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techkenyot.com April 22, 2019


Senate Panel Approves Trump’s Attorney General Nominee William Barr

09 February 2019, 06:29 | Glen Norman

Senate Panel Approves Trump’s Attorney General Nominee William Barr

Democrats eager to press Whitaker on Mueller and Trump

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the Barr nomination earlier Thursday, as Republicans touted his qualifications and Democrats voiced concerns about how he would handle the special counsel investigation. That committee voted on Wednesday to send more than 50 interview transcripts from its Russia probe interviews to Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and allegations of collusion or obstruction of justice by the commander-in-chief. While Barr has vowed to be as transparent as he can be, Democratic lawmakers have said that is not adequate.

"If the committee's driven based upon the facts that we have at hand, I have a very hard time understanding how you can come to two different conclusions", Burr said during the interview. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said he was concerned Barr's previous testimony on the subject "could lay the groundwork for potentially no transparency at all".

Barr, who ran the Justice Department from 1991 to 1993 during the George Bush administration, answered questions during his confirmation hearing last month that indicated he would bring a conservative approach to immigration, law enforcement and civil rights enforcement.

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Barr criticised the investigation past year in a memo to the Justice Department, but he told the committee in confirmation hearings three weeks ago that he would allow Mueller to conclude his work and said he would make as much of his findings public as possible.

All 12 Republicans on the panel voted for Barr, while all 10 Democrats voted against him. But Grassley said he would support Barr's nomination, despite his reluctance to commit to releasing Mueller's findings. "We are already seeing risky threats to the rule of law".

On Thursday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary committee, called the memo "disqualifying", saying Barr's theory would leave the President "above the law in most respects".

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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 vote to limit debate on the lands bill is scheduled for Monday evening, meaning Barr's final confirmation should come no later than Thursday.

In his hearing, Barr pledged to release "as much as I can" of Mueller's findings to the public, to provide Mueller with the resources and time to finish the job, to not terminate Mueller without good cause and to notify Congress if he denied a major request during the investigation.

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