William Barr's "I'll Go Now" Letter to Trump

Attorney General William Barr tendered his resignation letter (available here) to Donald Trump today. It's a fanboy letter.

One thing the letter makes clear is that Trump and Barr discussed his resignation prior to his submitting the letter. Shorter version: Trump told him "Go Now". Barr would have been gone in a month, as soon as Biden's nominee gets confirmed, so what was the hurry? Why single him out and announce he's leaving early? Because Trump wants the world to know (as if any of us care) that when you go against the autocrat, you pay a price, even if it's just a public shaming.

I wonder who wrote the letter. Barr doesn't strike me as the literary type who would come up with phrases like "implacable resistance." Or the type to heap this baseless praise on Trump:

I am proud to have played a role in the many successes and unprecedented achievements you have delivered for the American people.

To me, it reeks of Trump's Number One Fanboy, Stephen Miller, assuming he hasn't jumped ship yet. [More...]

According to the author of a 2016interview with Miller, the White House sent over this afterthought requesting it be attributed to Miller:

“It is the single greatest honor of my life to work for President Trump and to support his incredible agenda.”

I also don't believe Barr chose these words:

No tactic, no matter how abusive and deceitful, was out of bounds.... The nadir of this campaign was the effort to cripple, if not oust, your administration with frenzied and baseless accusations of collusion with Russia.”

The New Yorker article describes Miller as being "...convinced that a cabal of deep-state actors was trying to thwart Trumpís agenda."

Of course, I have no idea who wrote Barr's letter. But I'd bet the scenario went like this: Trump tweets his criticism about Barr for not playing footsie on election fraud. Trump stews over the weekend and commands Barr's presence on Monday morning. Trump fires him, thinking he's being generous by suggesting he submit a resignation, which of course has already been drafted. Trump presents the letter to Barr. Barr either signs on the spot or crosses out a few words but the changes are quickly made. Barr decides not to make a fuss.

I think Barr is just looking out for his next meal and wants it to include a rich dessert. He fears without Trump's blessing, his next job will be the equivalent of hamburgers and a Dairy Queen.

Barr was never our Attorney-General. He was Donald Trump's personal lawyer. He replaced Jefferson Sessions, so of course he knew his role and his place when he took the job. His job was not to serve America or justice, but to please and praise the man with a desk in the oval office, Donald Trump.

At the end, he realized Trump and Rudy's fraud claims were going nowhere, Trump would be out on January 20, and he'd be out of a job. So why back a losing proposition? Trump thinks he fired Barr when he told him to "go now", rather than in a month. But Barr probably had his new job all sewn up and it's likely a job Trump could jeopardize. By agreeing to go now, at least he'll get to keep it. He'll also get a few weeks off and avoid being associated with the Walk of Shame -- the image of Trump, head down, as he takes his final walk across the cold, wet White House lawn with Melania, her six inch Stilettos sinking into the mud, to a waiting helicopter for his final exit from Washington-- all the while vowing he'll be back.

Trump thought "Go Now" would be a shaming punishment for Barr. I think it will turn out to be the opposite. By playing fanboy as he walked out the door, Barr may even get the last laugh. After all, who knows better than Barr what other investigations are going on at the Department of Justice that touch upon Trump, Rudy or other insiders? Federal grand juries may or may not be meeting due to Coronavirus (they are on hold in the District of Colorado) but you can bet the AUSA's, FBI, IRS and other law enforcement agencies are talking and reviewing documents daily.

It make take a while, but at some point Donald Trump will run out of favors and have to face the music and pay his bill, which I think will be big. While William Barr will be remembered as the AG who refused to go along with Trump and Rudy's phony election fraud claims and undermine the rule of law. With Republicans, anything is possible, even turning Barr into a hero who saved our democracy.

< Trump's Legacy: Champion of Death Penalty | Covid-19 Relief Bill Finally Agreed On >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Why leave now, instead of (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Tue Dec 15, 2020 at 09:12:11 AM EST
    waiting to be replaced by the Biden administration? my guess is that he wants to try and slither off, before the whole house of cards comes crashing down. Well, that and Trump fired him.

    The news is stating (none / 0) (#2)
    by MO Blue on Tue Dec 15, 2020 at 09:52:12 AM EST
    that he didn't want to be like Sessions and stay and endure the verbal abuse by Trump.

    Charles P. Pierce (none / 0) (#3)
    by leap on Tue Dec 15, 2020 at 02:05:57 PM EST
    So, Does His Behavior Merit a Bar Complaint (none / 0) (#4)
    by msaroff on Thu Dec 17, 2020 at 03:44:41 PM EST
    John Mitchell was, after all, disbarred.

    John Mitchell, Nixon's attorney general, (none / 0) (#5)
    by Peter G on Thu Dec 17, 2020 at 04:15:08 PM EST
    was disbarred after being convicted of a federal crime and sent (briefly) to prison. Not really comparable.

    Well not yet, anyway. (none / 0) (#6)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Dec 20, 2020 at 05:01:57 AM EST
    Like, who ordered DOJ personnel to alter documents which were subsequently submitted by Sidney Powell into evidence  specifically, notes taken by Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe - as cause for dismissal in U.S. v. Flynn? Isn't that tampering with evidence?

    And further, what was Barr's DOJ doing feeding selected documents to Powell in the first place?

    If William Barr didn't violate some tenet of a lawyer's code of conduct, I would suggest that his behavior as attorney general certainly ambled up to the ledge of propriety and skirted ethical frontiers. Surely we can and should expect better from people in that high position.

    We can't tolerate someone running DOJ as though it were his own private firm and he was on personal retainer to the White House. If that's not unethical, then I don't know what is.



    Trump just released a list (none / 0) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 06:01:56 PM EST
    Of pardons.  

    CNN (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 06:16:58 PM EST
    Times (none / 0) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 06:19:44 PM EST
    "In an audacious pre-Christmas round of pardons, President Trump granted clemency on Tuesday to two people convicted in the special counsel's Russia inquiry, four Blackwater guards convicted in connection with the killing of Iraqi civilians and three corrupt former Republican members of Congress," the New York Times reports.



    And (none / 0) (#10)
    by FlJoe on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 06:34:33 PM EST
    a partridge in a pear tree.

    Being called (none / 0) (#11)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 06:38:54 PM EST
    "the opening salvo"

    Interesting: Not Manafort, (none / 0) (#21)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 10:26:09 PM EST

    I'm sure there will be others (none / 0) (#24)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 08:53:43 AM EST
    I'm sure the minions are digging through the records to find the most offensive and outrageous ones.

    Regarding Manafort, correct me if I'm wrong but Trump might outsmart himself with some of his cronies since with a pardon they forfeit their 5th amendment rights.  Yes?  This is what TV says.  I wondered how true it was.

    Manafort of all people might have stories he could tell.


    will he have the hubris to risk (none / 0) (#25)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 09:01:47 AM EST
    pardoning himself.   Not knowing if it would hold up in court?  That's a pretty big risk.  I've always thought he would not risk it.  That he would resign and have Pence do it.  It's what I would definitely do in his place.

    But he is acting so crazy I'm beginning to think he really might pardon himself.  


    Bill Kristol (none / 0) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 09:08:42 AM EST

    Why Did Bill Barr Agree to Leave Today?

    "It could, obviously, be kind of random-a date picked last week to allow Barr to get things in order, an accommodation of Barr's family schedule, etc. But it could also be that Barr very much wanted to get out before Dec. 24, and/or that Trump wanted him out by then."

    "One obvious possibility discussed in the White House: Trump has spoken about a bunch of pardons on Christmas Eve. Some of the names may have been too much for Barr -- so they agreed on his departure on Dec. 23. (Or the pardons will be a few days later, but the principle holds -- Barr wanted out, or Trump wanted him out, first.)"

    "But it could be more than pardons. Yesterday Barr suggested there were several things he wouldn't do that Trump wanted him to do as ranging from appointing special counsels for Hunter Biden or election fraud, to giving a legal OK for seizing voting machines or for various types of Insurrection Act-type moves by the president. Can one be confident Barr's successor as AG, Jeffrey Rosen, will also say no?"

    "I'm also reliably told senior military officials in the Pentagon are more, not less, alarmed than they were a few weeks ago when Mark Esper was fired. The new crew of Trump loyalists in the most senior civilian positions don't seem there only to burnish their resumes, as one person put it. They're trying to figure out, in coordination with people in the White House, `how to make things happen.'"



    One more (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 09:20:05 AM EST
    Will Rosen say no?

    6. I'm told not. I'm told the very ambitious Rosen has pushed on earlier occasions for carrying out Trump's will only to be stopped by Barr. And people who've worked with Rosen say they wouldn't be surprised to see him, as AG, hasten to try to do Trump's will.

    There you go. It took another whole day (none / 0) (#35)
    by Peter G on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 07:35:13 PM EST
    A gift to Manhattan DA Vance, who can now subpoena Stone etc. to testify about his boss, and can freely prosecute Manafort for state offenses.

    Twenty, at this time of year, and at this point (none / 0) (#12)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 07:01:09 PM EST
    in an outgoing President's term, is not a lot. The list includes about half a dozen nonviolent drug offenders, all championed either by Republican senators or by Alice Johnson, where Obama commuted over 1000 such cases in his last few months (still far too few) after careful and impartial vetting.

    No (none / 0) (#13)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 07:10:54 PM EST
    It isn't.  Clearly more coming.

    The NOOZE seems obsessed with it anyway.  I wish they would talk about his threat to stop covid relief and shut down the government Christmas week.  Maybe in the D block.

    Seems like a bigger deal to me.


    If the (vague) "threat" to veto (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 09:13:18 PM EST
    the pandemic relief bill is a ploy to get the unemployment bonus or individual stimulus payments increased, I'm all for it. Nancy Pelosi says the same. Just because Tr*mp is a horrible person and a worse President does not mean he is always wrong about everything. This time, on this point, is not wrong.

    I guess (none / 0) (#16)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 09:29:49 PM EST
    Surely you can't believe he gives a flying fig about aid to suffering people.  Who might not have voted for him.  Surely.

    Beyond that there is absolutely no way in hell republicans are going to pass 2000 bucks a head.  Which means they will talk him out of it, or they will over ride a veto (possible I think), or everyone is screwed.  Because he wants to be the center of attention.

    So for the love of god please don't suggest he is "right".  It's offensive.


    Trump (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by KeysDan on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 10:56:52 AM EST
    spirals farther down every time Biden is on television,  This is his attempt to stay relevant--- a step by Trump with unintended consequences, actually doing something good for Americans.  
    In my view, it would be wiser to provide more on top of the unemployment benefit, say back to $600 per week, and less for the direct check.  The need is more for disaster relief than stimulus-- but both are welcome.

    I definitely agree about the checks (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 11:20:35 AM EST
    As much as I could use it, it's the people who's paychecks were interrupted with children and rent or mortgages who are really hurting.

    As far as spiraling, watch this 10 minute twitter rant.

    It is just so.....delusional?  Laughable? Frightening?  

    It's really is like an SNL spot.  Most of what he is saying happened, in fact, happened.  But it's all completely right, legal and totally expected.

    It's mind bending that he goes on and on about the "late vote dumps".  Which everyone knew would happen.  And the knew why it happened.  I honestly think he has convinced himself.  

    It seems impossible and he is such a liar the first impulse is to think he trying to once again lie.

    I really don't think so.  I think he believes it.  It's frightening to think it would be better if he was lying.


    PS (none / 0) (#18)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 09:44:38 PM EST
    A critical part of this is that it is not a "covid bill".  It's actually a massive omnibus funding bill.  That the government will shut down without.  Like tomorrow.

    Critical because not only can the republicans not allow this but that IMO makes it all the more likely Trump will try to F it up.

    He want to make us suffer.  Their response will be very interesting.


    I said nothing about his motives (none / 0) (#20)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 10:22:10 PM EST
    or what he "cares" about. He cares only for himself. I am only talking about what he said and what he might do, for whatever psycho or corrupt motive he may have. And no, I don't think they'll pass $2000. But if Tr*mp postures at $2000 they might pass $1200 again, or even $1000. Whatever they do that is more than the "disgraceful" and "ridiculous" $600 will make a big difference to a lot of desperate people. I couldn't care less about why Tr*mp pushes for it or why Congress might do it.

    600 in the hand (none / 0) (#22)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 10:31:05 PM EST
    Is worth way more than 2000 in his head.

    Personally I could use it.  I would love it if they increased it.  Even if they wanted to I don't see how there is time to do it.   Probably the point of waiting till the last possible moment.


    Even if Trump does not follow through (none / 0) (#17)
    by MO Blue on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 09:37:38 PM EST
    on his threat, it provides the Dems with great talking points. Personally. If I were the Dems, I would have all my best people on all the networks promoting how easy it would be to make these changes to the supplement payments and additional help for restaurants by voice vote if only the Republicans would agree to it. Buttigieg does great Fox interviews. One of main talking points should be to ask if Perdue and Loeffler would sign on to a floor vote in the Senate.

    Jon Ossoff (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by KeysDan on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 10:28:23 AM EST
    was on it immediately last night, calling for the upgrade to $2,000.

    If he didn't already challenge (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by MO Blue on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 12:58:56 PM EST
    Perdue and Loeffler to champion the increase, he needs to do so immediately.  If they remain silent on the increase, he and Warnock need to mention their lack of support at every opportunity.

    Yes (none / 0) (#19)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 09:47:49 PM EST
    All good ideas.  People are still deeply screwed if this does not pass.  I will be amazed if the bill is changed.  How freakin long did this take.  It will pass or it won't.  

    I sincerely hope I'm wrong about that.


    Actually (none / 0) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 07:13:17 PM EST
    An MSNBC bobble head just agreed with me ..  much bigger deal.

    Big (none / 0) (#32)
    by FlJoe on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 07:05:12 PM EST
    ones today, Manafort, Stone and Kushner's dad.

    Actually I think this is good news (none / 0) (#23)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 22, 2020 at 10:42:53 PM EST
    But if you are one of the people eligible for a stimulus check, don't get your hopes up. The legislation passed both houses of Congress with veto-proof majorities, meaning that Trump is powerless to raise direct payments from $600.

    I knew it passed easily.   I did not know the margins were veto proof.  That actually changes everything.  This really is just meaningless grandstanding.  Signifying nothing.

    Yeah 2000 would have been awsum. Nothing would have been a disaster.  It won't be nothing.  That's good news.

    Trump demands Congress increase second stimulus check from $600 to $2,000. Here are the chances of that happening

    28 more (none / 0) (#33)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 07:05:41 PM EST

    "President Trump on Wednesday evening announced 26 new pardons, including ones for longtime ally Roger Stone, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner's father, Charles," CNN reports.

    "The pardons of Manafort and Stone reward two of the most high-profile and widely condemned former advisers of the President, both of whom were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller, went to trial and were convicted by juries of multiple crimes."

    New York Times: "It was the second wave of pardons and commutations by the president in two days, showing his willingness to use his power aggressively on behalf of loyalists."

    Axios: "It's a continuation of the president's controversial pre-Christmas pardon spree, which began in earnest Tuesday night with pardons for a trio of convicted former GOP congressmen and several military contractors involved in the 2007 massacre of Iraqi civilians."

    I find it quite peculiar that the official (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Peter G on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 07:37:39 PM EST
    announcement begins each paragraph by naming which important string pullers supported each of these commutations or pardons (and takes multiple swipes at Mueller).

    What are the odds (none / 0) (#34)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 07:14:04 PM EST
    he has asked if he can issue a pardon for all past and future crimes for everyone with a particular surname. Like Kushner or Trump.

    What are (none / 0) (#37)
    by KeysDan on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 08:52:12 PM EST
    the odds Trump pardons Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teen who travelled to Wisconsin and killed two and injured another?  

    The odds are exactly zero (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Peter G on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 10:02:44 PM EST
    Rittenhouse is charged in a Wisconsin state court. The pardon power of the President of the United States extends to federal charges only.

    Yes, thanks. (none / 0) (#40)
    by KeysDan on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 10:28:53 PM EST
    There is also a federal civil rights lawsuit filed, but it is a civil case.

    Will Manafort's pardon result in a return of the property value and other cash (over $10 million) seized from  him by the government as a part of his initial plea deal?   He did renege on the plea deal so it may be complicated.


    The scope of a pardon depends (none / 0) (#41)
    by Peter G on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 10:35:04 PM EST
    on the wording of the formal "warrant of pardon" that is prepared for and signed by the President. It may or may not include remission (that's the formal word for it) of financial penalties.

    Better than even (none / 0) (#38)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 23, 2020 at 09:00:05 PM EST