Before Trump Nominated Barr, Congressional Democrats Supported Him

April 17, 2019 Updated: April 18, 2019


On Dec. 7, 2018, President Donald Trump announced he intended to nominate William Barr to serve as the new attorney general, thereby replacing Jeff Sessions. Immediately thereafter, Democrats began to attack Barr.

Most notably, Democrats feared that Barr would be “overly deferential to Trump in a position where legal decisions aren’t supposed to be guided by political considerations,” according to NBC.

While congressional Democrats have historically attacked Trump’s nominees, the attacks on Barr are quite surprising, given that many Democrats supported him many years ago.

Barr served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993. During his first juncture as attorney general, Barr’s reception from Democrats was quite different. His confirmation was supported by Republicans and Democrats, and the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved his nomination by a vote of 14–0. He was confirmed by voice vote by the U.S. Senate.

At the time, then-Sen. Joe Biden praised Barr and said he was “committed to the public interest, above all else.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who served as chairman of the House Crime and Criminal Justice Subcommittee at the time, also praised Barr, stating, “Mr. Barr has proven to be a capable deputy attorney general. He did a good job of helping run the department in troubled times,” according to The Daily Signal.

And Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), now a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, indicated that Barr would be “an independent voice for all Americans—not just the president,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

Ironically, yet not surprisingly, Democrats haven’t been as supportive of Barr this time around. The reason? The Mueller report and the fact that it eradicated their two-year Russia-collusion hoax. Now, rather than an independent voice for all Americans, some congressional Democrats have suggested that Barr is biased or favors the president.

For example, according to Roll Call, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) recently stated, “We cannot make a judgment on the basis of an interpretation by a man who was hired for his job because he believes the president is above the law, and he wrote a 19-page memo to demonstrate that.”

House Judiciary member Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) also questioned Barr’s ability to independently assess Mueller’s report.

Putting aside the Mueller report, congressional Democrats will have a difficult time explaining how and why a man whom many in their party complimented and seemingly supported years ago, has now become their latest punching bag.

Did this happen simply because they were unhappy with Barr’s “summary” of Mueller’s overall findings (i.e., a roadmap of sorts)? Did it happen because the Mueller report seemingly helped Trump and derailed their two-year witch hunt? Did this happen because Barr is committed to following the rules and law and has agreed to provide a redacted version of Mueller’s report (as opposed to the entire report)? Did this happen because congressional Democrats are feeling pressured to find “anything” that they could try to spin against the president?

Maybe it’s happening because Barr poses a potential threat to those who have engaged in actual wrongdoing? Regardless of the reasons, it wouldn’t be the first time that congressional Democrats have shamelessly pursued someone simply because he or she didn’t align with their agenda. Justice Brett Kavanaugh could easily attest to this sad reality.

Like Kavanaugh, Barr should stand strong and push back against congressional Democrats’ efforts to push him around. He’s a seasoned attorney general and is very familiar with the applicable rules and laws. He’s also experienced enough to realize that congressional Democrats are in an obvious state of desperation and panic, given Mueller’s recent findings. Regardless, no level of desperation will compel Barr to violate the law by providing an unredacted report.

Barr’s level of experience is perfect for the current political climate. He understands the rules, the players, and the underlying motivations behind their conduct. Hopefully, he continues to stand strong and to do the right thing even if congressional Democrats continue to criticize him and his decisions, and try to portray him as a “big meanie.”

Elad Hakim is a writer, commentator, and attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Western Journal, American Thinker, and other online publications.  

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.