Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, mark Tuesday, July 28th, 2020 on your calendars. That is the date that William Pelham Barr is going to prison. I hasten to add that’s not the date that he will begin his prison sentence. It isn’t even the date we will learn precisely how long that sentence will be. But it is the date when Bill Barr’s inexorable downward slide into prison, probably for the rest of his life, will begin.
That is the date that Barr is scheduled to go before Jerry Nadler’s House Judiciary Committee to show cause for his improper meddling in criminal cases and antitrust probes for political gain on behalf of Donald J. Trump. Barr is, in effect, to face questions of why he decided to abandon his distinguished career so late in life and agree to become Donald Trump’s fixer.
To be sure, Barr won’t be the first United States Attorney General to go to prison. John N. Mitchell has that distinction. But Barr will be the first A.G. to go to prison because of actions he took while Attorney General. And he will go because when he appears before Mr. Nadler’s committee, he will do so under oath. As such he will be faced with two choices, either he tells the truth, at which point he will be criminally liable for his flagrantly unlawful behaviours while in office, or he will lie, at which point he will be criminally liable for perjury. And he will be criminally liable for his flagrantly unlawful behaviours while in office anyway.
Needless to say Barr has a little over a month to back out. In fact, he did back out of appearing before Congress in 2019 during its probe into the impeachment of Donald Trump. This time is a little different, however. This time it’s about his showing cause as to why Congress should not impeach him. And if Congress should decide to draft articles of impeachment against Bill Barr, it would not be surprising if those articles are delivered to the Senate after January 3rd, 2021, when new Senators are sworn. By then it will almost certainly be a Democratic Senate deciding Barr’s fate.
Beyond that, of course, Barr will face the wrath of the next Attorney General, to be sworn after 20 January 2021, who will take his or her time preparing criminal indictments against Donald J. Trump, Mike Pence, Donald, Eric and Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway, a host of Trump cabinet officers, former and current press secretaries and appointees and, last but not least, William P. Barr. It is going to be quite a circus and I, for one, intend having ringside seats.
The problems facing William Barr are legion. As Jerry Nadler puts it, “Mr. Barr’s work at the Department of Justice has nothing to do with correcting injustice. He is the president’s fixer. He has shown us that there is one set of rules for the president’s friends, and another set of rules for the rest of us.” Trump’s last fixer, Michael Cohen, also went to prison.
Everything Bill Barr says under oath at his hearing in July can and will be held against him in a court of law. When he goes to prison I plan to enjoy it. Barr is an awful, authoritarian, religious zealot who would happily turn America into a theocratic dictatorship if he had his way. So when we get rid of Donald Trump in November, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, we will also be getting rid of William Barr, and seeing them both safely in prison. Until then, stay safe.