William Barr's tenure as President Donald Trump's attorney general was marked by accusations that he sometimes acted more like Trump's personal attorney than an apolitical law enforcement official, but in his forthcoming memoir Barr paints a portrait of an "erratic" president with whom he clashed bitterly over the 2020 presidential election results, the Wall Street Journal reports. Although Barr defends the legal conclusions that critics cast as damaging to the Justice Department's independence, he blames Trump's reelection loss not on fraud but on the president's own failure to exercise "a modicum of self-restraint, moderating even a little of his pettiness."
Barr's book, "One Damn Thing After Another," relates a scene in the Oval Office weeks after the election, after Barr said publicly there wasn't evidence of widespread voter fraud that would reverse the outcome. "This is killing me — killing me," Barr quotes Trump as shouting at him. "This is pulling the rug right out from under me." Barr says he reminded the present that he had "sacrificed a lot personally" to become AG, and to "help you when I thought you were being wronged" in the investigation by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, into Russian interference in the 2016 election, but that Trump's 2020 legal team's claims simply didn't hold up. After Trump listed other grievances he had with his attorney general's supposed failure to run political interference for him, Barr said he offered to resign. Trump yelled "accepted!" and ordered Barr to leave immediately, a decision White House lawyers persuaded the president to disregard. Barr resigned a few weeks later. The book lands as Trump hints at a 2024 run for re-election, which Barr made clear he opposes. University of Alabama law professor Joyce Alene, a cable-TV analyst, wrote on Twitter, "How on character that Barr waited until he could make money off of it with a book to say Trump was totally unsuited for the presidency, instead of doing something about it when he had the power to."