Former Vice President Joe Biden called Wednesday night for Attorney General William P. Barr to resign, echoing several other 2020 Democratic White House hopefuls who have said the nation’s top law enforcement official has mishandled the special counsel investigation.
“I think he’s lost the confidence of the American people. I think he should,” Biden told a group of reporters in Des Moines. He was there on a swing through the first presidential nominating state as Barr appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to field questions about special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
In a separate interview with Des Moines television station KCCI, Biden said he was “really disappointed” in Barr. He suggested that Barr appeared more interested in defending President Donald Trump than evaluating the facts presented by Mueller about whether Trump obstructed the probe.
“He’s not the president’s lawyer. He’s the people lawyer,” Biden said of Barr. “He’s not there to defend the president.”
Biden also pointed to a letter Mueller wrote to Barr expressing his concerns with how Barr characterized the findings in the report before it was publicly released. During Wednesday’s hearing, Barr described the letter as “a bit snitty.”
Several others in the crowded Democratic presidential field also spoke out Wednesday, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts.
“AG Barr is a disgrace, and his alarming efforts to suppress the Mueller report show that he’s not a credible head of federal law enforcement,” she said in a tweet. “He should resign — and based on the actual facts in the Mueller report, Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against the President.”
Sens. Kamala D. Harris, D-California, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, also called on Barr to go.
“What I just saw from the Attorney General is unacceptable. Barr must resign now,” Harris, a Judiciary Committee member, said in a tweet shortly after she questioned Barr at Wednesday’s hearing.
Gillibrand likewise said in a tweet that Barr “needs to resign,” arguing that “we can’t trust him to tell the truth.”
“Today, he’s proven once again that he’s more interested in protecting the president than working for the American people,” she said.
Earlier Wednesday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, wrote on Facebook that “Americans cannot trust William Barr to serve as our nation’s top law enforcement officer.” Inslee said Barr should “resign immediately.”
Several other Democratic contenders have also called in recent days for Barr to step aside, including former Obama Cabinet member Julian Castro, California Rep. Eric Swalwell and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Washington Post writer Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report.