William Barr, who served as attorney general under the late President George H.W. Bush, is slated to take on the role again under President Donald Trump as Jeff Sessions’ replacement, placing Barr’s prior record under renewed scrutiny.
One element to note, according to Slate, is Barr’s recommendation to Bush that he pardon six individuals connected to the Iran-Contra scandal — four of whom had been convicted of lying to investigators.
Here’s Barr describing his role in a 2001 interview:
I asked some of my staff to look into the indictment that was brought, and also some of the other people I felt had been unjustly treated and whether they felt that they would have been treated this way under standard Department guidelines. I don’t remember going through the pardon office, but I did ask some of the seasoned professionals around the Department about this, asked them to look into it. Based on those discussions, I went over and told the President I thought he should not only pardon Caspar Weinberger, but while he was at it, he should pardon about five others.
Trump, of course, has openly discussed the possibility of pardoning figures like Paul Manafort who have been convicted, in Trump’s view unjustly, of crimes related to Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation.