President Trump’s Old Allies Turning Against Him

The Story:

Now in his final days in office, and facing a second impeachment, President Trump has found himself on the receiving end of sharp criticism even from those who were, until quite recently, friends or close political allies. For example: his former Attorney General William Barr has now accused the President of a “betrayal of his office” in connection with incitement of the mob that took over Capitol Hill last Wednesday afternoon.

Background:

Trump’s first Attorney General was Jeff Sessions. Their relationship soon became prickly, though, because Sessions recused himself from any decisions about alleged Russian interference in US electoral politics, precisely the subject on which Trump believed he needed an AG who would serve as his defender.

Trump dismissed Sessions immediately after the midterm election in November 2018 and replaced him with William Barr, who was willing to help him evade consequences from Russian interference.

After the 2020 election, though, Trump and Barr were soon at odds, because Barr could not find systemic fraud on behalf of Trump’s opponent, and the successful candidate, Joseph Biden. Barr left his job just two days before Christmas 2020.

The Thing to Know:

As a private citizen, Barr now clearly believes himself to be free of any obligation he might once have felt to protect Trump’s interests or reputation. On January 7, 2021, the day after the Capitol Hill riot, Barr said that Trump had orchestrated a mob of his followers in order to put political pressure on Congress, and that such behavior was inexcusable, a betrayal both of his office and of his supporters.

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