Barr donated $55,000 to establishment candidate Jeb Bush in the 2016 presidential election, but after Trump became the nominee, Barr donated only $2,700. He was on the board of Time Warner, the parent company of CNN, between 2009 and 2018, and he thus supported its merger with AT&T when conservatives and the Trump Administration opposed it.
When President Trump nominated Barr to be his attorney general, some liberals praised Barr, calling him "mainstream conservative" and "less ideologically extreme" than the conservative Jeff Sessions. Sen. Patrick Leahy, who was forced to resign from the Senate Intelligence Committee for leaking information related to the Mena/Contra operation in 1987, was an enthusiastic supporter. Bush DOJ official Stuart Gerson called Barr and Bob Mueller "folks of the establishment." Barr is personal friends with Mueller, leading to questions of whether he would do anything to stop overreach by Mueller.
When he was Attorney General in the Bush Administration, Barr took actions to crack down on illegal immigration. However, it should be noted that the Administration was trying to fend off Pat Buchanan's primary challenge at the time, and his actions happened at a time when even liberal Democrats claimed to support tough border security. However, Barr opposed building border barriers across the entire border with Mexico.
George H.W. Bush administration
Prior to his appointment as Attorney General, Barr served as Chief Counsel for the CIA airline Southern Air Transport during Iran Contra. Robert Mueller served as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division during Barr's tenure.
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- Multiple references:
- Baumann, Beth (January 16, 2019). Gun Rights Groups: We Object to William Barr Being Confirmed as AG. Townhall. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- Did Trump Just Nominate a Gun-Grapper for Attorney General? Gun Owners of America. January 15, 2019. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- Jones, Susan (January 16, 2019). William Barr Explains 'The Single Most Important Thing We Can Do in the Gun Control Area'. CNS News. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- Weingarten, Dean (January 17, 2019). AG Nominee William Barr on Second Amendment During Confirmation Hearings ~ VIDEO. Ammoland. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- New Attorney General Nominee William Barr’s Record on Guns Revealed. The Truth About Guns. December 8, 2018. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- Binder, John (December 7, 2018). William Barr Prioritized Illegal Immigration Crackdown in 1990s–Similar to Sessions. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
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- Donachie, Robert (December 12, 2018). William Barr, Trump's pick as attorney general, is an immigration hardliner. Washington Examiner. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
- Trump’s pick for AG once questioned value of border wall. Politico (from the Associated Press). December 31, 2018. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
- Terry Reed & John Cummings, Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA, Shapolsky Publishers, 1994
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- William P. Barr Oral History, GEORGE H. W. BUSH PRESIDENCY, Miller Center.