'Even Bill Barr deserves some credit' for ultimately 'standing up to Trump': conservative
During the Trump era, conservative attorney George Conway was not only critical of then-President Donald Trump — he was also critical of Trump loyalists such as former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr. But in a Washington Post op-ed published on June 28, Conway gives Barr some credit for finally standing up to Trump and accepting the democratic results of the United States' 2020 presidential election.
Conway's op-ed follows the publication of a bombshell article by The Atlantic's Jonathan D. Karl, who spoke to Barr during a series of interviews in the 2021 spring. Barr told Karl that following the 2020 election, it was obvious that Joe Biden had won — and he knew that Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud were "bullshit." As aggressive a Trump loyalist as Barr had been, he finally stood up to him and made it clear that he accepted Biden as president-elect. Trump, not surprisingly, was furious and felt like Barr had betrayed him.
"Nearly six months after January 6, as Trump's private business stands on the verge of indictment, we've been learning more about how lawyers stood in the way of his attempt to commit the ultimate abuse of public trust during his final days in office," Conway explains. "The latest revelations involve former Attorney General William P. Barr. An excerpt from a forthcoming book by ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl describes what Barr thought about the 45th president's claims of electoral fraud: 'It was all bullshit.' The Justice Department 'realized from the beginning it was just bullshit.' No legal term, English or Latin, fits better than that."
The Never Trump conservative continues, "Barr shared a similar assessment with Trump at the White House on December 1, 2020, Karl reports. You've shown no fraud, Barr explained, and yet, 'your people keep on shoveling this shit out.' Barr's opposition left Trump enraged. One attendee described the president as having 'the eyes and mannerism of a madman.' The book reports that the 'livid' president responded by saying, 'You must hate Trump. You must hate Trump.'"
Conway, however, is still critical of Trump for being such a Trump loyalist in the past, and he acknowledges that Barr did the rest thing for selfish reasons.
"To be sure, Barr's rectitude that day doesn't excuse his earlier kowtowing to Trump or his politicization of the Justice Department," Conway notes. "And what Barr had done to precipitate his confrontation with Trump — issuing a bombshell public statement that the Justice Department had found no significant electoral fraud — didn't exactly arise from high-minded motive: Karl reports that then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had prevailed upon Barr to make the announcement, fearing that Trump's campaign to overturn the presidential election would cost their party the Senate. But make no mistake: Barr, in Karl's telling, did the right thing by refusing to treat Trump's fraud claims as anything other than what he believed them to be: factual and legal manure."
Conway goes on to say that Barr wasn't the only attorney who stood up to Trump when he tried to overturn democratic election results.
"After Barr had resigned in the wake of that fiery confrontation," Conway writes, "the remaining political appointees at the Justice Department similarly stood up to Trump. Barr's successor, then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen, steadfastly refused Trump's demand that the department seek to overturn the election. Rosen did that despite knowing that the president might replace him with Jeffrey Clark, an official who was apparently eager to do Trump's bidding. The remaining members of the Justice Department's senior leadership likewise stood firm. They entered into a bureaucratic suicide pact by which they would all resign if Rosen were fired."
Conway points out that one attorney who was unethical enough to promote Trump's bogus election fraud claims was former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. And he wraps up his op-ed by being thankful that Barr and Rosen didn't side with Giuliani.
"The lawyers of the Trump era weren't perfect — far from it — but Americans should still be grateful there were more Rosens than Giulianis," Conway argues. "Even Barr deserves some credit. And for that, in the end, we owe the essential culture of America's legal profession. As exemplified by the decision suspending Giuliani, that culture, at its best, seeks to vindicate factual truth and the rule of law — values entirely anathematic to Trump. Which is why the lawyers could never really be on his side."
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