Attorney General William Barr, one in every of President Donald Trump’s staunchest allies, is departing amid lingering rigidity over the president’s baseless claims of election fraud and the investigation into President-elect Joe Biden’s son.
Barr went Monday to the White House, the place Trump stated the legal professional common submitted his letter of resignation. “As per letter, Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family,” Trump tweeted.
Trump has publicly expressed his anger about Barr’s assertion to The Associated Press earlier this month that the Justice Department had discovered no widespread fraud that will change the result of the election. Trump has additionally been offended that the Justice Department didn’t publicly announce it was investigating Hunter Biden forward of the election, regardless of division coverage towards such a pronouncement.
Barr advised the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI brokers have been working to comply with up particular complaints and knowledge they’ve acquired, however “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”
Barr’s resignation leaves Trump and not using a important ally as he winds down his closing weeks in workplace, and it throws into query open Justice Department investigations, particularly the probe into Hunter Biden’s taxes.
In his resignation letter, Barr stated he up to date Trump Monday on the division’s “review of voter fraud allegations in the 2020 election and how these allegations will continue to be pursued.” He added that his final day on the job could be Dec. 23.
Trump stated Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen, whom he labeled “an outstanding person,” will turn out to be appearing legal professional common. As the present second in command on the Justice Department, Rosen’s appointment just isn’t probably to change a lot within the closing weeks before the administration departs.
Trump spent a lot of the day watching the Electoral College tally and calling allies however broke away to meet with Barr. His tweet concerning the Attorney General’s exit was a sober message from a president who’s notoriously chilly to his departing workers and fast to name-call and deride them as soon as they are saying they’re leaving.
Trump has additionally has beforehand claimed he fired staffers who resigned to make himself seem extra highly effective, and others, like former legal professional common Jeff Sessions, have been mocked by the president for weeks before they left workplace.
But regardless of Trump’s apparent disdain for many who publicly disagree with him, Barr had usually remained within the president’s good graces and has been one of many president’s most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting might be particularly susceptible to fraud through the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls.
But Trump has a low tolerance for criticism, particularly public criticism, from his allies and sometimes fires again in sort. The two had been at odds up to now few months and Barr was stated to have been pissed off by Trump’s tweeting.
Trump stated on Fox News over the weekend that he was disillusioned that the Hunter Biden investigation had not been disclosed. Hunter Biden himself introduced it final week.
“Bill Barr should have stepped up,” Trump stated.
One senior administration official not approved to converse publicly and talking to The AP on situation of anonymity stated Barr had resigned of his personal accord and described the assembly as amicable.
Barr, who was serving in his second stint as legal professional common, sought to paint himself as an unbiased chief who wouldn’t bow to political strain. But Democrats have repeatedly accused Barr of appearing extra just like the president’s private legal professional than the legal professional common, and Barr had proved to be a largely dependable Trump ally and defender of presidential energy.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, the Republican chief of the judiciary committee, advised reporters on the Capitol he was shocked by the information.
“I think he did an incredibly good job trying to repair damage done to the Department of Justice, trying to be fair and faithful to the law. I think he’s got a lot to be proud of,” Graham stated. “He fought for the president where he could, as every attorney general and administration should, but he also didn’t cross lines that he shouldn’t have crossed.” He stated he was referring to disclosing the Biden investigation.
Graham additionally praised Rosen as a “good man” who he stated would “be an ethical leader and a steady hand” on the Justice Department.
Democrats who had lengthy criticized Barr didn’t lament his departure. “Good riddance,” tweeted House intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who stated the legal professional common had “lied to cover for Trump, launched political investigations, subverted justice and the rule of law and violently cracked down on protestors.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who led an investigation of politicization of the division, stated that “whomever Joe Biden chooses as the new Attorney General will have a tremendous amount of work to do to repair the integrity of the Department of Justice.”
Before releasing particular counsel Robert Mueller’s full report on the Russia investigation final yr, Barr framed the ends in a fashion favorable to Trump regardless that Mueller pointedly stated he couldn’t exonerate the president of obstruction of justice.
He additionally appointed as particular counsel the U.S. legal professional who’s conducting a felony investigation into the origins of the FBI’s probe of the 2016 election that morphed into Mueller’s investigation of doable Trump-Russia cooperation, following Trump’s repeated calls to “investigate the investigators.”
Barr additionally ordered Justice Department prosecutors to assessment the dealing with of the federal investigation into Trump’s former nationwide safety adviser Michael Flynn after which sought to dismiss the felony fees towards Flynn, who had twice pleaded responsible to mendacity to the FBI. Trump later pardoned Flynn.
Barr’s break from Trump over election fraud wasn’t the primary. Earlier this yr, Barr advised ABC News that the president’s tweets about Justice Department instances “make it impossible for me to do my job,” and tensions flared only a few months in the past when the 2 have been more and more at odds over the tempo of the Durham investigation.
Trump had been more and more important a few lack of arrests and Barr was privately telling individuals he was pissed off by Trump’s public pronouncements concerning the case.
Trump was additionally stated to blame Barr for feedback from FBI Director Chris Wray on election fraud and mail-in voting that didn’t jibe with the president’s alarmist rhetoric.
Associated Press writers Colleen Long, Eric Tucker, Jonathan Lemire, Mary Clare Jalonick and Zeke Miller contributed to this report.