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Republican-controlled Senate likely to confirm Trump's attorney general nominee

Democrats raise concerns about nominee's memo criticizing Mueller's probe

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Pelham Barr, said Tuesday during his Senate confirmation hearing that he believed Trump's first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, did the right thing when he recused himself from the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. 

Since Republicans control the Senate, Barr's confirmation is a given. This did not stop him from saying that he did not agree with Trump on the Mueller investigation and that he had no intentions of firing Mueller, who was his subordinate from 1991 to 1993. 

"I believe the Russians interfered or attempted to interfere with the election, and I think we have to get to the bottom of it," Barr, 68, said adding that he will not be bullied into doing anything that he thinks is wrong. 

After Barr's written testimony, Democrats questioned him during the hearing. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she was concerned about an unsolicited memo Barr wrote to the U.S. Department of Justice criticizing Mueller's investigation.

Feinstein said the memo, which Barr also sent to lawyers with the White House, was part of a "determined effort" to undermine Mueller.

"The memo did not address — or in any way question — the special counsel’s core investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election," Barr said.

Barr said the intent was to warn officials that Mueller was "stretching a statute."

Feinstein also said she was worried about Barr's "views on executive authority and whether the president is, in fact, above the law."

 


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