What to Watch for in William Barr’s Confirmation Hearing

January 15, 2019, 1:35 PM UTC

William Barr is on deck at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday for his confirmation hearings to become U.S. attorney general. Here’s what you need to know to watch and understand the dynamics.

The hearing won’t be on the major networks. Instead, you can find them at C-SPAN, whether on cable or online. The Senate Judiciary Committee will also stream the procedures live.

Republican members of the committee are expected to vote in favor of Barr, which would be enough to carry the nomination to a vote in the Senate. He has worked in the Justice Department and CIA as well as previously serving as attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush.

Democrats on the committee are a different matter. Barr has argued for stronger protections of executive power, which is likely to rankle in the current contentious atmosphere. He has criticized the Mueller Russia probe. Although in prepared testimony released Monday, Barr stressed his independence and his assurance that the investigation would continue, but expect heavy questioning.

Barr could also face deep scrutiny on criminal justice reform and immigration. He was an architect of the federal war on drugs and mass incarceration and is considered an immigration hawk.

A further complication is that three Democratic members of the committee are presidential hopefuls for 2020. Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Cory Booker have all been in the discussion as potential nominees considering a run. Their questions might turn into campaign moments.