President Donald Trump said Friday that he plans to nominate former Attorney General William Barr to his old job, naming a formal replacement for Jeff Sessions after ousting him last month.
Trump told reporters outside the White House that Barr, who served as attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush, is “one of the most respected jurists in the country,” and he said he believes the Senate confirmation process will “go very quickly.”
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“I did not know him until recently, when I went through the process of looking at people, and he was my first choice from Day 1,” Trump said, adding that he’s “respected by Republicans and respected by Democrats.”
“I think he will serve with great distinction,” Trump said of Barr.
The White House counsel’s office has in recent weeks had several conversations with Barr, who initially urged the president’s advisers to look at other candidates.
Prior to his nomination, some White House aides wondered whether the president would pick a stranger for a job he believes belongs to someone who will be loyal to him. Trump grew frustrated with Sessions for recusing himself from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Still, Barr is widely respected among congressional Republicans, making him potentially easier to confirm.
Trump also said he plans to nominate State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert to serve as United Nations ambassador. Nikki Haley, the current ambassador, will step down at the end of the year.
The president said Nauert is “very talented, very smart and very quick.”
“I think she’s going to be respected by all,” Trump said.