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Former Attorney General Bill Barr cooperates with Jan. 6 probe

Would former Attorney General Bill Barr risk hurting Donald Trump by cooperating with the Jan. 6 investigation? Maybe.


Plenty of members of Donald Trump's former administration are fighting tooth and nail to avoid cooperating with the congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 attack. Evidently, former Attorney General Bill Barr isn't one of them. NBC News reported:

The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 riot has spoken to former Attorney General William Barr, committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said Sunday.

Though the Mississippi Democrat didn't go into detail, during a "Face the Nation" appearance, host Margaret Brennan asked whether the House select committee intends to ask Barr about a draft executive order from December 2020 in which Donald Trump would've authorized the secretary of defense to send National Guard troops to seize voting machines.

"Well, yes, we do," Thompson replied. "To be honest with you, we've had conversations with the former attorney general already."

At first blush, it may be tempting to think those "conversations" amounted to very little. After all, it's not exactly a secret that Barr did far too much to carry water for Trump during their tenures in office. Is it realistic to think the former attorney general might share information with investigators that would be damaging for his former boss?

The answer is, maybe.

Let's not forget that in the wake of Trump's defeat, Barr seemed eager to put some distance between himself and the failed president. In early December 2020, for example, as Trump desperately looked for ways to overturn the election results, Barr publicly conceded that there was no evidence to bolster conspiracy theories about "fraud."

A month later, the Republican lawyer accused Trump of "inexcusable" behavior on Jan. 6. "The president's conduct yesterday was a betrayal of his office," Barr said the day after the insurrectionist attack on the Capitol.

A few months later, Barr sat down with ABC News' Jonathan Karl and went a little further. Referring to Trump's election conspiracy theories, the former attorney general said, "It was all bulls***."

The former president issued a hysterical written statement soon after, lashing out at Barr as a "spineless RINO" and a "disappointment in every sense of the word."

To be sure, there are profound flaws in Barr's attempts to rehabilitate his reputation. In fact, as we discussed last summer, during his tenure as the nation's chief law enforcement official, the former attorney general peddled absurd election conspiracy theories of his own.

Barr was only too pleased to go along with dangerous nonsense until it no longer suited his purposes, but his record chases after him like cans tied to his bumper.

Nevertheless, the fact that the former attorney general is eager to wash off the stain he acquired during his tenure on Team Trump is of interest, and it opens the door to some enticing possibilities as he cooperates with the House select committee's probe of last year's assault.