Who is William Barr? 5 things to know about the Bush-era lawyer eyed as potential next attorney general

Attorney William Barr could lead the Department of Justice again as President Trump hopes to nominate him as his next attorney general, sources have told Fox News.

Barr, 68, served as attorney general under the late President George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s. A Republican, he is currently a lawyer with Kirkland & Ellis in Washington, D.C.

Trump does not personally know Barr, but sources said he appreciates the respect he commands and his ability to earn bipartisan support.

Aside from Barr, Trump is rumored to also be considering others for the Cabinet post, including Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned from the post earlier this year and Matthew Whitaker was named acting attorney general.

From his time at the CIA to what he’s said about the Russia investigation, read on for five things to know about the respected attorney.

He already held the post in the first Bush administration

William Barr served as attorney general during the late President George H.W. Bush's administration.

William Barr served as attorney general during the late President George H.W. Bush’s administration.
(AP Photo)

Barr has already held the position of attorney general, serving under the late President George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993.

Before that, he also served as deputy attorney general and assistant attorney general overseeing the Office of Legal Counsel.

At the Justice Department, Barr’s work ranged from combatting violent crime to investigation the Pan Am 103 bombing. He also coordinated counter-terror activities during the first Gulf War and spearheaded the response to the S&L crisis, according to his biography.

Prior to joining the Justice Department, Barr worked with the White House Domestic Policy staff for a year under then-President Ronald Reagan.

He’s criticized the Mueller probe

In a 2017 interview with The Washington Post, Barr had a critique for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is spearheading the Russia investigation.

“In my view, prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party. I would have liked to see him have more balance on the group,” Barr said.

Trump heavily derided Mueller’s team earlier this year for being comprised of many registered Democrats and Democratic donors.

Barr has also said it was “understandable” why Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey and insisted his removal “simply has no relevance to the integrity of the Russian investigation as it moves ahead.”

He opposed Roe v. Wade

During the Senate confirmation hearings when he was first appointed attorney general, Barr said he did not agree with the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision and viewed abortion as an issue best left to the states, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time.

He said he didn’t think the right to privacy “extends to abortion.”

His answer reportedly surprised then-Sen. Joe Biden, who said Barr should be “complimented” for his “candid answer,” even though the eventual U.S. vice president did not agree.

He worked for several corporations after his Justice Department career

From Verizon Communications to GTE Corporation, Barr spent more than 14 years working in senior corporate positions following his career at the Justice Department, according to his biography.

“At Verizon and GTE, [Barr] provided legal advice to senior management and the board of directors and led the legal, regulatory and government affairs activities of the companies,” his biography stated.

He also helped with mergers, including that of GTE and Bell Atlantic – thus creating Verizon.

Later, he advised corporations on regulatory litigation, according to his biography.

Barr is currently employed with the Kirkland & Ellis law firm in Washington, D.C. There, he still advises corporations with enforcement and regulatory issues, according to The Washington Post.

He worked in the CIA

William Barr worked for the CIA while going to law school at night.

William Barr worked for the CIA while going to law school at night.
(Kirkland & Ellis)

Barr worked in the Central Intelligence Agency from 1973 until 1977 as an analyst and assistant legislative counsel, according to his Justice Department biography.

During this time, he studied law at night at George Washington University. He already received a bachelor’s degree in government and a master’s degree in government and Chinese studies – both from Columbia University.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas and John Roberts contributed to this report.

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