Barr had 'Oh, s***' moment when Trump blew up over Durham: Book

·5 min read

Attorney General William Barr braced himself in the face of unprecedented fury displayed by President Donald Trump when he was told special counsel John Durham would likely not finish the criminal inquiry into the Russia investigation until sometime during the incoming Biden administration, according to a new book.

The fiery episode happened in early December during a White House meeting after Barr explained why he told the Associated Press that the Justice Department had uncovered no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, Watergate sleuth Bob Woodward and fellow Washington Post journalist Robert Costa wrote in Peril, which was released on Tuesday.

Already frustrated by Barr's refusal to back his claims of a stolen election, Trump asked his attorney general when a conclusion would come in Durham's inquiry into the origins and conduct of the Russia investigation he often dubs a "witch hunt." The so-called "investigation into the investigators" had become another sore subject for Trump because of the lack of developments before the November contest.

Barr told Trump he did not know when Durham might finish, as the investigation ran at its own pace depending on the evidence. Still, he posited: "I would imagine it would be in the first part of the Biden administration, hopefully maybe in the first six months."

This prompted Trump to shout.

"First part of the Biden administration!" he roared.

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At this point, Woodward and Costa get into Barr's head, describing what he witnessed and thought.

"'Oh, s***,' Barr thought. Trump was steaming. Barr had never seen Trump in such a fury. If a human being can have flames come out of his ears, this was it. Barr imagined the flames. He had never seen Trump madder. But Trump was obviously trying to control himself. Tamping himself down and then flaming," the authors wrote.

Former President Donald Trump and former Attorney General William Barr. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

As was revealed in the same interview with an Associated Press reporter in early December, Barr gave Durham, a U.S. attorney in Connecticut at the time, special counsel status. Durham resigned as U.S. attorney in February after President Joe Biden moved to replace top federal prosecutors nationwide with his own appointees, but he was allowed to continue his review of the Russia investigation as special counsel.

More than eight months into the Biden administration, Durham's investigation remains active. The most recent development came last week when a lawyer tied to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign pleaded not guilty after being indicted on a charge of lying to the FBI.

As recently as last month, Trump vented out the duration of Durham's endeavor.

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"Every time I speak, I say, 'Where's Durham?' That should have never been allowed to be put into the Biden administration," he told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

Authors Robert Costa and Bob Woodward. (AP Photo)

An earlier chapter in Woodward and Costa's book talked about how Barr found himself performing cleanup duty after Trump told Fox News in May 2020 that former Justice Department and FBI officials deserved prosecution, and he blamed former President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Biden for what has been dubbed "Obamagate."

"People should be going to jail for this stuff ... This was all Obama. This was all Biden. These people were corrupt. The whole thing was corrupt. And we caught them. We caught them," Trump had said.

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"For Barr, this was a dramatic overreach by Trump. He had told him he needed to be patient about the Durham probe, especially as the pandemic slowed down operations across the department. Let Durham be," the book said.

Barr then delivered a statement during a press conference to say he said he did not expect a criminal investigation into Obama or Biden.

"Barr prepared a little speech to give at a press conference the next day. He said he was tired of politicians using the 'justice system as a political weapon.' By raising Biden and Obama as targets, Trump was effectively discrediting Durham's work. Barr knew if Trump kept it up, Durham would quit," Woodward and Costa wrote.

Barr also told Trump he would not let outside opinions dictate the direction of Durham's investigation, according to the book.

Special counsel John Durham. (Bob Child/AP Photo)

"'I know people want accountability and we're working on that, but it's not going to be, we're not doing this politically and it's not going to be tit for tat,' Barr told Trump. And he reminded the president that the Supreme Court had recently ruled that not everything considered an abuse of power legally equates to a crime. Trump said he hated that answer," the book said.

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Barr resigned from his post just before Christmas, and Trump has since called him "a disappointment in every sense of the word."

For Peril, Woodward and Costa conducted more than 200 interviews, resulting in more than 6,000 pages of transcripts, and gained access to "never-before-seen material from secret orders, transcripts of confidential calls, diaries, emails, meeting notes and other personal and government records," publisher Simon & Schuster said in an announcement.

Trump reacted to early reports on the book by saying, in part, that he considers Woodward and "his cohorts" to be "extremely dishonorable people."

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Tags: News, William Barr, Donald Trump, Justice Department, Bob Woodward, John Durham

Original Author: Daniel Chaitin

Original Location: Barr had 'Oh, s***' moment when Trump blew up over Durham: Book