George Conway Backs Bill Barr Over $30,000 Trump Hotel Party, Says it's 'Absurd' to Suggest 'Small Profit' Would Impress President

The conservative attorney George Conway, one of President Trump's fiercest critics, backed Attorney General William Barr in a controversy over the justice department head's booking of the Washington, D.C. Trump Hotel for a $30,000 holiday party he holds in December every year.

According to The Washington Post, Barr booked the Trump Hotel after two other options fell through and he cleared it with ethics officials at the justice department. But a row has emerged over what critics say is an attempt to show loyalty to Trump and win the president's favor.

"Frankly, this is a silly story," Conway, who is married to senior White House advisor Kellyanne Conway and regularly disparages President Trump, wrote on Twitter.

"Barr is paying for the party out of his own pocket. The hotel is next door to DOJ. The notion that the small profit from this would improve his standing with Trump, especially given how Barr misled the public about the Mueller report, is absurd."

The attorney general was accused by political opponents of misleading Congress and the public about the contents of special counsel Robert Mueller's report at the culmination of his two-year Russia investigation.

Barr, who did not believe the evidence was sufficient to charge Trump with obstruction, first released his own summary of the report's conclusions before weeks later publishing a redacted version of the full document. He denied misrepresenting what the report found.

Trump's business interests are held in trust while he is in the White House, meaning he does not currently profit from them, though he will do again when he eventually leaves office. The Trump Organization is currently helmed by his two eldest sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.

Though Barr's booking of the Trump Hotel does not violate any ethics rules, some are questioning the wisdom of the attorney general's decision.

"Even if it's technically OK, this makes you stop and think about whether or not this attorney general really has the judgment that it takes," Joyce White Vance, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama between 2009 and 2017, said on MSNBC's The Beat last night.

"He went into this knowing that if it became public it would create more controversy over the appearance of impropriety and whether the justice department was independent from the president or simply carrying out policies and now personal practices that were an effort to curry favor with the president.

"It's bad for the justice department and you know if I worked for the DOJ and I wanted to give my boss a holiday gift, I'm limited to $20 under DOJ ethics rules. Last time I checked, $30,000 was a lot more than $20."

Bill Barr Trump Hotel party Washington
U.S. Attorney General William Barr pauses while speaking at the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University School of Law on July 23, 2019 in New York City. Barr is holding a holiday party worth $30,000 at the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty Images