David Firestone returned toThe New York Times editorial board this week to pen a column declaring it impossible for former Attorney General Bill Barr to repair his damaged image, particularly after the information about his Justice Department's corruption.
Firestone, the recently retired Executive Editor of NBC News, returned to his former home at the Gray Lady and immediately took aim at Barr.
"During his 22 months in office, he allowed his Justice Department to become a personal protection racket for his boss, Donald Trump, and left prosecutors, the F.B.I. and other law enforcement officials subject to the worst impulses of the president," began Firestone. "But then, in his 2022 memoir, Mr. Barr did an about-face, bashing Mr. Trump for lacking a presidential temperament and singling out his 'self-indulgence and lack of self-control.'"
The attempt to repair his image by standing up to Trump isn't something that can save him now or ever, Firestone argued, calling it a "hollow and self-serving turnabout."
Recent reports state that Barr "launched a counter-investigation into the origins of Robert Mueller’s report on the 2016 Trump campaign’s ties to Russia." The Times revealed Thursday that what really happened was "a staggering abuse of the special counsel system and the attorney general’s office."
On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee said that it would be holding its own hearings and investigations into the behavior of special counsel John Durham under Barr's direction.
"These reports about abuses in Special Counsel Durham’s investigation — so outrageous that even his longtime colleagues quit in protest — are but one of many instances where former President Trump and his allies weaponized the Justice Department," said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) in a statement. "The Justice Department should work on behalf of the American people, not for the personal benefit of any president"
Firestone closed by noting that Durham's probe was never able to secure any convictions, and in one instance was chastised by a judge for a filing that served no purpose but to propagate right-wing conspiracy theories he knew were lies.
He recalled the last time that Barr was at the Justice Department in 1992 when, during the Bush administration, "the Times columnist William Safire accused him of leading a 'Criminal Cover-up Division' in refusing to appoint an independent counsel to investigate whether the Bush administration had knowingly provided aid to Saddam Hussein that was used to finance the military before Iraq invaded Kuwait."
Firestone wrote that in the Trump case he did the opposite, appointing an "unnecessary special counsel" to "do the bidding of the Trump White House" and try "to steer the investigation to Mr. Trump’s advantage. His efforts came to naught, and so will his campaign to be remembered as a defender of the Constitution."