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National
Trump to nominate William Barr to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general
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Trump to nominate William Barr to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general

What You Need to Know: William Barr

Trump to nominate William Barr to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general

President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that he plans to nominate former U.S. Attorney General William Barr to replace Jeff Sessions.

>> Read more trending news

Trump called Barr, who served as U.S. Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush, “a terrific man” and “one of the most respected jurists in the country” while speaking to reporters Friday before a trip to Missouri.

>> Who is William Pelham Barr: 5 things to know

“He was my first choice from day one -- respected by Republicans and respected by Democrats,” the president said. “He will be nominated as the United States attorney general, and hopefully it'll go very quickly.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Barr will replace Sessions, who was pushed out of the post in November after serving for 21 months as attorney general. Trump had criticized Sessions several times during his tenure, frustrated over his decision to recuse himself from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling.

His chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, was named acting attorney general in his wake.

>> Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns, Matthew Whitaker named acting attorney general

Barr served as Bush’s attorney general from 1991 to 1993, during the same time Mueller was head of the department's criminal division, The Associated Press reported.

As attorney general, Barr would oversee Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, a probe the president has frequently railed against as little more than a politically motivated witch hunt. Democrats are expected to ask for reassurances during confirmation proceedings that Barr won’t interfere with the investigation, according to the AP.

Before becoming attorney general in 1991, Barr served as deputy attorney general and as assistant attorney general in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel.

After leaving politics, he spent almost 15 years working for large corporations, according to his biography. He served as general counsel and executive president of Verizon Communications from 2000 until he retired in 2008.
On Friday, the president also announced he plans to nominate current State Department spokeswoman and former Fox News host Heather Nauert to serve as the next ambassador to the United Nations.

>> Trump to nominate Heather Nauert as UN ambassador

Trump added that he plans to announce another big staff change Saturday afternoon, during the Army-Navy football game.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • A 20-year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has been arrested for a third-degree felony count of insurance fraud. Undersheriff Pat Ivey says 48-year-old Corrections Officer Ronnye Smith is accused of reporting his personal vehicle as stolen, in order to profit from insurance. Smith allegedly came up with a scheme in April to work with two people to carry out the fraud. In July, Ivey says the vehicle was seen in Clay County, and their investigation from there determined that Smith was a part of the scheme. In all, Smith allegedly profited less than $20,000 in the fraud. Ivey says Smith chose to resign in the wake of his arrest. The other two people allegedly involved in the fraud scheme are still being investigated. Ivey says it’s a shame that Smith decided to commit conduct like this, but it doesn’t make him sad as Undersheriff, because it’s important to hold all employees accountable, including to what they do in their personal lives.
  • There’s still a long road to recovery, but the JSO Motorman who was critically injured by a suspected drunk driver this weekend has now been transferred to rehab. Officer Jack Adams and his family were driving back from Orlando at the time of the crash on I-95 in St. Johns County. His wife, JSO Bailiff Cathy Adams, died as a result of the crash, and the couple’s two children suffered minor injuries.  Kim Johnston has been arrested for the crash. JSO is thanking Memorial Hospital for their care of Adams, calling his recovery so far “unbelievable”. JSO officers lined the hallway as he was sent off to rehab, to show support.
  • Two New Orleans psychiatrists have found a man who stabbed his brother 93 times before placing his body under a burning mattress in 2013 “irrestorably incompetent” to stand trial and recommended he be committed to a psychiatric hospital.  Ian Broyard, 27, is accused of murder and tampering with evidence in the Nov. 6, 2013, stabbing death of 23-year-old Michael Broyard III, NOLA.com reported. Ian Broyard was 22 at the time of the crime.  Michael Broyard, a tattoo artist, was working on a degree in social work at Southern University at New Orleans. >> Read more trending news The New Orleans Advocate reported in July 2014, when Broyard was indicted, that the brothers had been in several fights prior to the killing. Their sister arrived at the family home in the Gentilly section of New Orleans the morning of the stabbing to see smoke coming from the front door.  Firefighters found Michael Broyard dead inside but there was no sign of Ian Broyard, who had been home shortly before the fire broke out, the Advocate reported. While police officers and firefighters worked the scene, Ian Broyard showed up, with cuts on his forearms and holding his stomach in pain, the newspaper said.  A witness told police he saw a man, who was riding away from the Broyard home on a bicycle, toss something into a trash can nearby. Investigators found a bloodstained vest constructed out of book covers taped together.  The DNA from the blood on the vest matched that of Michael Broyard, the Advocate reported. Other DNA and fingerprints recovered from the vest matched Ian Broyard, NOLA.com said.  NOLA.com reported that Ian Broyard was diagnosed as bipolar and schizophrenic in June 2013, just five months before his brother’s brutal slaying. Broyard’s arrest warrant indicated that he sometimes became violent. Broyard was initially found competent to stand trial in August 2014 but was found incompetent during another hearing almost three years later, the news site said. He was sent to Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System in June 2017 and has been there since.  Two of the members of the court-appointed sanity panel who examined Broyard have found it unlikely that Broyard will ever become competent to stand trial for his brother’s slaying. NOLA.com reported that Dr. Sarah DeLand testified Thursday that Broyard, who suffers from delusions and auditory hallucinations, would be unable to assist his lawyer at trial. Broyard believes that the IRS and the FBI control him and those around him, DeLand said in court. He also believes that the federal agencies could influence his case based on his outstanding student loans.  A judge will decide next week if Broyard will be committed indefinitely, NOLA said.  Investigators said during Broyard’s March 2014 preliminary hearing that it was possible he was connected to a second slaying 10 months before that of his brother. NOLA.com reported that a homicide detective testified at the hearing that Broyard was related to Edward Richardson, an 83-year-old retiree who was found stabbed to death New Year’s Day 2013 in his apartment at a senior living community.  Like Michael Broyard, Richardson was found stabbed an excessive number of times -- more than 50 -- and his body was under a mattress that had been set on fire, NOLA.com reported in 2014. No physical evidence linked Ian Broyard to the scene.  WDSU in New Orleans reported in 2015 that cold case investigators were still seeking leads in the unsolved case. 
  • Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, rumored to be President Donald Trump’s top pick to fill the chief of staff role once John Kelly exits later this year, said Friday that he’s asked Trump not to consider him for the post. >> Read more trending news 'It's an honor to have the President consider me as he looks to choose a new White House chief-of-staff,' Christie said Friday in a statement first obtained by The New York Times. 'However, I've told the President that now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment. As a result, I have asked him to no longer keep me in any of his considerations for this post.' Christie’s comments came one day after he met with Trump to discuss the position, CNN reported, citing a pair of sources familiar with the discussion. No job offer was made Thursday, according to CNN. Trump announced Dec. 8 that Kelly, a retired U.S. Marine Corps general who served as Trump's Homeland Security secretary before becoming his chief of staff in July 2017, will leave at the end of the year.  >> Trump: John Kelly to leave by end of year Christie is one of several people to reportedly discuss the imminent chief of staff vacancy with Trump in recent days. On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said House Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, was no longer in the running for the position, Politico reported. “Congressman Mark Meadows is a great friend to President Trump and is doing an incredible job in Congress,” Huckabee Sanders said in a statement obtained by Politico. “The President told him we need him in Congress, so he can continue the great work he is doing there.” Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers, had long been rumored to be Trump’s top pick for the job, but he declined to fill the role earlier this month. Ayers, 36, and Trump were unable to agree on a time frame for the job, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, with Ayers unwilling to commit to the role deep into next year. >> Mike Pence’s top aid Nick Ayers won’t replace John Kelly as Trump’s Chief of Staff White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters Friday that, while Kelly is slated to leave at the end of the year, “if the president and the chief of staff make another deal and extend it, they can do that,” the New York Post reported. “It’s their prerogative to do so,” Gidley said. “Right now, currently, John Kelly is expected to leave at the first of the year.”
  • A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents last week died two days later of dehydration and septic shock, putting further scrutiny on the conditions of detention facilities at the border.  The girl and her father were taken into custody around 10 p.m. Dec. 6, accused of illegally crossing into the United States, Border Patrol officials told The Washington Post. The group of 163 people approached CBP agents south of Lordsburg, New Mexico, to turn themselves in.  The Associated Press reported that an official with Guatemala’s foreign ministry identified the girl as Jackeline Caal. Her father was identified as Nery Caal, 29, of Raxruha, a town in the northern Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz.  Ministry officials told the AP that Jackeline was feverish and vomiting as she and the other migrants were being taken to the Border Patrol station in Lordsburg.  Around 6:25 a.m. the next day, the girl began having seizures, according to CBP records obtained by the Post. Paramedics who responded to the detention center found her temperature to be 105.7 degrees.  The girl reportedly had not eaten or had water in several days, the Post said. Migrants taken into custody are typically given food and water, but it was not known Thursday if the girl had received nourishment or medical care before her seizures began.  She was taken by helicopter to Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso, where she went into cardiac arrest, but was revived temporarily. The girl died Saturday morning, less than 24 hours after being taken to the hospital.  The Post reported that an initial diagnosis by doctors at the hospital indicated the girl died of septic shock, dehydration and a high fever. An autopsy is scheduled, but it could be weeks before the results are available.  Jackeline’s father remains in custody. Andrew Meehan, a CBP spokesman, told the newspaper that the agency sends its “sincerest condolences” to the girl’s family.  “Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances,” Meehan said. “As fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, we empathize with the loss of any child.” The ACLU Border Rights Center issued a statement Thursday, stating that a lack of accountability and a “culture of cruelty” within the Border Patrol have worsened policies and led to migrant deaths.  “This tragedy represents the worst possible outcome when people, including children, are held in inhumane conditions,” the statement read.  The organization said that President Donald Trump’s militarization of the border has driven desperate migrants fleeing violence in their native countries into the harshest, deadliest deserts along the U.S.-Mexico border.  “The fact that it took a week for this to come to light shows the need for transparency for CBP,” the statement read. “We call for a rigorous investigation into how this tragedy happened and serious reforms to prevent future deaths.” The Post reported that the number of arrests of migrants traveling as families has exploded this year. November saw a record number of “family unit members” -- 25,172, which accounted for 58 percent of the migrants taken into custody last month.  Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan testified Tuesday before the Senate about the holding cells used to house migrants. McAleenan called the cells “incompatible” with the large groups of families coming to the border seeking asylum.  “Our Border Patrol stations were built decades ago to handle mostly male single adults in custody, not families and children,” McAleenan testified, according to the Post. 

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