WASHINGTON – With a resume dating back to 1973 as an analyst for the CIA, William Barr, President Donald Trump’s pick to be the nation’s next attorney general, is a staple around Washington.
In the early 80s, he served as part of the White House domestic policy staff for President Ronald Reagan. He was later named as attorney general for President George HW Bush.
His tenure included overseeing the investigation of the Pan Am 103 bombing and spearheading America’s counterterrorism strategy after the Gulf War.
“He’s respected by Republicans; he’s respected by Democrats,” President Donald Trump told reporters of his nominee.
During his career, the 68-year old served as boss to Robert Mueller while at the Department of Justice and also served on the general counsel for Verizon. He retired from Verizon in 2008.
His views on issues such as Roe v. Wade and immigration won the applause of many Republicans.
For instance, during his 1991 confirmation hearing, Barr stated Roe. v. Wade was wrongly decided and the right to privacy did not extend to abortion. A startled then- Sen. Joe Biden called that answer “candid” and “astounding.”
Conservatives are hopeful he’ll bring stability to an embattled DOJ.
“Conservatives should be demanding from Barr assurances that he’ll clean house at the Justice Department. The establishment will be asking the question, ‘Will Bill Barr be brave enough to stand up to President Trump?’ Frankly, the question should be, ‘Will Bill Barr be brave enough to stand up for President Trump,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told CBN News.
And that’s the very thing that has some senators on the Left and the Right concerned, particularly when it comes to statements from Barr seeming to criticize aspects of the Mueller investigation.
“I’m glad the president has nominated someone, someone with relevant experience in the department. What I’ll be looking for is will he be working to guarantee the independence of the Department of Justice,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) told CBN News.
“President Trump in a number of tweets has said things that suggest the DOJ and attorney general work for him, rather than for the country, and that’s a misunderstanding,” Coons explained.
Barr has received praise for his thoughts on counterterrorism post 9/11 – that could be an issue, too.
“I’m concerned that he’s been a big supporter of the Patriot Act, which lowered the standard for spying on Americans, and even went so far as to say the Patriot Act is pretty good but we should go much further,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told NBC‘s “Meet the Press.”
Even so, most Republicans are confident Barr’s confirmation will be an easy one.
“It shouldn’t be all that difficult. This is somebody who has a long record in public life. My guess is when it’s all said and done when it comes to a vote in the full Senate he will have strong support,” Sen. John Thune (R-SD) told CBS‘s “Face the Nation.”