U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s holiday party in Washington, D.C., which was originally scheduled to take place Sunday has instead been rescheduled.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice would not comment on when the party would take place, but confirmed to the Washington Post that Barr would still be hosting approximately 200 guests at the Trump International Hotel.
Barr had reportedly signed an agreement with the hotel over the summer that required him to provide a $10,000 deposit up front, and spend a minimum of $31,5000 in total. The full cost of the event is being funded by Barr in his personal capacity.
Why the rescheduling? An official explanation hasn’t been offered, but the Post noted that protests were successfully dodged and that this may continue to be the case:
Not publicly disclosing the event’s new date could help Barr and his guests avoid protests. On Sunday night, half a dozen protesters — thinking Barr’s guests would be arriving — held a sign on the sidewalk out front calling for Barr to be disbarred and told guests arriving at the hotel: “You’re on the wrong side of history.”
As previously reported by Law&Crime, Barr’s decision to choose a venue owned by President Donald Trump was denounced by several legal experts, many of whom already believed the attorney general had irreparably eroded the DOJ’s traditional independence from the White House.
Barr has been a staunch defender of President Trump throughout his tenure leading the DOJ. Following the release of the department’s inspector general report into potential FISA abuses on Monday — a report that contradicted right-wing conspiracy theories that the FBI was motivated by political bias against then-candidate Trump (theories often repeated by the president) — Barr immediately released a statement on contradicting the report’s conclusions.
“The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken,” Barr said in a statement minutes after the report was published. “It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory.”
The Trump International Hotel has also been the subject of several lawsuits against Trump, which allege that his profits from the hotel violate the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Three emoluments cases are currently being litigated in federal appellate courts and the issue is primed to reach the Supreme Court in the near future.
[image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]