May 2, 2019

Bill Barr is Trump's dream attorney general

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump ranted and raged at what he perceived as insufficient loyalty by his first attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

The state of play ... Trump now has his man: Attorney General Bill Barr positions himself squarely in the president's corner, and makes no public effort to preserve the traditional remove between the Justice Department and the White House.

We saw this with the torque Barr put on the Mueller report, when he issued a summary that was criticized as being overly generous to Trump — by none other than special counsel Robert Mueller.

  • We saw this with Barr's decision to hold a news conference — announced by Trump — to spin the Mueller report several hours ahead of its release.

And we saw this with Barr's unapologetic tone yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee:

  • Barr referred to Mueller's note criticizing his summary as "a bit snitty," and "probably written" by the special counsel's staff.
  • Questioned about obstruction, Barr insisted: "I didn't exonerate."
  • This dynamic was most clear with Barr's defiant, brusque treatment of Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) — the senator who Trump calls "Da Nang Dick."
  • The day ended with Barr refusing to appear today before the House Judiciary Committee — although Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said he'll still meet at 9 a.m. (AP headline: "House committee to face an empty chair instead of Barr.")

Behind the scenes: A source familiar with Trump's thinking said the president thought Barr was great and did an excellent job. Trump talked about his toughness and competence. 

  • Be smart: Don't lose sight of the fact that Barr released the whole report, lightly redacted. He spun for POTUS, but he didn't suppress the report.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

George Floyd protests: What you need to know

Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Clashes erupted between police and protesters in several major U.S. cities Saturday night as demonstrations over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black men spread across the U.S. Saturday.

The big picture: Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody is the latest reminder of the disparities between black and white communities in the U.S. and comes as African Americans grapple with higher death rates from the coronavirus and higher unemployment from trying to stem its spread.

Updated 45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. cities crack down on protests against police brutality

Demonstrators gather at Lafayette Park across from the White House to protest the death of George Floyd in Washington, D.C. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Major U.S. cities have implemented curfews and called on National Guard to mobilize as thousands of demonstrators gather across the nation to continue protesting the death of George Floyd.

The state of play: Hundreds have already been arrested as tensions continue to rise between protesters and local governments. Protesters are setting police cars on fire as freeways remain blocked and windows are shattered, per the Washington Post. Law enforcement officials are using tear gas and rubber bullets to try to disperse crowds and send protesters home.

Trump to invite Russia and other non-member G7 countries to summit

President Trump at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Saul Martinez/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on Saturday evening he would postpone the G7 summit to September and expand the meeting to more nations that are not members of the Group of 7.

Details: Trump said he would invite Russia, South Korea, Australia and India to the summit, according to a pool report. "I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries," he said.