Trump will nom­i­nate Barr to be next at­tor­ney gen­eral

The Mercury News - - Front Page - By Matt Zapotosky, Devlin Bar­rett and Se­ung Min Kim The Wash­ing­ton Post

WASH­ING­TON >> Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump con­firmed Fri­day he will nom­i­nate for­mer at­tor­ney gen­eral William Barr to lead the Jus­tice De­part­ment again — bring­ing re­lief to de­part­ment vet­er­ans who had feared a more un­con­ven­tional pick but gen­er­at­ing some con­cern among law­mak­ers about the fu­ture of the spe­cial coun­sel in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tion.

Trump told re­porters Fri­day that Barr had been “my first choice since day one” and praised the man he hopes will be his at­tor­ney gen­eral as hav­ing “demon­strated an un­wa­ver­ing ad­her­ence to the rule of law.”

“There is no one more ca­pa­ble or qual­i­fied for this role,” the pres­i­dent said at a Jus­tice De­part­ment event in Kansas City, Mis­souri. He pre­dicted that his nom­i­nee would “prob­a­bly get” bi­par­ti­san sup­port.

Barr, 68, is in­deed a well-re­spected lawyer who is well-known in con­ser­va­tive cir­cles. He served as at­tor­ney gen­eral from 1991 to 1993 un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush and be­fore that as deputy at­tor­ney gen­eral, the No. 2 of­fi­cial.

Af­ter leav­ing the de­part­ment, he spent many years in the cor­po­rate world — as gen­eral coun­sel and ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of GTE Corp., and later, af­ter a merger, in the same po­si­tion at Ver­i­zon Com­mu­ni­ca­tions. He most re­cently worked in pri­vate prac­tice at Kirk­land & El­lis, ad­vis­ing cor­po­ra­tions on gov­ern­ment en­force­ment mat­ters. Barr’s cor­po­rate work is likely to draw sig­nif­i­cant scru­tiny as he heads to­ward a con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing. Democrats and even some Repub­li­cans said they would like as­sur­ances that he would let spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion pro­ceed nor­mally be­fore vot­ing to con­firm him.

Barr has in the past ques­tioned the po­lit­i­cal makeup of Mueller’s team — which has many Demo­cratic donors, though Mueller him­self is a Re­pub­li­can — and ex­pressed sym­pa­thy to­ward Trump’s fir­ing of for­mer FBI di­rec­tor James Comey.

Sen. Su­san Collins, R-Maine, said she wants as­sur­ances that Barr would al­low Mueller’s probe to con­tinue.

“That would be one of the is­sues that I cer­tainly would want to make sure, and that he rec­og­nizes that not only that Mr. Mueller has to be al­lowed to com­plete his in­ves­ti­ga­tion unim­peded, but also that pros­e­cu­to­rial de­ci­sions that are made by the de­part­ment need to be in­de­pen­dent,” she said.

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