WashPost: Another View — Former AG Bill Barr Says Comey Firing Is All Good!


Barr writes in an op-ed:

William Barr was U.S. attorney general from 1991 to 1993.

“Having served as both attorney general and deputy attorney general in the Justice Department, I had responsibility for supervising the FBI, working on virtually a daily basis with its senior leadership. From that experience I came to understand how fortunate we are as a nation to have in the FBI the finest law-enforcement organization in the world — one that is thoroughly professional and free of partisanship. I offer this perspective on President Trump’s removal of FBI Director James B. Comey.

Comey is an extraordinarily gifted man who has contributed much during his many years of public service. Unfortunately, beginning in July, when he announced the outcome of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, he crossed a line that is fundamental to the allocation of authority in the Justice Department.

While the FBI carries out investigative work, the responsibility for supervising, directing and ultimately determining the resolution of investigations is solely the province of the Justice Department’s prosecutors. With an investigation as sensitive as the one involving Clinton, the ultimate decision-making is reserved to the attorney general or, when the attorney general is recused, the deputy attorney general. By unilaterally announcing his conclusions regarding how the matter should be resolved, Comey arrogated the attorney general’s authority to himself

It is true, as I pointed out in a Post op-ed in October, that Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, after her tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton, had left a vacuum by neither formally recusing herself nor exercising supervision over the case. But the remedy for that was for Comey to present his factual findings to the deputy attorney general, not to exercise the prosecutorial power himself on a matter of such grave importance.

Until Comey’s testimony last week, I had assumed that Lynch had authorized Comey to act unilaterally. It is now clear that the department’s leadership was sandbagged. I know of no former senior Justice Department official — Democrat or Republican — who does not view Comey’s conduct in July to have been a grave usurpation of authority.

. . . .

It is telling that none of the president’s critics are challenging the decision on the merits. None argue that Comey’s performance warranted keeping him on as director. Instead, they are attacking the president’s motives, claiming the president acted to neuter the investigation into Russia’s role in the election.

The notion that the integrity of this investigation depends on Comey’s presence just does not hold water. Contrary to the critics’ talking points, Comey was not “in charge” of the investigation.

. . . .

According to news reports, the investigation is in full swing, with the Justice Department using a grand jury to subpoena relevant information, indicating a degree of thoroughness not evident in the investigation into Clinton’s email server. Comey’s removal simply has no relevance to the integrity of the Russian investigation as it moves ahead.”


Read Barr’s entire op-ed at the link.

So, according to Barr, that the Administration lied about the real reasons for firing Comey, the Russia investigation, should be of no concern to us. We should be reassured because the investigation is proceeding under the direction of DOJ underlings, who owe their continued employment to Jeff Sessions and report to DAG Rod “The Dupe” Rosenstein, who helped the White House provide a “non-Russian” rationale for the firing, which Trump later repudiated. And, we should believe that the Director of the FBI was not “in charge” of the Bureau’s most significant and high-profile investigation. So then, it doesn’t make any difference who Trump picks for the next Director because he (or she) will just be a figurehead, having no responsibility  for the work of subordinates.

Wow! Why have an FBI Director at all, if you believe Barr. Maybe you buy Barr’s reasoning, but I don’t. In fact, I find his entire argument highly disingenuous.