William Barr is still the 'worst attorney general in history' -- according to this prominent conservative
William Barr (MICHAEL REYNOLDS POOL/AFP)

Outgoing U.S. Attorney General William Barr has been among President Donald Trump's most aggressive defenders, but many Trump supporters are slamming Barr as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) for acknowledging Joe Biden as president-elect and telling the Associated Press that there is no evidence that widespread voter fraud occurred in the 2020 presidential election. Conservative Washington Post opinion columnist Jennifer Rubin, however, argues that Barr's reputation is beyond repair in a scathing column published on December 22.

Rubin stresses, "Attorney General William P. Barr's legacy as the worst attorney general in history — John N. Mitchell, who went to jail over the Watergate scandal, was a Boy Scout by comparison — is secure despite his last-minute attempts to salvage his reputation…. This minimal tip of the hat to reality does not absolve Barr of the innumerable ways he disgraced his office and undermined the reputation of the Justice Department."



The Never Trump conservative goes on offer a long list of reasons why she holds Barr in such low regard.

"Barr held up release of the report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Russian interference in the 2016 election for weeks and then misrepresented its contents at a news conference," Rubin explains. "Barr gave misleading testimony to Congress under oath about, among other things, Mueller's objections to Barr's summary."

During the Ukraine scandal, Rubin adds, Barr "refused to recuse himself from the investigation of President Trump's pressure on Ukraine regarding Hunter Biden's activities there. Barr's department maneuvered to prevent a whistleblower complaint from reaching Congress promptly, and then gave the president a clean bill of health after Congress reviewed the complaint."

Although Barr has acknowledged that widespread voter fraud did not occur during the 2020 presidential election, Rubin notes that he joined Trump in making the baseless claim that voting by mail encourages voter fraud.

"Barr, in the lead-up to the 2020 election, echoed Trump's false claims that voting by mail was rife with fraud, thereby setting the stage for Republicans' attempt to delegitimize the election," Rubin observes. "Barr changed department policy and extended prosecutors' powers to probe fraud before the election results were certified, prompting Richard Pilger, director of the Justice Department's election crimes branch, to quit in protest."

On top of those things, Rubin writes, Barr "denied the existence of systemic racism in police shootings" and "went along with and defended the use of tear gas against peaceful protesters outside at the White House."

Rubin wraps up her column by emphasizing that Barr doesn't deserve high praise for acknowledging a perfectly legitimate presidential election outcome.

"The new attorney general in the Biden administration should conduct a top-to-bottom review of Barr's actions, establishing a definitive record of his egregious conduct and then promulgating reforms to prevent another attorney general and his subordinates from besmirching their offices and the Constitution," Rubin writes. "So, no, Barr gets no credit for failing to add just a few more items in his serial disgrace of his office."