AG Nominee Barr Clears Committee Ahead of Final Senate Vote


The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved President Donald Trump's pick for attorney general.

Chuck Schumer, the senior Democrat in the Senate, said he would oppose Barr's confirmation in the final vote.

He would replace acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker as the nation's top law enforcement official, who has been in the spot since Jeff Sessions was forced to resign in November.

"We need an attorney general who can assure the Senate and the public that he will stand up to a president who believes the Justice Department exists to do his personal bidding and to protect his personal interests", Schumer said in a tweet. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said before the vote.

William Barr, nominee to be US attorney general, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington Jan. 15.

"Mr. Barr and I had a detailed discussion on his priorities for the Department of Justice, and on many issues important to Alaska".

Graham said that if Barr were to prevent release of a report by Mueller, he would support legislation being pushed by Senators Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa, to require full transparency from the Special Counsel. She also criticized Barr for not committing to publicly releasing Mueller's findings.

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In confirmation hearings last month Barr said he would protect Mueller's investigation, and rejected Trump's characterisation of it as an illegal "witch hunt".

Barr said he takes seriously the department regulations that say Mueller's report should be confidential. When nominated the first time in 1991, the Senate approved Barr by unanimous voice vote.

Opponents have also cited 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.

Among respondents to the poll, 48 percent say they believe Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russian Federation during the 2016 election, including 87 percent of Democrats.

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.

The Republican president has repeatedly criticised the investigation as a "witch-hunt" and denies any collusion with Moscow.