Bill Barr, Sideshow Bear

Lies, selective memory, mischaracterizations, shadings, deletions, redactions: Bill Barr has, in his short, second tenure as Attorney General, been guilty of these and just about every other untruth-adjacent action you can name. But he shouldn’t be impeached and the more Democrats talk about doing it, the closer they get to falling into a Republican trap years in the making.

Even before hearing additional testimony from Mueller, McGahn, or any number of others, we must realize two things about Donald Trump and the Mueller Report: First, there was indeed collusion between Trump, his campaign, and Russians. So, difficult as it is with the entire right-o-sphere repeating it 24-7, strike that “no collusion” mantra from your brains. Trump’s collusion with the Russians is as clear as him saying, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails.” We all heard that, going on three years ago.

What Trump or his campaign may or may not be guilty of is engaging in a criminal conspiracy with the Russians to manipulate the results of the 2016 election. That we don’t know because despite his protestations of “transparency” on the matter, Trump was anything but, first stalling an interview with the Special Counsel, then refusing one, then stalling the answering of his written take-home test substitute, and finally refusing to answer a significant portion of that same take-home test. So, in direct opposition to Trump’s line of “No collusion, it’s been investigated, let’s move on,” we have the reality of “Yes, collusion. Trump has not been fully investigated, and we cannot move on until he is impeached.”

Enter William Barr with his sneering, bullying captain-of-the-high-school-football-team persona. He is, yes, just as Trump would have wanted “straight out of central casting,” if one were looking to “cast” a corrupt, truculent political hack with a long line of authoritarian-friendly legal fetishes. That’s before we even get to that nineteen-page job interview/take-home test he gave on the supposed invalidity of the Special Counsel investigation, a missive that made him highest-lawyer-in-the-land to the sort of know-nothing would-be king who’ll let him get away with just about anything he wants. Even with all this, Barr is still a sideshow. He’s a bear in the corner doing a snappy little two-step while a tiger jumps through a flaming hoop and mauls the audience. And, yes, Donald Trump is that tiger.

As the Democrats now fret over how Barr has lied and should be impeached—certainly realistic, noble goals if Trump, as President, wasn’t already well deserving of indictment, conviction, and removal from office for his many and varied attempts to obstruct justice, never mind his campaign and administration’s continuing illicit collusion with the Russians—the President and his men hope the House will be foolish enough to move forward with Barr’s impeachment whether out of political expediency or outright cowardice. This cannot be allowed to happen.

Barr is a figure with little personal charisma. Demonstrated proof of lies and attempts to obstruct justice will be enough to push him from office. If not now, then certainly after Trump himself receives the impeachment he deserves. Now, the Democrats, from Speaker Pelosi on down, must be brave enough to do what’s right. Donald Trump must be impeached if America is to continue as anything remotely resembling a democratic republic. Focusing on Barr to the exclusion of Trump is the trap Republicans hope the House will fall into. Democrats must be brave enough to turn away from the sideshow, to deal head-on with Trump.   

About Kurt Baumeister

Kurt Baumeister’s writing has appeared in Salon, Electric Literature, The Nervous Breakdown, The Rumpus, and The Good Men Project. His debut novel PAX AMERICANA will be published in 2017 by Stalking Horse Press. A graduate of Emerson’s MFA program, Kurt lives in Virginia. Find him at
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