William Barr testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination to be attorney general of the United States on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 15, 2019.
Yuri Gripas/Reuters

What is Congress to do with an AG who has ‘lost all credibility’?

The Rachel Maddow Show, 4/30/19, 9:33 PM ET

Rosenberg on Mueller Barr letter: 'You don't go to paper lightly'

Chuck Rosenberg, former Justice Department official, talks with Rachel Maddow about how he interprets reports that Robert Mueller criticized William Barr’s handling of the Mueller report in a written letter as well as a phone call.
Chuck Rosenberg, former Justice Department official, talks with Rachel Maddow about how he interprets reports that Robert Mueller criticized William Barr’s handling of the Mueller report in a written letter as well as a phone call.
Attorney General Bill Barr was a controversial choice for the post before Senate Republicans confirmed him, but many of his critics’ chief concerns have since been confirmed.

Everything the public has learned of late suggests Donald Trump’s handpicked AG presented a misleading account of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings – to Mueller’s great frustration – and even offered less-than-accurate congressional testimony on the subject.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said on MSNBC this morning, “There’s no doubt that the Attorney General has done more to compromise America’s faith in the attorney general’s office than any other attorney general in my lifetime.” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) added late yesterday, “Mr. Barr should never have been confirmed in the first place. At this point he has lost all credibility.”

These are hardly unreasonable assessments, though it leads to a fairly obvious question: what exactly are lawmakers prepared to do about it? If Barr has effectively positioned himself as an extension of the White House’s political operation, and the attorney general prefers to act as the president’s lawyer instead of the people’s lawyer, what’s the appropriate remedy?

A DOJ investigation is one option …

Democratic senators called on the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate Attorney General William Barr’s handling of the Mueller report.

… while calling for his resignation is another …

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said Barr’s time is now up. “For anyone out there who still doubted it, Mueller’s letter shows that Attorney General Barr has always been the chief propagandist for President Trump,” Van Hollen tweeted late Tuesday. “His four-page letter totally misled Congress and the public. He should resign immediately.”

… and impeaching the attorney general is an option lingering behind Door #3.

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, who is running for president, went further, saying on Twitter that “Barr willfully misled the American people to cover up attempted crimes by Donald Trump.” Barr “should resign his position or face an impeachment inquiry immediately,” Castro said.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), another 2020 presidential hopeful, also raised the prospect of impeaching the attorney general, as did Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

We haven’t yet heard from the Democratic leadership in either chamber, at least not in formal statements, but when it comes to a preferred road ahead, they clearly have some options to choose from.