William Barr: Everything You Need To Know About Trump’s Controversial Attorney General
This week, Trump praised Barr for “taking charge” of the case of the President’s longtime friend and former campaign adviser Roger Stone after the Justice Department leadership overturned the sentencing recommendation made by the President. career prosecutors, proposing a more lenient prison sentence. Democrats have accused Trump of blatant political interference to help his friend and Barr abuse his power to help Trump politically. In an unprecedented turn of events, the entire team of four federal prosecutors involved in the Stone case withdrew, apparently in protest.
Barr is due to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on March 31, giving Democrats the opportunity to question him not only about rescinding Stone’s sentencing recommendation, but also about other issues that have emerged as a result of the impeachment of Trump. They include his willingness to have the Justice Ministry accepted and verified the information on and from Ukraine provided by the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Without providing any evidence, Giuliani accused former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter of criminal corruption.
Since Barr’s first term as attorney general in President George HW Bush’s administration in the early 1990s, he has been a staunch supporter of presidential power on the executive branch, including the Department of Justice.
Here’s everything you need to know about Barr:
name: William Pelham Barr
Date of Birth: May 23, 1950
Hometown: New York, New York State
Family: Barr is one of four children. His father, Donald, taught at Columbia University before becoming principal of Dalton School. Her mother, Mary, graduated from Yale and also taught at Columbia. He has been married to his wife Christine for over forty years. The couple have three daughters together.
Before Barr joined the Trump administration, his eldest daughter, Mary Daly, worked in the Justice Department as the Director of Opioid Enforcement and Prevention, but she left her post in the Crimes Unit. finance department when his father was confirmed. Daly’s husband currently works in the National Security Division of the Department of Justice, and Barr’s other son-in-law, Tyler McGaughey, is a lawyer in the White House Council Office.
Education: Barr received a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Columbia University in 1971 and a Master of Arts in Government and Chinese Studies also from Columbia in 1973. In 1977 he graduated from George Washington University Law School with the highest honors.
What he was doing: While attending graduate school and law school, Barr worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. After graduating in law, he clerked the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit Court, joined a private practice, and then served as Deputy Assistant Director of Legal Policy at the Reagan White House for a little over a year.
After working in the Department of Justice’s Office of the Legal Advisor, then as Deputy Attorney General under President George HW Bush, Barr was appointed to become the next Attorney General. He received unanimous approval in a Senate vote during its confirmation process in November 1991 and served until the end of Bush’s presidency in 1993.
In 1992 Barr wrote a report called “The Case for More Incarceration” in which he argued for an increase in the rate of incarceration in the United States and the number of prisons and for the end of parole. Still as Attorney General under Bush, Barr also led the department’s response to the savings and loan crisis, oversaw the investigation into the Pan Am 103 bombing, and coordinated response activities. against terrorism during the First Gulf War, according to its official biography.
Upon leaving the Bush administration, Barr took a 15-year hiatus from federal service. For 14 years he worked for telecommunications company GTE Corporation and helped lead its merger with Bell Atlantic to become Verizon Communications. He retired from Verizon in 2008 as a multimillionaire.
Prior to taking over as head of Trump’s Justice Department in February 2019, Barr worked as an attorney for Kirkland and Ellis LLP, a leading law firm in Washington, DC, and served on the board of directors of Time. Warner.
Key moments of the career: Before Barr was named Trump’s attorney general, in a May 2017 editorial The Washington Post, he argued that Trump made the right choice in sacking FBI Director James Comey.
Almost a year later, in June 2018, Barr submitted a note to the Justice Department as a private citizen further criticizing Mueller’s investigation and defending Trump’s sacking of Comey.
At Barr’s confirmation hearing last year, he expressed support for the border wall and a federal law banning anti-LGBT discrimination, argued against sanctuary cities and immigrants “abusing the asylum system And echoed Trump’s distrust of the press. Despite the rhetoric in his previous memo, Barr also argued that Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election must continue.
“I will not allow partisan politics, personal interests or any other inappropriate consideration to interfere with this or any other investigation,” Barr said in his opening remarks, adding that his goal “will be to provide as much transparency. as possible according to the law. “
However, when Mueller submitted his report to the Justice Department in March 2019, Barr did not promise to release it in its entirety – and it has since faced stiff criticism from Democrats.
Two days after Barr received Mueller’s report, Barr sent a four-page summary to Congress, stating: “The investigation has not established that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities. ” On the obstruction of justice issue, Barr wrote that while Mueller’s report “does not conclude that the president has committed a crime, it does not exonerate him either.”
Barr released a redacted version of the Mueller report a month later. Almost immediately, Mueller raised objections to Barr’s characterization of the Russia investigation and its findings, saying Barr’s four-page summary did not “fully capture” the findings, prompting Democrats to step up. their criticism of the Attorney General.
Barr has shown more contempt for the Russia investigation – and other Presidential investigations – over time. In December 2019, for example, Barr called the Russia investigation a “parody” and lambasted former FBI officials involved in its opening, saying “the greatest danger to our free system” is that the administration Obama is “spying on” the Trump campaign. in a way that he said sought to influence the 2016 election. ABC News could not find any evidence to support these claims.
Barr was also notoriously mentioned during the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the same sentence as Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who played a key role in the case. Ukrainian which led to the impeachment of the president.
“I will ask Mr. Giuliani to call you and I will also ask Attorney General Barr to call,” Trump told Zelenskiy, according to notes released by the White House.
In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee over the following months, then-senior US diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor said he discussed the possibility of the Ukrainian prosecutor making a public statement on “investigations. , potentially in coordination with Attorney General Barr. probe.”
Democrats have accused Barr of using the power of the Justice Department – which is said to be the nation’s highest and most independent law enforcement body – to politically aid President Trump.
What you might not know: Barr is a musician. He started playing the bagpipe as a child and occasionally played at Justice Department functions.
During his first term as attorney general to President George HW Bush, Barr supervised Robert Mueller, who was then in charge of the criminal division of the Department of Justice.
Barr and John Crittenden (1841 and 1850-1853) are the only two people in American history to have served as attorney general twice.
ABC News’ Alexander Mallin and Luke Barr contributed to this report.