William Barr

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

The U.S. government is poised to carry out the death penalty for the first time in nearly two decades, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr has instructed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to change the federal execution protocol to include capital punishment, the Justice Department said.

Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr declined to appear before a hearing scheduled on Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee following hours of sometimes tough back-and-forth on Wednesday in the Senate.

The chairman of the House panel, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said that Barr was risking a contempt of Congress citation and that he would go ahead with his planned hearing — with an empty witness chair if necessary.

Attorney General William Barr has released a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election to Congress and the public.

The special counsel spent nearly two years investigating attacks on the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russians behind it.

Updated at 7:24 p.m. ET

When President Trump learned two years ago that a special counsel had been appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, he was distraught.

Trump "slumped back in his chair and said, 'Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm f***ed,' " according to the report by special counsel Robert Mueller that was released Thursday in redacted form.

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr suggested on Tuesday he would negotiate with leaders in Congress who want to see the secret evidence that underpins special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

Barr reaffirmed to members of the House Appropriations Committee that the first version of the report he plans to release — within one week, he said — would be redacted.

If the leaders of the House and Senate judiciary committees want to see more, the attorney general said, he will play ball.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr has told congressional leaders that he anticipates being able to give them a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on his investigation into Russia's interference with the 2016 presidential election by "by mid-April, if not sooner." Democratic lawmakers have been pushing for lawmakers to see the full report without redactions, though members of both parties have called for its public release.

PBS Newshour

President Donald Trump's pick for attorney general, William Barr, will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning.

Updated at 1:33 p.m. ET

President Trump said Friday that he intends to nominate William Barr, a prominent Republican lawyer and former attorney general, to return and lead the Justice Department.

Barr, who served as George H.W. Bush's attorney general from 1991 to 1993, holds sweeping views of executive power and hard-line positions on criminal justice issues.

"He was my first choice from Day 1," Trump told reporters outside the White House. "I think he will serve with great distinction."