Douglas M. Bloomfield
Douglas M. Bloomfield

Bill Barr’s Blind Ambition

I recently wrote in this blog that nothing makes Republicans drool and Democrats cringe more than the occasional reports of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s health problems.  The Notorious RBG, 86, has had two bouts with cancer and each health scare excites Republicans and gives Democrats palpitations.

I especially singled out President Donald Trump, who wants to keep loading the federal courts with unqualified rightwing ideologues (some who oppose earlier court landmark rulings on school segregation, same sex marriage and reproductive rights; many were deemed unqualified by the American Bar Association) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose mission has been to ram those nominations through with minimal debate and less scrutiny.

Chris Nelson, editor of the daily Nelson Report on international trade and a veteran Washington observer, suggests that the person watching the Notorious RBG’s health bulletins the most closely is Attorney General William Barr.

Behind his blind loyalty to Trump is blind ambition.

Did he lie and mislead everyone about the Mueller Report and now the Justice Department Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s Russia investigation?

Barr said “the Trump campaign was clearly spied, upon,“ but the inspector general of his own Justice Department said that simply wasn’t true.

“Is Barr insane?” Nelson asks.  “No.  A serial liar? Well, yeah.  But why?  How can he look in the mirror in the morning?  This may shock you: ambition.”

He continues:

You will recall his blatant “audition” for Atty Gen weeks before he got the job, more recently his pandering to evangelical Christians in ways that make a joke of the Constitutional protections for all religions, and now his latest distortions… lies…about the FBI, Russia and the Campaign.

Hummmm…in the god-forbid but very real possibility that Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg is forced out by health, who do you think wants to be at the top of Trump’s nomination list? You think the Senate GOP would not confirm him?

The “audition” Nelson refers to is a June 2018 memo from Barr to Trump expressing his theory of what the ACLU called “an overly expansive view of presidential power.”  That was clearly appealing to a president who has said – wrongly – that Article II of the Constitution gives him the right to do whatever I want as president.”  By the end of the year Trump fired Jeff Sessions and nominated Barr to replace him.

Speaking at the University of Notre Dame two months ago, Barr lashed out hostile “secularists” for the “organized destruction” of religious liberty.  Barr insisted that religious people who operate businesses should be allowed to discriminate against LGBQT people, Jeffrey Toobin wrote in The New Yorker. He called the speech “Historically illiterate, morally obtuse, and willfully misleading.”

Joan Walsh in The Nation called him “a paranoid   right-wing Catholic ideologue who won’t respect the separation of church and state.

Barr long ago abandoned any pretense of being the nation’s lawyer independent of any president to be Donald Trump’s lawyer, personal investigator, and protector – the Roy Cohn he always wanted.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder called Barr “unfit” for the job. “Virtually since the moment he took office … Barr’s words and actions have been fundamentally inconsistent with his duty to the Constitution,” he wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. Barr, he added, is doing “lasting damage” by “running political interference for an increasingly lawless president.”

The moral of this story is clear:  pray for the good health of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the early removal of Donald Trump and Bill Barr.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.