waldman for examples. Here’s just one:

Under questioning from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Barr insisted there was nothing wrong with Trump seeking to have Mueller “removed,” instead of “fired,” and then telling the White House counsel to tell a story he knew to be false, because it would be theoretically possible that there would be another special counsel appointed to take his place:

FEINSTEIN: You still have a situation where a president essentially tries to change the lawyer’s account in order to prevent further criticism of himself.

BARR: Well, that’s not a crime.

FEINSTEIN: So you can, in this situation, instruct someone to lie?

BARR: To be obstruction of justice, the lie has to be tied to impairing the evidence in a particular proceeding. McGahn had already given his evidence, and I think it would be plausible that the purpose of McGahn memorializing what the president was asking was to make a record that the president never directed him to fire — and there is a distinction between saying to someone, “Go fire him, go fire Mueller,” and saying “Have him removed based on conflict.”

As Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) later said about a separate matter, “That’s some masterful hairsplitting.”

We also had some interesting moments like this:

And this:

See also Jennifer Rubin, “William Barr and His Horrible Hearing“; Aaron Blake, “Five Takeaways from William Barr’s Tense Hearing.

Somebody named Eliana Johnson writes in Politico that Barr’s real cause isn’t Donald Trump but the unitary executive theory that gives presidents expansive powers to act without congressional approval. But I suspect James Comey, of all people, has the real reason.

Amoral leaders have a way of revealing the character of those around them. Sometimes what they reveal is inspiring. For example, James Mattis, the former secretary of defense, resigned over principle, a concept so alien to Mr. Trump that it took days for the president to realize what had happened, before he could start lying about the man.

But more often, proximity to an amoral leader reveals something depressing. I think that’s at least part of what we’ve seen with Bill Barr and Rod Rosenstein. Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from. It takes character like Mr. Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites.

This rings true for me. I have personal experience working for narcissists/sociopaths, and there are only two ways to function: One, do your best to do your job as it needs to be done in spite of the daily outrages and constant chaos, but keep your resume in circulation because the day will come when you just can’t do it any more. Or, two, just do whatever the narcissist/sociopath wants, right or wrong, no questions asked.

When you work for someone who is, shall we say, psychologically compromised, you aren’t working for a person but for a pathology. That’s what you’re constantly dealing with; not a human being, but the crazy.

Now, what to do about William Barr? Some Democrats — Kamala Harris, Mazie Hirono, Cory Booker, Liz Warren, and others — are calling on Barr to resign. I understand that Congress can remove a cabinet secretary through the same impeachment process used for presidents, but I don’t know if that’s ever been done before. But even Chris Cillizza thinks Barr is in deep trouble. How long before Barr is returned to his pond?



12 thoughts on “How William Barr Was Turned Into a Toad

  1. Barr ain't goin' nowhere.

    He did his first task:  Save the president's* fat, orange, cottage-cheese lookin' ass!

    His second task:  Throw another log on the "Unitary Executive" bonfire.

    His third task:  Stick around to support tRUMP pardoning people – remember, he's the shitheel who told "Papa Doc" Bush to pardon his corrupt Iran-Contra cronies.

    And finally?

    I don't know, go down to the vault, burn the U S Constitution, piss on the ashes, and go home?

  2. I can't he!p asking someone like Barr, or other newbie sycophant:

    "Is Donald J. tRUMP The hill you want your career and reputation to die on?


    That big, bloated, orange hill?"s

    Well, it's your life…

    (And ours.  You authoritarian moth…).

  3. Barr not only looks and sounds like a croaking toad, his mouth resembles a Howdy Doody dummy, controlled by Trump.

  4. Looks like we are about to embark on Mr. Toad's wild ride. It should be interesting. As a matter of fact I think I'll cancel my Netflix subscription because they don't have anything in their upcoming lineup that can match the drama that is about to unfold. Move over Breaking Bad!

     The one thing I just can't comprehend is what kind of a spell Trump exerts over these people that causes them not only to become stupid, but also causes them to toss away their reputations. With Barr, he started out in my eyes as someone who had an image of integrity and believability in being an honest broker, but after seeing several performances he's squandered it all to show himself as a complete toady. unreal!

     In the exchange with Feinstein he not only was wrong about Trump's lying not being obstruction of justice. He confirmed that Trump was a liar, but argued that the context of that particular lie didn't qualify as obstruction of justice. Maybe it's me, but any lying during an investigation is in itself obstruction of justice.

  5. No wonder so many toads as look at all the flies.  I am reminded watching Barr of the book Lord of the Flies.  A bunch of preppy kids on an island without adult supervision.  The social deterioration and the resultant digression into primitive behavior that ensues.  It is just a case of no adult leadership.  

    Developmentally, Agent Orange is stuck in early adolescence.  He only tolerates those who are equally atypical.  Loyalty and adoration of a head on a stick with phony hair and flies buzzing around.  What can I say?  Somehow it makes sense to me.  Nothing else seems to make a lick of sense.  How else can one explain behavior of adults in this way?  Given they are  stuck in the middle school mentality or latency period of development it all makes at least some sense.   

  6. I always knew he was appointed for this purpose. 

    Nowhere in the constitution does this absurd theory lie.

    He didn't show up today because he would have had to perjure himself further today.  He evidently doesn't know or care what Manafort did.

  7. What is interesting is that he acts with shameless impunity like trumpism does.

    He dares us to call out his obvious tells and doesn't seem to care. I think he is offended that he is subject to interrogation by a

    nasty woman like Senator Harris.  He reeks of priviledge.

  8. c u n d gulag is exactly right. Barr fancies himself “Lawyer to the Republican Party”. He’d prefer a more legitimate patron, but Trump is still king in his way of thinking.

  9. Barr always was a toad. See Barr’s Playbook: He Misled Congress When Omitting Parts of Justice Dept Memo in 1989. It’s the same pattern as with Mueller: Barr provided a “summary”, which was at odds with what the memo actually contained, and which took subpoenas and months of delay to finally get the truth.

    The good thing about yesterday’s hearing is that the truth about Barr is out: he’s a cover-up man with an unbelievably broad notion of executive power, and is perfectly willing to lie or twist the facts to suit his purpose. Much of this was brought out into the open yesterday.

    Moreover, there’s evidence that we ain’t seen nuthin yet. There was a story in the NYT about how Joe Biden’s son, Hunter was involved in some probably shady dealings in the Ukraine, involving a corrupt prosecutor who, along with the case has since been dismissed. Trump’s team is trying to get the Ukraine to reopen the case, in order to get more favorable treatment from America, and quite possibly use Bill Barr to create a scandal around Joe Biden here in America. In other words, use the Attorney General to persecute domestic political opponents. To say nothing of basing foreign policy on your own political needs. In yesterday’s hearing Barr waffled when I believe Kamala Harris asked him about “other investigations” going on. More on this story here, behind a paywall.

    We probably can’t get rid of Barr, but it’s so important to air his corruption.

  10. One more point: the paragraphs about how being around amoral people – this really helped me understand the mysterious case of Rod Rosenstein. I've been around plenty of creeps but never anyone in a position of power over me to comprehend this. Thanks.

  11. in any event Barr really deserves to be preserved in formaldehyde for posterity. 

    Maybe they can store him in a jar next to Rasputin's penis?

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