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

The nomination will now be sent to the full Republican-controlled Senate, where Barr is also expected to have enough support to be confirmed in a vote that could come as early as next week.

Barr, who previously served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993, would succeed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was pushed out by Trump past year over the president's anger that he had recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation.

"I think we need a steady hand at the Department of Justice, and I believe he has that steady hand", Graham said.

Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said before the vote that he begged Barr to get back into public service because he has the kind of experience the country needs at this time.

Multiple legal and constitutional scholars have argued that Whitaker's appointment to acting attorney general was unconstitutional because he was not confirmed to the position by the US Senate.

To date, the committee has interviewed more than 200 witnesses and reviewed more than 300,000 pages of documents; it has held more than a dozen public hearings and released two interim reports, CBS News reported.

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.

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.

Barr came under scrutiny for sending an unsolicited 20-page memo to the DOJ criticizing special counsel Robert Mueller probe's line of investigation into possible obstruction of justice and witness tampering by Trump, raising concerns among Democrats that he would potentially suppress Mueller's work.

Barr was selected after former attorney general Jeff Sessions was pushed out in November 2018. Investigators have examined key episodes such as Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey and Trump's fury over Sessions' recusal. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Thursday.

But the evidence so far shows that a broad range of Trump associates had Russia-related contacts during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition period, and several lied about the communication. Trump has repeatedly dismissed any collusion between his campaign and Moscow, while slamming the Mueller probe as a "hoax" or "witch hunt". "I don't know what Bob Mueller is writing", Barr said at his hearing last month.

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