Senate Committee Postpones Vote on William Barr’s Nomination for Attorney General
The Senate Judiciary Committee postponed a vote on William P. Barr’s nomination for attorney general Tuesday, deciding to take up President Donald Trump’s pick for head of the Justice Department during a meeting next week.
The delay comes as Democrats become increasingly wary of Barr’s stance on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, the Washington Post reports. Barr wrote a memo last year that argues Mueller’s team was interpenetrating an obstruction of justice statute too broadly by investigating the Trump campaign.
During questioning, Barr has failed to promise the iron-clad protections for Mueller that Democrats desire. Barr has said he wouldn’t allow political interference but may write the final report himself, meaning he could redact whatever he deems unnecessary for the public.
According to the Post, Barr said, “it is Department policy and practice not to criticize individuals for conduct that does not warrant prosecution,” meaning unless Trump were indicted by Mueller, he could remain out of the final report entirely—even if there’s concerning information.
Barr has also said he would seek counsel on whether or not he should recuse himself from the investigation but has not said whether he would follow this counsel’s advice. Barr said he wouldn’t stop Mueller from issuing Trump a subpoena to testify before Congress, but only if there was a “factual basis for doing it.”
The current acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, is a harsh critic of the Mueller probe. According to the Post, he’s scheduled to speak to lawmakers about his oversight of the investigation on Feb. 8.