President Donald Trump has told advisers he intends to nominate former attorney general William Barr as his next attorney general, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.
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The presidents’ aides had previously floated the idea of Barr retaking his post in the Justice Department, sources said, with an announcement expected next week.
The Washington Post first reported the news. Barr did not respond to ABC’s request for comment.
A source close to Barr says he is likely to accept the job if offered.
In the early 1990s, as attorney general, Barr supervised Robert Mueller in his work as the chief prosecutor for the Department of Justice criminal division.
Barr has been somewhat critical of special counsel Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections and has claimed there is more basis to investigate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her role in approving the 2010 acquisition of U.S. uranium stockpiles by a Russian energy company — a complicated deal that has come to be known simply as Uranium One.
“To the extent it is not pursuing these matters, the department is abdicating its responsibility,” Barr told the New York Times.
He also supported President Trump’s move to fire former FBI Director James Comey, writing in an Op-Ed in the Washington Post that Trump made the right move.
“Unfortunately, beginning in July, when he announced the outcome of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, he crossed a line that is fundamental to the allocation of authority in the Justice Department,” Barr wrote in the 2017 article.
“While the FBI carries out investigative work, the responsibility for supervising, directing and ultimately determining the resolution of investigations is solely the province of the Justice Department’s prosecutors. With an investigation as sensitive as the one involving Clinton, the ultimate decision-making is reserved to the attorney general or, when the attorney general is recused, the deputy attorney general.”
Barr also at one point took issue with the political affiliations of those on Mueller’s team, telling the Washington Post in July of 2017 that “prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party.”
Barr was referring to reports in the Post that eight of Mueller’s prosecutors had donated to Democrats in the past.
Richard Cullen, who served as U.S. Attorney under Barr, describes him as a good pick for the role.
“I have worked with him for over 25 years and I believe it would be a great choice,” Cullen told ABC News. “He is a wise man with great intellect and skills and someone who has broad experience in both the government and business world.”