On Monday, just as the Electoral College formally confirmed Joe Biden as president-elect of the United States, outgoing President Donald Trump announced the resignation of Attorney General William Barr.
The announcement, and the accompanying resignation letter from the attorney general offering effusive praise of the president, sparked immediate reactions from legal minds on social media.
"Not a single career prosecutor at DOJ will miss Bill Barr," tweeted former Alabama U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, adding that, "Barr’s 'letter of resignation' characterizes the Trump administration’s 'accomplishments' as accurately as his summary of the Mueller Report characterized the results of that investigation."
Former prosecutor Renato Mariotti agreed, writing, "Bill Barr ruined his reputation by deliberately misleading the public and politicizing the DOJ. Because he wouldn’t repeat Trump’s lies about the election, he’s out less than a month before Trump’s presidency will end. Trump used Barr and tossed him aside. Good riddance." Former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara had a more succinct summary: "Vaccine arrives. Biden clinches. Barr leaves. Pretty good. Pretty pretty pretty good."
And Richard Painter, former White House ethics director in the George W. Bush administration, expressed a similar sentiment. "As our @PennLaw_CERL/@CREWcrew report warned in October, Attorney General Barr has inflicted enormous damage on our intelligence community and national security," wrote Painter. "Good riddance."
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), a former military prosecutor, had yet another scathing assessment. "Attorney General Bill Barr misled the American people about the Mueller report; intervened in cases to protect the friends of @realDonaldTrump; and used the @TheJusticeDept as Trump’s personal law firm," he tweeted. "History will not be kind to Bill Barr."