President Donald Trump is no stranger to Twitter wars. But he let his Attorney General Bill Barr slide on this indirect criticism of Trump’s online rants.
“Whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards or the president, I’m going to do what I think is right,” Barr said to ABC News. “I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”
He wasn’t finished.
MORE NEWS: American Elections Should Never Be for Sale
“To have public statements and tweets about the department, about people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department, about judges before whom we have cases, makes it “impossible for me to do my job and to ensure the courts and the prosecutors and department that we’re doing our work with integrity.”
If almost anyone else would have said that, even as relatively gently as Barr did, Trump would have cut off their knees and fed their spleen to his dogs for brunch. But Trump instructed otherwise in this case.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, said, “The president wasn’t bothered by the comments at all, and he has the right, just like every American citizen, to publicly offer his opinions.” She also threw in, for good measure, that Barr has the full confidence of the president.
The White House has said that before though and the object of the president’s confidence has been out the door in days. So either Trump is getting smart with message discipline, is going to dump Barr, or maybe this was a put up job between Barr and Trump in the first place. I’m betting on the third and maybe the first.
MORE NEWS: Reviewing Last Night’s Debate
Barr is in front of the hostile House Judiciary Committee soon on the Stone sentencing affair and other alleged administration misdeeds. A little operating room between Barr and the president, to show the committee he has independence from the president, would be a good play.
Or it could just be that the president likes the guy and is willing to cut him some slack. Barr has been there for Trump when the president needed him most. Trump must also know that his own Twitter antics can be high maintenance at times. Thus, let the guy blow off some steam. To paraphrase George Patton, “Every soldier has the right to complain.”