Published: Sat, February 09, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Senate Judiciary advances William Barr's nomination to be attorney general

Senate Judiciary advances William Barr's nomination to be attorney general

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. He will now go to the full Senate, where he needs a simple majority to be confirmed.

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. "I appreciate what Mr. Whitaker has done, but I think the time has come for new leadership at the department".

Blumenthal said not releasing Mueller's report would be akin to a "coverup." Sen.

But Democrats said Thursday that Barr, 68, has to be scrutinized under what Sen.

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.

William Barr was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday in a party-line vote.

"Nothing in existing law or regulation prevents the attorney general from sharing the report", Feinstein said before the vote. "In fact, as part of our oversight responsibilities, Congress routinely requests, and receives, confidential information related to closed investigations". In the memo, Barr wrote that Trump could not have obstructed justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey since it was act the president was constitutionally entitled to take.

"This is not the time to install an attorney general who has repeatedly espoused a view of unfettered executive power", Sen.

"I believe the memo is disqualifying", said Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee's top Democrat.

Some Democrats have also expressed concern that Barr won't be a check on the president who appointed him.

Barr also gave senators key assurances that he would allow Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III to finish a probe into the 2016 elections and make public as much of the final report as possible.

In an interview with CBS published Thursday, Burr shed a light on the scope of his committee's investigation, which was launched one week before Trump was inaugurated and has now entered its third year.

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.

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