US Attorney General William Barr resigns from his post as head of the Department of Justice, stepping down by December 23. The announcement happened after the US electoral college voted in Democrat Joe Biden as the 46th US President.
Barr’s Resignation Letter
President Donald Trump shared Barr’s resignation letter on Monday via Twitter. It contains passages praising the efforts of Trump despite the challenges he faced during his tenure. Barr wrote that he is “proud to have played a role in the many successes and unprecedented achievements you have delivered for the American people.”
Barr also wrote that Trump’s achievements are “all the more historic because you accomplished it in the face of relentless, implacable resistance. Few could have weathered these attacks, much less forge ahead with a positive program for the country.”
Trump Bore No Ill Will for Barr
Contrary to widespread expectations, Trump appeared to bear no ill will in his choice for Attorney General. Along with Barr’s letter, Trump tweeted that they “Just had a very nice meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House.” He reiterated that they remain in good standing. “Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job!” he added.
Barr took over the role in 2019, replacing former Senator Jeff Sessions. He also served as Attorney General to President George HW Bush from 1991 to 1993. Replacing Barr is Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen. Rosen will serve as acting attorney general, Trump said. Former US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard Donoghue will take over Rosen’s role.
Before Monday’s tweets, Trump called Barr a “big disappointment” for withholding the Hunter Biden investigation. While Barr withheld publicizing the case during the election campaign, Trump may have felt the news could have helped him get a few more votes. During the weekend, conservative Todd Starnes tweeted that “If the Wall Street Journal story is true and Attorney General Barr knew in the spring about the Biden investigation and kept it quiet — he should be fired by the end of business today.” Trump replied to the tweet and said “A big disappointment!”
“IF Biden gets in, nothing will happen to Hunter or Joe,” Trump posted. “Barr will do nothing, and the new group of partisan killers coming in will quickly kill it all.” When Starnes remarked that “At this point, @realDonaldTrump should declassify everything. Everything,” Trump replied with “I have been doing this. I agree!”
Throughout his stint as Trump’s Attorney General, Barr defended President Trump from accusations of collusion with the Russians. He is also known for intervening to help get the President’s associates out of trouble. Despite heavy criticism from other government officials and the legal community, Barr remained a steadfast defender of the President.
However, Barr did manage to air some grievances. For example, in the Roger Stone case, Barr mentioned that the President’s tweets and public comments make it impossible for him to do his job. He said, “I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.”
In early December, Barr also made a contradicting stand about the elections. Despite Trump insisting “massive fraud” happened during the elections, he said that the Justice Department did not find fraud at a scale that can affect election results.
Even if Barr resigned due to signs of brewing trouble with his boss, the timing is perfect. His resignation coincided with the Electoral College’s confirmation of Biden as the incoming President. Biden will need full trust in the heads of the various government departments, so courtesy resignations from Trump’s appointees are expected.
A Steady Hand
However, his resignation comes at an earlier time than is necessary. Between now and January 20, when Biden moves into the White House, Trump will need a new sheriff. Rosen will fill in, and by all accounts, he is seen as competent enough. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that Rosen is “a good man and will be an ethical leader and a steady hand at the Department of Justice.” Maybe he can help temper Trump’s remaining days in office.
View the ABC News World News Tonight report on the resignation of US Attorney General William Barr:
As William Barr resigns with a month left before the new administration arrives, do you think he should have stayed with Trump until the end? Or, did he do so to avoid the ax? Let us know what you think about our last Attorney General. Leave your comments and opinions below.