William Barr, who served as Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush, reportedly is the leading candidate to become President Trump’s new Attorney General. According to the Washington Post, “two people familiar with internal discussions said the president has told advisers in recent days that he plans to nominate Barr.”
Barr was the general counsel of GTE when I represented that company (as one of dozens of lawyers from at least four law firms to do so) in contentious litigation following the enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Barr was one tough lawyer. I was happy that GTE’s conduct of the litigation was considerably more aggressive than that of other similarly situated carriers who were also required to share their facilities and equipment with new competitors under the Act.
Based on my experience in this litigation, Barr seems like a good fit for the Trump administration.
How does Barr view the Mueller investigation? He has said that Mueller could have been “more balanced” in his choice of prosecutors, a majority of whom have either ties to Democrats or have made donations to them. That’s putting it mildly.
He has also said that James Comey’s firing was understandable and that Comey “crossed a line” in his role as FBI director. Barr wrote:
Comey is an extraordinarily gifted man who has contributed much during his many years of public service.
Unfortunately, beginning in July [of 2016], 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.
I’m old enough to remember when this was a Democratic talking point. Two years ago.
If Trump nominates Barr, it will be impossible for Democrats to challenge his qualifications, especially after just having lauded the president under whom Barr held the identical position. And if they argue that Barr will be Trump’s stooge, they better have more evidence than the two statements discussed above.