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Trump eyes ex-Bush 41 attorney general to succeed Sessions

William "Bill" Barr, a former attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, is emerging as a consensus ...

Posted: Dec 7, 2018 3:16 AM
Updated: Dec 7, 2018 3:16 AM

William "Bill" Barr, a former attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, is emerging as a consensus candidate to succeed Jeff Sessions as attorney general, two sources familiar with President Donald Trump's thinking tell CNN.

A third source familiar with the process said if Trump offered the position to Barr, he would be willing to accept.

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Trump's consideration of a new attorney general comes during a critical time for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, of which the next Justice Department chief will inherit oversight. Barr, 68, has previously offered mixed opinions about the investigation, having praised Mueller but also publicly criticizing political donations made by several members of his team.

The Washington Post first reported that Barr is the leading candidate. Sources cautioned to CNN, however, that Trump makes the final decision.

Barr served as Mueller's boss when he was attorney general in the early 1990s and Mueller led the criminal division at the Justice Department.

The former attorney general hasn't shied away from weighing in on Mueller's investigation. He expressed confidence in Mueller early on and suggested the investigation wouldn't devolve into a "witch hunt," but he also has shared some disappointment when asked by The Washington Post last year about the donations that some of Mueller's team members made to Democrats.

"In my view, prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party ... I would have liked to see him have more balance on this group," he said in July 2017.

Barr also defended Trump's decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, who was criticized for flouting Justice Department protocols when he announced in July 2016 that he wouldn't recommend charges against Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified info during her time as secretary of state.

"I think it is quite understandable that the administration would not want an FBI director who did not recognize established limits on his powers," Barr wrote in a Washington Post op-ed in May 2017. "It is telling that none of the president's critics are challenging the decision on the merits."

The prospect of Barr taking over the Justice Department was well-received by some leading members of Congress in both parties Thursday.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Texas Republican who sits on the Judiciary Committee, called Barr an "interesting pick."

"I think getting the next nominee confirmed is going to be a little bit of a challenge," he said. "(Barr) may be the kind of person who would be easier to confirm."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said she was unfamiliar with Barr's views but encouraged by a suggestion that he was an "establishment" Republican.

"I would hope (Trump) would pick someone who would be by the book and not by the politics," Feinstein said.

CNN reported late last month that Barr was among several potential candidates to succeed Sessions.

At the time, CNN reported that Trump was considering tapping the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, Makan Delrahim, to succeed acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. At the time, White House officials said Trump was in no rush to nominate a permanent successor to Sessions, whom he fired November 7. Instead, Trump was telling confidantes he was happy to leave Whitaker in place while he mulled his choices.

Other names that have been floated as possible replacements for Sessions include Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas, a former federal prosecutor, as well John Michael Luttig, a former US Court of Appeals judge, Justice Department official and current general counsel at Boeing. One former White House official said late last month that Luttig was a strong possibility, though he had not met with the President. A second source close to Luttig told CNN he was considered for the role of FBI director after Comey was fired in spring 2017.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 1092
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds224739
DeSoto144216
Madison124234
Jones109149
Neshoba97070
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Rankin86012
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Harrison79410
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Washington5129
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Warren46317
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Lincoln43734
Lamar4317
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Pike39312
Monroe37529
Lafayette3684
Attala35523
Newton3329
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Covington3175
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Panola2956
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Simpson2713
Chickasaw26418
Tate2648
Marion26311
Pontotoc2616
Jasper2516
Noxubee2478
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Clay24410
Winston2446
Claiborne23910
Marshall2123
Smith21111
Clarke20424
Coahoma1906
Union1819
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Kemper17614
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Lawrence1621
Carroll16111
Humphreys1309
Itawamba1308
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Webster12610
Calhoun1244
Montgomery1242
Hancock12313
Tallahatchie1153
Jefferson Davis1074
Prentiss1003
Greene968
Jefferson963
Wilkinson929
Tunica903
Amite842
George753
Tishomingo731
Choctaw724
Quitman690
Perry634
Alcorn601
Stone541
Franklin392
Benton270
Sharkey270
Issaquena81
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4532143
Montgomery3875102
Mobile3797134
Tuscaloosa210739
Marshall162210
Lee124537
Shelby110923
Madison11047
Morgan10203
Walker87123
Franklin86314
Dallas8419
Elmore83614
Baldwin7359
Etowah64413
DeKalb6415
Butler60727
Chambers60027
Tallapoosa57269
Autauga55312
Unassigned50724
Russell5030
Lowndes45820
Lauderdale4576
Houston4464
Limestone4290
Cullman4114
Pike4075
Colbert3775
Bullock3649
Coffee3592
Barbour3331
Covington3327
St. Clair3192
Marengo29911
Hale29621
Escambia2936
Wilcox2848
Talladega2827
Calhoun2805
Sumter27912
Clarke2686
Dale2620
Jackson2522
Winston2373
Blount2181
Pickens2176
Chilton2152
Marion20613
Monroe2052
Choctaw19212
Randolph1889
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Greene1788
Macon1778
Bibb1761
Perry1541
Henry1303
Crenshaw1243
Washington1027
Lawrence1000
Cherokee797
Lamar711
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Fayette671
Clay612
Coosa571
Cleburne301
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