Republicans, Democrats React as Bill Barr Resigns: 'A Five-Alarm Fire'

Republicans and Democrats have responded to Attorney General William Barr's resignation with a mixture of praise, condemnation of his tenure and criticism of President Donald Trump.

The president announced on Twitter on Monday that Barr would be stepping down as head of the Department of Justice before the Christmas holidays. Trump had recently levied criticism of Barr on social media.

Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine called Barr's resignation "a five alarm fire." The Democrat said Barr is "getting out of the [getaway] vehicle because perhaps he does not want to be part of the next series of wrongful events. I am deeply concerned."

Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) offered some harsh criticism of Barr and expressed satisfaction that he was leaving office.

"Attorney General Bill Barr: Lied to cover for Trump. Launched political investigations. Subverted justice and the rule of law. And violently cracked down on protestors. So good riddance. Now, the work of restoring a credible and independent justice system must begin," Schiff tweeted.

"Barr diminished the integrity of his office, eroded the independence of the Justice Department, and substantially undermined his own reputation," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said. The Democrat represents Maryland's 5th congressional district.

"There should be no sympathy or regret for an Attorney General who trashed the rule of law, caused untold suffering, & enabled a morally depraved president. Don't let the door hit you on the way out," tweeted Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

Republicans were more complimentary of Barr's time at the DOJ despite Trump's recent public complaints about him. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) joined many others in calling Barr a patriot.

"Bill Barr is a friend & patriot. Despite the vilification in the media & attacks against his character, he has served his country with honor and distinction. His retirement – though a loss for the country – is well deserved. I wish him and his family well in this next chapter," Cruz said.

"Bill Barr is a man of great integrity," tweeted former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. "Strangely, it is a good sign to be criticized by progressives if you are protecting executive powers and by the President if you aren't intervening in the election process. I appreciate his misunderstood leadership."

"It was clear that being part of the administration was a challenging responsibility for him, to say the least," Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) told CNBC on Monday. "I'm not surprised that he could no longer associate himself with the process that's going on now."

President-elect Joe Biden's incoming chief-of-staff Ron Klain told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Monday: "I think weird things happening in the Trump Justice Department isn't news unfortunately."

"All I can tell people is that that will change on January 20. We're going to restore the independence and the integrity of the Justice Department," he said.

Trump had taken aim at Barr on Twitter in recent days following a string of failed election lawsuits and the news that Biden's son, Hunter Biden, was being investigated for tax fraud.

The Department of Justice had concluded that there was no fraud in the 2020 presidential election despite the Trump campaign's claims. The White House said a recent meeting between Trump and Barr was cordial.

12/16/2020 4.53am E.T.: This article was corrected to note that Adam Schiff is a congressman, not a senator.

Attorney General William Barr Has Resigned
U.S. Attorney General William Barr listens during a discussion with State Attorneys General on Protecting Consumers from Social Media Abuses in the Cabinet Room of the White House on September 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. Barr's resignation has been met with praise and criticism. Oliver Contreras-Pool/Getty Images