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If you’re William Barr, there’s apparently nothing like a healthy dose of nihilism to get you through a tough time politically.
In an interview with CBS News released Friday, the U.S. attorney general said he isn’t worried about his reputation potentially crumbling because, well, “everyone dies.”
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, nothing matters in the end!
Humanity’s curse of recognizing the fleeting nature of existence notwithstanding, critics have questioned Barr’s character — and his relationship with Donald Trump — after the attorney general decided not to pursue obstruction charges against the president. Lots of folks were also frustrated with Barr’s sunny summary of the Mueller report in late March, including special counsel Robert Mueller himself. But the AG cast aside criticism of his character, chalking it up to a partisan atmosphere and claiming that "nowadays, people don't care about the merits and the substance."
"I am at the end of my career," Barr told CBS News' Jan Crawford in a televised interview that aired Friday. "Everyone dies, and I am not, you know, I don't believe in the Homeric idea that, you know, immortality comes by, you know, having odes sung about you over the centuries, you know?"
Homeric ideas and ruminations on mortality aside, Barr also said in the interview that Mueller could’ve determined if Trump obstructed justice instead of passing the buck.
"I personally felt he could’ve reached a decision," Barr told CBS News. "The opinion says you cannot indict a president while he is in office, but he could've reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity. But he had his reasons for not doing it, which he explained. And I am not going to, you know, argue about those reasons."
Barr said that when it became clear Mueller was not going to make a determination, he felt it was necessary that he and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein make a decision. They determined, of course, there wasn’t enough evidence to warrant charging Trump with obstruction of justice. For many, it wasn’t a popular decision.
Barr told CBS he knew he’d come under fire during his tenure and that “any attorney general in this period is going to end up losing a lot of political capital.”
But the 69-year-old isn’t worried about that because, as he said in the interview, “at my stage in life, it really doesn't make any difference." C’est la vie.
Cover Image: U.S. Attorney General William Barr listens to concerns raised about public safety in rural Alaska on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)