Attorney General Bill Barr agreed to speak with Fox News host Bill Hemmer during a trip to meet with El Salvador officials to support their efforts in dealing with Justice issues of concern to both the US and El Salvador (e.g., MS-13 gang). According to Hemmer, it was Bill Barr’s first interview in nearly 20 years.
Fox aired the approximately 20-minute interview in small increments interspersed throughout their May 17 “America’s Newsroom” morning broadcast, but I found this uninterrupted audio version.
I don’t agree with Chris Wallace’s view that AG Barr is “protecting this president and advocating his point of view”. Clearly, Barr thinks Donald Trump has reason to object to his presidency having been impeded while an alleged conspiracy that never occurred was investigated in minute detail. He does explain to some degree, but explaining is not at all the same as advocating. In contrast to Wallace, Chuck Ross briefly reported opinion-free on the interview and surrounding facts/events (which is why I often read Mr. Ross).
What stuck with me most about the interview is that while all things Trump have been investigated extensively, Barr said he learned upon taking office that the government’s activities have never been and that some of the answers he’s been given are insufficient. The closest thing to an investigation of the government’s activities surrounding the Trump Campaign/Presidency so far is DOJ IG Horowitz’ FISA review. Robert Mueller only investigated Trump/Russia.
Let that sink in a bit: two and a half years and the government had never investigated why DOJ (and intelligence from the sounds of it) officials broke protocols left, right, and center to spy on an opposing political party.
Of the many impressions and observations I have of Bill Barr, the strongest is that the underlying factor that drives his every word and act can be summed up in the phrase “rule of law”. He understands that while Washington DC is nothing if not politics 24/7, the rule of law at a minimum requires a barrier between law and politics. It’s the very real prospect that barrier may have been trampled in pursuit of Trump that had him willing to take a second run at Attorney General.
UPDATE: Adding video of majority of Barr’s first interview (approximately 15 minutes of it)Published in