Attorney General William Barr has told people close to President Donald Trump that he may resign over Trump’s tweets about Justice Department investigations, foreshadowing a possible confrontation between the president and his attorney general over DOJ’s independence, the Washington Post reports. Trump has defied Barr’s requests to keep quiet on matters of federal aw enforcement. Administration officials said Barr seemed to be sharing his position with advisers in hopes the president would get the message that he should stop weighing in publicly on ongoing criminal investigations. Last week, Barr publicly warned Trump in an interview with ABC News that his tweets about Justice Department cases “make it impossible for me to do my job.” Trump aides said president considers highlighting what he sees as misconduct at the Justice Department as a good political message. Trump said, “I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country.”
The standoff between Trump and Barr intensified when Trump declared on Tuesday that he might sue those involved in the special counsel investigation into his 2016 campaign and suggested that Roger Stone, his friend convicted of lying to Congress in that probe, deserved a new trial. DOJ prosecutors filed a sealed motion in court arguing the opposite, with Barr’s approval. Kerri Kupec, a spokeswoman for Barr, said on Twitter, “Addressing Beltway rumors: The Attorney General has no plans to resign.” People close to Barr say he is unlikely to be moved by a letter from former Justice Department employees asking him to leave, which bears the signatures of many who have long been vocal opponents of his. Still, Barr is deeply concerned about morale inside the department, and that is in part why he chastised the president publicly.