After criticism that his acting attorney general wasn't confirmed by the Senate, President Trump is considering a permanent replacement who was confirmed in the role decades ago, insiders say. Sources tell the Washington Post that Matthew Barr, a 68-year-old Republican lawyer who served as attorney general under George HW Bush from 1991 to 1993, has emerged as the leading candidate and could be named as Trump's nominee within days. The sources say that Barr, who became a corporate executive after leaving the Justice Department, isn't especially keen to return to the attorney general position after 25 years, but will serve if asked to out of a sense of duty.
Barr is seen as a mainstream choice, though critics note that he has spoken out against the Russia investigation and will face tough questions during the confirmation process. He has suggested that Hillary Clinton's role in a uranium deal "is more worthy of investigation than collusion between Trump and Russia," Obama-era White House ethics counsel Norman Eisen tells the New York Times. "That is bizarre. And he was involved in the dubious George HW Bush end of term pardons that may be a precedent for even more illegitimate ones by Trump." If confirmed, Barr will oversee his daughter, Mary Daly, who leads the Justice Department's fight against opioid abuse. (More than 400 former Justice officials have spoken out against acting attorney general Matt Whitaker.)