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

What You Need to Know: William Barr

Who is William Pelham Barr: 5 things to know

Former U.S. attorney general William Pelham Barr was the 77th attorney general of the United States from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush.

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Barr, a well-respected Republican lawyer, is emerging as the potential nominee to replace President Donald Trump’s former attorney general Jeff Sessions, who was forced out last month, following the midterm elections. 

Here are five things to know about Barr:

1 – Barr, a Republican, is potentially the leading candidate to become Trump’s next attorney general, according to The Washington Post. He’s a “favorite” among a number of White House officials, including those in the White House Counsel’s Office, the Post reported. He is “a really serious contender and possibly the front-runner,” a source told the newspaper.

2 – Barr served two years as attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush until Bush lost his re-election campaign to former President Bill Clinton. Barr served as the deputy attorney general, before becoming the Justice Department’s top lawyer and prior to that he served as assistant attorney general in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel from 1989 to 1990. 

The Washington Post wrote of Barr in 1991 as having “tempered candor with discretion, a strong will with a tolerance for the personalities and views of others.”

3 – Barr led the Justice Department’s response to the Savings & Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 90s; he oversaw the investigation of the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 on Dec. 21, 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland; he handled the Talladega prison uprising and hostage situation; and coordinated counter-terrorist activities during the first Gulf War, according to his biography.

Barr’s former deputy, George Terwilliger, told the Post that Barr possesses “40 years of high-level experience, both in government and in business, which gives him a perspective that fits many of this administration’s priorities.”

4 – After leaving politics, Barr 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. Before that he served in a similar capacity for GTE Corporation until it merged with Bell Atlantic to become Verizon in 2000.

5 – Barr was born on May 23, 1950, in New York City to Mary and Donald Barr, faculty members at Columbia University, and was one of four brothers raised on the city’s Upper West Side, according to his biography

He married Christine Barr in 1973 when he also graduated from Columbia University with a master’s degree in government and Chinese studies. He worked at the Central Intelligence Agency from 1973 until 1977 when he graduated from George Washington University with a law degree.

Barr also served on the White House domestic policy staff under former President Ronald Reagan.

Wikicommons
William Barr's officials photo as U.S. attorney general.
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Who is William Pelham Barr: 5 things to know

Photo Credit: Wikicommons
William Barr's officials photo as U.S. attorney general.

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  • With the coronavirus impacting countries around the world, the word pandemic has been used more and more often. But what is a pandemic and how does that differ from an outbreak? Outbreaks vs pandemic Outbreaks turn into pandemics when an illness becomes global, the World Health Organization said. There are actually four levels to qualify how severe and widespread an illness is, Health.com reported. They are, according to Health.com: Sporadic, or infrequently occurring disease. Endemic or usual prevalence of an illness. Epidemic or sudden increase of an illness or higher numbers of sick patients than expected. Pandemic or an epidemic that has spread to other countries. The WHO will declare the illness as a pandemic using various models. But there is no one number that changes an epidemic or outbreak into a pandemic, The Guardian reported. Why does it spread so far? Most people don’t have immunity when an outbreak spreads worldwide. They also have different epidemiological patterns. For example, while the normal flu hits during the winter months, the H1N1 pandemic happened in the summer, the WHO said. How fast can a pandemic spread? A virus can travel from a remote village to cities on all continents in 36 hours, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. How can you stop a pandemic? CDC global health security experts work with other countries to help stop the spread by detecting and reporting cases, identifying the cause of illnesses, containing outbreaks and coordinating a response.
  • A Florida man is accused of hitting and killing his girlfriend while driving a vehicle outside a Polk County bar, then returning to the establishment, authorities said. Charles Robert Polen, 40, of Fort Meade, was charged with DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident involving death and driving without a license, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. He remains in jail in lieu of $15,000 bail, according to arrest records. Deborah Jo Hershberger, 40, of Fort Meade, was found dead in a road near the Coop, a bar in eastern Polk County, the Tampa Bay Times reported. According to an arrest report, Polen and Hershberger were drinking at the bar Saturday. They had driven there in Hershberger’s 2002 blue Dodge Neon, the newspaper reported. Police said Polen got into an argument with another man, then quarreled with Hershberger when she asked for the keys to the Neon, the Times reported. Hershberger left on foot, and Polen stayed in the bar to finish his beer, the newspaper reported. Then, Polen got into the Neon and began driving to look for her. Polen told deputies that while driving, he hit something, WTSP reported. Polen said he thought he had hit an animal, but then saw a person lying in the road. A woman called 911, and Polen told deputies drove back to the bar and waited for law enforcement, WFTS reported. After authorities arrived, Polen walked from the bar to the scene. the Times reported. Deputies said Polen was upset and had to be restrained once he realized it was Hershberger’s body on the road, the newspaper reported. Deputies believed Polen was intoxicated; seven hours after the incident, his blood alcohol content was .046, which is below Florida’s legal limit of .08, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
  • Body camera footage shows a Florida girl pleading for help as she is put in handcuffs and taken away from school. WFTV first reported on the story back in September. Orlando police said then that the bodycam footage would not be released. But the family’s attorney has it now, and has shared it. Orlando police were called to the school after Kaia reportedly kicked a staff member during a tantrum at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy. Charges against her were later dropped. The video shows 6-year-old Kaia, confused and crying for help as she’s led away with her hands zip-tied behind her back with makeshift handcuffs from school grounds. See the arrest and aftermath below: Kaia bawls as one of the officers, Officer Dennis Turner, asks the other officer to zip-tie her and take her to Orange County’s Juvenile Detention Center. As one of the officers tightens the makeshift children’s handcuffs, she cries out “No! No! Don’t put handcuffs on (me). Help me! Help me!” Turner’s bodycam footage shows him follow the other officer as he leads Kaia to the back of the patrol car. Then, since she is unable to step up and into the SUV on her own, he lifts her up. “Please! Please! Please let me go!” Kaia screams in the bodycam footage. “No! Help me! Help me!” One school official asks in the video if the restraints were necessary. “Yes, and if she was bigger, she’d be wearing regular handcuffs,” Turner replies in the video. Turner then tells school officials he’s arrested 6,000 people in his career and the youngest, before Kaia, was 7 years old. “She broke the record,” he says. Turner then arrested another 6-year-old at the same school. He was fired for both arrests for violating department policy requiring a supervisor’s approval to arrest anyone under 12. Kaia’s grandmother is now pushing to change state law concerning arrests of children for misdemeanors.
  • A man who was running for the Arizona 1st Congressional District on the Republican ticket had to suspend his candidacy after he overdosed last week. “Today, I have suspended my campaign for the US House of Representatives and am seeking treatment for substance abuse disorder,” Chris Taylor told NBC News in a statement. “I will fully cooperate with local authorities on any matters arising from my recent relapse and overdose.” A family member found Taylor unresponsive at home Wednesday night, the Gila Herald reported. He was revived with Narcan. The Army veteran who served two combat tours in Afghanistan said he’s had an opioid addiction since high school, The Arizona Republic reported. The newspaper reported Taylor overdosed on heroin. “I’m not going to hide from this. I’m not ashamed of what happened. I wish to sincerely apologize to the amazing people who have supported me. I don’t know what went wrong. I recently relapsed after having so many solid years in sobriety. I have to figure out where I went wrong,” Taylor told the Republic. Taylor is currently a member of Safford, Arizona’s city council and founder of Desert Eagle Addiction Recovery, a nonprofit that helps veterans and others dealing with drug addiction. He has been open about his past drug abuse. During his announcement for his run for congress, Taylor said, “The experiences that I’ve had with opiate addiction and being able to overcome that and inspire and help others to find that recovery as well are a source of strength,” the Herald reported. Taylor was among three Republican candidates vying for a spot on the November ballot to unseat Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran, NBC News reported.
  • A Texas father is behind bars after investigators said he repeatedly struck his 2-month-old baby, causing the child to suffer 13 rib fractures, a broken leg and a brain injury. According to KFDX-TV and the Times Record News, Rakim Smith, 21, of Wichita Falls, is facing a child injury charge in the beatings, which occurred from Sept. 21 to Nov. 21, 2019, authorities said. He was indicted last week. Authorities learned of the baby’s injuries Nov. 21 after the child arrived at an emergency room with several broken bones, the news outlets reported. Smith later confessed to punching the infant because the child kept crying, authorities said. Smith has been jailed on $250,000 bond, officials said. Read more here or here.
  • Hosni Mubarak, who was president of Egypt until he was overthrown in 2011 during the Arab Spring, has died, multiple news outlets are reporting. He was 91. According to the New York Times and The Associated Press, Mubarak died after having surgery at a hospital in Cairo, Egyptian state TV reported Tuesday. He had been suffering from “health complications,” the AP reported, citing the outlet. Mubarak became president in 1981 after then-President Anwar Sadat was assassinated. Mubarak had been vice president at the time. Three decades later, the military forced Mubarak to resign in 2011 following 18 days of pro-democracy protests, the AP reported. The uprising is often referred to as the Arab Spring. Mubarak and his former security chief were convicted in 2012 of being complicit in the deaths of protesters. Although he received a life sentence, it was overturned two years later, the Times reported. Mubarak and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, later received three-year prison sentences for corruption, according to the AP. Mubarak was released in 2017 and his sons in 2015, the outlet reported. Read more here or here.