Earlier today we brought you the story of how the House Judiciary Committee is planning to move forward with contempt of Congress proceedings against Attorney General William Barr at 9am on Monday morning unless he changes his mind and starts fully cooperating – which of course he won’t. But now it turns out Barr has a whole different kind of problem.
Congressman Ted Lieu and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice, who both have past experience as prosectors, have jointly asked the Virginia and Washington DC Bar Associations to open an investigation into William Barr for professional misconduct and possible perjury, according to a letter that Rice has posted. This opens up the very real possibility of Barr being disbarred – and because Donald Trump has no control over decisions made by state bar associations, he wouldn’t be able to stop it.
If William Barr were to be disbarred, there is some debate out there as to whether he can legally carry out certain Attorney General job duties without a law license. That said, it’s not as if Trump and Barr care about following the law anyway. Disbarment would ruin Barr’s ability to ever practice law in the future once he’s no longer Attorney General, but it’s not clear if he cares about that.
Instead, we think the real upshot here is that disbarment – or any type of sanction against William Barr on the part of the bar association for how he corruptly handled the Mueller report – would help strengthen the argument for Barr’s impeachment and/or forced resignation, particularly in the court of public opinion. Trump has shown time and again that he is willing to sacrifice his own loyal people once they become too much of a liability to him.
It’s also notable that two members of the House, both with strong legal backgrounds, are accusing William Barr of having committed possible perjury. This furthers the idea that once Trump is gone and Barr no longer controls the Department of Justice, House Democrats can then make a criminal referral against Barr to the DOJ, at which point he could be indicted and put on criminal trial for perjury.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report