President Donald Trump is reportedly considering the appointment of Bill Barr to be the 77th Attorney General of the United States. If true, it would be Barr’s second stint as Attorney General after his service 1991 to 1993 during the administration of President George H. W. Bush — only the second time in history for such a successive appointment. I have known Bill Barr for years and represented him during the Clinton impeachment (with other former Attorneys General). He is one of the most brilliant lawyers I have known and would be a brilliant selection by President Trump for the position. To put it simply, he is the perfect choice for this position at this time. He is a rock solid leader who would bring stability and authority to the Justice Department.
Barr is an academic brat whose parents were leading academics at Columbia University. Mary and Donald Barr. His father was a particularly fascinating figure. Before teaching English at Columbia, Donald Barr wrote science fiction novels, New York Times reviewer, and was a headmaster. In World War II, he served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) – the predecessor of the CIA.
Barr inherited his parents intense patriotism and intellect. He received his B.A. degree in government and his M.A. degree in government and Chinese studies in 1973 from Columbia. He then graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School in 1977 with honors. He has long been one of our most distinguished alumni at GWU.
Barr worked for the Central Intelligence Agency while he studied at GWU. He then clerked on the D.C. Circuit for Judge Malcolm Wilkey. Barr then held a variety of public and private legal positions. He was ultimately appointed the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel under President Bush. He was then promoted to Deputy Attorney General in 1990 and then in 1991 replaced Attorney General Richard Thornburgh as Acting Attorney General. He was later nominated to that position and was easily confirmed.
Barr was popular with agents and viewed as a conservative, law-and-order Attorney General. He later assumed high corporate positions with companies like Verizon.
That is one of the most impressive and varied resumes in Washington. Barr has done it all and performed consistently as the highest possible level. He is a brilliant legal mind and a natural leader. He is also a talented bagpiper, a talent he first showed at age eight. When I would speak with him on the Verizon plane heading to some international meeting, Barr would often bring his pipes. I loved the image of Bill banging away on his pipes at 20,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. He is simply a man comfortable in his own skin — someone who marches literally to his own tune.