Former Attorney General William Barr will face senators’ questions on his nomination for another stint heading the Justice Department. His views on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, which he would oversee, may take center stage.
William Barr, President Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, will go before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a confirmation hearing Jan. 15. Departing Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and successor Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) noted that confirmation hearings for the past five attorneys general have last two days each, the National Law Journal reports. “Mr. Barr will receive the same fair and thorough vetting process as the last five nominees to be attorney general,” the senators said. Barr would replace acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, whose appointment to head the Justice Department in the interim has generated controversy and litigation challenges.
Barr will face questions about his June memo to Justice Department officials criticizing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice. Barr addressed the letter as a “former official” to U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Steven Engel, who heads DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, top Democrat on the committee, described the memo as “very troubling.” Barr told the committee that he plans to follow Justice Department protocol when addressing potential conflicts of interest. “In the event of a potential conflict of interest, l will consult with the appropriate Department of Justice ethics officials and act consistent with governing regulations,” Barr said.