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Trump's attorney general nominee Barr passes first hurdle

10 February, 2019, 12:46 | Author: Taylor George
  • Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham R-S.C. listens at left as Sen. Dianne Feinstein D-Calif. the ranking member objects to advancing the nomination of Bill Barr to be attorney general on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday Feb. 7 2

The Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to approve William Barr's nomination to be attorney general, a vote that is likely to be mostly along party lines as Democrats have questioned how transparent Barr will be once special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation concludes. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to recommend his nomination to the full Senate.

Barr, a longtime communications industry lawyer who was originally attorney general in the early 1990s, was approved 12-10, with all Republicans in support and all Democrats opposed.

Barr criticised the investigation previous 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. But he has also noted that he takes seriously department regulations that say the report Mueller submits to the Justice Department should be treated as confidential.

"I think we need a new attorney general I appreciate what Mr. Whitaker has done but I think the time has come for new leadership in the department", Committee Chairman Sen.

Attorney General nominee Bill Barr departs after meeting with Sen. Barr previously served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993.

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Barr was selected after former attorney general Jeff Sessions was pushed out in November 2018.

Barr said in his hearing last month that he is a friend of Mueller's and that "it is vitally important" that the special counsel be allowed to complete his investigation. Among independents, 88 percent said the report should be released.

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. On Thursday, Sen. John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, said that he would vote for it even though he said the "only question" is whether the Mueller report is going to leak "in toto" or in part. "And I think we have to get to the bottom of it", Barr said. The Judiciary panel is set to vote on Barr's nomination Tuesday.

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

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