William Barr has announced that he is resigning as Attorney General. His last day in office will be December 23.
You can read Barr’s letter of resignation here. It begins with this pregnant sentence:
I appreciate the opportunity to update you this afternoon on the Department’s review of voter fraud allegations in the 2020 election and how these allegations will continue to be pursued.
Trump’s legal team suggested that the Justice Department hasn’t properly investigated or pursued voter fraud allegations. Trump himself said he would know in a few weeks whether he has confidence in Barr in this regard. Barr’s briefing and resignation letter come less than two weeks after that statement.
In the next paragraphs, Barr thanks President Trump for calling on him to serve as Attorney General. He rightly praises Trump’s “many successes and unprecedented achievements,” especially because he accomplished them “in the face of relentless, implacable resistance.” He then lists some of these achievements.
Regarding the DOJ, Barr states, accurately, that during the Trump administration it “worked tirelessly to protect the public from violent crime, worked closely with leaders in Mexico to fight the drug cartels, cracked down on China’s exploitation of our economy and workers, defended competition in the marketplace, especially the technology sector, and supported the men and women of law enforcement who selflessly — and too often thankless — risk their lives to keep our communities.”
To this list, Barr could have added the accomplishments of the Civil Rights Division, for example its fight against racial discrimination by colleges and universities and its efforts to protect religious freedom.
Barr’s letter is gracious and I’m happy to say that Trump responded graciously on Twitter.
The mutual graciousness doesn’t negate the clashes between Trump and Barr or the possibility that Barr resigned a bit early at least in part as a result of the tensions between the two. I don’t know any lawyer who enjoys being berated and publicly criticized by a client or (in this case) a boss.
But it’s good to see the relationship end with deserved mutual praise.