William Barr is leading candidate for Attorney General

President George H.W. Bush and William Barr wave after Barr was sworn in as Attorney General in 1991

President George H.W. Bush and William Barr wave after Barr was sworn in as Attorney General in 1991

If nominated and confirmed, he would replace Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who's held the top post since Trump fired Jeff Sessions last month.

The Mueller probe has been an Achilles heel for the office of attorney general the past couple of years.

The presidents' aides had previously floated the idea of Barr retaking his post in the Justice Department, sources said, with an announcement expected next week.

More of note than Barr's experience in the role may be comments he made as recently as 2017.

By replacing Jeff Sessions, who was sacked by Mr Trump last month, the 68-year-old will take charge of the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

The president called him a "highly respected lawyer" by both Republicans and Democrats and "a terrific man" while speaking to reporters on the White House South Lawn.

Barr served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 during the George H.W. Bush administration. Barr later worked as a corporate general counsel and is now of counsel at a prominent global law firm, Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Barr also defended the firing of FBI Director James Comey, claiming that his public statement recommending no charges against Clinton for her private email use encroached on the responsibilities of the Attorney General.

"Juan exaggerated what Bill Barr said", Rove said, adding that Barr spke in "measured tones" and raised a "legitimate concern".

During the Senate confirmation hearings when he was first appointed attorney general, Barr said he did not agree with the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision and viewed abortion as an issue best left to the states, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time.

"In my view, prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party", Barr said.

Senate Democrats have sued the administration over the appointment, arguing it wasn't constitutional.

He has said that Robert Mueller hired too many prosecutors with Democratic campaign ties for his investigative team - telling the Washington Post he "would have liked to see [Mueller] have more balance".

At least one other contender who has received serious consideration from the White House, according to the person, is Rep. John Ratcliffe, a Texas Republican.

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