Barr besieged by allegations he’s being Trump’s protector

Staff Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr portrayed himself as an apolitical elder statesman at his confirmation hearing. He declared he’d rather resign than be asked to fire special counsel Robert Mueller without cause and insisted the prosecutor he’d known for decades would never involve himself in a witch hunt as the president claimed.
But now Barr has emerged as arguably the most divisive figure in Donald Trump’s administration. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused him on Thursday of lying — a charge the Justice Department called reckless and false — and House Democrats are poised to hold him in contempt.
His appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week accelerated calls for his resignation after he said Trump had been falsely accused and he spun politically damning episodes in Mueller’s report in the president’s favor.
Barr might have seemed an unlikely lightning rod given his long government career, his distance from Trump’s inner circle and his age, 68, that he said made him unconcerned with political advancement. But he had telegraphed his sympathetic view of strong presidential powers — surely a useful viewpoint for Trump — in a memo to the Justice Department last year that criticized Mueller’s Trump-Russia obstruction of justice investigation. His latest testimony, including that Trump’s actions weren’t criminal, reaffirmed that philosophy and, to critics, established Barr as the president’s protector ...To read more, please refer to our print or online edition.

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