Last month the Washington Post published an article that cited an unnamed source “familiar with the thinking” of Attorney General William Barr – and everyone quickly figured out that the source was Barr himself. It’s a commonly used method for getting your side of the story out through the media, without having to attach your own name to it. Now Barr has done it again, and this time he’s thrown Donald Trump under the bus in the process.
Last night, after it was revealed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will likely testify before the House Judiciary Committee next week, Donald Trump went on a tirade about how Mueller shouldn’t be allowed to testify. As Palmer Report has since explained, Trump couldn’t stop Mueller from testifying even if he tried. But if Trump is going down that road, suffice it to say that Barr has decided not to go with him – and to instead make it known that he disagrees with Trump.
Or perhaps we should say that a “source familiar with the attorney general’s thinking” feels that way, as that’s how ABC News just reported the story. That’s right, Barr has once again stated his viewpoint to a reporter, under the condition that the source can only be identified by that particular phrase. Barr really should be more imaginative about these things. But the bottom line is that Barr just publicly took a stand against Trump. The question is why.
That’s probably not difficult to parse. The House Judiciary Committee initiated the contempt of Congress process against William Barr today. House Democrats are on television talking about having Barr arrested for contempt by the Sergeant-at-Arms, and it’s clear that they can refer Barr for criminal prosecution on perjury charges at some point. The Democrats have Barr on the ropes, to the point that he’s fighting for his career and maybe his freedom.
Last week someone leaked a memo which revealed that Donald Trump’s attorney Emmet Flood had instructed William Barr not to testify the before House. It’s starting to feel like Barr was the one who leaked that letter, in the hope of legally establishing that he was following Trump’s orders when he failed to show up. Now Barr is publicly distancing himself from Trump’s attempt at illegally intimidating Robert Mueller into not testifying. Barr is throwing Trump under the bus, in some kind of attempt at saving himself. This is about to get particularly ugly for Team Trump.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report