The Senate Judiciary Committee approved William Barr's nomination for attorney general along party lines Thursday, with Republicans praising his credentials and Democrats questioning how transparent he'll be once special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation concludes.
"I appreciate what Mr. Whitaker has done, but I think it's time for new leadership at the department", Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont called the "extraordinary circumstances" of 2019, as special counsel Robert Mueller has obtained 37 indictments on various charges during his investigation.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said that Barr, as attorney general, would have the authority to change policies that now might prohibit him from revealing information about Mueller's work and that his nomination must be considered in the context of the historic moment in which the Justice Department finds itself. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and committee chairman, said at the outset of Thursday's meeting.
"We need an attorney general who can assure the Senate and the public that he will stand up to a president who believes the Justice Department exists to do his personal bidding and to protect his personal interests", Schumer said in a tweet.
Blumenthal said not releasing Mueller's report would be akin to a "coverup." Sen.
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Dressed in a long dark overcoat, Trump gave a thumb's up, but did not respond to reporters' questions about how he was feeling. Conley is expected to stick to the more traditional medium of writing up the physical results in a brief document.
A corporate lawyer who previously served as attorney general under Republican President George HW Bush in the early 1990s, Barr has been praised by politicians from both parties as someone who is deeply familiar with the workings of the Justice Department and does not owe his career to Trump.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the Judiciary Committee's highest-ranking Democrat, said Thursday she felt the document was "disqualifying" for Barr.
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.
In confirmation hearings last month Barr said he would protect Mueller's investigation, and rejected Trump's characterization of it as an illegal "witch hunt".
"This is not the time to install an attorney general who has repeatedly espoused a view of unfettered executive power", Sen. While Barr has vowed to be as transparent as he can be, Democratic lawmakers have said that is not adequate. But Grassley said he would support Barr's nomination, despite his reluctance to commit to releasing Mueller's findings.