Attorney General Bill Barr acknowledged in an interview last week that, as the nation’s top law enforcement official, “I’m not supposed to get into politics.” Then he went and did it anyway.
In a wide-ranging conversion with Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, which Kass partially quoted in his column last week, Barr said he believed “we are going to find ourselves irrevocably committed to a socialist path” if Joe Biden is elected president.
“I think if Trump loses this election, that will be the case,” Barr said. “In other words, I think there is now a clear fork in the road for our country.” Kass published audio of the interview on Monday.
At various points in the interview, Barr referred to “many” people in government working surreptitiously to thwart the administration, and said that increasingly, Democrats’ message “appears to be ‘Biden or no peace’ — the only way this is going to stop is if you put Biden [in office].”
“That is rule by the mob, and we’re approaching that,” Barr said. While Biden has repeatedly denounced violence, Trump has inflamed fears of “antifa” violence if Biden is elected.
The interview was just the latest in an administration seemingly determined to demolish the line between politics and government.
Later, Kass asked about the 1619 Project, a New York Times Magazine feature focused on the impact of slavery on American history.
The President recently threatened on Twitter to defund states whose schools use the project as a teaching tool, soon after signing an executive order aimed at eradicating the use of anti-racism training in the federal government — or as White House budget director Russell Vought called them, “un-American propaganda training sessions.”
“That’s happened, and it’s going to take a while to deal with,” Barr said after naming the 1619 project, though it’s not clear what specifically he was referring to. He later agreed with Kass when the columnist asked if Barr supported government efforts to “push down” on the 1619 Project being taught in schools.
Then, the attorney general shared his view that “the only way out of this is school choice” and that parents should receive a government credit card with up to $15,000 to spend on schooling.
Barr’s comments on voting by mail in the interview, which Kass quoted in his Tribune column on Thursday, have made headlines since: The attorney general falsely said “there’s no more secret vote with mail-in vote” and that therefore voting by mail was more susceptible to bribery and “outright coercion.”
Barr made similar comments publicly on Thursday — despite several states having voted primarily by-mail for decades, and despite many Trump administration officials who’ve voted by mail, including Barr himself and the President.
Barr told Kass that liberals’ concerns over Trump refusing to concede a losing election were merely projection. (Trump has asserted to supporters, “the only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.”)
“They are creating an incendiary situation where there’s going to be loss of confidence in the vote, it’ll be a close vote,” Barr said. “People will say ‘The President won Nevada — oh, wait a minute! We just discovered a hundred thousand ballots, every vote must be counted!’”
Josh Kovensky contributed reporting.