What Barr's work under Bush 41 tells us about how he'll handle his new job | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


What Barr's work under Bush 41 tells us about how he'll handle his new job

Facing down a Democratic-controlled Congress in a time of mounting budget deficits, President George. H. W. Bush made it clear that he wanted the power of the line-item veto to strike down elements of left-leaning spending bills.

In public addresses, Bush asked the American people "to demand" that he gain the tool through legislation or a constitutional amendment. Behind the scenes, his administration explored the possibility that a president held the power inherently -- a theory pushed at the time by some conservative legal commentators.

William Barr, then Bush's assistant attorney general in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel, led the research effort. "I had my monks in the Office of Legal Counsel going back into hoary antiquity looking for any kind of precedent we could use," he recalled in a 2001 interview with the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs.

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