In his Monday morning newsletter, Bulwark's Charlie Sykes hit back at the recently released excerpts of Bill Barr's forthcoming book about his time in Donald Trump's administration.
Like John Bolton before him, Barr is working to rewrite history as his old boss eyes a second term in 2024. Sykes made it clear he's withholding "full-metal judgment" until the full book is released on March 8, but already there are questions about some of Barr's claims in the excerpts.
The New York Times report quotes Barr saying Trump's "self-indulgence and lack of self-control" led to the 2020 election loss. After spending years enabling Trump, Barr has suddenly found that perhaps enabling such bad behavior might not be good for the country. For all of his experience and expertise, Barr discovering that Trump is an "incorrigible narcissist" was a conclusion that over 81.2 million Americans appeared to reach months earlier.
Charlie Pierce wrote in Esquire that the Barr book might be "the worst" of the "oh-my-god-how-did-this-happen" books from the Trump administration yet.
"It was Barr who defanged the Mueller report in the public mind with a preemptive, mendacious press conference," Pierce recalled. "This, of course, was in keeping with the way he’d helped short-circuit the investigation into an earlier scandal, one that enmeshed not one, but two Republican presidents. Of course, that itself was in keeping with the stultifying, infantilizing dynamic that set in when President Gerald Ford pardoned king crook Richard Nixon in order for the country to 'heal' from Nixon’s crimes. Even if there were no corrupt bargain behind that pardon, the stated reason was an insult to democratic government, which is (or ought to be) a lot sturdier than Ford gave it credit for being."
For now, Sykes is pausing for the Barr book, grateful that despite coming frightfully late to the party, Barr showed up at all.
"But FFS," he continued, "did anyone cover-up, bully, or lie for [the former guy] more zealously than this guy? And does everyone have to wait until they publish a f*cking book to tell Americans the truth?"
He promises more will be forthcoming, but for now, Barr's book joins the annals of history with the likes of Mark Meadows, Bob Woodward and others who are cashing in on their knowledge instead of revealing it to an investigatory body.