Following the resignation last month of his first Attorney General Jeff Sessions, President Trump will name William Barr his nominee to serve as United States Attorney General. The Washington Post had first reported that Barr was under consideration for the position.
The 68-year-old Barr previously served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993, under the administration of George H.W. Bush. In the years since, he has mostly worked in the private sector as an executive with Verizon and later as a partner with the law firm Kirkland and Ellis. Barr is an establishmentarian type and well respected in the conservative legal elite. Barr is also said to be a believer in the “unitary executive” theory.
Perhaps most notably, Barr will now supervise special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Sessions had recused himself from the investigation, leaving it in the supervisory hands of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. This led to a great deal of anger from the president, often expressed on Twitter. Sessions resigned, reportedly under pressure from the Trump administration, on the day after the midterm elections last month. Matthew Whitaker has been serving as acting attorney general since shortly after Sessions’ departure.
Barr actually supervised Mueller, who at the time was a prosecutor in the Department of Justice, for a time when he last served as attorney general. In an interview last year, Barr was critical of some members of Mueller’s team for their past donations to Democratic political candidates.
“He was my first choice from day one, respected by Republicans and respected by Democrats,” Trump said at the White House Friday, according to ABC News. “He will be nominated for the U.S. attorney general and hopefully that process will go very quickly, and I think it will go very quickly.”
— ABC News (@ABC) December 7, 2018
Also Friday, Trump named Heather Nauert as the next ambassador to the United Nations, replacing Nikki Haley. The 48-year-old Nauert previously was acting undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs and was also a former Fox News anchor.
According to the Post, Trump was drawn to Barr in part because he “looks the part,” which has often been a part of the president’s reasoning for major administration hires.
Barr will face confirmation hearings, which are likely to take place when the new Congress convenes in January.
Other rumored contenders to replace Sessions as attorney general included former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.