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Trump-Barr Stand-Off

On February 14th, 2019, William Barr was sworn in to become the 85th United States Attorney General, replacing the first Attorney General in the Trump Administration, Jeff Sessions.  Attorney General Barr also served as the 77th United States Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush.  One year later, AG Barr is in the same situation as former AG Sessions, the possibility of being fired has presented itself.  According to CNN, AG Barr released a statement claiming that President Trump’s tweets about the Department of Justice make it impossible for him to do his job.

During Roger Stone’s trial, the prosecution recommended that he serve up to seven years for his crimes, which include lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice.  AG Barr overruled this sentence recommendation and recommended that the prosecution amend the sentence recommendation in favor of a lesser sentence, according to the Wall Street Journal.  According to the Wall Street Journal, four members of the prosecution withdrew themselves from the case as a result of AG Barr’s actions, questioning whether or not AG Barr intervened in the Roger Stone trial to appease President Trump.  Shortly after, President Trump tweeted that this original sentence recommendation was “horrible and very unfair” and that the prosecution’s case in Roger Stone’s trial “should be thrown out.” It was after this tweet that AG Barr told ABC in an interview that President Trump’s tweets make it impossible for him to do his job.  President Trump has also tweeted that he “has full confidence in AG Barr” and that AG Barr is “a man with great integrity.”  President Trump also indicated that he will still use his Twitter account in the same manner as always, even though he realizes that his tweets make AG Barr’s job more difficult.

Cabinet members who have criticized the Trump Administration often have short terms in their position as a result of being fired or forced to resign.  According to NPR, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) predicted that AG Barr’s job as attorney general is safe.  In a statement to NPR, Senator Graham said that AG Barr is “the right man for the job at the right time” and is qualified to “reform the Department of Justice and stand up for the rule of law.”  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released a statement describing AG Barr “a strong and selfless public servant.”  Another statement released by Senate Majority Leader McConnell claimed that any effort to intimidate the attorney general to resign will fall short.

Many media outlets and Washington politicians agree that AG Barr has ample job security, meaning that he faces little risk of being fired or forced to resign, like his predecessor Jeff Sessions.  It is also agreed upon that President Trump’s tweets prevent AG Barr from performing the duties of Attorney General impartially, thus making his job more difficult.  However, only time will tell the fate of AG Barr.