Ex-DOJ official says Trump's view of attorney general role should give Barr 'serious pause'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg on Mueller report: 'Politically, I'm not sure it will change much' Sarah Sanders addresses false statements detailed in Mueller report: 'A slip of the tongue' Trump to visit Japan in May to meet with Abe, new emperor MORE's view of what an attorney general should do should give the man he's nominated for the role "serious pause," a former Justice official in the Obama administration said Tuesday on Hill.TV's "Rising."

Elliot Williams, a former deputy assistant attorney general in Obama's Justice Department, criticized Trump for an "unlawful" view of the role of an attorney general and said nominee William Barr should be "troubled." 

"Given everything we know about the president, even someone who has held the role before, and as a serious attorney with a long career, should be troubled by the way the president has seemed to treat the role of attorney general," Williams said.

"[Trump] has had an incorrect and bordering on unlawful view of ... what the role of the attorney general should be, and I think that should give anybody, even William Barr, a serious lawyer like that, serious pause about going into this job," he continued. 

Trump fiercely criticized former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMueller report shows how Trump aides sought to protect him and themselves Trump: 'I could have fired everyone' on Mueller team if I wanted to Five takeaways from Mueller's report MORE for recusing himself from overseeing the investigation into Russia's election interference and potential collusion with Trump, which he viewed as a sign of disloyalty. The criticism has underlined the sense that Trump sees the Justice Department and the attorney general as his own attorney and a source of protection for his presidency.

Barr is set to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee in his confirmation hearing on Tuesday.

He is expected to be asked about a memo he wrote in which he criticized the Russian probe. 

— Julia Manchester