GOP Leaders Contort Themselves To Support Barr Without Offending Trump

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 15: U.S. Attorney General nominee William Barr chats with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) after his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Januar... WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 15: U.S. Attorney General nominee William Barr chats with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) after his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee January 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. Barr, who previously served as Attorney General under President George H. W. Bush, was confronted about his views on the investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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February 18, 2020 3:21 p.m.

A trio of Republican leaders expressed excessive support for Attorney General Bill Barr Tuesday, but took pains to lavish praise on President Donald Trump as well to avoid the appearance of cosigning Barr’s recent criticism of the President.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) trumpeted Barr’s “highest character and unquestionable integrity” in a statement, vilifying “outside groups” who have critiqued Barr’s leadership of the Justice Department.

Barr has come under intense fire recently for his participation in the decision to recommend a shorter sentence for Roger Stone, an action carried out shortly after Trump tweeted his discontent with the length of the seven-to-nine year stint originally proposed by DOJ prosecutors.

In a face-saving interview with ABC News, Barr claimed that he decided the original sentence was too hefty before Trump tweeted, but that such social media statements make it “impossible” to do his job.

Trump, surprisingly, has not snapped at Barr for the comments, even telling reporters Tuesday that he agrees with Barr’s assessment.

“I do make his job harder, yes, I do agree with that. I think that’s true,” Trump told reporters. “He’s a very straight shooter. We have a great attorney general and he’s working very hard.”

The Republican leaders, eager to maintain Trump’s placidity and the us-versus-them mentality, credited him with having the political instincts to pick Barr in the first place.

“The nation is fortunate that President Trump chose such a strong and selfless public servant to lead the Department of Justice,” they wrote.

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