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Barr Has Considered Resigning Over Trump's Remarks

Attorney General William Barr has considered resigning because of President Trump's tweets and remarks.
Susan Walsh
Attorney General William Barr has considered resigning because of President Trump's tweets and remarks.

Attorney General William Barr has told people close to him that he has considered resigning over his growing frustration with President Trump and the president's public statements about the Justice Department and its ongoing cases, an administration official tells NPR.

It is unclear whether the attorney general ever informed the president he was considering quitting, and for now, Barr remains at the department's helm. A spokeswoman says he has "no plans to resign."

Still, the news adds to a tumultuous week and a half at the Justice Department as Barr pushes back against the president and questions swirl about the politicization of the department under Trump.

In an interview with ABC News last week, Barr said the president's tweets and other remarks about the Justice Department make it "impossible" for him to do his job. An official says Barr has made the same point to the president directly.

On Tuesday, Trump declared himself the "chief law enforcement officer of the country," a designation traditionally given the attorney general. Trump conceded he does make Barr's job harder but said he has "total confidence" in the attorney general.

The differences between Trump and Barr came into focus again this week when the president tweeted that the case against his ally Roger Stone and others stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election "should be thrown out." Stone was convicted of lying to Congress, witness intimidation and other charges. He is to be sentenced on Thursday.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.
Ryan Lucas covers the Justice Department for NPR.
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