Trump says that he’s nominating Barr for attorney general
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.”