Despite an apparently good relationship with President Donald Trump throughout his time at the helm of the U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General William Barr has taken a seemingly antagonistic approach toward the White House in recent months.
According to new reports, the relationship was further strained this week when Barr announced that he saw no reason to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of election fraud or claims against Hunter Biden.
“No plan to do so”
His defiant remarks on both matters came just days before he is set to officially step down from his Justice Department post.
During a press conference on Monday to announce charges against a suspect in a 1988 passenger jet bombing, Barr fielded a range of questions from reporters.
Many were focused on his immediate plans upon leaving office with just weeks left in Trump’s first term.
As for calls to appoint a special counsel to probe the investigation of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son, Barr said he had “no plan to do so” before stepping down later this week.
“To the extent that there is an investigation, I think that it’s being handled responsibly and professionally,” he said of the Hunter Biden case.
“More of a loyal trooper”
Barr responded to a similar question regarding a possible special prosecutor into allegations of election fraud. Though the outgoing attorney general indicated that he would do so if he felt it was appropriate.
“But I haven’t, and I’m not going to,” he added.
When Barr exits his post this week, his replacement is set to be acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, seen by some pundits as a wild card in regard to his response to any potential pressure from the president.
During the weeks in which Rosen will occupy the office on an interim basis, critics worry that he could be more susceptible than Barr, with NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson describing him as “more of a loyal trooper.”
Despite the apparent rift, Trump sang Barr’s praises in a tweet announcing the latter’s resignation: “Just had a very nice meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House. Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job!”