President Trump confirmed that he would appoint former Attorney General William P. Barr to head the Justice Department, telling reporters on Friday that Barr was "my first choice since the first day."
He also announced the appointment of Heather Nauert as US ambassador to the United Nations, adding that the State Department spokeswoman, a foreign policy novice, was "very talented, very smart, very fast".
Movements were expected, although Trump's comments offered official confirmation.
The Washington Post announced a day earlier that Barr, 68, was a highly respected Republican lawyer who had served as Attorney General from 1991 to 1993 under the orders of President George HW Bush had emerged as a leading candidate , and Trump told his associates that he was considering appointing him attorney general.
In a brief telephone conversation Friday, Barr confirmed that he had accepted the offer of the president.
The position of Attorney General and that of the United States Ambassador must be confirmed by the Senate. The members of the Senate External Relations Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee – who will be responsible for the appointments of ambassadors and attorneys general respectively – said Friday that neither committee would hold hearings. this year, given the short time remaining before the new Senate. January 3rd.
At the confirmation hearing, Mr. Barr will likely face tough questions as to how he will conduct the ongoing investigation of a special advocate on a possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russia to influence the presidential election of 2016. This survey is led by Robert S. Mueller III.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Who sits on the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that he "would require that Barr make a firm and specific commitment to protect Mueller's investigation, operates regardless of the White House, and respect the law. "
The president objected to the investigation and supervision of his Justice Ministry.
Trump's relationship with his former Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, was severed largely because Sessions recused himself before Mueller's assignment, leaving Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein at the helm.
Trump reiterated his attacks on Friday, tweeting what he called Mueller's "major conflicts of interest" and saying he was considering making a "major report against the Mueller report".
"This should never be allowed to happen to a future president of the United States!" Wrote Trump.
Addressing reporters while he was leaving the White House, Trump called Mr. Barr "one of the most respected jurists in the country" and a "wonderful man," of a wonderful man, of a brilliant man ".
Administration officials expect Barr's candidacy to be welcomed by Republicans, who respect his experience, and by the Democrats, who could see him as a lawyer from the old GOP school who did not no personal loyalty to the president.
After leaving the Department of Justice, Mr. Barr held a number of senior positions with the firm, including legal counsel and executive vice-president of Verizon Communications. He is currently a lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis.
Until Barr takes his place – if it is confirmed – the department will continue to be headed by the Acting Attorney General, Matthew G. Whitaker, who has received strong criticism of of his past commercial relations and his public criticism of Mueller's investigation.
Barr shares at least one of the president's views on Mueller's team. In 2017, questioned by the Washington Post about political donations made by lawyers for the special advocates team, Barr said that "prosecutors who make political contributions identify fairly strongly with a political party". He added, "I would have liked that [Mueller] find more balance in this group. Mueller's team has largely donated to Democratic candidates.
Nauert, 48, joined the state department last year without any government experience after an anchor and correspondent career at Fox News. She would replace Nikki Haley, who was twice elected governor of South Carolina but also lacked experience in foreign policy.
In his new role, Nauert would be responsible for maintaining international support for economic sanctions against North Korea and for maintaining the Trump Administration's unwavering support for Israel in the face of close scrutiny at the United Nations.
His scheduled appointment was announced by Bloomberg News and confirmed by The Post on Thursday.
The Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees will be under new leadership next year, with Senator Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.) leading the Judiciary and Senator James E. Risch (R-Idaho) on the point to become president of foreign relations. .
"Based on past experience and the fact that the committee has not yet received a nomination from the White House, it is very unlikely that a candidate will be able to complete his administrative formalities (committee questionnaire , financial communication, OIG report). , etc.) and organize meetings with committee members that take place before a hearing before the end of the year, "said an official of the Foreign Relations Committee on Friday after Trump announced his candidacy for the candidacy of the Nauert.
John Wagner contributed to this report.