William Barr Steps Down as Attorney General

Attorney General William Barr has stepped down from the Department of Justice after clashing with President Donald Trump over the 2020 election.

On Monday afternoon, Trump tweeted Barr's resignation letter, announcing that his last day would be December 23.

"I am greatly honored that you called on me to serve your Administration and the American people once again as Attorney General. I am proud to have played a role in the many successes and unprecedented achievements you have delivered for the American people. Your record is all the more historic because you accomplished it in the face of relentless, implacable resistance," Barr wrote.

In Trump's tweet, he said that Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen would become the acting attorney general. Richard Donoghue would be replacing Rosen as the deputy.

Barr declared on November 30 that the U.S. Justice Department uncovered no evidence of widespread fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

william barr police roundtable october 2020
Attorney General William Barr meets with members of the St. Louis Police Department during a round table discussion on Operation Legend on October 15, 2020, in St Louis, Missouri. Jeff Roberson/Pool/Getty Images

"There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud, and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven't seen anything to substantiate that, Barr said, referring to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.

The statement was a blow to Trump, who has refused to concede the 2020 contest to President-elect Joe Biden. The president has repeatedly alleged, without evidence, that the race was "rigged" and "stolen." Trump's campaign and Republican allies have filed dozens of lawsuits challenging results in key battleground states. Nearly all of them have been dismissed by the courts.

The declaration of zero election fraud was also notable coming from Barr as the attorney general was one of the president's most loyal Cabinet members. He assailed the 2016 probe into Russian election interference—which Trump has continuously called a "witch hunt"—and slammed the FBI for launching what he called an "intrusive investigation" into a presidential campaign based on the "thinnest of suspicions."

Barr then tapped U.S. Attorney John Durham to conduct a review of the origins of the 2016 Russia investigation, a move celebrated by Trump. Before he was left the administration, he appointed Durham to special counsel so he could continue his probe under the Biden administration.

His Justice Department also intervened in the criminal cases of Trump allies Michael Flynn and Roger Stone.

The deference Barr displayed for the president was often met with significant backlash by current and former members of the intelligence community. Almost 2,000 former FBI agents and Department of Justice officials wrote an open letter in May calling for Barr to resign over his handling of the Flynn case.

Barr was nominated by Trump to serve as attorney general in December 2018. He was later confirmed by the Senate by a 54-to-45 vote in February 2019. He's only the second person in history to serve twice as attorney general, having also held the position during George H.W. Bush's administration.

Barr was the third man to occupy the post in Trump's four years as president. He replaced acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who temporarily replaced Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he too was ousted by Trump.