The US Attorney General, William Barr, is set to step down from office next week. President Donald Trump announced Barr’s departure on Twitter on Monday evening. Trump’s tweet came shortly after President-elect Joe Biden was certified by the Electoral College as the winner of the November 3rd presidential poll.
Trump insinuated that Barr’s departure was in good faith despite contrary media reports in recent weeks that described worsening relations between him and the nation’s chief legal officer. Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen was announced as Barr’s replacement, while Richard Donoghue will replace Rosen.
Reports said Trump had wanted to fire Barr but was warned against taking such a step by senior members of the administration. However, a senior staff member at the White House revealed that Barr was not forced to resign. The official revealed that the Monday meeting between Trump and Barr was without tensions, and the meeting went on cordially.
In his letter of resignation, Barr said the allegations of voter fraud were still under investigation. He praised the doggedness of the president in fighting for what he believed despite the numerous oppositions against him. Earlier this month, the attorney general stated that investigations showed that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud to confirm the allegations by Trump, Vox reports.
Barr has been a staunch supporter of the president and was critical to the reports that cleared Trump of links and collusion with Russia. He supported the president till Election Day. However, his decision not to support Trump in his claims that Biden was rigged into office caused a frayed relationship between the pair. Barr said investigations by the Justice Department did not find widespread evidence of voter fraud and manipulations.
After Barr’s statement was reported in the media, Trump had a lengthy meeting with his attorney general, where he made his displeasure known. Reports said Barr started considering leaving the administration after Trump and other senior members of the administration attacked him on various news media.
Since he came into the office in 2018, Barr has been no stranger to controversies. He did not support the various lockdown measures instituted by state governors at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. He called it one of the greatest infringements on human liberties in the history of America. He defended the president against sexual assault allegations and ordered protesters to be roughly dispersed during the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
A talking point was also his dismissal of charges against the former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn. Trump subsequently pardoned Flynn. However, despite taking the bullet for Trump on numerous occasions, the president grew increasingly frustrated with Barr a few weeks to the election. Barr’s sharp turn against the president with respect to his effort to overturn the outcome of the election proved the final nail in the coffin of their relationship.