Transcript of William Barr Interview Transcript: Trump Tweets “Make it Impossible to Do My Job”

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88 views 26 Feb 2020

00:00:00

The U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia signed off on his name is on the recommendation that went in there. Yeah, how did that happen? On Monday, he came by to briefly chat with me and say that the team very much wanted to recommend the 7 to 9 year to the judge, and he thought that there was a way of satisfying everybody and providing more flexibility. And there was a brief discussion of that. I was under the impression that what was going to happen was very much and I had suggested, which is deferring to the judge and then pointing out various factors and circumstances.

00:00:48

On Monday night, when I first saw the news reports, I said, gee, the news is spinning this. This is not what we were going to do. So you were surprised? I was very surprised. And once I confirmed that, that's actually what we filed. I said that night to my staff that we had to get ready because we had to do something in the morning to amend that and clarify what our position was. I had made a decision that I thought was fair and reasonable in this particular case.

00:01:20

And once the tweet occurred, the question as well. Now, what do I do? And do you go forward with what you think is the right decision or do you pull back because of the tweet? And that just sort of illustrates how disruptive these tweets can be.

00:01:35

So you're saying you have a problem with the tweets? Yes. Well, I have. I have a problem with some of some of the tweets. I'm happy to say that, in fact, the president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case. However, to have public statements and tweets made about the department, about are people in the department, are men and women hear about cases pending in the department and about judges before whom we have cases make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors and in the department that we're doing our work with integrity.

00:02:20

Misbah, the president does not like to be told what to do. He may not like what you're saying. Are you prepared for those ramifications? Of course. As I said during my confirmation, I came in to serve as attorney general. I am responsible for everything that happens in the department. But the thing I have most responsibility for are the issues that are brought to me for decision. And I will make those decisions based on what I think is the right thing to do.

00:02:55

And I'm not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody. And I said to time, whether it's Congress, newspaper, editorial boards or the president. I'm going to do what I think is right. And, you know, the I think the the. I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that that undercuts me. So just to be clear here. Did you talk to the president at all about your decision regarding the recommendations, the recommendations on this case?

00:03:31

Never anybody from the White House call you to try to enforce, you know. So I have not had I have not discussed the Roger Stone case at the White House. Does the president have the authority to just direct you to open an investigation and you have to do it? Can you help people at home understand? Can he do that? I think in many, many areas such as that, they don't affect his personal interests. Terrorism, terrorism or fraud by a bank or something like that where he's concerned about something.

00:04:10

He can certainly say, you know, I think someone should look into that. That's that's perfectly appropriate. If he were to say, you know, go investigate somebody because. And you sense it's because their political opponent, then attorney general shouldn't carry that. Wouldn't carry that. Having known you and covered you for years, you're not a person that responds a lot to criticism. But I am wondering in this version of the job, you in the job, and when you hear people on Capitol Hill saying bars acting more like the personal attorney, the president, rather than the chief law enforcement officer.

00:04:49

How irritated does that make you and what do you say those people? Well, you know, this goes back to the fact we are in a very polarized situation. And and so in that kind of situation, I expect a lot of low blows. And there are a lot of low blows, but I don't respond to that, as you say. But I do think that in the current situation, as I said, because I've said, you know, the fact that the tweets are out there and correspond to things we're doing at the department, sort of give grist for the mill.

00:05:29

And that's why I think it's time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.