Long article on Bill Barr summarizing his background, and politics and his penchant for defending the President and solidifying his Executive Powers.
Didn’t realize that many of T’s closest advisors held the same religious outlook -only a factor of course but does also provides some clues as similar ‘loyalist’ traits among T’s aides, and highly positioned cabinet members.
Worth a read…(excerpts)
Barr’s convictions about the place of faith in government are widely shared in the Administration. The day of his Notre Dame speech, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered an address called “Being a Christian Leader,” in Tennessee. “I know some people in the media will break out the pitchforks when they hear that I ask God for direction in my work,” Pompeo said. “I’m proud to say that President Trump has let our State Department do that. Indeed, he has demanded that we do.” Pompeo is an evangelical Christian; many of his peers in Trump’s inner circle are conservative Catholics, who have achieved a degree of influence rivalling that of evangelicals in the George W. Bush Administration. Along with Barr and Cipollone, there are the acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney; the White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway; the National Economic Council director, Larry Kudlow; and the former chief strategist Steve Bannon. Leonard Leo, of the C.I.C. and the Federalist Society, has guided Trump in his selection of judges.
Stephen Gillers suggested that Trump’s attacks were part of a drive for increased power. “One way that Trump seeks to maximize control is minimizing the disclosure of information and undermining the credibility of information,” he said. “The Congress needs information to do its job, and the President has frozen it out—especially in the impeachment investigation. Another check is the media, and the President’s use of the term ‘fake news’ can cause people to lose faith in the media. What remains are the courts, which are slow and cumbersome.”
Donald Ayer, the former Bush Administration Deputy Attorney General, warned that Barr’s interpretations of executive power could be validated. “The ultimate question is what happens when these reach the Supreme Court, which has two Trump appointees,” he said. “There is a real danger that he succeeds.” Some legal analysts believe that Barr is overplaying his hand. Benjamin Wittes, of Lawfare, predicted that the Supreme Court would reject Barr’s extreme positions, creating precedents that ultimately reduce the power of the Presidency. “The idea that the President gets to assert executive privilege over material that has already been made public is laughable,” Wittes told me. “I think they are very likely to lose a lot of this.”
As Barr insists on expanded Presidential power, Republican voters are starting to agree. According to the Pew Center, forty-three per cent of Republicans believe that “presidents could operate more effectively if they did not have to worry so much about Congress and the courts.” That number has increased from fourteen per cent when Trump took office. A House G.O.P. report about Ukraine endorsed his singular authority; slightly misquoting John Marshall, it argued that Trump was, “constitutionally, the ‘nation’s sole organ of foreign affairs,’ ” and thus had unlimited latitude in his dealings with Ukraine.
Ayer fears that Barr has combined a Reagan-era drive to dismantle government with a Trump-era drive to politicize it. As the White House succeeds in holding off congressional attempts at removing Trump from office, Barr is winning his long war on the power of the legislative branch. In the 2020 campaign, Trump will argue that he alone can protect the country from the dangers posed by the left, immigrants, and other enemies. And Barr’s vision of Presidential power will be the Party’s mainstream position. “Barr sought out the opportunity to be Donald Trump’s Attorney General,” Ayer said. “This, I believe, was his opportunity—the opportunity of a lifetime—to make major progress on advancing his vision of an all-powerful Chief Executive.”