“I feel I’m in a position in life where I can do the right thing and not really care about the consequences. In the sense that I can be truly independent,” Barr said.
He added: “I had a very good life. I have a very good life. I love it. But I also want to help in this circumstance, and I am not going to do anything that I think is wrong, and I will not be bullied into doing anything I think is wrong. ... I’m going to do what I think is right.”
We saw the results of that determination to do what's right in Barr's handling of Team Mueller's attempt to sabotage the Trump presidency. His lack of concern for the firestorm of slander against him was apparent. That's the backdrop to the closing exchange of question and answer with Crawford:
JAN CRAWFORD: You are only the second Attorney General in history who's served twice. I think the first one was back in 1850.
WILLIAM BARR: Right.
JAN CRAWFORD: But you are working for a man who is- I mean you are an establishment figure in a way. You've had a long career in Washington but you are working for a man who is not establishment. And some of his tweets about officials and the rule of law, how do you react when you see those? Are you on Twitter? Do you read his tweets?
WILLIAM BARR: No, I am not on Twitter and every once in a while a tweet is brought to my attention but my experience with the president is, we have- we have a good working, professional working relationship. We, you know, we talk to each other and if he has something to say to me I figure he'll tell me directly. I don't look to tweets for, you know, I don't look at them as directives or as official communications with the department.
JAN CRAWFORD: But when you came into this job, you were kind of, it's like the US Attorney in Connecticut, I mean, you had a good reputation on the right and on the left. You were a man with a good reputation. You are not someone who is, you know, accused of protecting the president, enabling the president, lying to Congress. Did you expect that coming in? And what is your response to it? How do you? What's your response to that?
WILLIAM BARR: Well in a way I did expect it.
JAN CRAWFORD: You did?
WILLIAM BARR: Yeah, because I realize we live in a crazy hyper-partisan period of time and I knew that it would only be a matter of time if I was behaving responsibly and calling them as I see them, that I would be attacked because nowadays people don't care about the merits and the substance. They only care about who it helps, who benefits, whether my side benefits or the other side benefits, everything is gauged by politics. And as I say, that's antithetical to the way the department runs and any attorney general in this period is going to end up losing a lot of political capital and I realize that and that is one of the reasons that I ultimately was persuaded that I should take it on because I think at my stage in life it really doesn't make any difference.
JAN CRAWFORD: You are at the end of your career, or?
WILLIAM BARR: I am at the end of my career. I've you know--
JAN CRAWFORD: Does it, I mean, it's the reputation that you have worked your whole life on though?
WILLIAM BARR: Yeah, but everyone dies and I am not, you know, I don't believe in the Homeric idea that you know, immortality comes by, you know, having odes sung about you over the centuries, you know?
JAN CRAWFORD: So you don't regret taking the job?
WILLIAM BARR: No.
JAN CRAWFORD: Not even today?
WILLIAM BARR: I'd rather, in many ways, I'd rather be back to my old life but I think that I love the Department of Justice, I love the FBI, I think it's important that we not, in this period of intense partisan feeling, destroy our institutions. I think one of the ironies today is that people are saying that it's President Trump that's shredding our institutions. I really see no evidence of that, it is hard, and I really haven't seen bill of particulars as to how that's being done. From my perspective the idea of resisting a democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him and you know, really changing the norms on the grounds that we have to stop this president, that is where the shredding of our norms and our institutions is occurring.
JAN CRAWFORD: And you think that happened even with the investigation into the campaign, potentially?
WILLIAM BARR: I am concerned about that.
It's clear from this that Barr's perspective on his current service as AG is that he took the job primarily to defend the institution of the presidency. I use that expression--institution of the presidency--because Barr holds to the theory of the unitary executive, meaning, that the Executive Branch inhere's in the person of the President, not in subordinate departments and agencies, such as DoJ or the FBI. His loyalty is to the Executive--not to any of those subordinate offices, no matter how he may value their functions. The functions of those subordinate institutions are expressions of the Executive authority. They have no independent life of their own apart from the Executive--which inheres in the person of the president. For this reason, and based on his track record thus far, I maintain that we have every reason of confidence and trust in Barr's strategy for defending the presidency. It is his deepest commitment to do so.