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The Market Impact Of Trump AG Nominee William Barr

The Market Impact Of Trump AG Nominee William Barr

Markets had little reaction Friday to the latest shakeup in the White House after President Trump announced he will be nominating William Barr to serve as the next attorney general.

What To Know

Barr, who previously served as attorney general under George H.W. Bush for a little over a year, will replace acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker, who has held the position since Trump asked Jeff Sessions to step down on the day after the midterm elections.

With special counsel Robert Mueller set to unveil new details related to the ongoing investigation of potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, Barr will now take over as head of the Justice Department.

Barr hasn’t specifically addressed the Russia investigation, but he has publicly stated his support for Trump’s decision to fire former FBI director James Comey. Barr has also criticized Mueller for appointing a disproportionate number of prosecutors with Democratic ties.

Barr could end up being a central figure if the Mueller investigation advances or if President Trump attempts to fire Mueller.

The Cannabis Take

Cannabis investors are also breathing a sigh of relief on Friday that Sessions’ replacement appears to have a much softer stance on marijuana than his predecessor. Sessions had made marijuana a top priority during his term, but Height Capital Markets analyst Stefanie Miller said Friday Barr has been mostly silent on the subject.

“Notable drug policy under Bush either happened before Barr became AG or through agencies other than the DOJ, leaving Barr with no expectation to comment,” Miller wrote. “It is our understanding that Barr has not made comments about marijuana policy in the years since he was AG, which leaves us in a holding pattern until more information is released.”

What’s Next

Investors will be watching to see what information Mueller releases on Friday and in the weeks to come and how Trump and Barr react. Cannabis investors will also be keeping an eye out for any marijuana commentary from Barr.

The ETF MANAGERS TR/TIERRA XP LATIN AME (NYSE: MJ) was up 6.9 percent on Friday, while the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) was down 0.7 percent on the day.

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