Attorney General William Barr may step down by year’s end, reports the New York Times. It is not clear whether the attorney general’s deliberations are being influenced by President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede his election loss or his fury over Barr’s acknowledgment that the Justice Department uncovered no widespread voting fraud. Trump has refused to say whether he still had confidence in Barr. One source said Barr had been weighing his departure since before last week. Another said Barr had concluded that he had completed the work that he set out to accomplish at DOJ. The president’s public complaints about the election, including a baseless allegation that federal law enforcement had rigged the election against him, are certain to cast a cloud over any early departure by Barr.
Barr’s departure would deprive Trump of a cabinet officer who has wielded the power of the Justice Department more deeply to advance a president’s political agenda than any attorney general in a half-century. If Barr steps down before the end of the Trump administration, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, would be expected to lead the Justice Department until President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in. Barr, 70, is the strongest proponent of presidential power to hold the office of attorney general since Watergate. Soon after he was confirmed in February 2019, he gained Trump’s trust and his ear. With Mr. Barr’s departure, Trump would lose the cabinet official who has carried out his agenda on policing, racial unrest, affirmative action and immigration. Department officials and friends say that Barr agrees with most, if not all, of the president’s positions.