President Donald Trump was pleased with Attorney General Bill Barr’s combative and deceptive performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.
This isn’t much of a surprise, of course — Trump is known to be obsessed with TV coverage of his administration, and he loves seeing his defenders go after his opponents. Barr’s testimony featured a lot of that. But another part of the AP’s report was even more revealing about the president:
He has told those around him that, after being disappointed by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, he has found an attorney general loyal to him.
It’s a stunning admission for Trump to make, even behind closed doors, because it’s exactly what Democrats are accusing Barr of: loyalty to the president, rather than the American people and the Constitution.
“This is our attorney general,” said Sen Kamala Harris (D-CA) Wednesday night on CNN. “This is not the attorney general of the president. It is the people’s attorney general. And the attorney general has the responsibility to do the work of justice. And that means to be unbiased, to be straightforward, to be honest, to be truthful, and we’ve not seen evidence of that kind of perspective from this attorney general, at least on this issue.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) said noted too during her allotted time Wednesday that Barr was behaving more like Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani or Kellyanne Conway than the head of the Justice Department. Apparently, Trump agrees.
It’s also notable that Trump seems to have used the same word — loyalty — that he asked for from former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump would later fire over his frustrations with the Russia investigation, according to contemporary memos kept by Comey.
Though Mueller concluded that Comey’s account was credible, Trump has denied asking for Comey’s loyalty.
“I’m not going to say, “I want you to pledge allegiance,'” Trump said. “Who would do that? Who would ask a man to pledge allegiance under oath? I mean think of it. I hardly know the man.”