Friday, 15 February, 2019

Trump intends to nominate William Barr as next attorney general

Trump intends to nominate William Barr as next attorney general Trump intends to nominate William Barr as next attorney general
Melinda Barton | 07 December, 2018, 18:25

A month after Jeff Session's resignation, Donald Trump may have a top choice for his next attorney general. Barr is now rumored to be Donald Trump's top contender to replace ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

President Donald Trump has nominated William Barr to be the new attorney general, a post he held in the 1990s.

Trump's consideration of a new attorney general comes during a critical time for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, of which the next Justice Department chief will inherit oversight.

Barr has been somewhat critical of special counsel Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections and has claimed there is more basis to investigate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her role in approving the 2010 acquisition of USA uranium stockpiles by a Russian energy company - a complicated deal that has come to be known simply as Uranium One.

The prospect of Barr taking over the Justice Department was well-received by some leading members of Congress in both parties Thursday.

After passing his senate confirmation hearing unanimously, he served as the 77th USA attorney general from 1991-1993. He is now an attorney for Washington, DC law firm Kirkland and Ellis.

The White House declined to comment.

Barr was George H.W. Bush's attorney general between 1991 and 1993. Rosenstein appointed Mueller following Sessions's recusal, a decision that angered the president.

The Mueller probe has been an Achilles heel for the office of attorney general the past couple of years.

The former attorney general hasn't shied away from weighing in on Mueller's investigation. Those familiar with the discussions said Barr, having already been attorney general, doesn't feel a particular ambition for the position, but does feel a sense of duty to take it if offered.

Attorney General nominee William Barr (center) chats with then-Sen.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Texas Republican who sits on the Judiciary Committee, called Barr an "interesting pick".

Still, while in private practice, Barr has occasionally weighed in on hot-button investigative matters in ways that could prompt concerns among Democrats.

The issue many Democrats and some Republicans may have with a possible Barr nomination are statements he made in the past about Hillary Clinton, James Comey and the president's authority to investigate the Uranium One deal.

He said there was more basis to investigate a uranium deal approved while Clinton was secretary of state in the Obama administration than potential collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Barr, 68, has extensive experience in government, particularly the upper echelons of the Justice Department. He expressed confidence in Mueller early on and suggested the investigation wouldn't devolve into a "witch hunt", but he also has shared some disappointment when asked by The Washington Post past year about the donations that some of Mueller's team members made to Democrats.