US Attorney General William Barr exercises his power toward two main goals: to protect the president and his cronies from punishment when they break the law, and to promote harsh legal action against regular Americans. From the moment his tenure began as Trump’s attorney general (AG), Barr has undermined cases against Trump’s cronies. At the same time, he has repeatedly argued against criminal justice reform.
Much has been made of the June 1 photograph of Trump holding up a Bible, but the greater hypocrisy was taking place just off-camera. AG Barr walked proudly through Lafayette Square to the sound of clanking tear gas canisters and frightened cries of peaceful activists who were attacked while exercising their First Amendment rights. He strolled beside the same president that he shields from criminal investigation.
At first, the White House credited Barr with the decision to clear Lafayette Park of demonstrators in order to make a path for the now-infamous photo op. But now Barr denies that he gave the order — although he was still happy to take credit for the planning, and was pleased with the outcome.
As denials go, this one was weaker than most, but this is just a blip in Barr’s work of flipping from one side to the other.