Barr says Trump asked him for no promises

Jan 16, 2019, 02:01
Barr says Trump asked him for no promises

"For that reason, my goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law".

"I will follow the special counsel regulations scrupulously and in good faith, and on my watch, Bob will be allowed to complete his work".

Democrats worry that Trump's administration may try to undercut the investigation, which has been a frequent target of the president and his allies.

Barr, a 68-year-old who first served as attorney general during George H.W. Bush's administration, also said he believed that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions probably did the right thing by recusing himself from the Russian Federation investigation - a decision that drew the ire of President Donald Trump and led to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's appointment of Mueller as special counsel and Sessions' forced resignation in November.

Barr also sent the memo to White House lawyers and discussed it with Trump's personal attorneys and a lawyer who represents Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, among others.

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Barr as a private citizen penned a June memo that went after the Mueller probe. Barr even referred to Mueller in friendly fashion, having worked with him back in the 1990s when Barr was attorney general. They're meant to reassure Democratic senators troubled by Barr's past comments on the special counsel's probe, including an unsolicited memo he sent the Justice Department previous year criticizing the inquiry into whether the president had obstructed justice. He also sought to downplay the significance of his memo on the probe, saying that he and other commentators were largely speculating based on the limited public information about the investigation. She said senior ethics officials were consulted about the memo and have advised that it presents no conflict of interest to Barr's work as attorney general.

The remarks attempt to address concerns that Trump intends for Barr to act as a firewall between him and the justice department or to sink the Mueller investigation. Barr stopped short of directly pledging to release Mueller's report, but he expressed general support for disclosing the findings, whatever they may be. Since Jeff Sessions had recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation due to his own ties to the Trump campaign, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was acting Attorney General when it came to the investigation.

Trump has refused to rule out pardons for people who have been swept up, including his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who is awaiting sentence after two federal cases past year.

"Any failure by Barr to clearly address any of the above questions should-and would-disqualify him from serving as the highest law enforcement officer in the land".

Asked about the partial government shutdown, which was prompted by an impasse over funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border, Barr said he would like to see a deal reached where Congress recognised that it was "imperative to have border security".

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"I don't believe Mr Mueller would be involved in a witch hunt", he also said in a remark that contradicts Mr Trump's own statements.

Sen Kamala Harris, D-Calif., according to a top aide, is also going to want to know whether he'd reverse some of Sessions' moves on voting rights, immigration, and reproductive rights, and whether he supports Sessions' zero tolerance immigration policy?

Barr's confirmation hearing is set to begin to Tuesday morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Barr told Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar last week that he would recuse himself from the Justice Department's efforts to block the merger of AT&T and Time Warner Inc.

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