WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr is resigning and will leave office on December 23rd amid mounting criticism of his performance by President Trump. Barr was not fired but may have been forced out. Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen will become acting attorney general, Trump said.
“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,” Trump tweeted Monday.
The president added: “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
Trump recently began expressing frustration with Barr’s Justice Department for failing to reveal that Hunter Biden was under federal criminal investigation for tax fraud and money laundering even during the president’s impeachment over a phone call regarding the very topic.
But it was Barr’s declaration last week that the Justice Department had uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud, as repeatedly claimed by Trump, which angered the commander in chief.
“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” Barr told the Associated Press last Tuesday.
Barr’s departure could be good news for the president. Trump has previously expressed his preference for “acting” officials in key roles. “I like acting because I can move so quickly,” he said in 2019. “it gives me more flexibility.”
It also gives him more control over the broader government apparatus as he can place unquestioning loyalists in posts without having to worry about those people being confirmed by the Senate.
What that means for the DOJ is that Trump is very likely to enjoy something close to unfettered control over the department between now and January 20.
This could mean the appointment of a special counsel to ensure the Hunter Biden investigation continues beyond the Trump presidency.
It could mean increased pressure on special counsel John Durham, who is investigating the origins of the Russia counter-intelligence probe in 2016, to announce his findings and/or bring charges.
Meanwhile, the Electoral College on Monday designated Joe Biden the winner of the Nov. 3 election, with California casting its 55 votes to put the former vice president over the 270 threshold needed to ensure the victory. President Trump still has no intention of conceding and continues to fight the election results. Also, Trump reportedly will not attend Biden’s inauguration on January 20th.
Biden is expected to amass 306 votes to President Trump’s 232 by the time Hawaii votes at 7 p.m. eastern time.
The president-elect will speak an hour later about the Electoral College vote.
“Now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal,” Biden will say, according to excerpts released by his transition office.
The final tally from the 50 states and the District of Columbia will be tallied at a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6.
In an interview on Fox News Monday, President Trump’s senior adviser Stephen Miller said “as we speak, an alternate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote,” and those votes will be sent to Congress in the latest effort by the Trump campaign to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election, which was won by President-elect Joe Biden.