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Trump’s Nominee for Attorney General Receives Strong Support from Law Enforcement

Letters endorsing William Barr have gone to senators ahead of committee vote

Law enforcement groups and officials have shared their endorsement of attorney general nominee William Barr,  according to letters sent around on Wednesday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has been collecting statements about the nomination; and the committee sent out an email listing various law enforcement groups and officials who have voiced their thoughts on Barr.

Those letters show strong support for the nomination.

“Bill is that rare combination of intellect and principle who has served our country and the Department of Justice with great distinction and then excelled as a senior executive in the private sector,” a January 9 letter from 120 former Department of Justice and law enforcement officials said.

“Bill’s career reveals a character of unwavering commitment to the rule of law without regard to favor or politics,” it added.

The letter noted that Barr has played a pivotal role in many law enforcement matters. He successfully secured prosecutions for those behind the savings and loans crisis; worked with Robert Mueller when he was assistant attorney general on the investigation into the Pan Am 103 Lockerbie bombing; and worked on the prosecution of police officers in the Rodney King matter.

Related: Trump’s Attorney General Pick Promises Not to Interfere with Mueller Investigation

“Mr. Barr has a broad base of experience in public service and the private sector,” said a January 15 letter from 21 state attorneys generals. “His work has honed the skill sets necessary to tackle effectively the array of issues under the purview of the U.S. Department of Justice. He knows the agency, its responsibilities, and its impact in the lives of Americans.”

Barr has previous experience in the role, of course, having served as attorney general for a few years under former President George H. W. Bush.

The Democrat-controlled Senate back then confirmed him by voice vote just 36 days after he was nominated.

Former Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) led the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time and advanced him with a 14-0 vote.

“[Barr] clearly demonstrated that he has the necessary qualifications and experience to effectively lead the U.S. Department of Justice,” Paul Cell, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, said in a letter on January 14. “Throughout Mr. Barr’s long and successful career in public service, he has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to the rule of law and [indicated that] he has a unique understanding of the challenges and the complexities law enforcement agencies face daily in safeguarding the citizens they were sworn to protect.”

The committee could vote on the Barr nomination as soon as this week.

Barr would then be considered by the full Senate.

But his nomination has faced concerns over his views on executive powers. Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and others are concerned about a memo he wrote about the executive powers issue.

Related: Former U.S. Attorney: ‘General Flynn Gave Them Nothing About the President’

Barr, in his legal memo last year, criticized the ongoing special counsel investigation into President Donald Trump and for pursuing obstruction of justice charges. Barr addressed the concerns during his nomination hearing by noting he supports the right of the special counsel to finish the inquiry — and said he was merely discussing a specific legal theory he was warning investigators not to pursue.

Mueller has been leading the special counsel investigation into whether or not the president or his associates colluded with Russian interests during the campaign.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly accused the special counsel team of bias — which has raised concerns over why he would pick Barr, given the memo.

National Narcotic Officers’ Associations Coalition president Bob Bushman, Major Cities Chiefs Association president Art Acevedo, International Union of Police Associations president Sam Cabral, and National Alliance of Gang Investigators Associations president C.P. Schoville all were among the list of other law enforcement officials who sent letters in support of Barr.

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Connor D. Wolf covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at [email protected].