Attorney General William Barr plans to remain in his post through the end of the Trump administration, abandoning the idea of stepping down by the end of the year, the New York Times reports. President Donald Trump was said to be irritated with Barr’s contemplation of an early departure. Barr was wary of the tensions and problems that could pop up when one administration handed off to the next, sources said. As attorney general in the final months of the George H. W. Bush administration, Barr confronted contentious issues tied to pardons and an independent counsel’s investigation. Still, Trump is disappointed with Barr for several reasons and has not ruled out firing him. In the lead-up to the election, Trump counted on Barr to release the findings of the investigation into how the FBI and the intelligence community scrutinized his campaign and Russian election interference. No report was released before the election.
Last week, Barr said the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could have changed the presidential election result. His comments were a striking repudiation of Trump’s claims of voter fraud. Since taking office last year, Barr has used his clout to help the president’s political fortunes. Barr had hoped to avoid the turbulence that often occurs at the end of an administration. In the final days of the Obama administration, Justice Department officials were forced to confront major developments in the investigation into the ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia. In 1992, at the end of the Bush administration, Barr learned about complications at the end of a presidency. Lawrence Walsh, the independent counsel investigating the Iran-Contra affair, made a court filing that included damaging information about Bush, who said the disclosure helped Bill Clinton defeat him.