Attorney General nominee William Barr heads to full Senate vote

10 February, 2019, 12:43 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Democrats eager to press Whitaker on Mueller and Trump

President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, moved closer to a confirmation vote in the U.S. Senate on Thursday, winning approval from a key committee despite Democrats' concerns about how he might handle Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

His nomination is expected to go quickly before the entire Senate where it will also likely pass, given the 53-47 margin the president's party has over the Democrats.

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

But Democrats said Thursday that Barr, 68, has to be scrutinized under what Sen. While Barr has vowed to be as transparent as he can be, Democratic lawmakers have said that is not adequate.

"We need a new attorney general", he said Thursday.

Democrats have been critical of Barr, claiming they have concerns over his potential handling of the special counsel investigation.

Making a clear commitment to releasing the special counsel's findings, said Vermont Sen.

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Barr came under scrutiny for sending an unsolicited 20-page memo to the Department of Justice criticizing special counsel Robert Mueller probe's line of investigation into possible obstruction of justice.

Attorney General nominee Bill Barr departs after meeting with Sen. Barr previously served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush from November 1991 until January 1993. She also criticized Barr for not committing to publicly releasing Mueller's findings.

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.

Barr, the architect behind many tough-on-crime policies that led to disproportionately high rates of incarceration in the African-American community, acknowledged the disparate impacts of those laws and committed to fully enforcing the First Step Act, a piece of landmark criminal justice reform legislation signed into law by Trump in December.

Democrats on the U.S. House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee on Thursday prepared a subpoena to compel Whitaker to testify on Friday, prompting him to say he will not appear unless the subpoena threat is lifted.

Barr would replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was pushed out by Trump past year.

"I don't believe Mr. Mueller would be involved in a witch hunt", Barr said.

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