President Donald Trump announced that Attorney General Bill Barr would step down later this month, before his presidency ends in January, The New York Times reports.
“Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job!” Trump tweeted before announcing Barr would step down “just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family.”
The resignation came after Trump repeatedly refused to say if he had confidence in his attorney general after Barr refuted his false claims of voter fraud.
Trump announced that Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen would serve as acting attorney general while US Attorney Richard Donoghue would serve as the interim deputy attorney general.
Rosen is a former Transportation Department official that Barr urged Trump to appoint after joining the administration.
Donoghue has served as the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York since 2018.
Barr praises Trump in letter:
Despite falling out of favor with Trump after acknowledging there was no widespread fraud and drawing criticism for not announcing the DOJ investigation into Hunter Biden during the campaign, Barr repeatedly praised Trump in his resignation letter.
“I am proud to have played a role in the many successes and unprecedented achievements you have delivered for the American people,” Barr said. “Your record is all the more historic because you accomplished it in the face of relentless, implacable resistance.”
Barr repeatedly braved Trump’s response to criticism, decrying a “partisan onslaught against your in which no tactic, no matter how abusive or deceitful, was out of bounds.”
“The nadir of this campaign was the effort to cripple, if not oust, your Administration with frenzied and baseless accusations of collusion with Russia,” he wrote. “Few could have weathered these attacks, much less forge ahead with a positive program for the country.”
Barr leaves controversial legacy:
Barr was initially praised as a potentially moderating influence after Trump appointed Matthew Whittaker to temporarily replace Jeff Sessions. But his overbroad view of executive authority and interventions in cases related to Trump drew protests within the Justice Department and from legal experts around the country.
Barr mischaracterized the Mueller report, pushed baseless voter fraud concerns, participated in the tear-gassing of peaceful protesters, intervened in the cases of Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, and appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the Russia probe.
“Whomever Joe Biden chooses as the new attorney general will have a tremendous amount of work to do to repair the integrity of the Department of Justice,” said House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler. “The work must begin without delay.”