Trump initially replaced Sessions with acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, whose appointment came under scrutiny amid questions of its legality.
Barr previously served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush. After leaving government, he worked as a corporate attorney, including as general counsel for Verizon until 2008. (In 2015, Verizon purchased AOL, now known as Oath, HuffPost’s parent company.)
While in the Bush administration, Barr oversaw and worked with the then-head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, Robert Mueller, now the special counsel leading the investigation into Trump’s campaign and its ties to Russia.
Barr, who supported Trump during his campaign, has criticized aspects of Mueller’s probe and expressed support for the president’s suggestion that the Justice Department investigate his 2016 presidential campaign opponent Hillary Clinton.
He told The New York Times last year that there was “nothing inherently wrong about a president calling for an investigation,” but added that it “shouldn’t be launched just because a president wants it.”
Barr also told The Hill last year that “leaks” from Mueller’s team “raise questions as to whether there is an agenda,” despite how the investigation has remained fairly locked down and secretive.
However, Barr has defended Sessions, the subject of many attacks from Trump, co-writing a November Washington Post op-ed that called Sessions an “outstanding attorney general.”
This story has been updated with more background information about Barr.