William Pelham Barr (born 1950)
Father : Donald Barr (born 1921) / Mother :
The second of four [brothers], [William Barr] grew up on the Upper West Side [of Manhattan]. [...] After high school, Barr entered Columbia University, where he majored in government and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1971. He then did two years of graduate study at Columbia, receiving an Master of Arts in government and Chinese studies in 1973. While employed at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1973 to 1977, he attended the evening division of George Washington University Law School, graduating with a Juris Doctor in 1977.
From 1973 to 1977, Barr was employed by the CIA, initially for a short period as a China analyst, then in the legislative affairs section. After graduating from law school, Barr was a law clerk to Judge Malcolm Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1977 through 1978. He was in private practice with the Washington law firm of Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge from 1978 to 1982 and again from 1983 to 1989, after serving as Deputy Assistant Director for Legal Policy on the domestic policy staff at the Reagan White House from May 1982 to September 1983.
U.S. Department of Justice
In 1989, at the beginning of his administration, President George H. W. Bush appointed Barr to the U.S. Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), an office which functions as the legal advisor for the President and executive agencies. Barr was known as a strong defender of presidential power. He wrote an advisory opinion justifying the U.S. invasion of Panama and arrest of Manuel Noriega. He wrote legal justifications for the practice of rendition, so that the FBI could enter onto foreign soil without the consent of the host government to apprehend fugitives wanted by the United States government for terrorism or drug-trafficking. Barr declined a congressional request for the full opinion, but instead provided a document that "summarizes the principal conclusions." Congress subpoenaed the opinion, and its public release after Barr's departure from the Justice Department showed he had omitted significant findings in the opinion from his summary document.
U.S. Deputy Attorney General (1990–1991)
In May 1990, Barr was appointed Deputy Attorney General, the official responsible for day-to-day management of the Department. According to media reports, Barr was generally praised for his professional management of the Department.
During August 1991, when then-Attorney General Richard Thornburgh resigned to campaign for the Senate, Barr was named Acting Attorney General. Three days after Barr accepted that position, 121 Cuban inmates, awaiting deportation to Cuba, seized 9 hostages at the Talladega federal prison. He directed the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team to assault the prison, which resulted in rescuing all hostages without loss of life.
U.S. Attorney General (1991–1993)
First nomination and confirmation
It was reported that President Bush was impressed with Barr's management of the hostage crisis; weeks later, Bush nominated him as Attorney General.
Barr enjoyed a "sterling reputation" among Republican and Democratic politicians alike. His two-day confirmation hearing was "unusually placid", and he was received well by both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Asked whether he thought a constitutional right to privacy included the right to an abortion, Barr responded that he believed the constitution was not originally intended to create a right to abortion; that Roe v. Wade was thus wrongly decided; and that abortion should be a "legitimate issue for state legislators". "Barr also said at the hearings that Roe v. Wade was 'the law of the land' and claimed he did not have 'fixed or settled views' on abortion." Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Joe Biden, though disagreeing with Barr, responded that it was the "first candid answer" he had heard from a nominee on a question that witnesses would normally evade; Biden hailed Barr as "a throwback to the days when we actually had attorneys general that would talk to you." Barr was approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee, was confirmed by voice vote by the full Senate, and was sworn in as Attorney General on November 26, 1991.
Assumed office February 14, 2019
PresidentDonald TrumpDeputyRod RosensteinEd O'Callaghan (acting)Jeffrey A. RosenPreceded byJeff SessionsIn officeNovember 26, 1991 – January 20, 1993
PresidentGeorge H. W. BushDeputyGeorge J. Terwilliger IIIPreceded byDick ThornburghSucceeded byJanet Reno25th United States Deputy Attorney General
In officeMay 26, 1990 – November 26, 1991
PresidentGeorge H. W. BushPreceded byDonald B. AyerSucceeded byGeorge J. Terwilliger IIIUnited States Assistant Attorney Generalfor the Office of Legal Counsel
In officeJanuary 20, 1989 – May 26, 1990
PresidentGeorge H. W. BushPreceded byDouglas KmiecSucceeded byJ. Michael LuttigPersonal details
BornWilliam Pelham BarrMay 23, 1950 (age 70)New York City, New York, U.S.Political partyRepublicanSpouse(s)Christine Moynihan (m. 1973)Children3ParentsDonald BarrMary Margaret AhernRelativesStephen Barr (brother)EducationColumbia University(BA, MA)George Washington University(JD)Signature
Early life and educationBarr was born in New York City in 1950. His father, Donald Barr, taught English literature at Columbia University before becoming headmaster of the Dalton School in Manhattan and later the Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York, both members of the Ivy Preparatory School League. Barr's mother, Mary Margaret (née Ahern), also taught at Columbia. Barr's father was Jewish and raised in Judaism but later converted to Christianity and joined the Catholic Church. His mother is of Irish ancestry. Barr was raised as a Catholic. Barr was the second of four sons, and his younger brother Stephen Barr is a professor of physics at the University of Delaware.Barr grew up on New York City's Upper West Side. As a child he attended a Catholic grammar school, Corpus Christi School, and then the non-sectarian Horace Mann School. After high school, he attended Columbia University, where he majored in government and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1971. He did two additional years of graduate study at Columbia, receiving an Master of Arts in government and Chinese studies in 1973. While at Columbia, Barr opposed anti-Vietnam War occupation protests by students on campus.Barr moved to Washington, D.C., to work as an intelligence analyst for the CIA while taking evening classes at George Washington University Law School, graduating in 1977 with a Juris Doctor with highest honors.CareerEarly careerBarr with President Ronald Reaganin the Oval Office in 1983From 1971 to 1977, while attending graduate school and law school, Barr worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He was first hired as a summer intern for two years. During his law school years he was an analyst in the Intelligence Directorate division from 1973 to 1975, and then transitioning to an assistant in the Office of Legislative Counsel and an agency liaison to Congress from 1975 to 1977.After graduating from law school in 1977, Barr spent one year as a law clerk to Judge Malcolm Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He then joined the law firm of Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge (now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman) from 1978 to 1982 and again from 1983 to 1989, after serving as Deputy Assistant Director for Legal Policy on the domestic policy staff at the Reagan White House from May 1982 to September 1983.U.S. Department of JusticeBarr and Dan Quayle watch as President George H. W. Bush signs the Civil Rights Commission Reauthorization Act in the Rose Garden of the White House in 1991.In 1989, at the beginning of his administration, President George H. W. Bush appointed Barr to the U.S. Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), an office which functions as the legal advisor for the President and executive agencies. Barr was known as a strong defender of presidential power. He wrote an advisory opinion justifying the U.S. invasion of Panama and arrest of Manuel Noriega. He wrote legal justifications for the practice of rendition, so that the FBI could enter onto foreign soil without the consent of the host government to apprehend fugitives wanted by the United States government for terrorism or drug-trafficking. Barr declined a congressional request for the full 1989 opinion, but instead provided a document that "summarizes the principal conclusions". Congress subpoenaed the opinion, and its public release after Barr's departure from the Justice Department showed he had omitted significant findings in the opinion from his summary document.U.S. Deputy Attorney General (1990–1991)In May 1990, Barr was appointed Deputy Attorney General, the official responsible for day-to-day management of the Department. According to media reports, Barr was generally praised for his professional management of the Department.During August 1991, when then-Attorney General Richard Thornburgh resigned to campaign for the Senate, Barr was named Acting Attorney General. Three days after Barr accepted that position, 121 Cuban inmates, awaiting deportation to Cuba, seized nine hostages at the Talladega federal prison. He directed the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team to assault the prison, which resulted in rescuing all hostages without loss of life.U.S. Attorney General (1991–1993)Official photo of Barr during his first tenure as Attorney GeneralFirst nomination and confirmationIt was reported that President Bush was impressed with Barr's management of the hostage crisis; weeks later, Bush nominated him as Attorney General.Barr enjoyed a "sterling reputation" among Republican and Democratic politicians alike. His two-day confirmation hearing was "unusually placid", and he was received well by both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Asked whether he thought a constitutional right to privacy included the right to an abortion, Barr responded that he believed the Constitution was not originally intended to create a right to abortion; that Roe v. Wade was thus wrongly decided; and that abortion should be a "legitimate issue for state legislators". "Barr also said at the hearings that Roe v. Wade was 'the law of the land' and claimed he did not have 'fixed or settled views' on abortion." Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Joe Biden, though disagreeing with Barr, responded that it was the "first candid answer" he had heard from a nominee on a question that witnesses would normally evade; Biden hailed Barr as "a throwback to the days when we actually had attorneys general that would talk to you." Barr was approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee, was confirmed by voice vote by the full Senate, and was sworn in as Attorney General on November 26, 1991.First tenureDuring his first tenure as AG, media characterized Barr as "a staunch conservative who rarely hesitates to put his hardline views into action." He was described as affable with a dry, self-deprecating wit. The New York Times described the "central theme" of his tenure to be "his contention that violent crime can be reduced only by expanding Federal and state prisons to jail habitual violent offenders." In an effort to prioritize violent crime, Barr reassigned three hundred FBI agents from counterintelligence work to investigations of gang violence. The New York Times called this move "the largest single manpower shift in the bureau's history."During the 1992 election year, the Wall Street Journal wrote of Barr's work that he "has put a heavy emphasis on attention-grabbing events and pronouncements that may have more to do with presidential election-year politicking than with fighting crime on the streets."The Case for More IncarcerationThe Case for More IncarcerationIn 1992, Barr authored a report, The Case for More Incarceration, which argued for an increase in the United States incarceration rate, the creation of a national program to construct more prisons, and the abolition of parole release. Barr argued that incarceration reduced crime, pointing to crime and incarceration rates in 1960, 1970, 1980 and 1990. A 1999 criminology study criticized Barr's analysis, saying "so complex an issue as the relationship between crime and punishment cannot be addressed through so simplistic an analysis as a negative correlation between the two very aggregated time series of crime rates and incarceration rates." University of Minnesota criminologist Michael Tonry said the data in Barr's report was deceptively presented; if Barr had chosen five-year intervals, then the data would not have supported Barr's argument, and if Barr had chosen to look at violent crime specifically (as opposed to all crimes as a category), then the data would not have supported his argument.Barr said in the report, "The benefits of increased incarceration would be enjoyed disproportionately by black Americans". In the report, Barr approvingly quoted New Mexico Attorney General Hal Stratton, "I don't know anyone [who] goes to prison on their first crime. By the time you go to prison, you are a pretty bad guy." Barr's report influenced the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which aimed to increase the incarceration rate.InvestigationsIn October 1991, Barr appointed then-retired Democratic Chicago judge Nicholas Bua as special counsel in the Inslaw scandal. Bua's 1993 report found the Department of Justice guilty of no wrongdoing in the matter.In October 1992, Barr appointed then retired New Jersey federal judge Frederick B. Lacey to investigate the Department of Justice and the Central Intelligence Agency handling of the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) Iraqgate scandal. The appointment came after Democrats called for a special prosecutor during the scandal fearing a "cover-up" by the administration. House Banking Committee Chairman Henry B. González called for Barr's resignation, citing "repeated, clear failures and obstruction" by the Department of Justice in allegedly delaying an investigation of the BNL-Iraqgate case. González also called for an independent special counsel investigation.Phone surveillance programIn 1992, Barr launched a surveillance program to gather records of innocent Americans' international phone calls. The DoJ inspector general concluded that this program had been launched without a review of its legality. According to USA Today, the program "provided a blueprint for far broader phone-data surveillance the government launched after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."In December 2019, Democratic Senators Ron Wyden and Patrick J. Leahy asked the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate Barr for approving an illegal surveillance program without legal analysis.Iran-ContraIn late 1992, Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh, who had been chosen to investigate the Iran–Contra affair, found documents in the possession of Reagan's former defense secretary, Caspar Weinberger, which Walsh said was "evidence of a conspiracy among the highest-ranking Reagan Administration officials to lie to Congress and the American public." Weinberger was set to stand trial on felony charges on January 5, 1993. His "indictment said Mr. Weinberger's notes contradicted Mr. Bush's assertions that he had only a fragmentary knowledge of the arms secretly sold to Iran in 1985 and 1986 in exchange for American hostages in Lebanon." According to Walsh, then-president Bush might have been called as a witness.On December 24, 1992, during his final month in office, Bush, on the advice of Barr, pardoned Weinberger, along with five other administration officials who had been found guilty on charges relating to the Iran–Contra affair. Barr was consulted extensively regarding the pardons, and especially advocated for pardoning Weinberger.Walsh complained about the move insinuating that Bush on Barr's advice had used the pardons to avoid testifying and stating that: "The Iran-contra cover-up, which has continued for more than six years, has now been completed." In 2003, he wrote an account of the investigation in his book, Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-Up.Because of this and Barr's unwillingness to appoint an independent counsel to look into a second scandal known as Iraqgate, New York Times writer William Safire began to refer to Barr as "Coverup-General Barr." Barr, however, responded that he believed Bush had made the right decision regarding that and he felt people in the case had been treated unfairly. Barr said Walsh was a "head-hunter" who "had completely lost perspective."Post-DOJ careerUpon leaving the DOJ in 1993, Barr was appointed by Virginia Governor George Allen to co-chair a commission to implement tougher criminal justice policies and abolish parole in the state. Barr has been described as a "leader of the parole-abolition campaign" in Virginia.After leaving the DOJ, he criticized the Clinton administration for being "soft on crime". Barr expressed his opposition to efforts to end mandatory minimum sentencing. In a 1993 op-ed, he wrote, "The notion that there are sympathetic people out there who become hapless victims of the criminal-justice system and are locked away in federal prison beyond the time they deserve is simply a myth." In a 1995 essay, Barr rejected that crime was caused by material factors, such as poverty, arguing instead that crime was caused by immorality: "Spending more money on these material social programs is not going to have an impact on crime, and, if anything, it will exacerbate the problem."In 1994, Barr became Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the telecommunications company GTE Corporation, where he served for 14 years. During his corporate tenure, Barr directed a successful litigation campaign by the local telephone industry to achieve deregulation by scuttling a series of FCC rules, personally arguing several cases in the federal courts of appeals and the Supreme Court. In 2000, when GTE merged with Bell Atlantic to become Verizon Communications, Barr became the general counsel and executive vice president of Verizon until he retired in 2008. Barr became a multimillionaire from working in GTE and Verizon. In 2001, Barr's salary was reportedly $1.5 million.From 1997 to 2000, Barr served on the Board of Visitors of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg.In 2009, Barr was briefly of counsel to the firm Kirkland & Ellis. From 2010 until 2017, he advised corporations on government enforcement matters and regulatory litigation; he rejoined Kirkland and Ellis in 2017.From 2009 to 2018, Barr served on the board of directors for Time Warner.Comments about the Starr investigation of President ClintonIn March 1998, Barr lambasted the Clinton administration for criticizing Independent Counsel Ken Starr's investigation of the Whitewater controversy, which had shifted towards an investigation of an alleged affair between Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Barr said the criticism appeared "to have the improper purpose of influencing and impeding an ongoing criminal investigation and intimidating possible jurors, witnesses and even investigators."Comments about the Trump administrationOn April 18, 2019, a redactedversion of Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election was released to the public.During the first two years of the Trump presidency, Barr frequently criticized legal challenges against Trump and investigations into the Trump 2016 campaign and presidency.In 2017, Barr said there was "nothing inherently wrong" with Donald Trump's calls for investigating Hillary Clinton while the two were both running for president. Barr added that an investigation into an alleged Uranium One controversy was more warranted than looking into whether Trump conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 elections. Barr also said in 2017 that he didn't think "all this stuff" about incarcerating or prosecuting Hillary Clinton was appropriate to say, but added that "there are things that should be investigated that haven't been investigated," although the FBI began investigating the Clinton Foundation and the related Uranium One matter in 2015, followed by investigations by Republican congressional committees.In February 2017, Barr argued Trump was justified in firing Acting Attorney General Sally Yates over her refusal to defend Executive Order 13769.Barr was publicly critical of the special counsel investigation. In 2017, he faulted Mueller for hiring prosecutors who have contributed to Democratic politicians, saying that his team should have had more "balance," and characterized the obstruction of justice investigation as "asinine" and that it was "taking on the look of an entirely political operation to overthrow the president."In June 2018, Barr sent an unsolicited 20-page memo to senior Justice Department officials. He also provided copies to members of Trump's legal team and discussed it with some of them. In his memo, Barr argued that the Special Counsel should not be investigating Trump for obstruction of justice because Trump's actions, such as firing FBI Director James Comey, were within his powers as head of the executive branch. He characterized the obstruction investigation as "fatally misconceived" and "grossly irresponsible" and "potentially disastrous" to the executive branch. The day after the existence of the memo became known, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said "our decisions are informed by our knowledge of the actual facts of the case, which Mr. Barr didn't have."Democrats later characterized the memo as Barr's "job application" for the Attorney General position.Political donationsThe National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) financially assists Republicans in their Senate election contests; in the seven years from 2009 to 2016, Barr gave six donations to the NRSC totaling $85,400. In a five-month period from October 2018 to February 2019, Barr donated five times (around $10,000 every month) for a total of $51,000. When Barr started donating more frequently to the NRSC, it was uncertain whether then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions would remain in his job. Barr continued donating even after Sessions resigned, and after Trump nominated Barr for Attorney General. The donations stopped after Barr was confirmed by the Senate as Attorney General. NRSC refunded Barr $30,000 before his confirmation. Previously in 2017, Barr had said he felt "prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party".U.S. Attorney General (2019–present)Barr is sworn in as Attorney General by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2019.Second nomination and confirmationOn December 7, 2018, President Donald Trump announced Barr's nomination to succeed Jeff Sessions. Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman reported that Trump had sought Barr as chief defense lawyer for Trump regarding the special counsel investigation headed by Robert Mueller after Barr made three positions known. First, Barr supported Trump's firing of Comey on May 9, 2017. Second, he questioned the appointments of some of Mueller's prosecutors due to political donations they had made to the Clinton campaign. Third, he alleged there were conflicts of interest of two appointees to the Special Counsel Team, Jennie Rheeand Bruce Ohr.Barr meets with the Justice Department leadership.Barr was confirmed as Attorney General on February 14, 2019, by a 54–45 near party-line vote, with Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) as the three Democrats to vote Yea. Republican senator Rand Paul (R-KY) voted No and Richard Burr (R-NC) did not vote. Later that day, Barr was sworn-in as the nation's 85th Attorney General by Chief Justice John Roberts in a ceremony at the White House. He is the first person to be appointed to a second non-consecutive term as Attorney General since John J. Crittenden in 1850.Second tenureIn May 2019, three months into his tenure as Attorney General, the Associated Press characterized Barr as a champion and advocate for Trump. Barr had enthusiastically supported Trump's political agenda, misrepresented aspects of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, repeated Trump's talking point that those investigating Trump had engaged in "spying", defied congressional subpoenas, and refused to give Congress an unredacted version of the Mueller report.Under Barr's leadership, the Justice Department changed its position on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Previously the department took the position that the individual mandate provision was unconstitutional, but could be severed from the whole healthcare law. On March 25, the department updated its position to argue that the entire law is unconstitutional. On May 2, the department conducted a filing with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to nullify the entire law, arguing that the removal of the provision on individual mandate results in the entire law becoming unconstitutional.On May 1, 2019, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told the House Oversight Committee that Barr had instructed Justice Department official John Gore to refuse a subpoena to testify in front of the committee. The committee subpoenaed Gore over the Trump administration's efforts to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 United States Census. The reason for the refusal was that the committee's decision to not allow a Justice Department lawyer to accompany Gore during testimony violated "the confidentiality interests of the Executive Branch" (though a separate room was permitted). In early June the House Oversight Committee moved to hold Barr in contempt of congress for defying a subpoena regarding the efforts to add a citizenship question to the census. In July 2019, the House of Representatives voted 230–198 to hold Barr (and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross) in criminal contempt of Congress, after they failed to produce documents as April 2019 congressional subpoenas mandated. The documents, on the planned (and eventually scrapped) citizenship question in the 2020 census, were withheld due to a "deliberative process" and "attorney-client communications", according to the Justice Department. President Trump also asserted executive privilege over the documents to withhold them from Congress. Only once prior has a sitting Cabinet member been held in criminal contempt of Congress (Eric Holder in 2012). The House instructed the Justice Department to prosecute Barr, but the Department refused.Also in July 2019, Barr reportedly made the decision to not bring federal civil rights charges against New York policeman Daniel Pantaleo for causing the death of Eric Garner. In so doing, he overruled the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, which advocated charging Pantaleo, instead agreeing with Justice Department prosecutors from New York.On July 25, 2019, Barr reinstated the death penalty for federal crimes.In December 2019, Barr said that communities that do not show the "respect and support that law enforcement deserves ... might find themselves without the police protection they need." Barr dropped the Department of Justice's case against the police officer who killed Eric Garner in 2014.In February 2020, Senator Lindsey Graham stated that the Justice Department "is receiving information coming out of the Ukraine from" Rudy Giuliani, a personal lawyer to president Donald Trump. Graham had learned from Barr that "they've created a process that Rudy could give information and they would see if it's verified". A day later, Barr confirmed Graham's account, stating that he had "established an intake process" for information on Ukraine, including from Giuliani, while citing an "obligation to have an open door" policy on receiving information. Giuliani has claimed to have information of improprieties regarding Ukraine for Joe Biden (a former vice president, later a 2020 presidential candidate) and his son Hunter Biden. Giuliani himself is reportedly being investigated by the Justice Department, with two of his associates having been arrested.In early June 2020, according to reporting by The Washington Post and Fox News, Barr personally ordered that the streets around Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C. should be cleared so that Trump, Barr and other administration officials could stage a photo op in front of St. John's Church. At the time, the streets were occupied by peaceful protesters as part of the George Floyd protests in Washington, D.C. Barr's order resulted in federal law enforcement officers rushing protesters, and employing smoke canisters, pepper balls, riot shields, and batons against the protesters. Barr reacted to the incident by falsely claiming that pepper balls (used by law enforcement on protesters) were not chemical irritants (pepper balls contain pelargonic acid vanillylamide, a chemical irritant; while the product's manufacturer, and the Justice Department, both consider pepper balls a chemical irritant). In August 2020, he invoked qualified immunity before a federal court to protect himself from liability in a lawsuit regarding the Lafayette Square incident.As Attorney General, Barr sowed doubt about the integrity of the 2020 election. In a September 2020 interview, Barr falsely asserted the Justice Department had indicted a Texas man for fraudulently completing 1,700 mail-in ballots. There was no such indictment, and the matter actually involved a series of errors by election officials during a county election, rather than fraud. Barr also repeated a claim that foreign adversaries could flood the country with counterfeit ballots to disrupt the election, a threat that experts characterized as nearly impossible to execute. Senior American intelligence officials have said there was no evidence any foreign powers intended to manipulate mail-in voting. The day after Barr's interview, the Department of Homeland Security issued an intelligence bulletin warning that Russia is using social media and other venues to promote false claims that mail voting will lead to widespread fraud, in order "to undermine public trust in the electoral process." In a subsequent September 2020 interview, Barr stated that mail-in voting meant “we’re back in the business of selling and buying votes” including “outright coercion, paying off a postman, here’s a few hundred dollars, give me some of your ballots.” On October 1, 2020, more than 1,600 former DOJ attorneys signed an open letter stating, "we fear that Attorney General Barr intends to use the DOJ’s vast law enforcement powers to undermine our most fundamental democratic value: free and fair elections."In mid-June 2020, Barr announced that Geoffrey Berman, the court-appointed United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), "is stepping down". Berman's office had been investigating both Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Trump's inaugural committee, as well as conducting a wider investigation into Trump's company and his associates after successfully prosecuting Michael Cohen, another personal lawyer of Trump. CNN also reported that Berman had prosecuted Halkbank despite Barr's attempt to try to avoid charges for the Turkish state-owned bank, after Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan requested Trump to help drop the charges. Simultaneously, Barr announced that at his recommendation, Trump had appointed Craig Carpenito as the interim SDNY U.S. Attorney, in a departure from the tradition of a career prosecutor from SDNY taking the interim role. Also concurrently, Barr said that Trump would nominate Jay Clayton for the permanent role of SDNY U.S. Attorney. Within a day, Berman said that he actually had "not resigned, and have no intention of resigning". Berman also said that he only learned of his supposed departure from Barr's public announcement. Barr then informed Berman that Trump had fired Berman at Barr's request. Barr did not give a reason for Berman's firing. As a result of the firing, the deputy SDNY U.S. Attorney, Audrey Strauss, would become the interim SDNY U.S. Attorney. With this, Berman agreed to leave. Meanwhile, the Senate indicated it would not confirm Clayton as the permanent replacement.Barr has made commentary about social and religious issues in speeches and television appearances. In an October 2019 address at the University of Notre Dame, Barr asserted that “militant secularists" had been attacking Judeo-Christian values for five decades, stating, "This is not decay. This is organized destruction. Secular forces and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia, in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values." In an August 2020 appearance on Fox News, Barr asserted that Black Lives Matter is "a revolutionary group that is interested in some form of socialism, communism. They're essentially Bolsheviks. Their tactics are fascistic." Barr equated the movement with antifa, characterizing that loose collective as "highly organized" and claiming "the media doesn’t take footage of what’s happening" at George Floyd protests. He also claimed that liberals are intent on “tearing down the system” and that the Democratic party was only "interested in total victory. It’s a secular religion. It’s a substitute for a religion." Barr had in June 2020 blamed antifa for orchestrating the George Floyd protests, but analysis by The New York Times found that no one arrested for serious federal crimes at the protests had been linked to antifa. Homeland Security Departmentsecretary Chad Wolf said in September 2020 that he and Barr had discussed arresting leaders of antifa and the Black Lives Matter movement. The Wall Street Journal reported in September 2020 that Barr told federal prosecutors to consider charging violent protestors with plotting to overthrow the US government.Barr has sometimes supported controversial or false statements made by Trump. In an August 2020 interview, Trump claimed that a plane full of "thugs in dark uniforms", implying antifa, had recently flown from one unidentified city to another with the intention of fomenting riots. His claim appeared to be based on months-old social media rumors. Two days later, Barr asserted he knew that antifa activists “are flying around the country” and “we are following them.”In September 2020, Barr asserted liberals were "projecting," referring to “all this bullshit about how the president is going to stay in office and seize power? I’ve never heard of any of that crap. I mean, I’m the attorney general. I would think I would have heard about it.” During both the 2016 and 2020 campaigns, Trump was noncommittal when asked if he would accept election results showing he had lost. Days after Barr's remarks, Trump was asked if he would commit to a peaceful transition of power if he lost the 2020 election, to which he replied, "Well, we’ll have to see what happens. You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster. Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation." In the days after his electoral defeat, Trump and his legal team led by Rudy Giuliani pursued an aggressive effort to challenge the results with dozens of lawsuits and numerous false and unsubstantiated assertions revolving around an international communist conspiracy, rigged voting machines and polling place fraud to claim the election had been stolen from Trump.On September 3, 2020, Trump ordered Barr to identify “anarchist jurisdictions,” stating in a memorandum, “It is imperative that the federal government review the use of federal funds by jurisdictions that permit anarchy, violence, and destruction in America’s cities.” Days later, Barr designated New York City, Seattle and Portland, Oregon as such jurisdictions, suggesting they should lose their federal funding because, “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance.”As baseless claims of voting fraud circulated in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election in which Trump lost, Barr sent a memo to DOJ prosecutors authorizing them to investigate "vote tabulation irregularities" before voting results had been certified, a reversal of long-standing department policy. Richard Pilger, director of the Election Crimes Branch at the DOJ Criminal Division, stepped down from that position in protest hours later. Four days later, sixteen assistant U.S. attorneys of the Branch wrote Barr a letter urging him to rescind the memo because it "thrusts career prosecutors into partisan politics."Mueller investigation and reportFurther information: Special Counsel investigation (2017–2019) and Mueller ReportOn January 14, 2019, a day before Barr's confirmation hearing for Attorney General, Barr sent written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the eventual final Mueller report, saying "it is very important that the public and Congress be informed of the results of the special counsel's work ... For that reason, my goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law."Upon taking office, Barr refused calls to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation, despite his June 2018 memo arguing that the special counsel had no right to investigate Trump.On March 22, 2019, Mueller concluded his special counsel investigation and gave the final report to Barr. On March 24, Barr wrote a four-page letter to Congress describing what he said were the report's principal conclusions: first, that the Special Counsel did not establish conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia's efforts to interfere with the 2016 election; and second, that the Special Counsel made no decision as to whether to prosecute Trump for obstruction of justice, quoting "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein themselves concluded that the evidence did not establish obstruction of justice beyond reasonable doubt, and made the decision not to press the charge; "Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense."On March 25, Mueller reportedly wrote a letter to Barr, as described in the New York Times as "expressing his and his team's concerns that the attorney general had inadequately portrayed their conclusions". In USA Today it was described that Mueller "expressed his differences with Barr".On March 27, Mueller sent Barr another letter describing his concerns of Barr's letter to Congress and the public on March 24. In it, Mueller complained that the summary "did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance" of the Special Counsel's probe, adding, "There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations". Both before and after the release of Barr's summary, Mueller repeatedly tried to get Barr to release the report's introductions and executive summaries. Mueller's March 27 letter also stated that he had earlier sent a March 25 letter to Barr.Mueller's March 27 letter prompted Barr to call Mueller on March 28. Barr clarified on the intention of his letter both in his phone call with Mueller and in another letter to Congress that his letter had not been intended to be a summary of the report, but rather a description of the principal findings of the report.On April 9, Barr appeared in a congressional hearing before the House. There, Representative Charlie Crist described media reports that "members of the special counsel's team are frustrated at some level with the limited information included in your March 24 letter, that it does not adequately or accurately portray the [Mueller] report's findings". Crist asked Barr: "Do you know what they are referencing with that?" Barr replied: "No, I don't. I think – I think – I suspect that they probably wanted more put out, but in my view, I was not interested in putting out summaries." On April 10, Attorney General Barr appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senator Chris Van Hollen asked Barr regarding obstruction: "Did Bob Mueller support your conclusion?" Barr replied: "I don't know whether Bob Mueller supported my conclusion."The Department of Justice released a redacted version of the special counsel's report in the morning of April 18, 2019. After the release of the full report, fact-checkers and news outlets characterized Barr's initial letter as a deliberate mischaracterization of the Mueller Report and its conclusions. The New York Times reported instances in which the Barr letter omitted information and quoted sentence fragments out of context in ways that significantly altered the Mueller findings, including:
- A sentence fragment described only one possible motive for Trump to obstruct justice, while the Mueller report listed other possible motives
- Omission of words and a full sentence that twice suggested there was knowing and complicit behavior between the Trump campaign and Russians that stopped short of coordination
- Omission of language that indicated Trump could be subject to indictment after leaving office, to suggest that Trump was cleared in full
1994 LaRouche PAC article : "William Barr, the Bush Clique, and Their Friends at Dope, Inc. "
https://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/1994/eirv21n42-19941021/eirv21n42-19941021_029-william_barr_the_bush_clique_and.pdf / 1994-10-21-executive-intel-review-v21-n42-william-barr-and-the-bush-clique.pdf / https://drive.google.com/open?id=1AWBKDbuPh2i6NFqJ276OcZMk3lAJ7Y7u
Two members of George Bush's covert action team, former U.S.Attorney General William Barr and Lt.Col.Oliver North, both plunged into Virginia politics this year.Barr was head of the governor's commission to abolish parole, proposing to make prison inmates slaves under private corpo rate control.North was promoted for the U.S.Senate as a "law and order" candidate.
Oliver North became world famous in the 1980s as a smuggling manager in the Iran-Contra drug-running and gun running affairs.
William Barr, though little known to the public, is a top lawyer for the same criminal covert action team.He was also Attorney General in the Bush administration, when Lyndon LaRouche, then a political prisoner, submitted six volumes of new evidence proving that the government always knew he was innocent, evidence which the Justice Department and the courts refused even to look at.We shall report here on Barr's unusual career, protecting the political and financial managers of the world narcotics trade.
Blocking the BCCI investigation
Executives of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) were indicted in October 1988, on charges they conspired with cocaine traffickers to launder millions of dollars in narcotics profits. Forty U.S. and foreign banks, evidently complicit in the international drug trade, were subpoenaed to produce records before a Tampa, Florida grand jury.A majority of those subpoenaed had earlier been named in EIR's best-selling book, Dope, Inc., as among those lead ing British and allied Wall Street banks in the business of washing dope money.
BCCI was further exposed as an instrument for the trans actions of Oliver North and his associates, who had been criminally employed by Vice President George Bush in the Iran and Contra operations.
But George Bush was elected U.S.President just weeks after the BCCI indictments.In December 1989, Bush ordered the U.S.bombing and invasion of Panama, killing thousands. Panamanian Gen. Manuel Noriega, who knew the dirtiest drug-pushing secrets of BCCI, Bush, and North, was kidnapped and imprisoned in Florida.
Under the leadership of Attorney General Richard Thornburgh and William Barr, who was then an official in the Bush Justice Department, the BCCI investigations were stopped.Plea bargains protected the world's top drug bank ers, and protected President Bush and his criminal employee North.In exchange for leniency, officials of BCCI agreed to help Bush prosecute General Noriega for alleged drug trafficking.
Barr, who had a startling private relationship to BCCI, and who had drawn up the spurious legal rationale for the attack on Panama, was then appointed U.S.Attorney Gener al.He reached a final settlement of the BCCI case, foreclosing all further investigations of the BCCI-linked drug apparatus.
Initiation into the Bush team
We shall now trace Barr's route to political power, ob serving his early initiation into the Bush covert action machine.
Barr reportedly decided, while still a high school student, that he would one day be the head of the Central Intelligence Agency.He joined the CIA's internship program while he was a Columbia University graduate student in 1971, and went to work full time for the CIA when he left Columbia in 1973.
During his first two years with the Agency, Barr worked for the intelligence directorate in the China department. He would soon cross paths with George Bush,' who went to Beijing in 1974 as Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's liaison chief to the Communist Chinese government.
Barr was already in the CIA's legal office in 1976 when Bush became Director of Central Intelligence. Bush promptly brought back assassinations manager Theodore Shackley as associate deputy CIA director for covert operations, along with Shackley's deputy Thomas Clines. Shackley had been the head of the CIA Miami Station in the early 1960s, following the disastrous invasion of Cuba. Shackley and Clines had assembled the Cuban irregulars, who had been trained as assassins and smugglers, into a permanent covert action force. Men like Felix Rodriguez had served under Shackley as he ran the opium-growing projects in Laos and the Operation Phoenix mass murder project in Vietnam.
Shackley's Cubans had turned up as the 1972 Watergate burglars, paid by George Bush's Texas political machine. Shackley would later serve as George Bush's speechwriter in Bush's campaign against Ronald Reagan for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination. When Bush got in as vice president instead, Felix Rodriguez and Oliver North together would supervise the Contras' drug running, out of George Bush's vice presidential office.
William Barr joined this team as it matured under George Bush's hand at the CIA. Barr prepared briefs for Bush's stonewalling responses to congressional probes, led by Sen. Frank Church and Rep. Otis that attempted to bring the Bush and Kissinger covert under the rule of American law.
George Bush made one extraordinary change at the Agency which was never publicized beyond the ranks of the intelligence community. Bush committed the United States to share with Great Britain's secret service the fruits of the U.S. satellite surveillance throughout the world. This action dismayed many in the American service who has seen traitors such as Kim Philby as the very heart of the British Crown's leadership grouping But Bush's official intelligence policy change reflected his deep-seated ties to Britain, from his father, Prescott Bush's, banking partnership with Averell Harriman in British geopolitical schemes from the 1920s to the 1950s. This Anglo-Bush faction of the intelligence community would soon fashion BCCI into a global rime instrument.
Jimmy Carter won the 1976 presidential election, and refused Bush's request to stay Jr as CIA director. Barr was one of the many CIA men who left the Agency after Bush's departure in 1977. Ted Shackley led the Association of Former Intelligence Officers and cdrralled these men into a private intelligence clique around George Bush.
On George Bush's recommendation, the 27-year-old Barr was hired in 1977 as clerk to Federal Circuit Court Judge Malcolm Wilkey. During the 1960s, Wilkey had been general counsel to a copper-mining conglomerate operating in Chile under the political management of Prescott Bush's banking partner, Spruile Braden. Salvador Allende became Chile's President and confiscated Braden's huge El Teniente mine; Allende was soon overthrown and murdered in 1973.
In 1976, Chilean opposition leader Orlando Letelier had been blown up by a car bomb in Washington, D.C. Though the U.S. media generally blamed the Chilean secret police for the killing, it is well established that then-CIA director George Bush had penetrated the Chilean agency and had squelched all U.S. police investigation into the murder. Barr's new boss, Malcolm Wilkey, later served as George Bush's ambassador to Uruguay and arranged cool-out payments to Chileans who might have fingered Bush's CIA for the Letelier bombing.
Later, in 1992, Chile's Supreme Court decided that Presi dent Bush could be legally ordered to appear in Chile, to testify on the role of the CIA in the Letelier case; Chilean generals claimed they have been wrongly blamed for the killing, and that Bush's CIA ordered the 1976 bombing. The U.S. chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General William Barr, did not respond. But what he did, was to hire Malcolm Wilkey as a special prosecutor to intimidate the Democratic Congress in the House Post Office affair.
On Judge Wilkey's recommendation, Barr started in Oc tober 1978 as an associate of the Washington, D.C. law firm Shaw, Pittman, Potts, and Trowbridge. Barr immediately took up the representation of B.F. Saul II, a Maryland real estate magnate who only a few months earlier had become chairman of Financial General Bankshares. In his later testimony to the Senate hearings on his confirmation for Justice Department posts, Barr revealed that he had represented B.F. Saul beginning November 1978, and in 1979, 1981, and 1982.
This was an extraordinarily important stretch of time in his client's life. During this period, Financial General was taken over in stages by BCCI, a London-based bank with Arab and other principal investors tied to Anglo-America