Barr hearing: Trump's AG pick says Mueller probe no 'witch-hunt'


Barr, a former attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, has come under criticism from Democrats after revelations that in June he sent deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein a lengthy unsolicited legal memo that called Mueller's probe into whether Trump obstructed justice "fatally misconceived". Lawmakers are questioning his views on the Special Counsel's Russian Federation investigation, whether a sitting president can be indicted, and other matters.

Mueller has reportedly been investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government as well as possible obstruction by Trump over the firing of James Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

"Under the regulations, I make the decision", Barr said emphatically. "I can assure you that, where judgments are to be made by me, I will make those judgments based exclusively on the law and will let no personal, political, or other improper interests influence my decisions".

During the hearing, Barr's past comments about the Mueller investigation attracted scrutiny, including an unsolicited memo he sent the Justice Department a year ago criticizing the special counsel's inquiry into whether Trump had sought to obstruct justice. He also insisted that Trump never sought any promises, assurances or commitments before selecting him to be the country's chief law enforcement officer.

Much like his predecessor Jeff Sessions, Barr has a vicious anti-LGBTQ history, even suggesting that equality for LGBTQ Americans has "led to America's decline". That is how it must be.

"Will you commit, if confirmed, to both seeking and following the advice of the department's career ethics officials on whether you must recuse from the special counsel's investigation?" Sen.

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Barr's confirmation is likely, given that Republicans control the Senate.

"The memo did not address - or in any way question - the Special Counsel's core investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election", Barr will say, according to the AP. "Trump is circling the wagons and, obviously, considers the US Attorney General to be his get-out-of-jail-free card", explains Fredrickson. If Barr is confirmed by then, he'll have the final say, unless a conflict of interest required him to recuse himself from being in charge of Mueller.

"I think it was entirely proper", he said of the memo, saying it was not unusual for former Justice Department officials to share their views of legal matters.

Barr will tell senators the Justice Department can not allow people to flout America's legal system by "crashing in through the back door".

Barr's views of presidential power could be important as prosecutors and Democrats in the House of Representatives, where they hold the majority, intensify investigations of Trump's personal business practices and his presidency. He said presidents can not be criminally investigated for actions they are permitted to take under the Constitution, such as firing officials who work for them, just because of a subjective determination that they may have had a corrupt state of mind.

"Notable that AG Barr is indicating his support for the Special Counsel's investigation, but serious questions remain", Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a Democratic member of the Judiciary panel, said in a tweet on Monday. Feinstein said at the time that Barr assured her that he would not interfere with the Mueller probe and that she meant to ask him about his controversial memo "in public".