Bill Barr Apparently Threatens to Withdraw FBI Protection from Donald Trump

The Attorney General gave another intemperate speech last night. In it, he said that those who disrespect law enforcement deserve to have the protection offered by law enforcement withdrawn.

But I think today, American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officers. And they have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves ― and if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.

HuffPo asked who he meant to include in this comment, but DOJ refused to answer.

So I guess we should just assume Barr means to target his comments at the most visible critic of policing powers in the country, Donald Trump, who routinely attacks law enforcement on his high follower Twitter account. That would suggest that the Attorney General just threatened to withdraw the protection of the FBI from the President, his family, and all his flunkies last night.

Bill Barr and I totally disagree on policing, so it’s no surprise we disagree here. I think the FBI should continue to protect Trump and his associates, even while they investigate some of them for their criminal behavior. I think it’s a rash threat, on Barr’s part, to withdraw that support simply because Trump doesn’t like being investigated like any other suspected criminals.

Ah well. At least Barr has moved on from excusing Trump’s criminal behavior by rewriting the sworn record about what, precisely, frustrated Trump about being criminally investigated.

28 replies
  1. Mike Addy says:

    Maybe he’s being a jerk about sanctuary cities and states that have legalized marijuana. Or city administrations that actually punish bad cops.

  2. sproggit says:

    That is a shocking, shocking thing for an Attorney General to say. Actually, no, it’s not: it’s utterly disgusting.

    Just for starters, if police and law enforcement officers would like more respect – something the vast majority of them are entitled to – then perhaps they should take effective measures to stop a minority in their ranks from shooting un-armed civilians.

    But more broadly than that, what the AG appears to be saying here is (and I am intentionally paraphrasing), “Because a police officer wears a badge, that means that they are automatically entitled to respect, to more respect than someone that doesn’t wear a badge.”

    It was Los Angeles Police that honorably took, “To protect and serve” as their motto, in 1963 – since then many other forces nationwide have adopted it. That motto isn’t just honorable, it correctly states the relationship between the police force and the citizenry: the former are there to serve the latter.

    The problem that would concern me is the one which occurs when individuals in law enforcement adopt the view that they are somehow more important, more powerful and more relevant than the citizens they serve. That’s where police states and tyrannies are born.

    • Kim Callahan says:

      I was a police officer for 26 years. You work at earning the respect of the community by your actions and the actions of your department.

      You do not garner that respect through threats, fear, and coercion. I find the comments by the U.S. Attorney General to be personally repugnant.

    • Auros Harman says:

      Sometimes “I treat you with respect” means “I treat you like you’re a person.” Sometimes it means “I treat you like an authority.”

      When somebody like Bill Barr says, “If you don’t treat me with respect, then I won’t treat you with respect,” what they usually mean is, “If you don’t treat me like an authority, I won’t treat you like you’re a person.”

  3. Steven Sandeen says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it the duty of the Secret Service to protect the president and his family? They are a part of the Treasury Department, not the DOJ.

    • oilyphants!!! says:

      The writer is not serious contending that AG Barr is threatening the POTUS. She is being absurdly flippant to point out well the absurdity of his remarks.

      One may laught at AG Bill Barr’s commentary if it weren’t for the reality he has such power.

      • Willis Warren says:

        Sure, but we’re post satire here. Barr is basically telling poor communities that the cops can pull out if they’re criticized too much. He’s lost his fucking mind.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Barr is threatening DFHs again. For a guy who studied at the famously unsettled Columbia U. campus from the Summer of Love to the Summer of Watergate (1967-73), he seems to have learned the wrong lessons – about most of life.

    In this case, Barr is threatening to withdraw the protections of government from those who criticize it. He’s already setting up his next gig in Manila, but it won’t be a Thrilla.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Barr is defending authority and its claimed monopoly on the use of force. I suspect he’s also prepping the troops to defend WTF Trump comes up with between now and when he’s dragged out of the White House (possibly in one of those Melania-like white cotton top-coats with the very long sleeves that are tied together in back).

  5. 200Toros says:


    Your use of Logic and Reason brings up a point I’ve been thinking about. Thanksgiving provided the unfortunate opportunity to interact with MAGAts and it struck me forcefully that Logic/Reason/Facts/Critical Thinking/Morality/Decency/Patriotism simply don’t work with them. That perhaps we need another model of interaction with them.

    I started thinking about rescuing people from cults, and sure enough, there is some work being done on that, and a couple books out on the topic, treating POTUS as a cult leader. Maybe we need to consider what works on deprogramming cult members, in order to save the fringe MAGAts that might still be open to saving, the ones who deep down are suspecting that they got played. Just thinking about when trump is gone, all the damage will still be left, and much work to do. Can we afford to just write off all the MAGAts as unredeemable?

    The sad thought, is – maybe so. Might have to. Supporting kids in cages is pretty unredeemable. Attacking our military and FSO officers for the benefit of a hostile foreign power is pretty unredeemable. Acceptance of sexual assault is pretty unreedemable. Acceptance of a POTUS who kneels before Putin is pretty unredeemable. The list goes on and on.

    I can’t help but think of the parallels between politics and German physicist Max Planck’s thoughts about the advancement of science. He said that science advances one funeral at a time. “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

    Maybe that’s where we’re at.

    • MB says:

      Haven’t read this book, but I saw Steven Hassan interviewed a couple of times about his new book “The Cult of Trump”. He has some suggestions for dealing with cult members once the leader is gone from the scene. With terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS, when the head of the snake is cut off, the group still continues relatively unabated. I don’t see any likely demagogue-in-waiting on the horizon who could replace Trump who could command the same fervor and loyalty, but who knows. In some spiritual groups, the cult survives the death of the leader and becomes inter-generational. That’s a scary thought…

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I think he was referring to the deaths of dominant leaders in each field, who assume the role of gatekeeper for acceptable facts and research. Their deaths often open closed or narrowly-opened gates, allowing new facts and new perspectives on old ones to gain acceptability. It’s a pithy observation on the sociology of science.

      Politics has more domineering actors to contend wtih. In Trump’s case, they include not just Trump but his many powerful patrons and the social network behind them, including the lucrative echo chamber of Faux Noise and other rightwing media.

      • John K says:

        I think Planck refers to the death of ingrained ideas in science and Hassan expresses a similar concept for socio-political ideas. We have to wait for the old ones to die off before we can advance. One such idea would be that women aren’t capable of being president. Sadly, that idea may not be dead yet.

    • Cathy says:

      Then again, Thanksgiving brought me into contact with a fervent Fox News / Business viewer that, for some reason, was not watching Fox News / Business this holiday. According to his wife, he’d just gotten a new hearing aid and after shaking his head in bewilderment at the Fox cable hosts, switched the channel to Bloomberg. (He still watches Chris Wallace.)

      • 200Toros says:

        Oh that is hilarious! “he’d just gotten a new hearing aid”.

        What a great metaphor – if you really LISTEN to what they are saying, it all falls apart…

        • Cathy says:

          Yeah – sweet guy, but he refused to use closed captioning because it covered up the female extremities (he’s an ankle guy). He now listens to Rachel Maddow when his wife takes over the TV in the evenings – he used to retreat behind a history book. :-)

  6. e.a.f. says:

    In my opinion Barr sounds like an idiot. are we to bow before law enforcement because they are law enforcement. Law enforcement officers are public servants. they are hired to do a job. If they do not preform the duties of their position in a professional manner or cause harm to those they are hired to protect, the citizens have every right to criticize them. Its what we do in a democracy.

    Of course it could be Barr no longer sees the U.S.A as a democracy but rather the private fiefdom of dtrump and the gop. with the police as some protection racket, which you not only have to pay but “adore”. It is time for barr to leave the position of A.G. Comments such as this are not acceptable in a democracy. Every one is entitled to protection of the law.

    • P J Evans says:

      Barr spends most of his time with rich white people, who expect the cops to show up when they call.
      He doesn’t know the other 99.9% of us, and a lot of us have learned over the last several decades that the only reason to call a cop is if someone is shooting.

  7. BillyBob says:

    In my neck of the woods, the Miami-Dade PD just reinforced my lack of respect. Reference the diamond heist/ UPS hijack shootout. Despicable, but not surprising.

  8. tinao says:

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here but, as he is a member of the federalist society I think that fact needs to be put in front of the public every chance there is so general public gets a clue of what those people stand for. Also, by stacking the courts with those federalist society freaks how it is going to effect all of our futures.

Comments are closed.