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Trump Responds After Barr's Surprise Criticism - Page 2

President declares the legal right to direct attorney general how to handle cases
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2020 9:00 AM CST

  • Skepticism: However, many aren't buying Barr's statements as being sincere, reports HuffPost, which rounds up examples. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC suggested people not "abandon our powers of reasoning" and believe the "official lie that was rolled out today to try to alleviate this crisis." At CNN, Don Lemon said Barr's criticism "sounds tough, sounds independent, sounds too good to be true because it is too good to be true." Democratic Rep. Val Demings of Florida said she wouldn't be surprised if Barr and the White House coordinated the public statement.
  • A theory: Another skeptic is Aaron Blake of the Washington Post, who notes that Barr has repeatedly made controversial, pro-Trump decisions in his post. "You could make a pretty compelling argument that Barr isn’t rebuking Trump so much as telling the president how to take the heat off some of Barr’s more controversial decisions," he writes. "If Trump didn’t tweet what he did this week, after all, perhaps the Stone decision wouldn’t have blown up as much."
  • White House: Before Trump's new tweet, press chief Stephanie Grisham provided the first White House reaction: "The president wasn't bothered by the comments at all and he has the right, just like any American citizen to publicly offer his opinions," she said, adding that Trump has "full faith and confidence" in Barr.
  • The wait: So far, things seems safe for Barr. But Stephen Collinson at CNN notes that Trump is known for reacting poorly to any kind of criticism, and he often "stews" for days before responding in full. "The tenure of Cabinet officials can be short and brutal." Collinson also sees a plausible chance that Barr and the White House coordinated to some extent. "Still, the thinness of the President's skin is legendary, so Barr is not safe yet."
(Barr has agreed to testify before a House panel.)

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