In Barr’s view, sharing executive power with anyone “beyond the control of the president” (emphasis mine), presumably including a semi-independent Cabinet member, “contravenes the Framers’ clear intent to vest that power in a single person.” This is a stunning declaration not merely of ideology but of loyalty: to the president and his interests. It is also revealing of Barr’s own intent: to serve not at a careful remove from politics, as his office demands, but as an instrument of politics — under the direct “control” of President Trump.

Not long after Barr made that speech, he issued what seemed to be a bizarre threat to anyone who expresses insufficient respect for law enforcement, suggesting that “if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.” No one who understands — let alone truly respects — the impartial administration of justice or the role of law enforcement could ever say such a thing. It is antithetical to the most basic tenets of equality and justice, and it undermines the need for understanding between law enforcement and certain communities and flies in the face of everything the Justice Department stands for…

Others, like Durham, are being tested by this moment. I’ve been proud to know John for at least a decade, but I was troubled by his unusual statement disputing the inspector general’s findings. Good reputations are hard-won in the legal profession, but they are fragile; anyone in Durham’s shoes would do well to remember that, in dealing with this administration, many reputations have been irrevocably lost.