William Barr, Attorney General Nominee, Gets Nod From Key Senate Committee

William Barr, Attorney General Nominee, Gets Nod From Key Senate Committee

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.

Democrats said they anxious about confirming Barr to return to the Justice Department - he already served as attorney general in the administration of former President George H.W. Bush - with less than an ironclad promise to release Mueller's findings.

Barr came under scrutiny for sending an unsolicited 20-page memo to the Department of Justice criticizing special counsel Robert Mueller probe's line of investigation into possible obstruction of justice. Barr previously served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993.

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee voted no on Barr, in part citing concerns over the Mueller probe.

Nadler said he might need the "threat" of the subpoena to get answers during the Friday session.

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

Attorney General nominee William Barr met with several senators on January 29.

Whitaker, who was appointed by Trump in November, said last week that the investigation "is close to being completed".

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee's top Democrat, said that Barr did not commit to providing Mueller's report to Congress, only follow department rules and regulations on what should be public.

A year ago he sent an unsolicited legal opinion to the Justice Department and White House arguing that Mueller had no grounds to investigate Trump for obstruction of justice based on the firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey in May 2017. "I don't know what Bob Mueller is writing", Barr said at his hearing last month. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Thursday.

"I hope I'm wrong" about Barr, he said. The Judiciary panel is set to vote on Barr's nomination Tuesday.

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

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