A new white hat has been handed a shiny badge in the Swamp, and bets are he may be the one person able to straighten out the chaotic Justice Department. It’s a big job, but William Barr appears up to the task of taking over the U.S. Attorney General’s office, to restore law and order across the land.
After a series of confirmation hearings, the Senate approved Barr’s nomination to the position, 54-45. For those of you keeping score, all but one Republican voted “aye,” with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) the lone conservative “nay.” And somewhat surprisingly breaking the blue wall, Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Doug Jones (D-AL), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) crossed enemy lines and also gave Barr the thumbs up.
Supreme Court Justice John Roberts performed the swearing-in ceremony at the Oval Office, signaling a new era for the Department of Justice.
And the drive-by media is eerily silent. That alone is worthy of investigation.
A Hot Mess
Inheriting a department that for years honed the art forms of finger-pointing, confidential information leaking, planting press narratives, inter-office rogue romances, lying to superiors and Congress, and extraordinarily self-righteousness behavior, Barr will need the patience of Job in sorting out what some call an epic “hot mess.”
High profile FBI and DOJ folks have toppled like dominos – high-profile officials have been demoted to the basement, resigned in scandal, or have been outright fired – yet no one is acknowledging just how the top cops and counselors in America failed on such a spectacular level. During
Jeff Sessions’ two-year enlistment, few attempts to remedy the alarming situation were made. As Special Counsel Mueller’s Russia collusion report looms on the horizon like a tropical depression, Barr will need to kick a few asses in order to effectively clean house and reorganize an out-of-control government department.
If anyone can root out nefarious specimens and replace them with honorable and nonpartisan players, it will be Barr.
Taking Partisanship Out of Law
His storied history in and around the Swamp is the stuff of legend.
Barr has held this position before, serving under the late President George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993. He was Acting Attorney General in 1991 – just three days into the post – when 121 Cuban inmates, awaiting deportation, seized nine hostages at the Talladega federal detention prison. Barr directed the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team to assault the prison, which resulted in rescuing all hostages without loss of life. His calm under pressure and positive results caught the president’s eye, and one short week later Barr was appointed to the top spot, where he served until Bush left office.
During the confirmation hearings, then-Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) praised Barr’s interview process, heralding him as “a throwback to the days when we actually had attorneys general that would talk to you.” Biden further hailed Barr for his response to the question of whether he would support Roe v. Wade. Barr said the ruling was ” the law of the land,” which Biden claimed was the “first candid answer” he had heard from a nominee on the controversial law.
Back then, Barr was approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee and confirmed via voice vote by the full Senate.
He’s Hard Not to Like
Barr has been and continues to be respectful of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He publicly and recently stated in Mueller’s defense:
“I believe it is in the best interest of everyone—the President, Congress, and most importantly, the American people—that this matter be resolved by allowing the Special Counsel to complete his work. The country needs a credible resolution of these issues. If confirmed, I will not permit partisan politics, personal interests, or any other improper consideration to interfere with this or any other investigation.”
Although at times he has been critical of the Special Counsel’s choices – especially the hiring of extremely partisan lawyers to the team – he stands firm that the investigation is not a “witch hunt” and that Mueller is just very thorough.
Barr is a proponent and staunch defender of presidential powers – which seemingly includes his new boss, and one might expect he will be a strong ally to Trump where Sessions failed to deliver.
Perhaps it is his unwavering ability to stay neutral in a partisan-charged environment. Or his relentless pursuit of justice – his terrorist-hunting skills date to the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 that left 243 passengers and 16 crew dead – that has the media reporting the facts on his confirmation without the addition of lies, rumor, or innuendo.
Maybe Barr is just that untouchable – or competent.
There is one absolute that Barr must be keenly aware of: The public will never trust the DOJ if it continues to have a separate set of standards for the politically powerful and connected, prosecutes in a way that targets political rivals, or continues to operate as its own sovereign nation at the American taxpayer’s extreme expense.
Clean it up, Mr. Barr, or get out of Dodge.