Today in the Washington Post,  Eric Holder criticized Bill Barr for his aggressive, partisan support of Trump.

Holder was Obama’s Attorney General. Barr is Trump’s Roy Cohn.

Barr has professed his belief that the president’s powers have no limits; Congress must bow to the president.

He has joined the “culture wars” by attacking “liberals,” which is an opinion, not an expression of the law.

Republican moderates, a nearly extinct breed of person, once hoped that Barr would be a stabilizing force in this administration.

They were wrong.

Whatever and whoever Trump touches dies or loses their reputation.

As a former U.S. attorney general, I am reluctant to publicly criticize my successors. I respect the office and understand just how tough the job can be.

But recently, Attorney General William P. Barr has made a series of public statements and taken actions that are so plainly ideological, so nakedly partisan and so deeply inappropriate for America’s chief law enforcement official that they demand a response from someone who held the same office.

Last month, at a Federalist Society event, the attorney general delivered an ode to essentially unbridled executive power, dismissing the authority of the legislative and judicial branches — and the checks and balances at the heart of America’s constitutional order. As others have pointed out, Barr’s argument rests on a flawed view of U.S. history. To me, his attempts to vilify the president’s critics sounded more like the tactics of an unscrupulous criminal defense lawyer than a U.S. attorney general.

When, in the same speech, Barr accused “the other side” of “the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law,” he exposed himself as a partisan actor, not an impartial law enforcement official. Even more troubling — and telling — was a later (and little-noticed) section of his remarks, in which Barr made the outlandish suggestion that Congress cannot entrust anyone but the president himself to execute the law.

In Barr’s view, sharing executive power with anyone “beyond the control of the president” (emphasis mine), presumably including a semi-independent Cabinet member, “contravenes the Framers’ clear intent to vest that power in a single person.” This is a stunning declaration not merely of ideology but of loyalty: to the president and his interests. It is also revealing of Barr’s own intent: to serve not at a careful remove from politics, as his office demands, but as an instrument of politics — under the direct “control” of President Trump.

Not long after Barr made that speech, he issued what seemed to be a bizarre threat to anyone who expresses insufficient respect for law enforcement, suggesting that “if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.” No one who understands — let alone truly respects — the impartial administration of justice or the role of law enforcement could ever say such a thing. It is antithetical to the most basic tenets of equality and justice, and it undermines the need for understanding between law enforcement and certain communities and flies in the face of everything the Justice Department stands for.

It’s also particularly ironic in light of the attorney general’s comments this week, in which he attackedthe FBI and the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General — two vital components of his own department. Having spent the majority of my career in public service, I found it extraordinary to watch the nation’s chief law enforcement official claim — without offering any evidence — that the FBI acted in “bad faith” when it opened an inquiry into then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign. As a former line prosecutor, U.S. attorney and judge, I found it alarming to hear Barr comment on an ongoing investigation, led by John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, into the origins of the Russia probe. And as someone who spent six years in the office Barr now occupies, it was infuriating to watch him publicly undermine an independent inspector general report — based on an exhaustive review of the FBI’s conduct — using partisan talking points bearing no resemblance to the facts his own department has uncovered.

When appropriate and justified, it is the attorney general’s duty to support Justice Department components, ensure their integrity and insulate them from political pressures. His or her ultimate loyalty is not to the president personally, nor even to the executive branch, but to the people — and the Constitution — of the United States.