Rumors have been circulating in recent days alleging that Bill Barr is preparing to resign from his role as attorney general over President Donald Trump’s frequent tweets about Justice Department matters. But according to GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin (NY), it’s unlikely that will be happening.
Zeldin told Fox News’ America’s Newsroom on Wednesday that he’s “skeptical” of the anonymous reports predicting Barr’s impending departure. Still, the attorney general has “a big burden on his shoulders,” Zeldin conceded.
Big burdens and high expectations
The prospect of Barr’s resignation has been in the headlines since the attorney general suggested in an interview with ABC News last week that Trump’s social media posts make it “impossible” for him to do his job. The president has since agreed that he makes Barr’s job “harder,” according to The Hill, but he stopped short of vowing to cut back on his Twitter use.
At the start of their conversation on Wednesday, host Ed Henry suggested to Zeldin that Barr, with his interview and subsequent rumors of his impending resignation, is “sending a signal to the president: please stop.”
For his part, Zeldin agreed — but he didn’t go so far as to suggest that Barr would be backing away if Trump doesn’t back off. “I’m skeptical when I see these anonymous reports like what we saw last night about the [attorney general] resigning and the [Department of Justice] very quickly swatting that down,” the Republican said, according to Fox.
He went on to say that Barr has “a big burden on his shoulders.”
“There’s high expectations amongst the American public, amongst the president, amongst the president’s supporters,” Zeldin said.
Trump “won’t be silent”
Zeldin also pointed Wednesday to the ongoing investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham into the origins of the Trump–Russia collusion “hoax” as a powerful reason for Barr to remain on the job. It was reported by The New York Times in September 2019 that Durham’s review of possible abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) had morphed into a criminal investigation.
“[The American people] want to see…that there’s going to be accountability for the FISA abuse that took place,” the congressman said. “And that is a responsibility on his [Barr’s] shoulders.”
Meanwhile, Zeldin says the president is going to continue to “speak out” about injustices like this — whether Barr wants him to or not.
“The president will tweet. The president is frustrated. He is demanding, with his own high expectations, he’s demanding transparency and accountability,” Zeldin told Henry, according to Fox.
“The president is not going to be silent after years of this cloud that the Department of Justice and the FBI placed over almost his entire term,” the congressman added. “While the attorney general may want the president to give him a lot of space, the president is speaking not just on behalf of himself, he’s speaking on behalf of an entire country.”