The Once and Future Attorney General

The Story:

Soon after the funeral of former President George Herbert Walker Bush, President Donald Trump nominated a new Attorney General, one who held the same position during that first Bush presidency, William P. Barr.


In August 1991, Richard Thornburgh resigned as AG and Barr became Acting AG. Three days after Barr received that position, 121 inmates rioted at the Talladega federal prison and seized 9 hostages. Barr ordered the FBI’s hostage rescue team to assault the prison. It did so and the team rescued all hostages. That successful raid redounded to Barr’s credit and he was soon upgraded from acting to permanent Attorney General.

Not only was Barr’s confirmation by the U.S. Senate uncontentious, Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden praised his honesty and said he’d be a throwback “to the days when we actually had attorneys-general that would talk to you.”

The Thing to Know:
Barr’s confirmation hearings this time around will almost certainly be more heated than were those of 1991. In 2018 or -19, he will face demands that he support the autonomy of the Office of Special Counsel, a/k/a the Mueller investigation.  

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