President Donald Trump on Friday tapped William Barr, a conservative lawyer who was attorney general in the administration of the late George H.W. Bush, to lead the US Department of Justice.
Barr would succeed Jeff Sessions, who Trump forced to resign last month amid rising pressure on the White House from the Russia collusion investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“Bill Barr will be nominated for the United states Attorney General position. I think he will serve with great distinction,” Trump told reporters.
“He was my first choice from day one. Respected by Republicans and respected by Democrats,” he added, describing Barr as “a terrific man, a terrific person, a brilliant man.”
Barr has a record of supporting strong executive powers, which could play into high-stakes legal battles on everything from immigration policy to war powers to whether the president can be required to give testimony in the Russia investigation.
He expressed support in May 2017 when Trump fired then-FBI director James Comey, which has become a focus of Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice, and has expressed support for Trump’s calls to reopen investigations into his 2016 rival Hillary Clinton.
While Barr initially expressed support for Mueller’s naming as an independent prosecutor to lead the Russia investigation, he subsequently voiced concerns that Mueller’s investigative team appeared too heavily Democratic, citing the fact a number of his prosecutors had donated to the party.
Trump’s naming of Barr came after he unleashed a new series of attacks on the special counsel and his team, with the prosecutor expected to release documents that could shed new light in the Russia probe.
Repeating his regular dismissal of the probe as a “total witch hunt,” Trump once again accused Mueller of political bias in an early morning tweetstorm alleging that the prosecutor had coerced false testimony from witnesses.
Barr would replace current Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, a little-experienced Republican activist named by Trump last month after Sessions was dismissed.
While he led major initiatives of the Trump administration to crack down on crime and illegal immigration, Sessions had angered the president early on when he recused himself from overseeing the Mueller probe because of his own contacts with Russians.
His recusal had effectively created insulation between Mueller and the White House — a barrier that would no longer exist once Barr is approved by the Senate, probably next month.
These 7 details from the damning Sharpiegate report show it was a dark omen of Trump’s destructive potential
While it was dismissed by some as an overhyped media obsession, the presidential scandal that has come to be known as "Sharpiegate" was, in fact, an early warning sign of the truly catastrophic potential of Donald Trump.
The story arose out of Hurricane Dorian, which began its deliberate march up toward the East Coast of the United States in late August and early September of 2019. It ravaged the Bahamas, and officials feared the damage it could inflict stateside. But then came a Trump tweet on Sept. 1, and later comments to reporters, in which he warned that Alabama was in the storm's path. He said it was among the states "most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated."
Florida governor finally releases the true numbers of people hospitalized with coronavirus
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finally caved in to pressure to release the actual numbers of coronavirus cases in the state's hospitals.
Until Friday, DeSantis had refused to reveal the true numbers, leaving many in the state unaware of just how bad the cases were. According to the Orlando Sentinel, a whopping 7,000 Floridians are in hospitals hoping they survive the virus.
"The data, which for the first time breaks down the number of people in the hospital with coronavirus, was promised by the state two weeks ago," the report explained.
MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace asks why Bill Barr is trying to ‘erase Robert Mueller’s investigation’ before November
MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace returned to television Friday night to address what she called outright corruption in the Trump White House after another example of the president trying to escape the consequences of the law.
Wallace began by calling Attorney General William Barr nothing more than Trump's "bouncer."
"He has been intellectually overestimated from day one. He is not a mastermind of anything," said Wallace. "He is Donald Trump's body man."
She cited "well-sourced spin" coming from the White House Friday evening, because there were people that she said were "enlisted" with trying to talk Trump out of commuting Roger Stone's sentence. She anticipated that Barr and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone may huff and puff about the act, but that they won't quit over it. "And we should remember their names forever. They are all accomplices in the greatest corruption of one of the most sacred powers."