In this July 28, 2020, file photo, Attorney General William Barr appears before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the oversight of the Department of Justice on Capitol Hill in Washington.
CNN  — 

For much of the last two years, Bill Barr was regarded as Donald Trump’s most-valued wingman.

The attorney general enabled the President’s darkest instincts on the possibility of vote fraud in mail-in ballots. He compared lockdown orders as a result of the coronavirus pandemic to slavery. He tried to have the Justice Department take over the President’s defense in a defamation suit filed against Trump.

Given all of that, there might be a tendency to believe that Barr’s resignation as the nation’s top cop Monday night – a move that came after multiple reports that the President was considering firing him – marks the end of a era in which the Department of Justice was used (and misused) to further the political whims of the President.

Don’t be so sure.

While there’s no doubt that Barr, on a number of occasions, made himself a willing participant in Trump’s efforts to turn the Justice Department into his own private score-settling agency, there’s been several examples of late in which Barr bucked the President’s wishes in critical moments.

Consider:

* According to The Wall Street Journal, Barr went out of his way this past fall to ensure that the federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s financial dealings never went public in the course of a presidential campaign in which Trump sought to make the son of his Democratic opponent a major issue.

* Earlier this month, Barr directly contradicted Trump’s repeated claims that there was widespread voter fraud in the presidential election. “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” Barr told the Associated Press in an interview.