Barr: Trump Isn't the One 'Shredding Our Institutions'

By Susan Jones | May 31, 2019 | 9:12am EDT
President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr head to the East Room of the White House on May 22, 2019 for a Medal of Valor ceremony. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Attorney General William Barr, in a lengthy interview with CBS's Jan Crawford, said he doesn't regret taking the job, even though he knew it would make him a target for President Trump's political opponents.

I love the Department of Justice. I love the FBI. I think it's important that we not, in this period of intense partisan feeling, do not destroy our institutions.

I think one of the ironies today is that people are saying it's President Trump that's shredding our institutions. I really see no evidence of that.

From my perspective, the idea of resisting a democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him, and you know, is really changing the norms, on the grounds that we have to stop this president. That's where the shredding of our norms and our institutions is occurring.

Barr said he expected to find himself surrounded by controversy, and that's one of the reasons he took the job, because at this point in his career, "it doesn't make any difference."

I realize we live in a crazy, hyper-partisan period of time, and I knew that it would only be a matter of time if I was behaving responsibly and calling them as I see them that I'd be attacked.

Because nowadays people don't care about the merits or the substance. They only care about who it helps...whether my side benefits or the other side benefits. Everything is gauged by politics. And as I say, that's antithetical to the way the Department runs.

And any attorney general in this period is going to end up losing a lot of political capital, and I realized that. And that's one of the reasons that I ultimately was persuaded that maybe I should take it on. Because I think at my stage in life, it doesn't make any difference. I'm at the end of my career.

Crawford asked Barr how he could exonerate the president when Special Counsel Robert Mueller said he couldn't:

"Well, I think Bob said that he was not going to engage in the analysis. He was not going to make the determination one way or the other.

"We analyzed the law and the facts, and a group of us spent a lot of time doing that and determined that, both as a matter of law, many of the instances would not amount to obstruction....In other words, we didn't agree with the legal analysis -- a lot of the legal analysis in the report. It did not reflect the views of the Department. It was the views of a particular lawyer or lawyers, and so we applied what we thought was the right law."

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