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.