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."
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.
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.
- Farivar, Masood (December 7, 2018). Trump's Justice Department Pick Has Criticized Special Counsel Probes. Voice of America. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
- Vazquez, Maegan; Collins, Kaitlan (December 7, 2018). Trump nominates William Barr to be his next attorney general. CNN. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
- Kim, Ellis (December 7, 2018). 4 Things to Know About William Barr, Trump's Pick to Replace Jeff Sessions. The National Law Journal. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
- Ballhaus, Rebecca; Gurman, Sadie; Viswanatha, Aruna (December 7, 2018). Trump Taps William Barr to Be Next Attorney General. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
- Binder, John (December 7, 2018). William Barr Prioritized Illegal Immigration Crackdown in 1990s–Similar to Sessions. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
- Arthur, Andrew R. (December 11, 2018). The Once (and Future?) AG William Barr on Immigration. Center for Immigration Studies. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
- Donachie, Robert (December 12, 2018). William Barr, Trump's pick as attorney general, is an immigration hardliner. Washington Examiner. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
- Terry Reed & John Cummings, Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA, Shapolsky Publishers, 1994
- William P. Barr Oral History, GEORGE H. W. BUSH PRESIDENCY, Miller Center.