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Barack Obama’s Attorney General: Barr Is a Trump Loyalist Who Is ‘Unfit’ to Lead the DOJ

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who was once cited for contempt for recommending that then-President Barack Obama assert executive privilege to prevent a congressional subpoena from obtaining confidential Department of Justice documents about Operation Fast and Furious, criticized Attorney General William Barr for doing President Donald Trump’s bidding, and more.

Holder took to the op-ed pages of the Washington Post to say he is “reluctant to publicly criticize my successors” but felt he had to say something (Holder has criticized Barr publicly before for “protecting the president“).

Holder said that Barr’s string of “nakedly partisan” statements, whether at the Federalist Society or in response to the Office of Inspector General’s “Crossfire Hurricane” report, have led him to conclude that Barr is an ideologue and a Trump loyalist, not someone serving the interests of the American people.

“But recently, Attorney General William P. Barr has made a series of public statements and taken actions that are so plainly ideological, so nakedly partisan and so deeply inappropriate for America’s chief law enforcement official that they demand a response from someone who held the same office,” Holder wrote, calling Barr’s Federalist Society speech “an ode to essentially unbridled executive power.”

Barr’s speech was criticized as “lunatic authoritarian,” and the attorney general also complained about the Freedom of Information Act.

Holder said that rather than sounding like an attorney general, Barr sounded like an “unscrupulous criminal defense lawyer.”

“This is a stunning declaration not merely of ideology but of loyalty: to the president and his interests. It is also revealing of Barr’s own intent: to serve not at a careful remove from politics, as his office demands, but as an instrument of politics — under the direct ‘control’ of President Trump,” Holder continued, saying that Barr was “until recently a widely respected lawyer.”

Holder said that his hopes that Barr would protect the rule of law and lead the Department of Justice with integrity have been dashed, and that he fears the “lasting damage” that “running political interference for an increasingly lawless president” will cause.

Holder concluded by saying that Barr is “unfit to lead the Justice Department.”

[Image Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.