Senate panel approves Trump attorney general nominee

Clay Curtis
February 9, 2019

The committee also advanced dozens of nominations for federal appeals courts and district courts, many on a 12-10, party-line vote. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and committee chairman, said at the outset of Thursday's meeting. "They deserve to see everything that's in it".

If confirmed, Barr will be replacing Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who replaced Attorney General Jeff Sessions after President Donald Trump fired him. Democrats have raised concerns that he may limit the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in USA elections.

Democrats also expressed concern about Barr's memo he sent to the Justice Department a year ago, unsolicited, that detailed presidential power and said Mueller had a "fatally misconceived" theory that Trump committed a crime when he fired a political appointee, FBI Director James B. Comey, because that was in his powers as president.

Barr, though, has extensive experience in law enforcement, even beyond holding the post as attorney general under the Bush Sr. administration. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, called a memo in which Barr was critical of Mueller's probe "disqualifying", saying she's anxious that he has not committed to releasing Mueller's report to Congress. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said.

To date, the committee has interviewed more than 200 witnesses and reviewed more than 300,000 pages of documents; it has held more than a dozen public hearings and released two interim reports, CBS News reported.

Blackface photo is a reminder of Virginia's racist history
Complicating the matter are scandals now confronting two people in line to take Virginia's governorship if Northam resigns. In her statement , she detailed what she said began as a consensual encounter and "quickly turned into a sexual assault".

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said that Barr, as attorney general, would have the authority to change policies that now might prohibit him from revealing information about Mueller's work and that his nomination must be considered in the context of the historic moment in which the Justice Department finds itself.

"This is not a time to mess around with the Constitution", she said.

The top Democrat on the Judiciary panel, California Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., in Kennedy's office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Jan. 26, 2019. And he praised Barr emphatically. "We are already seeing unsafe threats to the rule of law". "I appreciate what Mr. Whitaker has done, but I think the time has come for new leadership at the department".

Lawmakers have raised questions about a memo Barr wrote to Justice Department leaders questioning what he saw as the "fatally misconceived" theory of Trump obstructing justice that Mueller seemed to be exploring. That, combined with Barr's sweeping view of executive power, prompted Leahy to vote no on Barr's nomination.

"I don't believe Mr. Mueller would be involved in a witch hunt", Barr said at his hearing. His nomination will be headed to the Senate floor for a full vote. 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.

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