Trump nominating William Barr as AG, Heather Nauert as UN Ambassador

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Kenneth Moton has the latest on President Trumps attorney general nomination. (FILE)

President Trump says he will nominate William Barr, attorney general under President George HW Bush, as his next attorney general and State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert to be US ambassador to the United Nations.

Trump made the announcement while departing the White House for a trip to Missouri Friday.

Trump says that Barr is "a terrific man" and "one of the most respected jurists in the country" and says, "I think he will serve with great distinction."

He also says Barr was his "first choice from Day One."

If confirmed by the Senate, Barr would succeed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was forced out by Trump in November. Sessions' chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, is currently serving as acting attorney general.

The announcement comes at a precarious time as special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, which the department oversees, is showing signs of entering its final stages.

RELATED: New details in Russia investigation expected in Mueller court filing

Barr was attorney general between 1991 and 1993. Trump forced out Attorney General Jeff Sessions in November and elevated Sessions' chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, to acting attorney general.

He's also a New York City native, growing up on the Upper West Side. His parents were faculty members at Columbia University, where he received bachelor's and master's degrees in government.

Barr received his law degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Since leaving government, Barr has worked in senior corporate positions and as a lawyer with a Washington firm.

RELATED: Trump likely to replace Chief of Staff John Kelly in coming days

Trump also announced he's nominating State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

"She's very talented, very smart, very quick, and I think she's going to be respected by all," he said.

If she is confirmed by the Senate, Nauert, a former Fox News Channel reporter who had little foreign policy experience before becoming State Department spokeswoman, will replace Nikki Haley. Haley, a former South Carolina governor, announced in October that she would step down at the end of this year. Nauert would be a leading administration voice on Trump's foreign policy.

Plucked from Fox News by the White House to serve as State Department spokeswoman, Nauert catapulted into the upper echelons of the agency's hierarchy when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired in March and replaced with Mike Pompeo. Nauert was then appointed acting undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs and was for a time the highest-ranking woman and fourth highest-ranking official in the building.

Nauert, who did not have a good relationship with Tillerson and had considered leaving the department, told associates at the time she was taken aback by the promotion offer and recommended a colleague for the job. But when White House officials told her they wanted her, she accepted.

Trump said he'll be making an announcement on Saturday concerning the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Trump, who often likes to build drama and suspense by teasing his decisions, tells reporters at the White House Friday that he's going to be making an announcement at Saturday's Army-Navy game in Philadelphia.

He says: "I can give you a little hint: It will have to do with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and succession."

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be done his second term in 2018.

Dunford was nominated to the post in 2015 by former President Barack Obama. Trump nominated him for a second two-year term last year.

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