U.S. Attorney General William Barr will step down from his post in the Trump administration on December 23, President Donald Trump announced on Monday via Twitter after the two met at the White House.
Trump said that he and Barr had a “good relationship” and that he had done an “outstanding job,” despite recent criticism by Trump of Barr’s decision to withhold information about an ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes and overseas business dealings until after the election.
Barr had also come under intense criticism by Trump when he claimed earlier this month that the Justice Department had not found any substantial claims of voter fraud that could overturn election results.
On Saturday, Trump retweeted a post that said Barr should be fired if he held back information about Hunter Biden because of the election.
Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen will become the acting Attorney General once Barr departs. Richard Donoghue, who moved last summer to a larger DOJ role, will be deputy attorney general. It is unlikely that Trump will move to appoint a permanent cabinet member before Inauguration Day, January 20.
Barr had been one of Trump’s strongest allies until recently, even drawing criticism that he was too partisan to have the top law enforcement role.
Trump may now push Rosen to appoint a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, something he wanted Barr to do.
In his resignation letter, Barr praised Trump’s accomplishments, saying they were even more impressive because of the constant, vicious opposition they encountered from the left.
“I am greatly honoured that you called on me to serve your administration and the American people once again as Attorney General,” Barr wrote. “I am proud to have played a role in the many successes and unprecedented achievements you have delivered for the American people.”
“Your record is all the more historic because you accomplished it in the face of relentless, implacable resistance,” Barr continued. “Few could have weathered these attacks, much less forge ahead with a positive program for the country.”
Barr said that he had spent his time as attorney general fighting Mexican drug cartels andChinese exploitation of American workers, and defending competition and law enforcement.
Barr would wrap up some last-minute unfinished business this week before stepping down, he said.