In light of the President’s decision to nominate William Barr to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general, here is a brief collection of comments Barr has made on big topics.
May 12, 2017: Barr writes a Washington Post op-ed “Former attorney general: Trump made the right call on Comey”
Barr calls Comey “extraordinarily gifted” but says in announcing the Clinton findings, “he crossed a line that is fundamental to the allocation of authority in the Justice Department.” He said it is “not surprising that Trump would be inclined to make a fresh start at the bureau and would consult with the leadership of the Justice Department about whether Comey should remain.” “I think it is quite understandable that the administration would not want an FBI director who did not recognize established limits on his powers,” Barr wrote in a Washington Post op-ed in May 2017. “It is telling that none of the president’s critics are challenging the decision on the merits.”
He also said, “No matter how far along the president was in his own thinking, Rosenstein’s assessment is cogent and vindicates the president’s decision.”
July 5, 2017: Barr tells the Washington Post that he would have liked Mueller have more balance on his team
“In my view, prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party … I would have liked to see him have more balance on this group.”
May 18, 2017: Barr tells the World he is “confident” Mueller won’t let the investigation “degenerate into a sprawling, ceaseless witch hunt”
“His appointment is good news for those concerned over the troubling way the investigation was handled over the summer and fall, as well as the many government leaks,” Barr told the World. He added, “I am confident that Mueller will keep his eye on legitimate areas of inquiry and not let this investigation degenerate into a sprawling, ceaseless witch hunt to ‘get something’ on the president’s associates.”
June 17, 2017, Barr told The Hill an obstruction investigation is “asinine,” when asked about a media report, and warns the Special Counsel risks “taking on the look of an entirely political operation to overthrow the president.’”
“Now, legal experts are debating the veracity of two bombshell reports in the Washington Post. One story said Trump is the target of an obstruction investigation. A second said that the financial transactions of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had attracted the scrutiny of the special counsel. Kushner’s spokesman said that it is “standard practice” for the special counsel to request records associated with the investigation.
Barr, the former attorney general, said the media stories were overblown. Most of what is going on now is early, normal course investigative work that says nothing about the special counsel’s ultimate findings, Barr said. ‘I suspect the Washington Post story exaggerates the maturity of the investigation,’ he told The Hill. ‘I don’t think it has crystallized to that point.’
Barr also called the obstruction investigation ‘asinine’ and warned that the special counsel risks ‘taking on the look of an entirely political operation to overthrow the president.’”
Nov 17, 2017, Barr tells the NYT what he would do in Sessions’ situation with the President’s pressure to investigate Hillary Clinton
“There is nothing inherently wrong about a president calling for an investigation.”He added though, “Although an investigation shouldn’t be launched just because a president wants it, the ultimate question is whether the matter warrants investigation.” In the same story, the NYT says Barr sees more reason to investigate uranium One than Trump-Russia collusion allegations and said, “To the extent it is not pursuing these matters, the department is abdicating its responsibility.”
Nov 3, 2017, Barr tells the Washington Post there is nothing wrong with the President saying he thinks an area should be investigated
“The president is the chief executive and, if he believes there’s an area that requires an investigation, there’s nothing on its face wrong with that, there’s nothing per se wrong about that.” He also told the Post, that saying throwing Clinton in jail is not appropriate, but there are things he said he thinks should be investigated. According to the Post, Barr said, “I don’t think all this stuff about throwing [Clinton] in jail or jumping to the conclusion that she should be prosecuted is appropriate,” Barr added, “but I do think that there are things that should be investigated that haven’t been investigated.”