Former Attorney General William Barr leading candidate for same job in Trump Cabinet

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William Barr, who served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, has emerged as a leading contender for that job in President Donald Trump's Cabinet. (AP Photo/Scott Applewhite)

William Barr, who served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, has emerged as a leading contender for that job in President Donald Trump's Cabinet.

That's according to a person involved in the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity because no selection to lead the Justice Department has been announced.

Trump has been known to change his mind on personnel decisions.

The appointment is especially sensitive now as special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, which the department oversees, is showing signs of entering its final stages.
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.

Sessions infuriated the president by stepping aside from the Russia investigation. Sessions' decision helped set in motion Mueller's appointment.

Democrats would presumably want reassurances that Barr, who as attorney general would be in position to oversee Mueller's investigation, would not do anything to interfere with the probe.

An attorney general opposed to the investigation could theoretically move to cut funding or block certain investigative steps.

But depending on how long the confirmation process takes, it is not clear how much of the investigation would remain by the time a new attorney general takes office.

"What I have said, without mentioning Mr. Barr - I've said, the best thing the administration can do is to get somebody who had majority support from Republicans and Democrats alike for attorney general. Those are the best attorneys general," said Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would hold hearings on a nominee.

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Information from the Associated Press

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