President Donald Trump will nominate former Attorney General William Barr to replace Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, he announced Friday morning on the White House South Lawn.
“He was my first choice from day one … respected by Republicans and respected by Democrats. He will be nominated for the United States Attorney General and hopefully that process will go very quickly. And I think it will go very quickly,” Trump said.
Barr served as attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993. The former attorney general will seek to helm the same DOJ he did more than 25 years ago. Sessions was ousted by Trump nearly a month ago and replaced temporarily by acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.
Barr is a longtime figure in conservative Washington circles and has voiced some opinions on matters of political interest.
“I do think that there are things that should be investigated that haven’t been investigated,” he told The Washington Post in 2017 about former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.
“As the former AG for George H.W. Bush and one of the most highly respected lawyers and legal minds in the Country, he will be a great addition to our team,” Trump tweeted Friday. “I look forward to having him join our very successful Administration!”
Attorney William Barr could lead the Department of Justice again as President Trump said he will nominate him as his next attorney general.
Barr, 68, served as attorney general under the late President George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s. A Republican, he is currently a lawyer with Kirkland & Ellis in Washington, D.C.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned from the post earlier this year, and Matthew Whitaker was named acting attorney general.
From his time at the CIA to what he’s said about the Russia investigation, read on for five things to know about the respected attorney.
He already held the post in the first Bush administration
Barr has already held the position of attorney general, serving under the late President George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993.
Before that, he also served as deputy attorney general and assistant attorney general overseeing the Office of Legal Counsel.
At the Justice Department, Barr’s work ranged from combatting violent crime to investigation the Pan Am 103 bombing. He also coordinated counter-terror activities during the first Gulf War and spearheaded the response to the S&L crisis, according to his biography.
Prior to joining the Justice Department, Barr worked with the White House Domestic Policy staff for a year under then-President Ronald Reagan.
He’s criticized the Mueller probe
“In my view, prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party. I would have liked to see him have more balance on the group,” Barr said.
Trump heavily derided Mueller’s team earlier this year for being comprised of many registered Democrats and Democratic donors.
Barr has also said it was “understandable” why Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey and insisted his removal “simply has no relevance to the integrity of the Russian investigation as it moves ahead.”
He opposed Roe v. Wade
During the Senate confirmation hearings when he was first appointed attorney general, Barr said he did not agree with the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision and viewed abortion as an issue best left to the states, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time.
He said he didn’t think the right to privacy “extends to abortion.”
His answer reportedly surprised then-Sen. Joe Biden, who said Barr should be “complimented” for his “candid answer,” even though the eventual U.S. vice president did not agree.
He worked for several corporations after his Justice Department career
From Verizon Communications to GTE Corporation, Barr spent more than 14 years working in senior corporate positions following his career at the Justice Department, according to his biography.
“At Verizon and GTE, [Barr] provided legal advice to senior management and the board of directors and led the legal, regulatory and government affairs activities of the companies,” his biography stated.
He also helped with mergers, including that of GTE and Bell Atlantic – thus creating Verizon.
Later, he advised corporations on regulatory litigation, according to his biography.
Barr is currently employed with the Kirkland & Ellis law firm in Washington, D.C. There, he still advises corporations with enforcement and regulatory issues, according to The Washington Post.
He worked in the CIA
Barr worked in the Central Intelligence Agency from 1973 until 1977 as an analyst and assistant legislative counsel, according to his Justice Department biography.
During this time, he studied law at night at George Washington University. He already received a bachelor’s degree in government and a master’s degree in government and Chinese studies – both from Columbia University.