WASHINGTON – Attorney General William Barr has considered resigning his post in a widening dispute with President Donald Trump over his persistent tweets criticizing Justice Department investigations, a person familiar with the matter said late Tuesday.
It was not immediately clear whether the attorney general directly communicated his concerns to the president since he told ABC News last week that Trump’s repeated disparagement of federal prosecutors had made his job “impossible.”
Late Tuesday, the Justice Department said Barr had “no plans” to resign.
The development was first reported by The Washington Post and comes as the Justice Department and the White House have been enveloped in near-constant tumult.
In an interview with ABC News last week, Barr suggested the president should stop weighing in on criminal cases handled by the Justice Department.
“It’s time to stop the tweeting about the Department of Justice criminal cases,” he said, saying Trump’s commentary makes it “impossible for me to do my job.”
Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews on Tuesday that “I do make his job harder. I do agree with that.” But he said he has “total confidence in my attorney general.”
“I think he’s doing an excellent job. He’s a strong guy,” Trump said.
Trump praises Barr:Trump says, ‘I do make his job harder’
The Justice Department has been mired in a political crisis after a contentious week, with more than 2,000 former employees of the DOJ signing a letter calling on Barr to resign.
The officials were exasperated with Barr intervening in politically sensitive prosecutions, including a lighter sentencing recommendation for former Trump adviser Roger Stone.
Shortly after federal prosecutors recommended seven to nine years for the longtime GOP operative, Trump claimed the sentencing recommendation was “very unfair.”
The DOJ then backed away from the recommendation, and in a matter of hours, four attorneys who worked on Stone’s case and prepared the sentencing recommendation abruptly quit the prosecution team. One quit the DOJ entirely.
Meanwhile, the Federal Judges Association, a group of 1,100 federal jurists, called an emergency meeting Wednesday to address growing concerns about intervention by the Justice Department’s leadership and Trump in politically sensitive cases.
Contributing: Kristine Phillips, John Fritze, David Jackson