William Pelham Barr (born May 23, 1950) is an American lawyer and government official serving as the 85th United States Attorney General, in the Donald Trump administration since February 14, 2019.
He also served as the 77th Attorney General from 1991 to 1993, in the George H.
From 1973 to 1977, Barr was employed by the Central Intelligence Agency during his schooling years.
He then served as a law clerk to judge Malcolm Richard Wilkey.
In the 1980s, Barr worked for the law firm Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge, sandwiching a year's work in the White House of the Ronald Reagan administration dealing with legal policies.
Before becoming Attorney General in 1991, Barr held numerous other posts within the Department of Justice, including leading the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) and serving as Deputy Attorney General.
From 1994 to 2008, Barr did corporate legal work for GTE and its successor company Verizon Communications, which made him a multimillionaire.
From 2009 to 2018, Barr served on the board of directors for Time Warner.
Barr is a longtime proponent of the unitary executive theory of nearly unfettered presidential authority over the executive branch of the U.S.
In 1989, Barr, as the head of the OLC, justified the U.S.
invasion of Panama to arrest Manuel Noriega.
As deputy attorney general, Barr authorized an FBI operation in 1991 which freed hostages at the Talladega federal prison.
An influential advocate for tougher criminal justice policies, Barr as attorney general in 1992 authored the report The Case for More Incarceration, where he argued for an increase in the United States incarceration rate.
Under Barr's advice, President George H.
Bush in 1992 pardoned six officials involved in the Iran–Contra affair.
Barr became attorney general for the second time in 2019.
Under his leadership the Justice Department has argued to nullify the Affordable Care Act and reinstated the death penalty for federal crimes.
Having criticized the Mueller investigation before taking office, Barr did not recuse himself from overseeing the investigation as attorney general.
After receiving Mueller's report he issued a four page letter to Congress, describing what he said were its principal conclusions, and adding his opinion that the evidence presented did not establish obstruction of justice by Trump.
Special counsel Mueller privately responded that Barr's letter had misrepresented the report.
After a redacted version of the actual report was released, fact-checkers and news organizations also stated that Barr's letter mischaracterized the report.
A report from the inspector general of the Justice Department was released on December 9, 2019; which found some mistakes in the handling of the Russia investigation, but no evidence that political bias against Trump tainted the investigation.
Within hours of the IG report's release, Barr publicly announced his disagreement with the report's findings.
The following day, Barr claimed in an interview with NBC News that the Russia investigation was "completely baseless" and said he believed the FBI's investigation may have been conducted in "bad faith".