Trump Justice pick likely to be queried on Mueller
WASHINGTON» President Donald Trump on Friday picked former Attorney General William Barr to once again serve as America’s top law enforcement official. But while his experience and mainstream background may boost his prospects for confirmation, Democrats are raising alarms about his comments on the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton.
Barr has expressed concerns about political donations made by prosecutors on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and has sup- ported calls for an investigation into a uranium deal approved while Clinton was secretary of state, a pet issue of Trump supporters.
It’s not clear whether Barr, if confirmed, would take office in time to shape the Mueller investigation, which has shown signs of being in its final stages. But even if it wraps up before he takes office, Barr would be in a position to influence prosecutions stemming from the probe, as well as deal with other politically sensitive cases, such as responding to referrals from the House’s new Democratic majority.
Barr, 68, would succeed Jeff Sessions, whom Trump forced out after constant heckling because he had stepped aside from overseeing the Russia investigation. Sessions’ chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, was elevated to acting attorney general and took control of Mueller’s investigation.
Barr’s confirmation would create uncertainty about the future of Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who oversaw the Mueller investigation before Whitaker’s appointment. Frequently, new deputies are appointed when there’s a new attorney general.
Barr was attorney general between 1991 and 1993 at the same time 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.
Trump called Barr “one of the most respected jurists in the country.”
“During his tenure, he demonstrated an unwavering adherence to the rule of law,” Trump said. “There’s no one more capable or qualified for this role.”
WilliamBarr most recently worked in private practice at Kirkland & Ellis.