Attorney General William BarrBill BarrDozens of protesters gathered outside home of Michigan elections chief Barr considering stepping down before Trump’s term ends: NYT Giuliani has tested positive for coronavirus, Trump says MORE is considering stepping down before President TrumpDonald John TrumpDozens of protesters gathered outside home of Michigan elections chief Arizona legislature shuts down after Giuliani tests positive for coronavirus Trump election claims dominate Georgia Senate debate MORE’s term ends in January, The New York Times reported Sunday, citing three sources familiar with the situation.
Barr may hand in his resignation before the end of the year, one source told the Times.
The attorney general has generally backed Trump throughout his tenure but said last week that the Justice Department had not found any evidence of widespread voter fraud, a claim Trump has repeatedly and baselessly made.
Responding to questions about whether Barr’s decision may be influenced by Trump’s refusal to concede the election, one source told the Times that the attorney general’s decision was not affected by Trump and that he had begun considering his departure a week before announcing his department’s lack of findings.
During an interview with The Associated Press last week, Barr said the Justice Department has “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”
Last week, a reporter asked Trump if he still had confidence in Barr, and Trump replied, “Ask me that in a number of weeks from now.”
The Times noted in its report that Barr could avoid a confrontation with Trump by leaving early. Trump and Barr reportedly had a tense meeting last week after Barr made his statements regarding the lack of evidence of voter fraud. Sources told ABC News that Trump intercepted Barr when he was visiting the White House for a prescheduled meeting with chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsBarr considering stepping down before Trump’s term ends: NYT The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Mastercard – Congress inches closer to virus relief deal Alyssa Farah resigns as White House communications director MORE.
Sources have told multiple media outlets that Trump is considering firing Barr not just over his comments on the election but also for his supposed inaction during the 2016 FBI investigation into the Trump campaign.
However, many officials have reportedly advised the president to avoid firing Barr, with the Times noting that Barr has used the Justice Department to serve the president’s political agenda more than any other attorney general in recent history.
Barr has largely supported many of Trump’s policies and beliefs on racial unrest, policing and immigration, the Times noted. Barr’s response to protests against systemic racism in law enforcement was seen by many as overly aggressive, deploying federal agents against protesters, though it fell in line with Trump’s attitude towards the protests.
Sources have said that unlike many Trump Cabinet members who privately disagree with the president, Barr agrees with most of the president’s positions. Barr intervened to lessen the punishments against Trump allies Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneBarr considering stepping down before Trump’s term ends: NYT Biden, Harris pledge to keep politics out of DOJ Flynn spurs questions of who Trump might pardon next MORE and Michael Flynn, claiming he would have done so regardless of their presidential connections.
Should Barr leave before Trump’s time in office ends, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen would be expected to take over until President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenDozens of protesters gathered outside home of Michigan elections chief Biden picks infectious diseases specialist to lead CDC: report Trump election claims dominate Georgia Senate debate MORE assumes office on Jan. 20.