WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Friday he will nominate William Barr, former President George H.W. Bush’s attorney general, to serve in the same role.
Trump made the announcement while departing the White House for a trip to Missouri. He called Barr ‘‘a terrific man’’ and ‘‘one of the most respected jurists in the country.’’
‘‘I think he will serve with great distinction,’’ Trump said.
If confirmed by the Senate, Barr would succeed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was forced out by Trump in November following an acrimonious tenure. Sessions’ chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, is currently serving as acting attorney general.
The announcement comes at a precarious time as special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, which the department oversees, is showing signs of entering its final stages.
Barr was attorney general between 1991 and 1993, serving in the Justice Department at the same Mueller oversaw 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.
Trump also announced Friday he’s nominating State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
‘‘Heather Nauert will be nominated,’’ Trump said Friday before departing the White House on Marine One for an event in Kansas City. ‘‘She’s very talented, very smart, very quick, and I think she’s going to be respected by all.’’
If she is confirmed by the Senate, Nauert, a former Fox News Channel reporter who had little foreign policy experience before becoming State Department spokeswoman, will replace Nikki Haley. Haley, a former South Carolina governor, announced in October that she would step down at the end of this year. Nauert would be a leading administration voice on Trump’s foreign policy.
Trump told reporters last month that Nauert was ‘‘excellent,’’ adding, ‘‘She’s been a supporter for a long time.’’