If Attorney General William Barr "wants to cheerlead for Team Trump," then he should resign and do that as a private citizen, the Los Angeles Times, which initially supported his confirmation, says in a scathing year-end editorial.
"He has been a shameless apologist for the president who appointed him," the editorial board wrote of Barr.
The editors said the newspaper initially had supported Barr's confirmation, citing his promise to allow then-special counsel Robert Mueller to finish his investigation into Russia and President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.
"The attorney general did allow Mueller to complete his investigation," the editors said. "But a letter he sent to Congress summarizing Mueller's conclusions was so misleading that Mueller wrote to Barr complaining that it 'did not fully capture the context, nature and substance' of his investigation."
Since that time, Barr has been an "unabashed enabler for Trump's delusion" that the Russia probe was a partisan witch hunt, the editorial board said. It noted that Barr also took Trump's side after inspector general Michael Horowitz found no evidence of political bias on the part of the FBI in the beginnings of the investigation, contradicting his findings.
"Those words are music to Trump's ears, but they are the comments of a political partisan, not the considered comments of a law-enforcement professional," said the editors, noting Barr's comments on other controversies surrounding the Trump administration. "An attorney general serving in the administration of a president such as Trump must be especially careful and circumspect in his comments."
Barr's actions also come at a time when the United States is politically divided, "when the rule of law is at risk, and rational, independent voices are in short supply," the story reads.
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