Government & Politics

On way to KC speech, Trump nominates a new AG and lobs scorn on Comey and Mueller

President Donald Trump spoke to supporters in October at a campaign rally at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka.
President Donald Trump spoke to supporters in October at a campaign rally at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka. syang@kcstar.com

President Donald Trump took time on his way to a speech in Kansas City Friday to disparage two former FBI directors and announce his latest nominee for Attorney General.

He spent the early morning hours spawning a twitter storm, with no evidence or facts, over the probe into Russia’s role in the 2016 campaign (“Robert Mueller and Leakin’ Lyin’ James Comey are Best Friends,” ), and speculating on conflicts of interest involving deputy attorney Rod Rosenstein, who was in Kansas City on Wednesday.

The tirade was capped off with a vow that “we will be doing a major Counter Report to the Mueller Report. This should never again be allowed to happen to a future President of the United States!”

The fierce social media activity comes amid reports that documents were likely to be filed Friday by special counsel Mueller outlining his cases concerning key Trump figures Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen.

Trump is scheduled to address the final day of the Justice Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods National Conference at the Westin Crown Center. The three-day event has been attended by around 700 people, including U.S. attorneys, police chiefs and prosecutors, with some attendees carrying guns and wearing their badges as they walked around the conference hotel.

Before landing in Kansas City, Trump also announced his new nominee for attorney general. William Barr served in the same position under President George H.W. Bush.

The move was immediately praised by Republican Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt.

“Bill Barr is exceptionally well-qualified,” Blunt said in a statement. “He understands the job and will have the confidence of the Congress as well as the president.”

Stephen McAllister, the U.S. Attorney for Kansas, also welcomed Trump’s decision to bring the H.W. Bush administration official back into the fold.

“He’s always seemed to be an outstanding man and he’s had a pretty incredible career,” McAllister said.

But Barr has also echoed, in a more subdued voice, Trump’s objections to the Mueller probe. His past comments could become in a issue in his Senate confirmation hearings.

In an op-ed for The Washington Post in May 2017, he supported Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, one of the actions Mueller has been investigating for possible obstruction of justice.

Two months later, he expressed concern that members of Mueller’s team had given contributions to Democratic candidates.

“In my view, prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party,” Barr told The Washington Post. “I would have liked to see him have more balance on this group.”

He was attorney general from 1991 to 1993, serving in the Justice Department at the same Mueller ran the department’s criminal division

Barr later worked as a corporate general counsel and is currently of counsel at a prominent international law firm, Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

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