Editor’s Note: This story has been updated throughout.
President Donald Trump’s forthcoming attorney general nominee didn’t back Trump in 2016 but did endorse his view that the Justice Department should have investigated Hillary Clinton more.
Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday morning he intends to nominate William Barr to be attorney general, replacing acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker who assumed the position after Trump ousted Jeff Sessions as the Justice Department’s leader last month.
If confirmed by the Senate, Barr would return to running the Justice Department after serving as as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under George H.W. Bush. Barr is a longtime Washington power lawyer and is currently counsel at the Kirkland & Ellis law firm.
As the next attorney general, Barr would oversee policy development on hot-button issues such as criminal justice reform and immigration, and would have supervision over the intensifying special counsel probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani—who was reportedly also under consideration to replace Sessions earlier this year—all but endorsed Barr on Thursday afternoon, telling The Daily Beast that Barr is a “strong choice.” Giuliani said he knows and likes Barr; in late 2015, their names appear side-by-side in a signed letter to Senate leaders denouncing sentencing reform legislation.
Despite his extensive experience and powerful allies, Barr’s past comments on contentious legal issues may complicate a potential confirmation effort.
Barr has said publicly that the DOJ should have done more to investigate Hillary Clinton, telling The New York Times in November 2017 that there was nothing “inherently wrong” about the president calling for an investigation into Clinton.
“Although an investigation shouldn’t be launched just because a president wants it, the ultimate question is whether the matter warrants investigation,” Barr said, adding that there was a basis to investigate Clinton for Uranium One.
“To the extent it is not pursuing these matters, the department is abdicating its responsibility,” he said.
“I don’t think all this stuff about throwing [Clinton] in jail or jumping to the conclusion that she should be prosecuted is appropriate,” Barr told The Washington Post last year, “but I do think that there are things that should be investigated that haven’t been investigated.” https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-attorney-general-favorite-william-barr-thought-clinton-should-be-investigated