Meet William Barr, the Latest Victim of the Trump Stench

William Barr
Trump White House reputation quicksand pit.Photo credit: DonkeyHotey / WhoWhatWhy (CC BY-SA 2.0) See complete attribution below.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

We have pointed out before that various crooks, racists, and other shady characters seem to be drawn to President Donald Trump. It makes sense that they would flock to somebody who is like them. What is more stunning, however, is how many formerly respected people allowed their (previously) good names to be ruined by their association with Trump.

Let’s set aside for a minute whether these reputations were well-deserved or not, but time and again, the odious smell of this presidency has stuck to people who used to be highly regarded in Washington and throughout the country.

Being associated with Trump is like hanging out with a skunk. Eventually, it will spray you and it won’t mind the odor but you’ll be left to deal with the stench.

Take Rudy Giuliani, who was beloved as “America’s mayor” after 9/11 before he became a joke as that guy on TV who would defend anything Trump did or said.

Or John Kelly, who was supposed to be one of the “adults in the room” to rein in Trump and, instead, followed his boss into the gutter and was exposed as a liar.

The latest in the long line of formerly respected people whose misguided allegiance to the president will ruin their reputation is Attorney General William Barr.

When facing the decision of whether he wanted to serve justice or Trump, Barr chose to shill for the president instead of following the mission statement of the Department of Justice (DOJ), which reads in part: “To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law … to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.”

As a result, he may be held in contempt, impeached or (in our favorite but least likely scenario) Barr’s own department will be asked to open criminal proceedings against him. But even if there are no legal consequences, his name will forever be tarnished because of the events of the past month, when the formerly respected attorney and public servant essentially turned into the DC version of a mob lawyer.

It doesn’t even matter whether he lied under oath or was merely highly misleading and obfuscated the truth.

The point is that anybody who read the Mueller report could not possibly have drawn the same conclusions Barr did.

Indeed, the attorney general admitted that he did not review the evidence accompanying the report. But that raises further questions, since, in a summary of the report Barr submitted a month before its release, he concluded that Trump had not obstructed justice.

Mueller clearly wasn’t amused, because it now appears certain that he felt the president had obstructed justice on multiple occasions. While he does not explicitly state that Trump would have been charged if he were a private citizen, he often cites a DOJ opinion arguing that a sitting president cannot be indicted for a crime.

So he took the rare step of writing Barr, i.e., “creating a paper trail,” to state that the attorney general’s summary “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the full report.

Why did Barr do it? And why have scores of others blemished their good names by doing Trump’s bidding? Your guess is as good as ours.

Maybe Barr just wanted to get his son-in-law a White House job. Or maybe he is really opposed to people having health insurance. Or he wants to do his part in rolling back civil rights or separating children from their asylum-seeking parents.

Or maybe there are simply a lot more pee tapes out there than any of us can imagine.


The cartoon above was created by DonkeyHotey for WhoWhatWhy from these images: William Barr caricature (DonkeyHotey / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), White House (Sarah and Jason / Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0), sign (Daniel Lobo / Flickr – CC0 1.0), and post (Doug Kerr / Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0).


Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from the US Senate.

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9 responses to “Meet William Barr, the Latest Victim of the Trump Stench”

  1. robert e williamson jr says:

    Barr is a radicalized neocon if one can be both. I believe “Ole’ Bombs Away Bolton” is a living example as is Pompeo, Spence and the list goes on and on.

    This is like bemoaning the fact the suicide bomber “just went to pieces” because he blew himself up.

    Give me a break. Suicide bombers are promised 20 virgins or some BS – what do you suppose Barr was promised ?

    If these people, these high-brow blue blood elitists, expect nothing more that an express ticket to Heaven I have news for you they all are equally as dangerous to the rest of us a the terrorist are. The end result is the same. They are espousing, “everything must be our way or the highway”, not exactly unemcumbered freedom.

    OCCUPIED BERLIN 1968-1970

  2. Crooks, racists and shady characters, Trump supporters. Trump won the popular vote among white Americans. 58% of whites voted for him and 53% of white women. According to a recent Harvard poll, he is up 10% among Hispanics and a USA today poll has him at 36% approval rating among African Americans. I found Barr to be calm, deliberate and very intelligent in his testimony. The landslide CNN predicted for Hillary Clinton just before the election is about to come true, just not for Hillary and her supporters.

  3. They disinter these fixers as the need arises. I believe Barr fixed things for Bush 1 during the Iran-Contra affair.

  4. remo says:

    Certainly the stench is everywhere in the plumbing. Barr is an interesting mix, given the ‘mixing’ going on all around him. And now that no crime was found, no “collusion’, The entire investigative process will immediately -and justly- turn to the ‘Foundational Document’ creating this false allegation..The Steele Dossier. Once Barr uncovers that rats nest, the criminal intent behind its payment, creation, insertion and mockingbird continuation->which must go all the way to Obama and HRC/Clinton Foundation..and cleaned it out, perhaps then the Trump camp will fall. But, further ‘up the pipe’.
    After this initial ‘cleansing.’

  5. Manqueman says:

    No way is Barr a victim, at least to the extent the word implies doing something unwillingly.
    Barr’s an old time party hack lacking any morals or decency. His run as AG is just part of that.

    • Larry says:

      Yes indeed Barr is his own villain going way back and consistently so. To suggest he ever deserved or had an actual good reputation is dangerously misleading. And now he will preside over Stalinesque show trials of Democrats like Manafort’s Ukrainian autocrats and oligarchs do. The author should not invent a ‘reputation’ simply to fit his theme. Otherwise great piece as usual. Thanks, Klaus.

    • Dennis Bartholomew says:

      Disagree with the position that Barr and Guiliani were “well-respected” before Trump. Barr has always been an extreme right-winger and made some bad moves in the Bush admin. Giuliani had a moment of popularity after 9/11 but in recent years, before Trump, has become known as an incompetent glory-hound.

    • Dennis Bartholomew says:

      Larry and Manqueman, I agree with your comments.

    • STeve Tahmosh says:

      Exactly. All Trump did, for all of them, is give them an opportunity to reveal their true selves.