Trump will nominate Barr to be next attorney general
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.