Attorney General William Barr to step down

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President Donald J. Trump

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

Attorney General William Barr will be leaving the Trump administration next week, according to his letter of resignation submitted to the President on Monday.

“As per letter, Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family,” Trump tweeted.

Barr, who’s been widely seen by some in the President’s camp as one of Trump’s fair-weather defenders, is leaving after ongoing tensions with the President over baseless fraud claims in the 2020 election. That along with a refusal to publicly announce an IRS investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes ahead of the election.

In an exclusive interview last month, Barr told the Associated Press that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents worked to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.” The longtime attorney ends his second tenure at the Department of Justice post, having previously served under both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton in the 1990’s.

Sen. Lindsey Graham seemed surprised by the news of Barr’s resignation when talking to reporters at the Capitol Monday evening.

“I think he did an incredibly good job trying to repair damage done to the Department of Justice, trying to be fair and faithful to the law. I think he’s got a lot to be proud of,” Graham said. “He fought for the president where he could, as every attorney general and administration should, but he also didn’t cross lines that he shouldn’t have crossed.”

Democrats told a different story about Barr’s tenure and wasted no time being cheerful about his departure. “Good riddance,” Rep. Adam Schiff, (D-Calif.) tweeted out. He went on to say Barr had “lied to cover for Trump, launched political investigations, subverted justice and the rule of law and violently cracked down on protesters.”

Trump often used Barr as a personal resource, and most recently had the Justice Department try to take up his defense against E. Jean Carroll in a rape defamation lawsuit. In a rare ruling, a federal judge stripped Barr and his department from standing behind the President in a personal claim. “Trump’s statements about the allegations were not within the scope of his official conduct,” the judge wrote.

Trump said Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen will become interim acting attorney general. He served as second in command under Barr at the Justice Department and is not likely to alter much in the final weeks before Trump departs Washington, D.C. early next year.