Trump says that he’s nom­i­nat­ing Barr for at­tor­ney gen­eral

The Hamilton Spectator - - Canada & World - JILL COLVIN AND ZEKE MILLER

WASH­ING­TON — U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said Fri­day he will nom­i­nate Wil­liam Barr, the late pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush’s at­tor­ney gen­eral, to serve in the same role.

Trump made the an­nounce­ment while de­part­ing the White House for a trip to Mis­souri. He called Barr “a ter­rific man” and “one of the most re­spected ju­rists in the coun­try.”

“Dur­ing his ten­ure, he demon­strated an un­wa­ver­ing ad­her­ence to the rule of law,” Trump said of Barr, while ad­dress­ing a law en­force­ment con­fer­ence in Mis­souri. “There’s no one more ca­pa­ble or qual­i­fied for this role. He de­serves over­whelm­ing bi­par­ti­san sup­port. I sus­pect he’ll prob­a­bly get it.”

If con­firmed by the Se­nate, Barr would suc­ceed at­tor­ney gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions, who was forced out by Trump in Novem­ber fol­low­ing an ac­ri­mo­nious ten­ure. Ses­sions’ chief of staff, Matthew Whi­taker, is serv­ing as act­ing at­tor­ney gen­eral.

Trump’s fury at Ses­sions for re­cus­ing him­self from the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion — which helped set in mo­tion the ap­point­ment of spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller — cre­ated deep ten­sions be­tween Trump and his Jus­tice Depart­ment. He some­times puts the word “Jus­tice” in quotes when re­fer­ring to the depart­ment in tweets and has railed against its lead­ers for fail­ing to in­ves­ti­gate his 2016 ri­val, Hil­lary Clin­ton, as ex­ten­sively as he would like.

Barr’s se­lec­tion “is a con­tin­u­a­tion of this law and or­der pres­i­dency,” Whi­taker said.

“Bill is supremely qual­i­fied, highly re­spected at the Depart­ment of Jus­tice and will con­tinue to sup­port the men and women in blue,” he said.

Democrats will pre­sum­ably seek re­as­sur­ances dur­ing con­fir­ma­tion pro­ceed­ings that Barr, who as at­tor­ney gen­eral would be in a po­si­tion to over­see Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion, would not do any­thing to in­ter­fere with the probe.

Trump said Fri­day that Barr had been his “first choice from Day 1.”

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