Trump picks William Barr as next United States attorney general

Pauline Gross
December 7, 2018

This, of course, is no normal time - and it didn't take long for interested parties to scour Mr Barr's recent comments and writings in search of any meaningful hints on how he would oversee Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

Barr, who served as United States attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush, is a well respected lawyer among Republicans, and following his time as AG served as general counsel and executive vice president of Verizon Communications. Sessions resigned at Trump's request last month, and his Chief of Staff Matthew Whitaker has been the Acting US Attorney General. Barr is now an attorney for Kirkland and Ellis, a high-profile Washington, D.C., law firm.

After passing his senate confirmation hearing unanimously, he served as the 77th USA attorney general from 1991-1993.

In this November 26, 1991, file photo, President George H.W Bush, right, and William Barr wave after Barr was sworn in as the new Attorney General of the United States at a Justice Department ceremony in Washington.

Democrats would presumably want reassurances that Barr, who as attorney general would be in position to oversee Mueller's investigation, would not do anything to interfere with the probe. Respected by Republicans. Respected by Democrats.

Barr not only said that an investigation of this would be above-board, he claimed it was necessary in the interest of justice.

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An attorney general opposed to the investigation could theoretically move to cut funding or block certain investigative steps. Rosenstein appointed Mueller following Sessions's recusal, a decision that angered the president.

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Republicans disputed criticism that the legislation would undermine the role of the attorney general. The attorney general's office, meanwhile, wouldn't be allowed to withdraw from federal lawsuits.

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A source close to Barr says he is likely to accept the job if offered.

Barr also wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post a year ago defending Trump's controversial decision to fire former attorney general James Comey.

The 68-year-old Republican lawyer has an impressive political resume, spanning the CIA, White House and Department of Justice.

"In my view, prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party", Barr said.

Barr also raised concerns about special counsel Mueller's appointment of prosecutors with a history of donating to Democratic candidates, telling The Washington Post in July 2017 that he "would have liked to see him have more balance on this group". He already received a bachelor's degree in government and a master's degree in government and Chinese studies - both from Columbia University.

While studying law at George Washington University, he worked at the Central Intelligence Agency from 1973-1977.

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