Is former AG Barr right?
In taking a deep dive into all the issues surrounding the 2020 presidential election, I believe former Attorney General William Barr may have it right. That is a “may.”
Before getting into the “why” he may be correct, it is necessary to have a little background. For many years, Barr has been one of the most respected conservative attorneys in the nation. He has been loyal to the law as the framers of the Constitution intended.
Barr was even respected by rational folks on the left. That is until President Trump named him his Attorney General. Barr was immediately attacked by the never-Trump Resistance Movement folks, who had previously declared their intentions to never … never … never approve of anything Trump said or did. They did not want to – as they coined it – “normalize” Trump. And … the plan was to malign anyone who says or does anything positive about Trump.
Barr ran further afoul of the Democrats and the left-leaning media when he defended the constitutional powers of a President of the United States – in this case, President Trump. During his tenure as Attorney General, Barr was under a constant barrage of attacks from the left for his legal opinions on presidential powers. Suddenly, he was a pariah in the eyes of the Washington old guard establishment.
In December of 2020, the perception of Barr took another switch in direction – like a weathervane in a storm. That is when he told Trump and the world that the Department of Justice found insufficient evidence of vote fraud to flip the announced results of the election. He had no reason to say that unless he believed it. Barr’s every political and legal impulse would be to challenge the elections if he saw sufficient grounds.
Instantly, the winds of wrath came from the White House, while those on the left found Barr to again be a praiseworthy Attorney General. Under pressure from Trump to change his opinion, Barr resigned.
If Trump believed he could get the change he requested from Barr’s successor, he was badly mistaken. Trump even considered another change at the top of the DOJ. But even the suggestion resulted in threats of mass resignations – including Trump’s White House counsel. No one at the DOJ saw sufficient prosecutable election fraud that would change the outcome of the 2020 election.
The issue came up again when the video of Barr’s deposition was made public. He yet again said that he had – on at least two occasions – told Trump that there was nothing there in terms of enough voter fraud to flip the election. He called Trump’s contention, “bullshit.”
Trump’s own daughter Ivanka – in her deposition – said that she believed Barr – at least at the time. Since the Select Committee did not release her entire deposition, we do not know if that statement was ever qualified.
While I have never expressed my opinion about the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the election results – mainly because I do not think the debate serves the interests of conservatives at this point. It is Democrats and the media that benefit by keeping Trump and the controversy going. I prefer to deal with issues in the future that will influence the future election.
On the other hand, I do not buy into the left’s claim that there was no fraud in the 2020 election. That is the kind of lie despots like Putin, Xi and Kim tell. I favor pursuing vote fraud where it is seen – even if it will not change the popular or electoral votes. I think the elections reforms sweeping the nation are prudent preventative measures.
I trust Barr. He has no reason to lie. But his belief about the outcome is not the most important opinion Barr expressed recently. And I think he is correct about it, too.
In an interview with Bret Baier on FOX News, Barr said that despite all the accusations and armchair lawyering on the left, he does not believe Trump committed any prosecutable crimes. Allow me to repeat. In his professional judgment, Barr does not believe Trump committed a crime.
I tend to agree. In fact, in previous commentaries, I have said that much of Trump’s attempt to overturn the election results was perfectly legal – recounts, court cases, and charges of specific irregularities. Even many of the more extreme and untraditional activities were legal – such as calling on state legislators to replace the electors. Yes, they have that power according to the Constitution.
Of course, you can call Trump’s last-minute activity extreme … shameful … obnoxious. I do. What we saw in January of 2021 was bad Trump – the ego-driven pugnacious Trump. His attack on Barr and even his daughter was sadly typical of a man who is the center of his own universe. But the standards and requirements of American justice do not change because a person is unlikeable. That would be real tyranny – and a real threat to the Republic. But it seems that is what Democrats and those on the left want.
So … did Trump break any laws? Or did those around him? I do not know. We will find out later. But I give Barr’s opinion high credibility. Bad behavior is not a crime. Even lying is not a crime – or Congress would be meeting in an alternative federal facility.
I think that is why even the Democrats are playing coy. They brashly declare in the court-of-public opinion that Trump is guilty as hell – and then more quietly suggest that he may not get prosecuted by Attorney General Merrick Garland because the threshold is much higher in the real justice system than it is in the political world.
But there is also a political consideration. Dragging a former President of the United States into court can be dangerous. According to MSNBC’s left-wing legal contributor Barbara McQuade, such an action “will very likely spark civil unrest, and maybe even civil war.”
She went on to say, “I think not charging is even worse.” Whoa! Worse than a civil war? And she gets paid for this kind of nutty analysis? Of course, McQuade is presuming guilt – contrary to America’s jurisprudence.
I have looked deeply into the various accusations of fraud and irregularities – and still will not say with confidence that the election was stolen – or not stolen. But I do take Barr’s opinion seriously. It does not take me to a firm conclusion, but it certainly tips the scale.
But again … that is about Trump and the past. We need to stay focused on the now and the future – and the 2022 election. Trump is not on the ballot, so the issues surrounding him are a side-show. Paying attention to his endorsements is okay but letting the political stagecraft over the 2020 election influence voting in November is a parlor game we should not be playing.
So, there ‘tis.