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Trump lashes out at ‘lethargic’ Bill Barr in bizarre letter to Lester Holt

Former president now says he was ready to use federal troops to put down racial justice protests in the summer of 2020

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Monday 07 March 2022 17:28 GMT
Bill Barr says Donald Trump responsible for January 6 Capitol riot

Former president Donald Trump has taken aim at ex-attorney general William Barr and the veteran attorney’s new tell-all book in a bizarre, rambling letter to the NBC News anchor who interviewed Mr Barr last week.

Mr Barr, who served as Mr Trump’s attorney general from February 2019 to December 2020, spoke to NBC’s Lester Holt last week to promote the forthcoming memoir, One Damn Thing After Another, which covers both his tenure under Mr Trump and his first stint as attorney general during the George HW Bush administration.

The grievance-laden, three-page missive — printed on stationary marking it as sent from Mr Trump’s government-funded post-presidential office — is dated 2 March, roughly when NBC News began releasing excerpts from the former attorney general’s sit down with Holt.

Mr Trump began the letter by claiming the former AG — who in a February 2020 speech attacked mainstream journalists as “remarkably monolithic in viewpoint” and accused them of “see[ing] themselves less as objective reporters of the facts and more as agents of change” — was more interested in “being accepted by the corrupt Washington Media and Elite” than in “serving the American people” and called him “slow” and “lethargic”.

Without evidence, the former president accused Mr Barr of having been “broken” by calls for his impeachment issued by prominent Democrats in the days after he ordered police and national guard soldiers to violently clear streets around the White House so Mr Trump could hold up a Bible outside a church that had been vandalised during racial justice protests.

“He became virtually worthless to Law and Order and Election Integrity. They broke him just like a trainer breaks a horse,” said Mr Trump, who proceeded to launch into a diatribe about Mr Barr’s refusal to legitimise the false claims of election fraud propagated by many of his allies in the days following his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.

Mr Trump also lashed out at his ex-attorney general for not endorsing his desire to use federal troops to put down racial justice protests across the country during the summer of 2020.

At the time, the president wanted to invoke the Insurrection Act, a rarely-used federal law last employed during Mr Barr’s first stint atop the Justice Department following the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

According to the New York Times, Mr Barr was just one of several top Trump administration officials who talked the then-president out of signing an order, and Mr Trump has previously said reports that he wanted to use the military to stop Americans from protesting were “absolutely not true”.

But in his letter to Holt, Mr Trump accused Mr Barr of being too “lazy and cowardly” to endorse using military violence against Americans exercising their right to protest.

“He didn’t want to stand up to the Radical Left Democrats because he thought the repercussions to him personally, in the form of their threatened impeachment, would be too severe. In other words, Bill Barr was a coward!” Mr Trump said, adding later that the troops he wanted to use against the largely Democratic protesters had been “ready to go”.

The ex-president also denied that he told Mr Barr: “You must hate Trump” after the veteran Republican attorney told the Associated Press there was no evidence that the then-president’s loss to Mr Biden had been caused by fraud.

“The man making statements in this fake book, or in the interview with NBC News, is not the same man who asked for the job of Attorney General,” he added.

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