Former Attorney General William Barr is Trump’s leading contender for AG: report

Former Attorney General William Barr is President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE’s top prospect to be nominated as attorney general, multiple people familiar with the discussions told The Washington Post.

Barr, 68, led the Justice Department from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush and has the support of several White House officials, including a number of senior lawyers in the White House Counsel’s Office, according to the Post.

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The Post notes that the decision is not yet final and Trump could change his mind on the matter. Officials said an announcement could be made in the coming days.

“He’s a serious guy,” one source told the paper of Barr. “The president is very, very focused on [a candidate] looking the part, and having credentials consistent with the part.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

A confirmation vote on Barr could take months, leaving acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker at the Justice Department's helm.

People familiar with the process told the Post that Barr, having led the department before, isn't particularly eyeing the role, but said the former top Justice Department official feels a sense of duty to take the job if it were offered to him.

According to the Pots, administration officials have said Barr would be the welcome choice of Republicans who admire his experience and by Democrats who could see his past tenure as evidence that he has no personal loyalty to Trump.

“I have no way of knowing if the report that he’s a leading candidate is accurate, but if he was, because of both his government and corporate background, he would enjoy widespread support — both in and outside the legal community,” George Terwilliger, who served as deputy attorney general when Barr was attorney general, told the paper. 

The confirmation process for Trump's eventual nomination for attorney general will likely feature the candidate's views on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE's Russia investigation.

Trump has repeatedly railed against Mueller, who was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Rosenstein10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall Why the presumption of innocence doesn't apply to Trump McCabe sues FBI, DOJ, blames Trump for his firing MORE after former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsA better way to run the Federal Bureau of Prisons Trump admin erases key environmental enforcement tool DOJ should take action against China's Twitter propaganda MORE recused himself, creating a rift between Sessions and the president. Sessions resigned last month at Trump's request, leaving Whitaker with oversight of Mueller's probe.

Barr criticized Mueller’s team last year over donations some of its lawyers had made in the past, telling the Post in 2017, “prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party.”

“I would have liked to see [Mueller] have more balance on this group,” he added.

After leaving the Justice Department in the 1990s, Barr served in several roles in the private sector and is currently a lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis, where he advises companies on government enforcement and regulatory actions.