Attorney General Bill Barr is targeting intelligence community agents and officials with insufficient loyalty to President Donald Trump, according to former Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson Matthew Miller.
Miller issued his stark criticism of Barr during a Saturday morning appearance on MSNBC’s Am Joy program.
The show’s titular host Joy-Ann Reid brought up Barr in the context of a recent NBC interview FBI director Chris Wray gave about the DOJ Inspector General report. Said report largely cleared the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of alleged widespread abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) leading up to the Russia investigation of then-candidate Trump’s 2016 campaign. That inquiry, of course, later transmogrified into the years-long Russiagate investigation into Trump himself led by Robert Mueller.
Reid noted that during that recent interview, Wray himself dismissed the “deep state” characterization of the FBI while also discounting the idea that FBI agents spied on the Trump 2016 campaign or otherwise treated Trump unfairly.
“Why do you suppose Bill Barr thinks that he can go out and say things that are blatantly untrue?” Reid asked.
“Because he’s just a nakedly partisan warrior,” Miller replied, “That’s just the sum total of Bill Barr and who he is.”
“I look at those remarks from Barr and those remarks from Wray and I think back to when [Jeff] Sessions and Rod Rosenstein were leading the Department and how discouraging it always was when the president would always attack the FBI and the Justice Department as the deep state that was trying to do Barack Obama’s bidding to hurt [Trump],” MNSBC’s justice and security analyst continued. “And they would never say anything. They would never stand up and defend the career men and women who were doing their jobs–just to try to follow the facts and the law.”
The former DOJ official then laid into Barr directly:
What we have now is so much worse. Bill Barr doesn’t just sit quietly when the president attacks the FBI. He actually joins in the attacks and launches his own attacks that the FBI was acting in bad faith. And I think it was important that Chris Wray said what he said, but it’s really hard, I think, for the men and the women who are still at the FBI and the Justice Department to know how they’re going to carry out investigations going forward–either into the president or the people around the president–knowing that if the result of that investigation is a result the attorney general doesn’t like, he’s either going to overrule their conclusions or he’s going to publicly spin them or mislead the American public about what they found. Or he may go appoint his own investigator to go investigate them because he doesn’t like either the original result or what the inspector general has found.
“He is doing deep, deep damage to the Justice Department and I think it’s a grave disservice to the American people,” Miller concluded.
[image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]