William Barr nominated by Donald Trump to be U.S. attorney general

Matthew Whitaker acting U.S. attorney general attends the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington D.C. on Friday Nov. 16 2018

President Donald Trump's top candidate to succeed ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reportedly William Barr, who served as the attorney general under late President George H.W. Bush.

In this November 26, 1991, file photo, President George H.W Bush, right, and William Barr wave after Barr was sworn in as the new Attorney General of the United States at a Justice Department ceremony in Washington.

From his time at the Central Intelligence Agency to what he's said about the Russian Federation investigation, read on for five things to know about the respected attorney. In many ways, Barr is at least a path of least resistance, if not the path. Barr has been confirmed by the Senate in the past for this same position, in what the Los Angeles Times called "unusually placid hearings" even for that period.

Under Bush 41, Barr was a hardliner on crime, advocating for expanding state and federal prison systems.

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"What I have said, without mentioning Mr. Barr - I've said, the best thing the administration can do is to get somebody who had majority support from Republicans and Democrats alike for attorney general". While some Democrats have already said they'd oppose Barr - who the Washington Post reported Wednesday was the front-runner for the nomination - others signaled their openness to him. Sen. Mr. Barr, 68, is a former general counsel and executive vice president of Verizon Communications who works now as a lawyer at the firm of Kirkland & Ellis.

Trump has come under criticism by members of Congress for naming Whitaker, Sessions's chief of staff, as the acting attorney general instead of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Barr has also written that former FBI Director James Comey was right to publicly announce, days before the 2016 election, that he was reopening an investigation of Hillary Clinton's handling of her emails as Secretary of State.

"He was my first choice since day one", Trump said.

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Those comments elicited a sharp response from Rove, who demanded that Williams "go back and read" what Barr has said about Mueller and the probe. "(Barr) may be the kind of person who would be easier to confirm".

One of the people who spoke to the AP said there have been discussions among senior administration officials about Barr's willingness to do the job, and said the belief was that he was open to doing it if asked. "I would have liked to see him have more balance on this group", he said in July 2017.

Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No 2 Republican leader, agreed.

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