(Reuters) — Attorney General William Barr is considering resigning over President Donald Trump’s tweets about Justice Department investigations, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters, while the department said he was not leaving.
“The Attorney General has no plans to resign,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a post on Twitter late Tuesday night.
The Washington Post separately reported on Tuesday that Barr has told people close to Trump about his concerns, but it was not immediately clear if Barr had spoken to the president directly.
Barr may be sharing his position with people close to Trump in hopes the president gets the message and stops tweeting about the Justice Department’s criminal investigations, the Post added.
The New York Times suggested as much in its report on the resignation rumors.
“Explicitly rebuffed, Mr. Barr was left by the end of the day to consider his own future. He expressed dissatisfaction to associates and his irritation soon fed news reports that he was considering resignation if the president continued to publicly weigh in on individual prosecutions of his own associates. But it was unclear whether that would persuade Mr. Trump to back off or only get his back up.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
The backstory on rumors of William Barr resigning
Trump earlier on Tuesday said he had total confidence in Barr, who last week told ABC News in an interview that Trump’s tweeting habit had made it impossible for him to do his job.
“I do make his job harder … I do agree with that,” Trump told reporters before boarding Air Force One Tuesday afternoon. “The attorney general is a man with great integrity.”
Last week, senior Justice Department officials withdrew an earlier sentencing recommendation for longtime Trump friend Roger Stone, who was found guilty in November of seven counts of lying to Congress, prompting upheaval within the department.
Over the weekend, more than 1,000 former department officials called for Barr to resign in an open letter. The signatories grew to more than 2,400 by Wednesday morning.
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Trump has used Twitter to attack the four prosecutors who had argued the Stone case as well as the judge presiding over it.
“Social media for me has been very important because it gives me a voice,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
Barr told ABC on Thursday that he could not do his job “with a constant background commentary” and that it was “time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.”
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Sarah N Lynch; writing by Lisa Lambert and Susan Heavey; editing by Robert Birsel and John Stonestreet; Pluralist contributed to this report.)