Former Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday said he is “surprised and extremely disappointed” by current Attorney General William Barr’s performance under the Trump administration.
“I’m both surprised and extremely disappointed,” Holder said of Barr in an appearance on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press. “I actually thought that he was an institutionalist and I thought that he would actually be at odds with President Trump relatively soon in his tenure, and he has proved to be anything but that.”
Holder joined the chorus of Democrats mad at Barr’s handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on now-debunked allegations of criminal conspiracy between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.
“[Barr] has become a defender of the president, a protector of the president, and has done things inconsistent with what I think an attorney general is supposed to do,” he said. “I think he has tended to think of himself as the lawyer for the president as opposed to the attorney for the people of this country.”
Holder has similarly found himself on the receiving end of such criticism, having described himself in 2013 as former President Barack Obama’s “wingman.” The remark came in response to a question about when may leave his post. “I’m still enjoying what I’m doing, there’s still work to be done. I’m still the President’s wing-man, so I’m there with my boy, so we’ll see,” he told the Tom Joyner radio program at the time.
In addition to remarking about Barr, Holder also took aim at President Donald Trump’s ABC News interview in which he said he would be open to potentially accepting opposition research on his 2020 Democrat rivals from foreign governments.
“That’s shocking. It’s appalling to have a president of the United States say that if a foreign power was to offer me information, I wouldn’t immediately reject it and report it,” the former attorney general said. “It’s pretty frightening because the reality is once you interact with that foreign power, they’ve got something on you. They have something on you that they will undoubtedly try to use. And the fact that the president doesn’t understand that either expresses to me some degree of venality or ignorance or some combination thereof.”
President Donald Trump has since clarified his comments about taking the foreign dirt, telling Fox and Friends he would notify the FBI or the Department of Justice about being approached.