Attorney General and T-RUMP Henchman


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William Pelham "Bill" Barr is an American attorney who served as the 77th and 85th United States attorney general in the administrations of Presidents George H. W. Bush and Donald Trump. From 1973 to 1977, Barr was employed by the Central Intelligence Agency. 

Born: May 23, 1950 (age 71 years), New York, NY
Full name: William Pelham Barr
Nationality: American
Spouse: Christine Barr (m. 1973)
Children: Mary Daly
Education: The George Washington University Law School (1977)
Previous offices: United States Attorney General (2019–2020)
Financial Interests   —  William Barr made his name serving as attorney general for two presidents, George H. W. Bush and Donald J. Trump. But he made his fortune out of office, collecting more than $50 million in compensation as an executive and director for some of America’s largest companies. 

The money started piling up around 1993, when Bush left the White House and Barr reentered the private sector. The next year, Barr became general counsel at telephone giant GTE Corporation. When GTE merged with Bell Atlantic to form Verizon in 2000, Barr stayed onboard as executive vice president and general counsel. From 2001 to 2007, he raked in an average of $1.7 million in annual salary and bonuses, according to documents filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission. Barr also received valuable stock options, some of which he traded while at the company, collecting an estimated $3 million after taxes from 2003 to 2007.

Today Barr, has an estimated net worth of $40 million, after accounting for taxes, personal spending and modest investment returns. That figure is more precise than what’s on Barr’s public financial disclosure report, a document that deals only in broad ranges and shows assets worth somewhere between $24 million and $74 million.

William Barr  —  in full,  William Pelham Barr,  (born May 23, 1950, New York City), American lawyer and government official who served as attorney general of the United States during the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush (1991–93) and Donald Trump (2019–20). Barr was the second person in U.S. history to serve twice as attorney general (the first was John J. Crittenden).

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Bush Administration And Private Practice  —  Barr attended Columbia University in New York City, earning a bachelor’s degree in government in 1971 and a master’s degree in Chinese studies in 1973. He worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1973 to 1977, first as an analyst and then in the legal department. He simultaneously attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., from which he obtained a law degree in 1977. After being admitted to the bar, he joined the Washington, D.C., law firm Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge.

From 1982 to 1983 Barr worked on the Domestic Policy Council during U.S. Pres. Ronald Reagan’s first term in office. He became a partner in his law firm in 1985. In 1989 Barr left private practice to join the U.S. Justice Department. He was first appointed assistant attorney general, rose to deputy attorney general, and then became attorney general. In that position, which he held from 1991 to 1993, he concentrated on the administration’s law enforcement directives, including a crackdown on savings and loan fraud that reached its peak with the federal prosecution of Lincoln Savings and Loan chief Charles Keating. Barr also directed the investigation of the terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103.

After leaving the attorney general post, Barr returned to his law partnership. In 1994 he became executive vice president and general counsel at the GTE Corporation (a post he retained after GTE merged with Bell Atlantic in 2000 and became Verizon Communications). He stayed with Verizon until 2008 and was named “of counsel” (an attorney who has a close and ongoing relationship with a practice but who is neither an associate nor a partner) at Kirkland & Ellis the following year. Barr also served on a few boards of directors, including those of the media conglomerate Time Warner (2009–18), the energy company Dominion Resources (2009–18), and the Och-Ziff Capital Management Group (2016–18).

In March 2017 federal agents raided the headquarters of the manufacturing giant Caterpillar as part of an investigation into the company’s offshore profit handling and tax sheltering practices. Two weeks later Caterpillar retained Barr, who had returned to Kirkland & Ellis as of counsel specifically “to take a fresh look at Caterpillar’s disputes with the government.”

Attorney General For The T-RUMP Administration  —  In June 2018 Barr, a private citizen with no formal ties to the U.S. government, sent an unsolicited 19-page memo to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. In it Barr disparaged Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He was particularly focused on the possibility of Mueller pursuing an obstruction of justice case against Pres. Donald Trump over Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey. Barr argued that the firing of Comey was a “facially-lawful” exercise of “Executive discretion” and that obstruction would not apply unless Trump had already been found guilty of an underlying crime. Such arguments were advanced by many Trump supporters as well as by advocates of increased presidential authority.

Barr’s letter came to light in December 2018 after Trump nominated him to succeed Jeff Sessions as attorney general. The relationship between Trump and Sessions had grown strained over Sessions’s failure to “un-recuse” himself from the Russia investigation, and Barr was seen as an unwavering champion of executive power. During the confirmation process, congressional Democratsraised concerns about Barr’s memo to Rosenstein. Barr, as attorney general, would have oversight of an investigation whose direction he had characterized as “fatally misconceived.”

Barr’s longtime association with Time Warner was also scrutinized. The Justice Department had unsuccessfully sought to block the June 2018 acquisition of Time Warner by telecommunications giant AT&T on antitrust grounds. That case remained under appeal, but, as a result of that deal, Barr had received more than $1.7 million in cash as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in AT&T stock and stock options. Barr vowed that, if confirmed, he would recuse himself from matters related to the merger.

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On February 14, 2019, Barr was confirmed by the Senate in a vote that fell largely along party lines. He was sworn in hours later, becoming the second person in U.S. history to serve twice as attorney general. Barely a month into his term, Barr would be thrust into the spotlight when, on March 22, Mueller concluded his nearly two-year-long investigation and submitted his confidential report to the attorney general. Two days later Barr released a four-page summary, which stated that the “investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia” and also stated that “the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

Almost immediately Mueller raised objections to Barr’s characterization of the Russia investigation and its findings. On March 25 and March 27 Mueller sent letters to Barr asking him to release additional information from the report, as Barr’s summary “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the investigation and had, in fact, created “public confusion about critical aspects” of its results. This disagreement happened outside the public eye, however, and Barr’s interpretation would frame the public narrative surrounding Mueller’s conclusions for nearly a month. On April 18 the redacted Mueller report was made public, and its language was at odds with Barr’s March 24 summary, particularly on the matter of obstruction of justice. While Barr presented Mueller’s conclusions as nothing less than a total exoneration of Trump, the report itself declared, “if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Congressional Democrats accused Barr of downplaying the report’s findings and of using the Justice Department to shield Trump from scrutiny. Barr responded by refusing to appear before the House Judiciary Committee. In addition, the Justice Department refused to comply with a subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report, an official stating that the Judiciary Committee’s request did not constitute “legitimate oversight.” In July 2019 the House voted to hold Barr in criminal contempt for refusing to provide documents related to the Trump administration’s unsuccessful efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. As Barr was head of the Justice Department, the legal body that would be tasked with prosecuting such an offense, the move was almost entirely symbolic.

Throughout his term as attorney general Barr would use his position to insulate the White House and Trump’s allies from congressional oversight and federal prosecution. Most notably, the Justice Department directly intervened in the cases of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump adviser Roger Stone. Flynn, who had twice pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators, saw the charges against him dismissed, only to have that dismissal reversed by a U.S. appellate court. In the Stone case, the Justice Department’s own sentencing recommendation was countermanded by a Barr-appointed official after Trump tweeted that he felt that it was too harsh. In both cases, the federal attorneys overseeing the prosecutions resigned in protest. Trump eventually pardoned Flynn and commuted Stone’s sentence.

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Barr Realizes He Might Of Backed The Wrong Guy  —  A visible rift between Barr and Trump began to appear in the wake of the November 2020 presidential election. Trump claimed, without providing evidence, that Joe Biden’s victory was invalid due to widespread fraud. Barr, in an unusual break with the president, publicly stated that the Justice Department had found no evidence to support those allegations. On December 14 Barr announced that he would resign as attorney general, effective December 23.

A federal judge this week rejected the Justice Department's attempts to keep secret a departmental opinion to not charge former President Donald Trump with obstruction at the end of the Mueller investigation, calling the administration's lawyers "disingenuous." 

The department had argued in court that the largely redacted March 2019 memo was legal reasoning that helped then-Attorney General William Barr make a decision about Trump. But federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she believed Barr and his advisers had already decided they wouldn't charge the President with a crime before he got the written advice, and the memo was partly strategic planning instead of legal reasoning -- and therefore could be made public. 

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Biden Administration Confirms Russian Agent Shared 2016 Trump Polling Data As Part Of Election Interference Efforts  —  The decision adds to the criticism federal judges and others have had about Barr and his handling of the end of the Mueller investigation. Jackson and others have repeatedly questioned Barr's motives to keep documents related to the investigation -- including Mueller's findings and Barr's reactions to them -- secret or by delaying their release.

"The agency's redactions and incomplete explanations obfuscate the true purpose of the memorandum, and the excised portions belie the notion that it fell to the Attorney General to make a prosecution decision or that any such decision was on the table at any time," Jackson wrote in a 35-page opinion released Tuesday.

"The fact that [Trump] would not be prosecuted was a given," she added.

The judge's opinion comes in a lawsuit where the government transparency group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is seeking access to DOJ documents through the Freedom of Information Act. 

CREW and several other groups are still trying to pry new records from the Mueller investigation into the public's eye, through lawsuits and other challenges. The case Jackson decided this week deals with documents around Barr's decision to decline to charge Trump.

The memo of supposed legal reasoning prepared for Barr should be released, Jackson ruled. A draft legal analysis from the Office of Legal Counsel would stay secret, Jackson also decided.

"We requested these records and filed this lawsuit due to serious doubts about the official story coming out of Barr's DOJ. While we do not yet know what is in the memo, the Court's opinion gives us confidence that we were right to have questions," Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for CREW, said on Tuesday.

The 9-page memo that Jackson said should be released was finalized by two top political leaders in the Justice Department -- Steven Engel of the Office of Legal Counsel and Ed O'Callaghan, a top adviser in the Deputy Attorney General's Office -- the same day Barr briefed Congress about Mueller's findings on Russian interference in the 2016 election and Trump's attempts to obstruct justice. 

The Justice Department had argued in court that much of the substance of Engel and O'Callaghan's memo should stay blacked out, because it was protected internal discussions about the law and policy. One DOJ lawyer, Paul Colborn, had told the court the memo was meant to help Barr decide whether to prosecute Trump.

Engel and O'Callaghan's memo recommended no prosecution, saying that Mueller's findings weren't evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.

Jackson has read the document at issue in the case for herself, she noted. The judge said the redacted pages offer "strategic, as opposed to legal advice" to Barr. By not mentioning that in court, Jackson wrote that the DOJ was pretending the strategy discussion didn't exist. 

The way the Justice Department has handled the dispute over public access to the document “served to obscure the true purpose of the memorandum," Jackson added.

Not Worthy Of Credence, Jackson Says  —  Jackson's strongly worded opinion, though largely about technicalities around government confidentiality, comes close to accusing the Justice Department of a cover-up.

The judge wrote that while top DOJ officials prepared the legal opinion that gave Barr cover not to prosecute Trump, they simultaneously were emailing about a higher priority they had: to inform Congress the President was exonerated.

The Mueller probe thoroughly investigated several episodes where Trump tried to impede or end the inquiry into his campaign's ties to Russia. But the special counsel left the indictment decision to Barr and his top political appointees. Mueller partly found that Justice Department policy blocked the prosecution of a sitting President. After closing his office, Mueller later told to Congress that an ex-President could be prosecuted for obstruction, yet Barr had already reached a definitive conclusion in Trump's case.

Jackson reviewed closely how that decision came about, looking at court statements from department lawyers and internal emails between Barr's top advisers.

Justice Department officials' "affidavits [in court about the memo] are so inconsistent with evidence in the record, they are not worthy of credence," Jackson wrote.

Another federal judge previously slammed Barr in another public records case following the Mueller investigation, saying the attorney general had a "lack of candor" that was helpful to Trump politically when the then-attorney general told Congress and announced to the public what Mueller had found, without releasing Mueller's nearly 500-page report.

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