Trump names new nom­i­nees for at­tor­ney gen­er­a­land UN en­voy

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Eli Stokols

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Fri­day picked an es­tab­lish­ment Repub­li­can with a pol­ished le­gal ca­reer to lead the Jus­tice Depart­ment and a po­lit­i­cal loy­al­ist and brash me­dia per­son­al­ity to rep­re­sent the U.S. at the United Na­tions, un­der­lin­ing the po­lit­i­cal ten­sions in a White House scram­bling for a re­set.

Trump said he will nom­i­nate Wil­liam “Bill” Barr to serve as at­tor­ney gen­eral, putting the white-shoe lawyer back atop the Jus­tice Depart­ment that he led un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush in the early 1990s.

If con­firmed, Barr would take over su­per­vi­sion of the spe­cial coun­sel in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian med­dling that has shad­owed Trump’s ten­ure. Barr has crit­i­cized the probe, sug­gest­ing that it is par­ti­san in na­ture be­cause some of the prose­cu­tors un­der Robert S. Mueller III, a Repub­li­can, had con­trib­uted to Democrats.

Trump also said he will nom­i­nate Heather Nauert, a for­mer Fox News an­chor who has been State Depart­ment spokes­woman since April 2017, as U.S. am­bas­sador to the U.N. The pres­i­dent will down­grade the po­si­tion to a sub­Cabi­net post, ac­cord­ing to a White House of­fi­cial, re­vers­ing Trump’s pre­vi­ous up­grade of the job.

The choices marked the start of an ex­pected series of high-level staff changes as Trump seeks to re­cover from last month’s bruis­ing midterm elec­tions, which saw heavy Repub­li­can losses in the House and in states, and pre­pares for his 2020 re-elec­tion race.

Among those re­port­edly on the exit ramp is John F. Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff. The pres­i­dent pri­vately in­di­cated this week that he will pick Nick Ay­ers, chief of staff to Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, to re­place the re­tired Marine four-star gen­eral.

Trump also is ex­pected to name Gen. Mark A. Mil­ley, an Iraq and Afghanistan vet­eran with com­bat com­mands, as chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after Gen. Joseph F. Dun­ford Jr., who will com­plete his term next fall. Trump in­di­cated that he would make the an­nounce­ment at the Army-Navy foot­ball game in Philadel­phia on Satur­day.

If con­firmed, Barr, 68, would re­place Jeff Ses­sions, who was ousted as at­tor­ney gen­eral a day after the Nov. 6 elec­tion, and Matthew Whi­taker, who has been act­ing at­tor­ney gen­eral since then.

Barr served as at­tor­ney gen­eral from 1991 to 1993 un­der Bush, who died last Fri­day, and emerged as a con­sen­sus choice among Trump’s ad­vis­ers be­cause of his ex­pe­ri­ence and likely chances of win­ning Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion.

“He was my first choice since Day One,” Trump told re­porters Fri­day be­fore he left for a speech in Kansas City, Mo. He in­di­cated he was pleased with the re­sponse after Barr’s name was floated in news sto­ries. “I’ve seen very good things about him, even over the last day or so when peo­ple thought that it might be Bill Barr,” he said.

Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, RS.C., who is the in­com­ing chair­man of the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee and thus would over­see Barr’s con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing, led a cho­rus of Repub­li­cans on Capi­tol Hill who praised Trump’s pick.

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