Donald Ayer, former deputy attorney general under George H. W. Bush, blasted William Barr on Thursday and said it’s become clear that he is not fit to lead the Department of Justice.
During a Thursday interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber, Ayer said Barr has unraveled decades of Justice Department reforms meant to bolster the DOJ’s independence and credibility following Watergate.
“I don’t think [Barr] is fit for the office,” the former deputy AG said. “I think what he has done is to undertake a campaign essentially to undermine the Department of Justice as it was reformed and as we’ve all lived with for the last 45 years.”
“The problem is that we’re losing an ability to have confidence that the department is not going to be influenced by improper forces,” he added.
Former deputy AG under George H. W. Bush says Bill Barr isn’t fit to be attorney general. #ctl #p2 pic.twitter.com/4Db0F5YYpi
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) February 14, 2020
I don’t think [Barr] is fit for the office. Because I think what he has done is to undertake a campaign essentially to undermine the Department of Justice as it was reformed and as we’ve all lived with for the last 45 years, reform following Watergate. And at that time, Edward Levi, the attorney general, essentially kind of gave instructions and thought through the process by which the Justice Department, given the power that it has, needs to bend over backwards to establish public trust in what it’s doing. So you have the processes that involve complete separation of political forces from the decisions made in the department, certainly in the criminal area. You have processes of review where I think as was true with these sentencing recommendations, they went up through a process in the department. They went forward. They followed guidelines. Whatever one thinks of them, heavy or not heavy, they were the product of a process that relied upon the guidelines, which were put in place in order to try to make sentencing fair and uniform. And all of that got reviewed and all of a sudden, at the time the president speaks up, Mr. Barr steps in. The problem is that we’re losing an ability to have confidence that the department is not going to be influenced by improper forces. When you think about someone goes easy on someone because they’re the president’s friend. Well what about the problem of going hard on someone because they’re his enemy? And then we really see the problem.
Don’t be fooled by Bill Barr’s fake criticism of Trump
The backlash against the Trump-Barr plot to use the DOJ to protect one of the president’s former campaign advisers, Roger Stone, has been swift and hard.
As a result, Barr went on a media tour on Thursday – likely with Trump’s blessing – to offer some fake criticism of the president’s tweeting as it relates to Justice Department matters.
In other words, the attorney general is fine with his department being used to protect the president’s friends and go after his enemies; he just doesn’t want Trump to tweet about it.
For all intents and purposes, the DOJ no longer exists. In its place is a government department – led by an unfit attorney general – with the sole purpose of protecting an unfit president.
Follow Sean Colarossi on Facebook and Twitter
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.