Attorney General Bill Barr resigns effective December 23, 2020
By Ebony Bowden and Steven Nelson
WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr is resigning, confirming speculation that he would leave his top cabinet post amid mounting criticism of his performance from President Trump.
Trump announced the departure in a Monday evening tweet.
“Just had a very nice meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House. Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job! As per letter, Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family,” Trump tweeted
The president added: “Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen, an outstanding person, will become Acting Attorney General. Highly respected Richard Donoghue will be taking over the duties of Deputy Attorney General. Thank you to all!”
Trump tweeted a copy of Barr’s resignation letter saying he will depart his job on Dec. 23. “I will spend the next week wrapping up a few remaining matters important to the Administration,” Barr wrote, in a letter that largely praised Trump.
“Your record is all the more historic because you accomplished it in the face of relentless, implacable resistance,” Barr wrote to Trump.
“Your 2016 victory speech in which you reachout out to your opponents and called for working together for the benefit of the American people was immediately met by a partisan onslaught against you in which no tactic, no matter how abusive and deceitful, was out of bounds. The nadir of this campaign was the effort to cripple, if not oust, your Administration with frenzied and baseless accusations of collusion with Russia.”
Barr wrote that “[f]ew could have weathered these attacks, much less forge ahead with a positive program for the country,” and praised various initiatives, including Trump’s record of nominating judges and supporting police during riots and protests this year.
The news broke moments after members of the Electoral College from California made President-elect Joe Biden’s win official.
Trump recently began expressing frustration with Barr’s Justice Department for failing to bring charges against his political enemies, including Hillary Clinton, for their role in the investigation into his 2016 campaign, telling Fox News he was “not happy.”
But it was Barr’s declaration last week that the Justice Department had uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud, as repeatedly claimed by Trump, which angered the commander in chief.
“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” Barr told the Associated Press last Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office two days later, Trump accused Barr of not looking “very hard.”
“He hasn’t done anything, so he hasn’t looked,” the president said, calling the probe a “disappointment.”
When asked if he had confidence in his attorney general, Trump declined to comment, saying, “Ask me in a couple of weeks from now.”
Reports began surfacing last week that Barr, 70, was considering stepping down in the final weeks of the Trump administration.
A former attorney general under President George W. Bush, Barr came out of retirement in 2019 to serve as the Justice Department chief after Trump dismissed predecessor Jeff Sessions.
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