From the moment he was confirmed as U.S. Attorney General, William Barr had one main job duty: Protect Donald Trump at all costs.
Now, however, with Barr gone from the DOJ (did he resign or was he fired?), many believe federal prosecutors who have been investigating Trump ever-so quietly and behind the scenes will be emboldened and put their cases back into high gear, according to a fascinating article from Christopher Smith for Vanity Fair:
Barr was especially shameless when it came shutting down cases that originated with the SDNY, which has long been known for its independence and willingness to take on controversial prosecutions:
“(Barr’s) attempts to meddle in New York were unrelenting, an SDNY insider says—and the stakes were higher because the investigations threatened to come closer to the president.”
A new attorney general will soon be appointed by President-Elect Joe Biden, and that alone could provide much-needed freedom and independence for federal prosecutors across the country:
The conventional wisdom is that Biden’s A.G. will face fraught choices about whether to pursue Trump–connected cases. The solution should actually be fairly simple: leave it to the prosecutors in the field to handle. “For four years we’ve had an administration where politics was so injected into DOJ,” says Mimi Rocah, a Southern District alumnus and the district attorney-elect for Westchester County, just north of the city. “The only way out of that is to stop making decisions with political concerns in mind.”
Of course, all of this could become academic if Trump hands out pardons left and right during his final days in office. That could end any ongoing investigations of those allied with the president, but there’s a very strong chance a self-pardon (if Trump dares to attempt one) would never pass judicial scrutiny, even when it winds up before the Supreme Court. And as we’ve learned from Donald Trump, the only person he gives a damn about is himself. Everyone else is expendable.
Whatever winds up transpiring, federal prosecutors are already much less restrained:
Not having William Barr as the top law-enforcement official in the country is a positive, no matter how you slice it.