Pres­i­dent sends mixed sig­nals with new nom­i­nees

The News-Times - - OBITUARIES/NEWS -

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Fri­day picked an es­tab­lish­ment Repub­li­can with a pol­ished le­gal ca­reer to lead the Jus­tice Depart­ment and a po­lit­i­cal loy­al­ist and brash me­dia per­son­al­ity to rep­re­sent the U.S. at the United Na­tions, un­der­lin­ing the po­lit­i­cal ten­sions in a White House scram­bling for a re­set.

Trump said he will nom­i­nate Wil­liam “Bill” Barr to serve as at­tor­ney gen­eral, putting the white-shoe lawyer back atop the Jus­tice Depart­ment that he led un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush in the early 1990s.

If con­firmed, Barr would take over su­per­vi­sion of the spe­cial coun­sel in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian med­dling that has shad­owed Trump’s ten­ure. Barr has crit­i­cized the probe, sug­gest­ing that it is par­ti­san in na­ture be­cause some of the prose­cu­tors un­der Robert S. Mueller III, a Repub­li­can, had con­trib­uted to Democrats.

Trump also said he will nom­i­nate Heather Nauert, a for­mer Fox News and Friends news per­son­al­ity who has been State Depart­ment spokes­woman since April 2017, as U.S. am­bas­sador to the U.N. The pres­i­dent will down­grade the po­si­tion to a sub-Cab­i­net post, ac­cord­ing to a White House of­fi­cial, re­vers­ing Trump’s pre­vi­ous up­grade of the job.

The choices marked the start of an ex­pected series of high-level staff changes as Trump seeks to re­cover from last month’s bruis­ing midterm elec­tions, which saw heavy Repub­li­can losses in the House and in states, and pre­pares for his 2020 re-elec­tion race.

Among those re­port­edly on the exit ramp is John F. Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff. The pres­i­dent pri­vately in­di­cated this week that he will pick Nick Ay­ers, chief of staff to Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, to re­place the re­tired Marine four-star gen­eral.

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