Barr served in that post during George H.W. Bush’s administration from 1991 to 1993.
“He was my first choice since day one,” Trump told reporters.
Matthew Whitaker has been acting attorney general for the past month, but has faced ethical questions. Scholars have also raised red flags over Whitaker’s lack of Senate confirmation.
Trump will also nominate Heather Nauert, a former Fox News personality and the current spokeswoman at the State Department, as his next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. She will succeed Nikki Haley.
Trump told reporters that Nauert “has done a great job working with Mike Pompeo and others over at the state department.” “She’s very talented, very smart, very quick and I think that she will be respected by all,” he added.
If confirmed, Barr would be the permanent successor to Jeff Sessions, who was ousted as attorney general the day after the midterm elections. Trump often sparred with Sessions, primarily over Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump campaign officials colluded with the government of Vladimir Putin.
Barr is likely to face questioning from Senate Democrats on comments he made last year in a New York Times article, in which he supported Trump’s idea of a further investigation of Hillary Clinton, and an op ed in which he said that the president was right to fire FBI Director James Comey.
Barr is a member of the board of WarnerMedia, formerly Time Warner. Barr was at a key meeting between the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and Time Warner executives in November, 2017, just weeks before the government sued to block the company’s proposed merger with AT&T. In a sworn affidavit, Barr offered an account of the meeting that conflicted with that of Makan Delrahim, the chief of the Antitrust Division. Barr also said that he questioned the Antitrust Division’s motivations in pursuing the lawsuit.
Barr served as general counsel to Verizon Communications, and its predecessor companies, from 1994 to 2008.