Carl Bernstein explains how Bill Barr abandoned his role as AG to serve the president: 'Trump said he wanted his Roy Cohn — he’s got him now'

Carl Bernstein explains how Bill Barr abandoned his role as AG to serve the president: 'Trump said he wanted his Roy Cohn — he’s got him now'
Roy Cohn (Image via Wikimedia Commons) and Attorney General William Barr (Image via Screengrab)

Famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein on Sunday compared Attorney General William Barr with Roy Cohn, chief counsel to the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who President Donald Trump reportedly invoked after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.


As detailed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, in March 2017, Trump told former White House counsel Don McGahn to lobby Sessions to remain in charge of Russia probe. According to the New York Times, when McGahn was unable to persuade Sessions to stay on Trump “erupted in anger in front of numerous White House officials, saying he needed his attorney general to protect him.” Per the Times:

Mr. Trump then asked, “Where’s my Roy Cohn?” He was referring to his former personal lawyer and fixer, who had been Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’s top aide during the investigations into communist activity in the 1950s and died in 1986.

Recalling that report on Sunday, Bernstein explained Trump now has a Roy Cohn in his current attorney general.

“We find ourselves in this situation, right now, because there is an on going coverup by the president of the United States,” Bernstein explained. “Whether that constitutes a violation of law, whether he is a criminal or not, that’s for down the road but right now it’s obvious to anyone that watches, anyone who looks at the facts, reads the Mueller report — the obstruction part particularly — we are in the midst of a continued coverup by the president, aided abetted by the Attorney general of the United States.”

“Trump said he wanted his Roy Cohn, he’s got him now in the attorney general,” Bernstein added.

Bernstein described the crisis as “systemic,” not constitutional, arguing Trump’s conduct is “challenging whether our institutions are able to function in this country to deal with the president of the United States who is unique in our history, who has nothing but contempt for democratic tradition and the rule of law.”

“So really where the rubber is going to meet the road is going to be the Supreme Court of the United States and Chief Justice Roberts has got his table being set for him in a way that may have an awful lot to do with the future of American democracy,” Bernstein added.

Watch the full interview below, via CNN:

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.