Bill Barr, Donald Trump’s formerly loyalist attorney general, was back on Fox News this week distancing himself from Donald Trump and all but calling his former boss a traitor.
You may recall that Barr was ripping Trump on Fox News' America Reports show late last week. Among other things, he said, “I can’t think of a legitimate reason” why Donald Trump took classified material and other documents that didn’t belong to him and “put ‘em in a country club.”
Barr also ripped Trump’s application for a special master to review the material seized by the FBI as a “red herring” and a “waste of time.”
After Trump appointee Judge Aileen Cannon granted Trump’s request, Barr returned to Fox on Tuesday, this time to The Story with Martha MacCallum, to criticize the decision, calling it “deeply flawed” and saying he hopes that the DOJ appeals it. But he also threw in some digs at Trump’s behavior.
BARR: The opinion, I think was wrong, and I think the government should appeal it. It's deeply flawed in a number of ways.
I don't think the appointment of a special master is going to hold up. But even if it does, I don't see it fundamentally changing the trajectory.
In other words, I don't think it changes the ballgame, so much as maybe we'll have a rain delay for a couple of innings.
But I think that the fundamental dynamics of the case are set, which is the government has very strong evidence of what it really needs to determine whether charges are appropriate, which is government docs -- documents were taken, classified information was taken, and not handled appropriately.
And they are looking into and there is some evidence to suggest that they were deceived.
And none of that really relates to the content of documents. It relates to what the fact that there were documents there. And the fact that they were classified, and the fact that they were subpoenaed and never delivered.
But they don't have to show the content, you know, the specific advice given in a memo, for example, in order to prevail in this case. So, I think it's not really going to change the decision.
Barr returned again to Fox News yesterday, this time to the America’s Newsroom show where “news” anchor Dana Perino made something of an effort to defend Trump by bashing the DOJ for leaking (suggesting the seizure of classified material is a witch hunt). Co-anchor Bill Hemmer argued that it “might be appropriate” to bring in a special master because the FBI seized “all this other stuff about stuff that’s not relevant.” But neither put up much of an argument when Barr argued otherwise.
I believe that Barr’s visits to Fox have been made with the full approval of the Murdochs, and quite possibly at their request. They have already made it clear they want the GOP to move on from Trump, not because he’s a probable crook who has betrayed this country, but because he’s bad for Republicans’ political prospects in the midterms.
As I wrote in the comments section in the post about Barr’s appearance on Fox last week, I have not forgotten that Shepard Smith was pushed out of Fox two days after Barr went to Rupert Murdoch’s home in New York City, during a time when Trump was whining that Fox “doesn’t deliver for US anymore.” But that was when both Murdoch and Barr showed no concern about Trump’s earlier likely betrayal of the U.S.: his very suspicious behavior with the Russians.
It's better late than never for Barr to do the right thing. But that doesn’t mean he’s doing it for the right reason.
UPDATE: While I was writing this, news broke that the Department of Justice intends to appeal Cannon's decision to appoint a special master.
You can watch Barr below, from the September 6, 2022 The Story with Martha MacCallum and the September 7, 2022 America's Newsroom.
Trump is becoming a liability. If there is any hint that he had plans to sell or share secret US documents with anyone, Trump will become radioactive. There’s no hint of this as yet, but DOJ has been drip-dripping this story. Seems likely there’s more to come.