President Trump announced his pick for the next U.S. Attorney General: William Barr, who served as AG under George H.W. Bush.
Barr is expected to face a tough confirmation battle in the Senate–which may likely continue into the new year when the Republican majority grows to 53.
While he is a well-known figure in Washington, Barr is expected to face a tough confirmation battle in the Senate. He is likely to face questions about the Justice Department’s political independence from the White House as well as Trump’s criticism of the department over special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the president’s campaign and Moscow.
In the meantime, Matthew Whitaker will continue to lead the department in an acting capacity. Whitaker has faced intense public scrutiny from Democrats and other Trump critics for his past remarks on the Russia investigation, including suggesting at one point that Mueller would be crossing a “red line” by investigating Trump’s finances.
Barr, 68, served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under Bush. He then spent more than a decade serving in corporate roles, including as general counsel and executive vice president of Verizon Communications, before joining the law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
Barr would take the reins of a sprawling organization responsible for enforcing federal laws, handling prosecutions of cases involving violent crime, drugs, illegal immigration and sensitive national security issues.