As move-out day draws closer, Donald Trump’s relationship with one of his staunchest administration allies seems like it’s starting to go sideways. On Wednesday evening, the Washington Post reported that he’s considering firing Attorney General William Barr, who has been on his bad side since giving an interview stating that there was nothing fraudulent about the 2020 election—a report that was backed up by additional outlets. Speaking at a White House event on Thursday, Trump reportedly bemoaned the fact that Barr had found no evidence of voter fraud. “He hasn’t done anything. He hasn’t looked,” Trump said, while also expressing disappointment in Barr’s investigators, whom he likewise accused of not looking hard enough. According to NBC News, when asked if the AG would be the next employee out the door, Trump replied, “Ask me that in a number of weeks from now.” He continued by giving his legal opinions on Barr’s oversight, saying, “They should be looking at all of this fraud. This is not civil, he thought it was civil. This is not civil, this is criminal stuff. This is very bad, criminal stuff.”
This is something of a departure for the president, who’s always enjoyed a simpatico relationship with his attorney general. During his tenure, Barr has used his position to lob attacks at anyone deemed a threat to the president, pressuring prosecutors and undermining the law to suit the administration. Early-on, he was one of a small group of high profile officials who staunchly supported Trump’s widely debunked claims of voter fraud. Early this week, however, Barr went back on his previous claims of “substantial allegations” of election irregularities, telling the Associated Press that, “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.” This was a moment of unexpected pushback, and Trump’s blustering reaction mirrored his incoherent onslaught at entities like Fox News and Rupert Murdoch—former allies now seemingly turned foes. The president’s media allies took cues from their leader, slamming Barr with zingers like “bureaucrat.”
According to Axios, it’s not only Barr’s refusal to back Trump up that’s upset the president; he’s also fuming over the so-called slow-walking of a report into the 2016 investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. With the gulf between the two seemingly growing, the AP reported on Thursday that Heidi Stirrup, an ally of Trump adviser Stephen Miller, was barred from the Justice Department building after she attempted to pressure staffers into sharing sensitive information about election fraud. Stirrup had reportedly been tasked with relaying everything she discovered to the White House. According to the AP, “She was told within the last two weeks to vacate the building after top Justice officials learned of her efforts to collect insider information about ongoing cases and the department’s work on election fraud.” It was also reported that Stirrup had tried to interfere in the hiring process for career staffers—a violation of the government’s human resources policy.
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