As the results of the US Electoral College votes were announced on Monday, US President Donald Trump said Attorney General William Barr would no longer be heading the US Department of Justice after the Christmas holiday.
Trump and Barr have increasing butted heads in recent weeks, not only over the DoJ chief’s silence about an ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden, son of Trump’s election rival Joe Biden, but also Barr’s conclusion that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the November 3 election, as Trump has long claimed.
On Monday afternoon, as the US Electoral College delegates cast their votes for president on behalf of the US states and made Biden’s election official, Trump tweeted that Barr’s service in his administration was finished.
“Just had a very nice meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House. Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job! As per letter, Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family,” Trump tweeted.
Trump noted that Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen will be stepping up to become acting attorney general for the last month of his presidency, and Rosen’s office will be filled by Richard Donoghue, his principal deputy.
…Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen, an outstanding person, will become Acting Attorney General. Highly respected Richard Donoghue will be taking over the duties of Deputy Attorney General. Thank you to all! pic.twitter.com/V5sqOJT9PM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2020
In a letter tweeted by Trump, Barr hailed the successes of Trump’s four years as president, although he was only attorney general for less than half of that time. However, he was short on the details behind his early departure, saying only that he would spent the next few weeks wrapping up important matters and depart “as discussed.”
Barr is just the latest Trump administration official to depart in the time between Election Day and Inauguration Day, which is January 20, 2021. Other figures who have lost their jobs early have been former Defense Secretary Mark Esper and former head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Christopher Krebs. Both men were sacked due to prior disagreements with Trump: Esper for a dispute over renaming US bases named after Confederate figures, and Krebs for a statement similar to Barr’s, noting a lack of evidence for foreign interference in the November 3 election.