The U.S. President made his announcement shortly after the Electoral College confirmed his loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden.
Attorney General William Barr, one of President Donald Trump’s staunchest allies, is resigning amid lingering tension with the President over his baseless claims of election fraud and the investigation into President-elect Joe Biden’s son.
Mr. Barr went Monday to the White House, where Mr. Trump said the Attorney General submitted his letter of resignation. “As per letter, Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family,” Mr. Trump tweeted.
Mr. Trump has publicly expressed his anger about Mr. Barr’s statement to The Associated Press earlier this month that the Justice Department had found no widespread election fraud that would change the outcome of the election. Trump has also been angry that the Justice Department did not publicly announce it was investigating Hunter Biden ahead of the election, despite department policy against such a pronouncement.
Mr. Barr in his resignation letter said he updated Mr. Trump Monday on the department’s review of voter fraud allegations in the 2020 election and how these allegations will continue to be pursued.” He added that his last day on the job would be December 23.
Mr. Trump said Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen, whom he labeled an outstanding person, will become Acting Attorney General.
Mr. Trump spent much of the day watching the Electoral College tally and calling allies but broke away to meet with Mr. Barr.
His tweet about Mr. Barr’s exit was an unusually heartfelt response from a President who is notoriously cold to his departing staff and quick to name-call and deride them once they say they are leaving. The president has previously claimed he fired staffers who resigned to make himself appear more powerful.
Despite Mr. Trump’s obvious disdain for those who publicly disagree with him, Mr. Barr had generally remained in the president’s good graces and has been one of the president’s most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls.
But Mr. Trump has a low tolerance for criticism, especially public criticism, from his allies and often fires back in kind.
Mr. Barr, who was serving in his second stint as attorney general, sought to paint himself as an independent leader who would not bow to political pressure. But Democrats have repeatedly accused Barr of acting more like the President’s personal attorney than the attorney general, and Barr had proved to be a largely reliable Trump ally and defender of presidential power.