Senate panel votes to advance nomination of William Barr, Trump's pick to be the next attorney general
09 February, 2019, 06:29
Democrats said they were particularly concerned that Barr would not specifically commit to letting the public see whatever report results from the special-counsel investigation into President Trump's campaign.
Barr appears to have enough support from Republicans, which have a 53-47 advantage in the chamber, to run the Justice Department.
Trump removed Comey after the FBI chief rejected pressure to limit the investigation to ties between Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russian Federation.
Attorney-general nominee William P. Barr in the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last month.
Democrats also expressed concern about Barr's memo he sent to the Justice Department past year, 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. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Thursday.
But Barr has refused to promise that he will release the report in its entirety, citing Justice Department regulations that encourage prosecutors not to criticise people who they do not end up charging with criminal behaviour. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., said. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is now filling the position.
"This is not a time to mess around with the Constitution", she said.
"I don't believe Mr. Mueller would be involved in a witch hunt", Barr said. And he praised Barr emphatically. "We are already seeing risky threats to the rule of law".
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.
Some Democrats have also expressed concern that Barr won't be a check on the president who appointed him.
"I hope I'm wrong", Durbin said.
The 12-10, party-line committee vote sends the nomination to the full Senate. Barr, meanwhile, scheduled several individual meetings with lawmakers, seeking to answer whatever outstanding questions they might have had.
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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The company has suffered a number of setbacks in recent months because of apparent concerns over its security. However, the Chinese company warned the process could take up to five years to see "tangible results".
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