WASHINGTON (JTA) — William Barr, Donald Trump’s nominee to become attorney general, told a Senate confirmation hearing that U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman tried to recruit Barr to join Trump’s personal defense team.
Barr told senators on Tuesday that he met with Trump in the summer of 2017 at Friedman’s urging but ultimately declined the assignment.
The nominee is facing tough questions from Democrats about his independence because Barr once wrote an unsolicited memo saying that Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor investigating alleged improprieties by Trump during his campaign and presidency, did not have the authority to investigate Trump for obstruction of justice.
Barr told senators that he and Mueller were close and he wanted Mueller to wrap up his probe at his own pace.
Friedman was a lawyer for Trump before becoming the ambassador. In the summer he made the call to Barr, Friedman was part of a small team led by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, attempting to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.