McCabe “and Rod Rosenstein, who was hired by Jeff Sessions (another beauty), look like they were planning a very illegal act, and got caught,” Trump tweeted Monday. “ . . . This was the illegal and treasonous ‘insurance policy’ in full action!”

Although Trump’s animosity was not aimed at Barr — in fact, he has praised him — it nonetheless puts the attorney general in a particularly awkward position as he begins his job.

Barr, people who know him say, is laboring to maintain his reputation as a relatively independent and principled leader while simultaneously reacting to pressure from his boss, who demands loyalty from his appointees and nominees and frequently disparages the Justice Department as it investigates his campaign and conduct…

Barr is viewed internally as a “lawyer’s lawyer,” the official said, and is seen as less politically minded than Sessions or Whitaker. He is well respected in the department as well as in conservative legal circles, having worked extensively as a corporate lawyer and in the Justice Department previously as attorney general, deputy attorney general and head of the Office of Legal Counsel.