William Barr, who served under George H.W. Bush, tapped by Trump for attorney general
|globalnews.ca 07 Dec 2018 at 07:01|
U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he would nominate William Barr to serve as attorney general, who had this role once before under former president George H.W. Bush .
The role is in charge of the probe into Russian election interference and possible collusion between n.
If confirmed by the Senate, Barr would succeed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was forced out by Trump in November and who infuriated the president by stepping aside from the Russia investigation. Sessions’ decision helped set in motion Mueller’s appointment. Trump has elevated Sessions’ chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker , to acting attorney general.
Barr was “my first choice from day one,” and “a terrific man, a terrific person, a brilliant man,” Trump said, speaking to reporters outside the White House.
Barr was attorney general between 1991 and 1993, serving in the Justice Department at the same Mueller oversaw the department’s criminal division. Barr later worked as a corporate general counsel and is currently of counsel at a prominent international law firm, Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
In this Nov. 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. An attorney general opposed to the investigation could theoretically move to cut funding or block certain investigative steps. But depending on how long the confirmation process takes, it is not clear how much of the investigation would remain by the time a new attorney general takes office.
“What I have said, without mentioning Mr. Barr – I’ve said, the best thing the administration can do is to get somebody who had majority support from Republicans and Democrats alike for attorney general. Those are the best attorneys general,” said Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would hold hearings on a nominee.
Still, while in private practice, Barr has occasionally weighed in on hot-button investigative matters in ways that could prompt concerns among Democrats.