Trump tweeted that he had a “very nice meeting” with Barr on Monday. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen will become acting attorney general.
Trump tweeted, “Just had a very nice meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House. Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job! As per letter, Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family. Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen, an outstanding person, will become Acting Attorney General. Highly respected Richard Donoghue will be taking over the duties of Deputy Attorney General. Thank you to all!”
…Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen, an outstanding person, will become Acting Attorney General. Highly respected Richard Donoghue will be taking over the duties of Deputy Attorney General. Thank you to all! pic.twitter.com/V5sqOJT9PM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2020
In his tweet, Trump included Barr’s resignation letter, which includes words of praise for the president. But Trump’s relationship with Barr reportedly had frayed, after reports that the attorney general refused during the campaign to reveal the existence of a federal investigation of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. Barr also told the Associated Press on Dec. 1 that they had found no evidence of widespread election fraud.
The news of Barr’s resignation came just after California’s presidential electors cast their votes for Joe Biden, putting him past the 270 vote threshold to win the election. The outcome had not been in doubt, but Trump and his supporters have made countless unfounded claims of election fraud, even though they have lost dozens of court battles.
The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman tweeted, “A way for Trump to get a new AG in and try to change cable news chyrons as Biden clinched the electoral college.”
A way for Trump to get a new AG in and try to change cable news chyrons as Biden clinched the electoral college https://t.co/lXwmIgh1Cp
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) December 14, 2020
Barr served almost two years in the post, having been in the private sector, including on the board of Time Warner, after an earlier stint as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush.
Barr’s tenure under Trump was met with controversy and criticism, as he often was a steadfast defender of the president, particularly when it came to Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Although Mueller made it clear that his report did not exonerate Trump, Barr gave statements beforehand that made it seem as if the president did nothing wrong. Barr also played a role in the removal of protesters from the streets around Lafayette Park in June, in advance of Trump’s photo op, although the attorney general denied that he gave the order to clear the area.
Under Barr, the Justice Department even attempted to intervene in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation case against Trump, seeking to defend him. Carroll accused Trump of rape in the 1990s, well before he became president. A federal judge refused to make the federal government the defendant in the case.