■ Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s AG pick is poised to re­claim his old job in a changed Wash­ing­ton.

Barr worked for Bush 41 in a dif­fer­ent GOP era

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - FRONT PAGE - By Eric Tucker

WASH­ING­TON — When Wil­liam Barr was at­tor­ney gen­eral in the early 1990s, he was out­spo­ken about some of Amer­ica’s big­gest prob­lems — vi­o­lent crime, drug ad­dic­tion, teenage preg­nancy. The “Age of Aquar­ius,” he warned, had given way to crack ba­bies and bro­ken fam­i­lies, mis­ery and squalor.

The rhetoric re­flected Barr’s deep-seated per­sonal be­liefs and was typ­i­cal talk for a con­ser­va­tive Repub­li­can at a time when fam­ily val­ues and tough-on-crime stances de­fined the party.

Now, as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s nom­i­nee for at­tor­ney gen­eral, Barr is poised to re­turn to the same job in a dra­mat­i­cally dif­fer­ent Wash­ing­ton.

Repub­li­cans just pushed through the big­gest crim­i­nal jus­tice over­haul in a gen­er­a­tion, eas­ing prison sen­tences. Fam­ily val­ues are sel­dom dis­cussed while Trump, twice-di­vorced and ac­cused of af­fairs and sex­ual mis­con­duct, sits in the White House. Serv­ing Trump, who faces in­ten­si­fy­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions from the de­part­ment Barr would lead, is un­likely to com­pare with his ten­ure un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush.

Trump de­mands loy­alty, break­ing with the practice of shield­ing law en­force­ment from po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence. He publicly brow­beats Jus­tice De­part­ment lead­er­ship and ousted his first at­tor­ney gen­eral, Jeff Ses­sions, for not pro­tect­ing him in the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Though the pres­sures on Barr are bound to be enor­mous if he is con­firmed, al­lies de­scribe him as driven by his com­mit­ment to the de­part­ment and clear-eyed about what is ahead.

“I have no doubt that he’s aware of any unique or un­usual chal­lenges that this Jus­tice De­part­ment, his Jus­tice De­part­ment, will con­front,” said long­time friend and for­mer col­league Chuck Cooper, who is also Ses­sions’ lawyer. “He ap­proaches these chal­lenges as a pub­lic ser­vant who loves his coun­try and who’s an­swer­ing the call to ser­vice. That’s the spirit in which Bill Barr is ac­cept­ing these chal­lenges.”

The first challenge comes Tues­day when Democrats press him at his Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee hear­ing on his broad views of pres­i­den­tial power, in­clud­ing an un­so­licited memo he sent the Jus­tice De­part­ment last year crit­i­ciz­ing special coun­sel Robert Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether the pres­i­dent had sought to ob­struct the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Barr is likely to win con­fir­ma­tion.

J. Scott Ap­ple­white The As­so­ci­ated Press

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s at­tor­ney gen­eral nom­i­nee, Wil­liam Barr, meets with Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee Chair­man Chuck Grass­ley, R-Iowa, Wed­nes­day on Capi­tol Hill. Barr has a con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing set for Tues­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.