President Bill Clinton’s former press secretary has gone on a blistering attack against Attorney General William Barr, accusing him of lying to the American people and of not being an “incredibly principled man.”
Former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart went on the offensive during an appearance on CNN’s “New Day” on Monday morning.
After the show played old footage of Barr discussing the issue of executive privilege in relation to then-President Clinton, Lockhart unloaded.
“I don’t know Bill Barr… I don’t know that I believe all of the stories before his confirmation that he was some incredibly principled man,” he said.
“He was the guy for the job. If anyone believed that and they still believe it, they are just naive.”
Lockhart then took aim at how Barr has handled the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
“What he did was an incredible disservice to the country,” he said on CNN.
“The way he withheld the report and then on three separate occasions told the American public this is what the report says. So that everybody read it in that frame of mind. The fact is the report said just the opposite.
“You can call it misleading, spin. I call it lying. When you have the president of the United States, the press secretary, the attorney general all effortlessly lying something’s got to change.”
Lockhart is not the only person to take aim at Barr in recent days, with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Democrat Maxine Waters also calling him into question.
“He does something once again that is going to scuff up his reputation. Absolutely his reputation is shot,” Scarborough said last week of Barr’s handling of the release of the Mueller report, also describing him as a “political hack” and no longer “a respected legal mind.”
“Here’s a guy that served in Washington for 30 years, had the respect of Republicans — he won’t get his reputation back. It’s shot. Sullied, the way he’s handled himself.”
Meanwhile, Waters trashed the attorney general on the eve of Special Counsel Mueller’s report being released to the public, calling Barr “a lackey and a sycophant” for President Trump.
“I never expected Barr to do anything that would be respectful to the members of Congress or to include us in any real way,” she told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, joining colleagues fuming over the decision by Barr to hold a press conference before releasing a redacted version of the report.
“He has proven himself. He auditioned for this job. He was chosen to protect the president of the United States and that’s exactly what he’s doing. I’m not surprised.”