William Pelham Barr


Also found in: Legal.

Barr, William Pelham

Barr, William Pelham, 1950–, U.S. lawyer and government official, b. New York City, grad. Columbia (B.A. 1971, M.A. 1973). A conservative Republican noted for his expansive view of the powers of the president, he worked for the CIA while attending George Washington Univ. Law School (J.D. 1977), then spent several years in private practice. Under President George H. W. Bush, he served in the the Dept. of Justice's Office of Legal Council (1989–90), then was deputy attorney general (1990–91) and attorney general (1991–93). He subsequently was executive vice president and general counsel for GTE Corp. (1994–2000) and for Verizon (2000–2008), and advised corporations on government affairs and regulations. In 2019 he was appointed attorney general by President Trump. His highly public, overly positive characterization of Robert Mueller's assessment of Trump's actions in Mueller's report (2019) on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election made Barr almost immediately controversial. He subsequently worked actively to advance Trump's policies, and was criticized by some for politicizing the Justice Dept. He resigned as attorney general in Dec., 2020.
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