Former Attorney General Barr: Dealing With Trump Was Like ‘Wrestling an Alligator’

© AFP 2023 / SEAN RAYFORDFormer US President Donald Trump speaks to the crowd during a rally at the Florence Regional Airport on March 12, 2022 in Florence, South Carolina
Former US President Donald Trump speaks to the crowd during a rally at the Florence Regional Airport on March 12, 2022 in Florence, South Carolina - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.03.2022
Former US Attorney General William Barr told NBC on Sunday that former US President Donald Trump surrounded himself at the end of his single term with ‘yes men’. In an interview promoting Barr’s new book, eloquently titled ‘One Damn Thing After Another’, Barr compares working with Trump to “wrestling an alligator”.
Barr’s appearance on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” saw the former official take the opportunity to not only promote his new book, but also spill on details leading up to Trump’s 2020 election loss. The Trump-era figure also offered his thoughts on US President Joe Biden.
“I felt for a long time that he was going to lose the election. I went in April and told him he was going to lose the election,” said Barr. “And that his personal behavior - his obnoxious behavior - was turning off key blocks of voters and he was going to lose.”
“On election night I felt he was going to lose, and I was actually surprised it was as close as it was,” Barr added.
Barr, who was appointed to serve as US attorney general by Trump, suggested that Trump was open to talking to government officials before the 2020 election, and that cabinet secretaries, including Barr himself, had to “frequently wrestle with him to accomplish things that would keep him on track.” Barr added that, despite their general success, it was like “wrestling an alligator.”
Barr told show host Chuck Todd that after the election, Trump stopped listening to him or to anyone with an opposing view. Instead, Trump listened to his “yes men” who would only tell him what he wanted to hear and agree with his every outburst.
"After the election, he would just listen to this group of people who had no government position but were telling him exactly what he wanted to hear," added Barr. "He's ultimately to blame for that. There's something about him that he wants to be surrounded by ‘yes men’."
Barr also said that despite Trump’s multiple character issues and unstable temperament, he would still vote for him if he were to again become the Republican party’s presidential nominee, stating his personal belief that progressive Democrats were “dangerous for the United States”.
Todd asked Barr about one of ‘yes men’ within Trump’s inner circle: a mid-level attorney from the Department of Justice (DOJ) named Jeffrey Clark, who Trump attempted to install as acting attorney general in order to begin an investigation into his baseless claims of voter fraud. At the time, Clark had allegedly promised the former president he would do so. This happened in January 2021, after Trump lost the election.
In this March 23, 2020 file photo, President Donald Trump talks during a briefing about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, Monday, March 23, 2020, in Washington, as Attorney General William Barr looks on. - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.03.2022
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“I was surprised,” Barr said of Clark’s actions, adding that Clark should have been fired.
Individuals working within the DOJ threatened to quit at the time due to Trump’s efforts to replace then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and promote Clark, his lower ranking ‘yes man,’ to the top position. One insider had previously made the comment: “[Clark] wouldn’t even know how to find his way to [FBI Director] Chris Wray’s office, much less march in there and direct the FBI what to do.”
Clark no longer works for the DOJ, and has refused to cooperate with the January 6 committee investigation into the insurrection.
The January 6 committee has made Trump’s actions involving the DOJ a central focus in their investigations. In the beginning of March, they labeled the former president’s actions a criminal conspiracy.
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