WASHINGTON—Attorney General William Barr has earned a reputation for being so hard-charging within the Justice Department that even his close aides call him “the Buffalo.”

That style has long rankled Democrats and other critics, who accuse Mr. Barr of undermining the Justice Department’s independence by pursuing an agenda too closely aligned with President Trump’s interests. His supporters counter that Mr. Barr’s forcefulness has been necessary after Justice Department investigations consumed much of Mr. Trump’s first two…

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