Nevertheless, we do get a picture of Barr as deeply involved, in ways that few AGs would be:
After Mr. Epstein killed himself, Mr. Barr moved to quell doubt that the department would seek justice.
He immediately determined that prison employees and the warden had broken protocol several times. Mr. Epstein’s cellmate had been removed. The employees overseeing him had stopped their regular checks into his cell the night he died, even though prison supervisors and officials knew that he was to be constantly watched. And the prison had yet to officially determine whether he had earlier tried to commit suicide.
Mr. Barr put on leave the two employees who were responsible for watching over Mr. Epstein the night he died and moved the warden, Lamine N’Diaye. And when he asked Kathleen Hawk Sawyer last Friday to return to run the Bureau of Prisons — a job he had appointed her to in 1992, during his first stint as attorney general — she was impressed by the amount of detail he had gathered about Mr. Epstein’s death and the conditions at the prison where he died, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation who was not authorized to share details.
Ms. Sawyer told Mr. Barr that she took the job in large part because she believed she would have Mr. Barr’s support to make difficult decisions necessary to address the Epstein case and the bureau’s continuing struggles with staff and funding shortages, prison violence and workplace discrimination issues at its 120 facilities, according to the person.
No doubt, in hindsight, Barr wishes he had done a few things differently with Epstein, but the fact of the matter is simply this: The Attorney General is not head of the Bureau of Prisons. He isn't in charge of day to day operations. Barr apparently traveled to New York to express his concerns about guarding Epstein, although it's not known whether he actually toured the prison facility. There is no reason why an AG should do so. The personal trip to New York was quite sufficient to drive home the point that Epstein required extra caution.