Booker Statement on Judiciary Committee Vote Opposing Barr's Nomination for Attorney General

Senate panel votes to advance nomination of William Barr, Trump's pick to be the next attorney general

Senate panel votes to advance nomination of William Barr, Trump's pick to be the next attorney general

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday along party lines to advance William P. Barr's nomination to become attorney general, a procedural step that sets the stage for his confirmation vote next week before the entire Senate.

The full Senate will vote on Barr's confirmation next week, and he is expected to be approved.

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.

"I appreciate what Mr. Whitaker has done, but I think it's time for new leadership at the department", Sen.

But Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said that, the "central issue for us, on the Attorney General of the United States, is will he be the people's lawyer or the president's?" 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.

Senators debated Barr's candidacy for several hours, focusing on his potential role in supervising special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russian Federation investigation.

The top Democrat on the Judiciary panel, California Sen.

Barr also said he will not allow any interference with the Mueller probe, adding that he will release the special counsel's final report as much as he can under the law. That, combined with Barr's sweeping view of executive power, prompted Leahy to vote no on Barr's nomination.

During his confirmation hearing earlier this year, Barr, 68, assured senators of his independence and said that he would not be bullied by anyone into doing something he believes is wrong if he becomes the attorney general.

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. Investigators have examined key episodes such as Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey and Trump's fury over Sessions' recusal.

"At a time when our shared principles of equal protection and civil rights for all are under assault, we need an Attorney General who will rise to the challenge of defending them". Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said.

"I don't believe Mr. Mueller would be involved in a witch hunt", Barr said.

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