The indignant act

Barr has been putting on a show of indignation.

Attorney General Bill Barr told ABC News on Thursday that President Donald Trump “has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case” but should stop tweeting about the Justice Department because his tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job.”

I can all but hear them planning it. “Pretend you’re pissed off about my tweets.” “Hahahaha sir you’re a genius.”

Barr ignited a firestorm this week after top Justice Department officials intervened in the sentencing of Roger Stone, a longtime friend and former campaign adviser to the president who was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

In a stunning reversal, the Justice Department overruled a recommendation by its own prosecution team that Stone spend seven to nine years in jail and told a judge that such a punishment – which was in line with sentencing guidelines – “would not be appropriate.”

The reality is that it’s Barr’s interference that was and is inappropriate. But hey, blame the tweets.

In the interview with ABC News, Barr fiercely defended his actions and said it had nothing to do with the president. He said he was supportive of Stone’s convictions but thought the sentencing recommendation of seven to nine years was excessive.

And yet

The filing notes that this recommendation is “consistent with the applicable advisory Guidelines.”

Maybe “excessive” in this case means “excessive for a friend of Donald Trump’s”?

Back to Barr:

Barr said Trump’s middle-of-the-night tweet put him in a bad position. He insists he had already discussed with staff that the sentencing recommendation was too long.

Barr insists a lot of things. Barr is not credible.

When asked directly if he had a problem with the president’s tweets, Barr responded, “Yes. Well, I have a problem with some of, some of the tweets. As I said at my confirmation hearing, I think the essential role of the attorney general is to keep law enforcement, the criminal process sacrosanct to make sure there is no political interference in it. And I have done that and I will continue to do that,” adding, “And I’m happy to say that, in fact the president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.”

He doesn’t need to, does he. And as for making sure there is no political interference with law enforcement – do not insult our intelligence that way.

Barr also told ABC News he was “a little surprised” that the prosecution team withdrew from the case and said he hadn’t spoken to the team. He said it was “preposterous” to suggest that he “intervened” in the case as much as he acted to resolve a dispute within the department on a sentencing recommendation.

By intervening. We know.

When asked if he expects the president to react to his criticism of the tweets, Barr said: “I hope he will react.”

“And respect it?” ABC’s Thomas asked.

“Yes,” Barr said.

So how did that work out?

About two hours after the interview aired, the White House issued a statement.

“The President wasn’t bothered by the comments at all and he has the right, just like any American citizen, to publicly offer his opinions. President Trump uses social media very effectively to fight for the American people against injustices in our country, including the fake news. The President has full faith and confidence in Attorney General Barr to do his job and uphold the law,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said.

So Barr must be “disappointed.”

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