...President Trump famously asked, "Where's my Roy Cohn?" Demanding a stand-in for his old personal lawyer and fixer, Mr. Trump has actually gotten something better with Bill Barr: a lawyer who like Cohn stops seemingly at nothing in his service to Mr. Trump and conveniently sits atop the nation's Justice Department.
Mr. Barr has acted more like a henchman than the leader of an agency charged with exercising independent judgment. The disturbing message that sends does not end at our borders " it extends to countries, like those in the former East Bloc, struggling to overcome an illiberal turn in the direction of autocracy.
When Mr. Trump sought to have President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine announce an investigation of his political opponent, he likely expected a positive response. After all, politicized prosecutions had been part of Ukraine's corrupt political culture for years.
On Monday, when Michael Horowitz, inspector general for the Justice Department, released a report that affirmed the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election was justified, Mr. Barr immediately turned on his own agency in defense of the president.
"The F.B.I. launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken," he said.
Similarly, Mr. Barr's response to the report from Robert Mueller on Russian interference and Mr. Trump's purported presidential misconduct was to cast doubt on his own staff, questioning their work product as well as their ethics and legal reasoning. Even before he became attorney general, Mr. Barr questioned Mr. Mueller's investigation of the president for obstruction of justice in a 19-page legal memo he volunteered to the administration.
And where he could have neutrally passed Mr. Mueller's findings to Congress, he instead took the widely criticized and unusual step of making and announcing his own legal conclusions about Mr. Mueller's obstruction inquiry. He followed up this Cohn-like behavior with testimony in the Senate, where he insinuated that the United States government spied on the Trump campaign. Mr. Barr apparently has decided that, like Cohn, he serves Donald Trump and not the Constitution or the United States, flouting his oath of office and corrupting the mission of the Justice Department. ...