Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative May 2019 news and views
Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this.
U.S. Justice & Constitutional Crisis
Attorney General William P. Barr (Image by Donkehotey via dmca)
Washington Post, Trump finds in Barr the attorney general — and shield — he long sought, Matt Zapotosky, Josh Dawsey, Tom Hamburger and Ashley Parker, May 4, 2019 (print ed.). For a time, President Trump was reluctant to select William P. Barr as his attorney general. The veteran Justice Department official from the George H.W. Bush administration was not a longtime Trump loyalist, and the president wondered whether one of his own political allies might serve better as a shield, people familiar with the matter said.
But Trump was ultimately persuaded — in part because his lawyers and advisers told him Barr was a strong supporter of presidential power and unafraid of taking on critics. This week, the president has been thrilled with his choice, particularly after Barr sparred so vigorously with Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that some were left wondering whether he viewed himself as the president’s defense attorney, according to people familiar with the matter, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
In Barr’s first three months in the job, his actions have served to protect Trump, though his motive is up for debate. Barr’s defenders note that the attorney general has long advocated strengthening the power of the executive branch, and the attorney general has told other lawyers that he is more interested in protecting the presidency than the man in the job.
But critics say that Barr has emerged as the partisan champion Trump always wanted — one willing to defend the president’s most questionable conduct, put a Trumpian spin on the results of special counsel Robert S.…