Senate Judiciary advances William Barr's nomination to be attorney general

Senate Judiciary advances William Barr's nomination to be attorney general

Senate Judiciary advances William Barr's nomination to be attorney general

At the Judiciary Committee's hearing Thursday, all 10 panel Democrats voted against moving the nomination forward, while all 12 Republicans voted to advance it.

"I appreciate what Mr. Whitaker has done, but I think the time has come for new leadership at the department", Graham added. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and committee chairman, said at the outset of Thursday's meeting.

"We need an Attorney General who will work to advance the principle of equal justice under the law".

Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian Federation and whether the president obstructed the investigation. Barr has said he will be as transparent as possible under Justice Department regulations and will make as much public as he can.

Democrats also expressed concern about Barr's memo he sent to the Justice Department previous year, unsolicited, that detailed presidential power and said Mueller had a "fatally misconceived" theory that Trump committed a crime when he fired a political appointee, FBI Director James B. Comey, because that was in his powers as president.

Democrats and many Republicans have said they believe Mueller's final report should be fully released.

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But Durbin said Barr has "telegraphed his pitch" by writing an unsolicited memo to Justice Department and Trump lawyers past year about parts of the special counsel probe.

William Barr's nomination was approved along party lines Thursday.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said he felt Barr was a "good person" and likened him to Jim Mattis - Trump's former defense secretary, who had a reputation for being independent and resigned from the administration amid disagreements with the president. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Thursday.

Whitaker said late last month the Mueller-led investigation is "close to being completed", although there has been no confirmation of this from the special counsel's office.

Whitaker has also been criticized for not recusing himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation despite his past comments openly criticizing the Mueller probe in media appearances before he joined the DOJ. Trump has repeatedly dismissed any collusion between his campaign and Moscow, while slamming the Mueller probe as a "hoax" or "witch hunt".

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