Dec 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Attorney General Barr departs Justice Department

barr
Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr sent a parting note to his colleagues on Wednesday to mark the end of his time leading the Department of Justice, stating that it's been a "great honor to serve once again in this role," NBC News reports.

What to watch: Barr will be replaced in an acting capacity by Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who multiple administration officials privately say now has the worst job in Washington.

  • Rosen will face a month of chaos as President Trump continues to engage with conspiracy theorists like lawyer Sidney Powell, who has encouraged him to take extreme steps in his baseless efforts to overturn the results of the election.
  • Rosen will also face pressure from Trump over inquiries into Hunter Biden, whose finances are under federal investigation, as well as special counsel John Durham's probe into the origins of the Russia investigation.

The big picture: Barr — the subject of intense criticism from Democrats throughout his tenure — fell out of favor with Trump after refusing to endorse his unfounded claims of voter fraud and not releasing the Durham report before the election.

  • In his last press conference as attorney general on Tuesday, Barr took the rare step of publicly contradicting Trump on a number of hot-button issues.
  • He told reporters he sees no reason to name a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, there is no basis for the federal government to seize voting machines, and that he agrees with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's assessment that Russia was behind the massive recent hack of federal agencies.

What he's saying: "The dedicated men and women of this Department — including its operational components — have risen to meet historic challenges. ... I will always be grateful for your devoted service to the Nation we love," Barr wrote in his letter to staff.

Go deeper: Read more on the events leading up to Barr's resignation

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