Trump chooses Barr as next AG

Nom­i­nee has been crit­i­cal of Rus­sia probe

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page - David Jack­son and Kevin Johnson USA TO­DAY

WASH­ING­TON – Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said Fri­day he will nom­i­nate for­mer At­tor­ney Gen­eral Wil­liam Barr to lead the Jus­tice Depart­ment, a move that could have ram­i­fi­ca­tions for the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 elec­tion.

The at­tor­ney gen­eral for Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993, Barr in re­cent months has crit­i­cized as­pects of the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion and de­fended many of Trump’s ac­tions, in­clud­ing his dis­missal of FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey.

“I did not know him un­til re­cently,” Trump told re­porters Fri­day. “But he was my first choice since day one.”

If con­firmed, Barr would re­place Jeff Ses­sions, who was dis­missed last month by Trump. Ses­sions’ chief of staff, Matthew Whi­taker, is serv­ing as act­ing at­tor­ney gen­eral.

The pres­i­dent had con­stantly crit­i­cized Ses­sions’ de­ci­sion to re­cuse him­self from the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­cause he had been in­volved with Trump’s cam­paign in 2016.

Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials be­gan cir­cu­lat­ing Barr’s name on Thurs­day, and sen­a­tors, in­clud­ing some Democrats, praised his ex­pe­ri­ence.

For­mer At­tor­ney Gen­eral Michael Mukasey, who served in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Ge­orge W. Bush and was a strong sup­porter of Ses­sions, called Barr a “su­perb nom­i­na­tion.”

“He (Trump) couldn’t have done any bet­ter,” Mukasey said. “He’s a very smart lawyer, has ex­cel­lent judg­ment and, most im­por­tantly, has done the job be­fore.”

In the af­ter­math of Ses­sions’ fir­ing last month, Mukasey and Barr, iron­i­cally, au­thored a col­umn in The Wash­ing­ton Post with for­mer At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ed­win Meese, laud­ing Ses­sions’ ten­ure.

Ver­mont Sen. Pa­trick Leahy, the rank­ing Demo­crat on the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee that will host Barr’s con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing, promised that the for­mer at­tor­ney gen­eral will nonethe­less be “thor­oughly vet­ted.”

Wil­liam Barr

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