William Barr has been nominated by Donald Trump to replace Jeff Sessions as the next Attorney General.
The announcement came on Friday, December 7, in a much-awaited press conference. Trump said of his decision, “He was my first choice since Day One.”
Barr has direct experience for the role: he was the Attorney General for George H.W. Bush from 1991-93.
If Barr gets voted through by the Senate, he will indirectly oversee the work of his daughter, Mary, who works for the Department of Justice. Here’s what you need to know about his family:
1. Barr Was Born to Mary & Donald Barr, Both of Whom Were Faculty Members at Columbia University
Barr was born on May 23, 1950, to Mary and Donald Barr, both of whom worked at Columbia University. Barr was one of four brothers, according to AJC. He was raised on the Upper West Side.
According to his bio for Kirkland & Ellis, Barr went to Columbia University as an undergraduate; he received his A.B. in government, then his M.A. in government and Chinese studies in 1973.
From there, Barr went on to work at the CIA. Following that four-year stint, Barr went to George Washington University law school.
2. Barr Married His Wife, Christine, in 1973
Barr married his wife, Christine, in 1973, right before he went to work at the CIA. Little is known about Christine, but she and Barr do have at least one child.
3. Barr’s Daughter, Mary Daly, Works at the Justice Department Specializing in the Opioid Crisis
As news of Barr’s potential appointment to the Trump administration began to circulate, one especially interesting news angle came out: if Barr were appointed, he would indirectly oversee his daughter, Mary Daly, who works at the Department of Justice.
According to The Washington Post, Daly is a former federal prosecutor who specialized in prosecuting gang members and drug traffickers in New York and Virginia for thirteen years. She now works in the deputy attorney general’s office as the administration’s point person on the opioid crisis.
In April, Daly told CBS that she favors a tough-on-crime approach to the drug epidemic. She said, “We need to use tough prosecutions if we are going to get our way out of this epidemic. We don’t ignore the need for prevention and treatment efforts, but the notion that tough enforcement is the wrong approach is wrong.”
4. Barr Was Attorney General Under President George H.W. Bush
Barr has direct experience for the role he was appointed to. He was the Attorney General for the Bush administration from 1991-93.
5. Both Parties Have Praised Barr’s Extensive Political Experience
Both parties have praised Barr’s extensive experience and preparation for the role he’s been nominated to, though there has also been concern about recent statements Barr has made. For example, Barr wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post shortly after James Comey’s dismissal arguing that Trump fully had the right to fire him based on performance issues.
Barr wrote, “Comey’s removal simply has no relevance to the integrity of the Russian investigation as it moves ahead.”
Norm Eisen, who chairs the organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), said to USA Today of the nomination, “If he is the nominee, he will deserve a very rigorous vetting by the Senate. He has advanced the bizarre idea that Hillary Clinton’s role in the Uranium One deal is more worthy of investigation than Trump-Russia collusion. That is nonsense.”
CNN commentator Keith Boykin wrote on Twitter,
“Why Trump is nominating William Barr to be attorney general: 1. Barr defended Trump for firing FBI director James Comey. 2. Barr wants to investigate Hillary Clinton. 3. Barr advised George H.W. Bush in pardoning 6 Reagan officials involved in the Iran-Contra scandal.”
Harvard professor Jack Goldsmith tweeted, “Bill Barr is undoubtedly very highly qualified to be AG. He is also undoubtedly committed to the unitary executive.”