William Barr

William Barr

U.S. Attorney General

Department of Justice


Attorney General William Barr spearheaded the Trump administration’s attempt to transform the Justice Department into a political arm of the White House, targeting the president’s perceived enemies and protecting his friends. Barr personally misrepresented the findings of the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and under his leadership, DOJ dropped prosecutions of Trump allies Roger Stone and Michael Flynn and pursued an aggressive crackdown on racial justice protesters. Public reporting has indicated that Barr issued the instructions that led to the violent clearing of peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square in June 2020.

FOIA Documents

Undermining Democracy and Politicizing the Department of Justice

  • Before the public release of Robert Mueller’s report on President Trump’s dealings with Russia during the 2016 campaign and potential obstruction of justice, Barr held a press conference presenting misleading conclusions about the report. He later appointed a special counsel to investigate those who conducted the inquiry into Trump. [The Atlantic, 05/01/19; New York Times, 12/01/20]
  • Barr’s Justice Department acted to reduce the sentences sought for two top Trump allies, in one case prompting all the prosecutors working on the case to resign. [Vox, 02/13/20; NBC News, 2/11/20]
  • Barr echoed President Trump’s baseless claims about potential election fraud in the leadup to the 2020 election, including issuing a misleading press release about fraud allegations in one Pennsylvania county. [Washington Post, 09/25/20]

COVID Disinformation

  • Said COVID lockdowns were ”the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history” since slavery. [Business Insider, 09/17/20]

News Coverage and Headlines

  • “Barr… did more damage to the rule of law than any other attorney general in American history. He transformed the Justice Department into a partisan cudgel for President Donald Trump, undercutting probes that might damage the White House and doling out special treatment for presidential allies who broke the law.” [New Republic, 12/15/20]
  • “Throughout his first year in office, Bill Barr worked overtime to advance the personal and political interests of President Donald Trump, and to alter the structure of American government to confer virtually autocratic powers on the president, in accordance with views that Barr has held for several decades. Now, less than 100 days before the election, the attorney general’s focus has narrowed and his methods have become more transparently outrageous: Facing gross mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic, a diminished economy, and sinking presidential poll numbers, Barr is using the most intrusive and offensive tools he can command simply to extend his and the president’s tenure in office into a second term.” [The Atlantic, 07/28/20]
  • HEADLINE: “John Durham’s Politicized Investigation – And William Barr’s Role in It” [American Oversight, 01/21/21]
  • HEADLINE: Newly Unearthed Documents Show Multiple Meetings between Giuliani and Barr – And Gowdy – in 2019 [American Oversight, 07/16/20]
  • HEADLINE: “Bill Barr Has Intervened to Try and Save Trump from Democracy. There Will Be Consequences.” [Op-Ed, Independent, 11/10/20]
  • HEADLINE: “Bill Barr Will Go Down in History as Trump’s Worst Enabler” [New Republic, 12/15/20]