Senate Judiciary Committee Approves William Barr’s Attorney General Nomination

Posted February 11, 2019

Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary committee have said that Barr, the former attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, is qualified for the position.

"I think we need a steady hand at the Department of Justice, and I believe he has that steady hand", Graham said.

Barr also said he will not allow any interference with the Mueller probe, adding that he will release the special counsel's final report as much as he can under the law.

During the hearing, Democrats on the Committee expressed concern about a memo that Barr wrote a year ago that called the Mueller investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election "fatally misconceived". Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and committee chairman, said at the outset of Thursday's meeting. His confirmation is expected to draw a bitter partisan fight, especially given how Barr would oversee the special counsel investigation.

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Democrats have raised concerns that he may limit the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in US elections.

Attorney General nominee William Barr met with several senators on January 29.

If confirmed, Barr will be replacing Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who replaced Attorney General Jeff Sessions after President Donald Trump fired him.

But Durbin said Barr has "telegraphed his pitch" by writing an unsolicited memo to Justice Department and Trump lawyers previous year about parts of the special counsel probe. That, combined with Barr's sweeping view of executive power, prompted Leahy to vote no on Barr's nomination.

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Some Democrats have also expressed concern that Barr won't be a check on the president who appointed him.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee's top Democrat, said that Barr did not commit to providing Mueller's report to Congress, only follow department rules and regulations on what should be public.

Barr pledged at his confirmation hearing to keep politics out of Justice Department decisions and said he would refuse an instruction from the president to fire Mueller absent good cause to do so. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Thursday.

Burr spoke out about the ongoing investigation into collusion between Trump's 2016 campaign and the Russian government. Trump has repeatedly dismissed any collusion between his campaign and Moscow, while slamming the Mueller probe as a "hoax" or "witch hunt".

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