William Barr's Confirmation Hearings For Attorney General

16 January, 2019, 01:16 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Attorney general nominee William Barr visited Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office Thursday

Senator Lindsey Graham of SC, the Republican who chairs of the Judiciary Committee, asked William Barr, President Donald Trump's choice to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general, if he would "promise" to investigate allegations of anti-Trump bias among members of special counsel Robert Mueller's team, who are investigating allegations of collusion between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government.

"I will not be bullied into doing anything I think is wrong".

Barr is expected to win confirmation in the Republican-controlled Senate to serve as the nation's top law enforcement officer, which would put him in charge of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and any possible collusion between Moscow and Trump's campaign.

"It's unimaginable to me that Bob would ever do anything that gave rise to good cause", Barr said.

Democrats worry that Trump's administration may try to undercut the investigation, which has been a frequent target of the president and his allies.

Some Democrats are concerned about that very possibility, citing 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.

In his written testimony, Barr told senators that his memo had been "narrow in scope" and that it addressed only "a specific obstruction-of-justice theory under a single statute that I thought, based on media reports, the Special Counsel might be considering". Feinstein said at the time that Barr assured her that he would not interfere with the Mueller probe and that she meant to ask him about his controversial memo "in public".

During the hearing, Barr's past comments about the Mueller investigation attracted scrutiny, including an unsolicited memo he sent the Justice Department a year ago criticizing the special counsel's inquiry into whether Trump had sought to obstruct justice.


Barr's confirmation hearing is set to begin to Tuesday morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Speaking directly to Barr, Graham asked, "Do you promise me as attorney general - if you get this job - to look and see what happened in 2016?"

"I think it was entirely proper", he said of the memo, saying it was not unusual for former Justice Department officials to share their views of legal matters. He said there were other instances in which he had given advice to the Justice Department, such as cautioning against a prosecution of Democratic Senator Robert Menendez.

In his testimony, Barr said he has known Mueller professionally for 30 years and has confidence in his abilities.

Since Jeff Sessions had recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation due to his own ties to the Trump campaign, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was acting Attorney General when it came to the investigation.

Trump has spent months attacking Mueller as "highly conflicted" and unable to carry out the probe. He said he would consult with ethics officials on whether he would need to recuse because of the memo but the decision would be ultimately his.

Trump has refused to rule out pardons for people who have been swept up, including his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who is awaiting sentence after two federal cases past year. "However, tonight at least one so-called journalist from the hate-Trump media is trying to play down expectations while people are hyping up every second, every minute, every hour of every day about Trump and Russian Federation and about the Mueller report".

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