UPDATE | Barr says he wouldn't fire Mueller without cause
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee says he would "not carry out" any order to fire special counsel Robert Mueller without cause.
William Barr is testifying today at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. His comments about an attempt to fire Mueller were in response to a question from Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware.
Mueller's team is examining potential ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign. Barr says he wants Mueller to finish the investigation.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions drew the president's ire after removing himself from the Russia investigation because of his previous work with the Trump campaign. Sessions resigned at the president's request in November.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's pick for attorney general says it would be an "abuse of power" for Trump to intervene in an investigation he "has a stake in."
William Barr said today at his confirmation hearing he believes such an action would be a breach of the president's constitutional duties and could violate federal law depending upon the circumstances.
Barr was responding to questions from California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, in light of a memo he wrote criticizing special counsel Robert Mueller's obstruction-of-justice investigation.
Barr has said the memo was intended to be narrowly focused on one of Mueller's reported interpretations of obstruction. Barr also says his memo was based solely on public reporting and not any confidential information.
WASHINGTON (AP) — As he did almost 30 years ago, William Barr is appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to make the case he's qualified to serve as attorney general.
Barr served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 and has been nominated by President Donald Trump to do the job again. His confirmation hearing started at 9:35 a.m. today.
The 68-year-old nominee aims to show Republicans he's sufficiently supportive of Trump's tough-on-crime and hard line immigration agenda while assuring skeptical Democrats that special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation will finish without interference or interruption.
The panel he'll face is led by a new Republican chairman, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, known for a rapid-fire questioning style. It also includes at least three Democrats seen as potential presidential contenders – Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota – for whom the hearing could be an opportunity to raise their profiles.
Unless there's a major surprise, Barr is expected to win confirmation likely by next month – not only because Republicans control the Senate but also because some Democrats are eager to move on from Matthew Whitaker, the controversial acting attorney general.