Following Attorney General William Barr's remarks on ABC News that President Donald Trump should stop tweeting about ongoing criminal investigations, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham insisted that the president was not upset by Barr's seeming rebuke.
But according to The New York Times, people privy to the White House suggest that the president's relationship with the attorney general has indeed become strained.
"Critics assume it is all a Kabuki dance, cynical theater meant to preserve Mr. Barr’s credibility as he executes Mr. Trump’s personal political agenda while pretending to look independent," wrote Peter Baker and Michael Shear. "And it is certainly true that, even now, Mr. Barr continues to demonstrate a willingness to personally take charge of cases with Mr. Trump’s interests at stake."
"But insiders insist the tension is real, with potentially profound consequences for an administration that has redrawn the lines at the intersection of politics and law enforcement," they continued. "Barely a week after being acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial, Mr. Trump is demanding that some of the people whose actions he believes led to his troubles be charged, convicted and sent to prison, and it is not clear that even Mr. Barr is willing or able to go as far as the president wants."
Despite all of this, continued the Times, there does not appear to be any immediate likelihood that Barr will be fired — and by and large, Fox News, from which Trump gets much of his worldview, has not abandoned the attorney general. "While Lou Dobbs on Fox Business Network excoriated Mr. Barr for rebuking the president, other Fox hosts who have Mr. Trump’s ear, like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, were generally supportive of the attorney general," wrote Baker and Shear. "Tucker Carlson, another trusted television personality, treated Mr. Barr’s ABC interview like a nonevent on his Fox News show Thursday night."