Trump to nom­i­nate Wil­liam Barr for at­tor­ney gen­eral


WASH­ING­TON — 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 cur­rently serv­ing as act­ing at­tor­ney gen­eral.

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.

Barr was at­tor­ney gen­eral be­tween 1991 and 1993, serv­ing in the Jus­tice De­part­ment at the same Mueller over­saw the de­part­ment’s crim­i­nal di­vi­sion. Barr later worked as a cor­po­rate gen­eral coun­sel and is cur­rently of coun­sel at a prom­i­nent in­ter­na­tional law firm, Kirk­land & El­lis LLP.

Barr had been on a White House short list of con­tenders for sev­eral weeks, said a per­son with knowl­edge of in­ter- nal dis­cus­sions who was not au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly. But some in­side the White House were con­cerned that Barr was too aligned with es­tab­lish­ment GOP forces.

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

The next chair­man of the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, R-S.C., called Barr’s pick an “out­stand­ing de­ci­sion” and pledged to “do ev­ery­thing in my power” to quickly push the nom­i­na­tion through the com­mit­tee and onto the Se­nate floor for con­fir­ma­tion.

Those who worked with Barr pre­vi­ously were quick to tout Barr’s qualifications.

“I think the pres­i­dent has cho­sen a su­perb nom­i­nee who is pre­cisely what the Depart- ment of Jus­tice needs now, which is a steady hand,” said Joseph diGen­ova, a for­mer U.S. at­tor­ney.

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