Once upon a time, William Barr was extremely offended by spin, stonewalling, and personal attacks
William Barr is deeply concerned about people who make attacks against Robert Mueller and intends to defend him vigorously against people who defame his office, his team, or his conclusions. Or at least, you might expect so, considering how Barr responded in 1998 when he was asked about independent counsel Kenneth Starr.
As CNN reports, back then Barr was seriously “disturbed« that people were denigrating Starr’s investigation and his actions that led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Barr was particularly angry that then-Attorney General Janet Reno wasn’t standing up to protect Starr from from »spin control,« »hatchet jobs« and »ad hominem attacks.«
Such as, for example, attacks that called the investigation “a witch hunt,” described the investigation team as “bad cops,” and called Mueller “angry” or “crazy” or “biased” or “conflicted.” Obviously, these things no longer bother Barr—or certainly don’t bother him enough for him to raise so much as a peep when the spin, hatchets, and ad hominem are flying from the office of his boss.
But it wasn’t just that Barr didn’t want people badmouthing Starr. The once and future attorney general was concerned that by not sticking up for the independent counsel against attacks from those critical of his work, Reno was allowing the White House to “have the improper purpose of influencing and impeding an ongoing criminal investigation and intimidating possible jurors, witnesses and even investigators.»
Barr expressed no such concerns either before or after Mueller handed in his report, and he’s also made no objection to White House efforts to block further investigation by the House or Senate.
It would be easy to think that the 1998 Barr who said, “The whole system should be geared to getting the truth. But it has been geared to stonewalling and spinning what people think'' was a vastly different man than the Barr who has been the chief purveyor of spin in support of Donald Trump. If that 1998 Barr had not already demonstrated his ability to spin like a top when it came to protecting Republicans.
Barr’s crocodile tears about “the truth” were play-acting then. They’re just embarrassing now.