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Tags: william barr | cabinet | george hw bush

Bush Protege Barr Emerges as Strong Man in Trump Cabinet

attorney general william barr
Attorney General William Barr (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

John Gizzi By Friday, 14 February 2020 06:10 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

In just the last few days, Attorney General William Barr has emerged as the strong man in President Donald Trump's Cabinet.

Several administration sources told Newsmax that Barr won the president's full confidence by recommending to a federal judge that former Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone receive "far less" time in prison than the 7-9 years recommended by the prosecution team.

The same sources say Barr's clout with the president now rivals that of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, long considered the premier Cabinet secretary by Trump.

Three historians who spoke to Newsmax said Barr's influence with Trump is on par with strong attorneys general of the past, such as Herbert Brownell, formerly President Dwight D. Eisenhower's campaign manager; Robert F. Kennedy, attorney general for his older brother, President John F. Kennedy; John Mitchell, who went from President Richard Nixon's law partner to heading the Justice Department; and Eric Holder, considered President Barack Obama's closest confidant in the Cabinet.

Ironically, Barr's background is anything but that of a Trump loyalist. His mentor and benefactor was the late President George H.W. Bush, who named him assistant attorney general for legal counsel in 1989 and then deputy attorney general in 1990. In 1991, Bush nominated the 41-year-old Barr for attoney general and he was confirmed in November of that year.

"Barr is now clearly in the same condition as Bobby [Kennedy] was under JFK and Holder was under Obama — meaning he has the ear of the president whenever he wants it," said professor Irwin F. Gellman, author of two acclaimed books on Nixon's life.

James Rosen, a Sinclair News reporter and author of "The Strong Man" (a much-praised biography of Nixon's Attorney General Mitchell), told us, "Attorney General Barr probably wouldn't encourage direct comparisons with John Mitchell, but they both exemplified the maxim attributed to the late Herman Kahn, to wit: 'There are two types of people; those who care what The New York Times says about them, and those who do not.'"

Rosen believes that "as with Mitchell, Barr's legacy will not be fully understood until some time has passed after his departure from office."

Regarding what several denounce as the politicization of the Justice Department under Barr, David Pietrusza, author of five books on presidential election years, told us, "for as long as there have been attorneys general there have been charges of the politicization of the office. Few Cabinet members and fewer attorneys general are ever chosen from the ranks of those absent from the electoral wars. One doesn't have to look very far back to understand that point, whether we're talking about Eric Holder or [Reagan administration Attorney General] Ed Meese.

"What is surprising about the situation is that we continue to be surprised by it."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

In just the last few days, Attorney General William Barr has emerged as the strong man in President Donald Trump's Cabinet because of comments he made regarding Roger Stone.
william barr, cabinet, george hw bush
Friday, 14 February 2020 06:10 AM
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