Trump announces nominations for attorney general, United Nations ambassador

Matthew Whitaker acting U.S. attorney general attends the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington D.C. on Friday Nov. 16 2018

Who Is William Barr?

Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who served under former President George H.W. Bush, is the leading candidate for the job as a permanent replacement for Jeff Sessions, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The question is whether Barr would pass Trump's loyalty test - which proved to be Sessions' undoing, after the latter recused himself from overseeing the Russian Federation investigation.

He also defended Trump's firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey in an op-ed, and has said special counsel Robert Mueller's team lacks balance.

It's going to be months before Mr Barr receives a Senate vote, and the scouring will surely continue. This, however, is a nomination that will be hard for Democrats to derail. He also worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1970s and in the Reagan White House in the early 1980s. He already received a bachelor's degree in government and a master's degree in government and Chinese studies - both from Columbia University. He clerked for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals before working for roughly a decade as a lawyer in private practice.

"It will have to do with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and succession", Mr. Trump said.

In 1989, he was appointed by President Bush to head the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned from the post earlier this year, and Matthew Whitaker was named acting attorney general. He was promoted to deputy attorney general next, and then to the top role.

As the top United States law official at that time, he oversaw Robert Mueller, who was then leading the department's criminal division.

"I have worked with him for over 25 years and I believe it would be a great choice", Cullen told ABC News.

In this November 26, 1991, file photo, President George H.W Bush, right, and William Barr wave after Barr was sworn in as the new Attorney General of the United States at a Justice Department ceremony in Washington.

At the Justice Department, Barr's work ranged from combatting violent crime to investigation the Pan Am 103 bombing.

In 2017, when asked by The Washington Post about political donations made by lawyers on the special counsel's team, Barr said "prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party", and added: "I would have liked to see [Mueller] have more balance on this group".

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