Senate Judiciary advances William Barr's nomination to be attorney general

Cheryl Sanders
February 9, 2019

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said on Thursday that his committee's Russia probe has found no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and the Russian government.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is now filling the position and said last week that he believed Mueller's investigation was almost complete. At the Judiciary Committee's hearing Thursday, all 10 panel Democrats voted against moving the nomination forward, while all 12 Republicans voted to advance it.

A corporate lawyer who previously served as attorney general under Republican President George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s, Barr has been praised by lawmakers from both parties as someone who is deeply familiar with the workings of the Justice Department and does not owe his career to Trump.

But Democrats remained opposed to him after he refused to commit to releasing Mueller's eventual report on the investigation, which could potentially incriminate Trump.


Barr appears to have enough support from Republicans, which have a 53-47 advantage in the chamber, to run the Justice Department. He added that his "main goal" is to make sure that Mueller finishes his report "without interference" and trusts that Barr would "share as much as he reasonably can", while protecting confidential information.

Before the committee vote, ranking member Sen.

"Nothing in existing law or regulation prevents the attorney general from sharing the report", Feinstein said before the vote.

In their opposition, Democrats cited a memo Barr wrote a year ago to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein before he was nominated objecting to the obstruction aspect of the Mueller probe as "fatally misconceived" and said, "Mueller should not be permitted to demand that the President submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction".


Democrats have also criticized a memo Barr wrote to the Justice Department before his nomination in which he criticized Mueller's investigation for the way it was presumably looking into whether Trump had obstructed justice.

The Republican president has repeatedly criticized the investigation as a "witch hunt" and denies any collusion with Moscow. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Thursday.

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.


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