MSNBC host Brian Williams derided Attorney General William Barr after his news conference on Thursday, suggesting that it would be logical for headline writers to compare Barr to an infamous propagandist for Saddam Hussein during the Iraq War.
"We would not be surprised if some headline writer somewhere came up with 'Baghdad Bill Barr' for what we saw today," Williams said. Williams was referring to Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, whose nickname, "Baghdad Bob," became a moniker for people making obviously false claims.
Williams was himself suspended for six months at NBC News in 2015 after he admitted he'd embellished some of what he witnessed while reporting in Iraq. NBC later moved Williams to MSNBC, where he eventually got another show.
The MSNBC anchor took issue with Barr's numerous statements clearing the president and his associates of Russian "collusion." Turning to Joyce Vance, a former U.S. attorney under the Obama administration, Williams said collusion wasn't a "term in the law."
Vance suggested that Barr used that term in order to appease the president. "It's clear that as the attorney general, Bill Barr knows how to speak the president's language," she said.
"It is a sad day for all of us," she said after claiming that Barr's conduct weakened the public's confidence in the Russia investigation's outcomes.
Her comments echoed those of many media figures who knocked Barr's credibility in the lead-up to the Justice Department releasing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report.
Also on Thursday, Williams' colleague Nicolle Wallace accused Barr of helping the president continue to degrade the "rule of law." "The rule of law had a deficit because Donald Trump had been kicking it in the teeth for 22 months, and what the country’s attorney general did was walk in there and back up the guy doing the kicking," she said.
Williams similarly suggested that Barr might be prioritizing service to the president over service to the American people. "The questions are out there whether or not he views the president as his clients or the people of the United States of America," he said after Vance's "sad day" comment.
Mueller's report highlighted 10 items that raised concerns about obstruction of justice. Many have speculated that Democrats will seize on that information in order to further congressional investigations into the president's conduct.